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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 173

Jul 12, 2016

Massive neutrino experiment undermines our sense of reality

Posted by in category: particle physics

Classic test confirms particles’ properties don’t exist until they’re measured.

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Jul 12, 2016

Missouri S&T physicist works to predict atom movement

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

By laser-cooling atom clusters and studying their movements, a Missouri University of Science and Technology researcher hopes to better understand how atoms and their components are impacted and directed by environmental factors.

With a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Daniel Fischer, assistant professor of physics at Missouri S&T, tests the limits of quantum mechanics through his project titled “Control and Analysis of Atomic Few-Body Dynamics.”

In a hand-built vacuum chamber, Fischer manipulates lithium atoms by trapping them in a magnetic field and then shooting them with different lasers. This gives Fischer a large variety of initial states to test. Tests range from single, polarized atoms to larger groups that are laser-cooled to a consistent energy level. By doing so, Fischer works to help unravel the “few-body problem” that continues to confound the world of physics.

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Jul 12, 2016

Additive manufacturing techniques featuring atomic precision could one day create materials with Legos flexibility and Terminator toughness

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics, transportation

Great work by my friends at ORNL.


In a review paper published in ACS Nano, Olga Ovchinnikova and colleagues provide an overview of existing paths to 3D materials, but the ultimate goal is to create and customize material at the atomic scale. Material would be assembled atom by atom, much like children can use Legos to build a car or castle brick by brick. This concept, known as directed matter, could lead to virtually perfect materials and products because many limitations of conventional manufacturing techniques would be eliminated.

“Being able to assemble matter atom by atom in 3D will enable us to design materials that are stronger and lighter, more robust in extreme environments and provide economical solutions for energy, chemistry and informatics,” Ovchinnikova said.

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Jul 11, 2016

Germs add ripples to make ‘groovy’ graphene

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering, nanotechnology, particle physics

Graphene, a two-dimensional wonder-material composed of a single layer of carbon atoms linked in a hexagonal chicken-wire pattern, has attracted intense interest for its phenomenal ability to conduct electricity. Now University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have used rod-shaped bacteria — precisely aligned in an electric field, then vacuum-shrunk under a graphene sheet — to introduce nanoscale ripples in the material, causing it to conduct electrons differently in perpendicular directions.

The resulting material, sort of a graphene nano-corduroy, can be applied to a silicon chip and may add to graphene’s almost limitless potential in electronics and nanotechnology. The finding is reported in the journal ACS Nano.

“The current across the graphene wrinkles is less than the current along them,” says Vikas Berry, associate professor and interim head of chemical engineering at UIC, who led the research.

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Jul 11, 2016

Atomic bits despite zero-point energy? Jülich scientists explore novel ways of developing stable nanomagnets

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics

Stable nanomagnets that ultimately improves data storage on the smallest of devices.


Abstract: So-called “zero-point energy” is a term familiar to some cinema lovers or series fans; in the fictional world of animated films such as “The Incredibles” or the TV series “Stargate Atlantis”, it denotes a powerful and virtually inexhaustible energy source. Whether it could ever be used as such is arguable. Scientists at Jülich have now found out that it plays an important role in the stability of nanomagnets. These are of great technical interest for the magnetic storage of data, but so far have never been sufficiently stable. Researchers are now pointing the way to making it possible to produce nanomagnets with low zero-point energy and thus a higher degree of stability (Nano Letters, DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b01344).

Since the 1970s, the number of components in computer chips has doubled every one to two years, their size diminishing. This development has made the production of small, powerful computers such as smart phones possible for the first time. In the meantime, many components are only about as big as a virus and the miniaturization process has slowed down. This is because below approximately a nanometre, a billionth of a meter in size, quantum effects come into play. They make it harder, for example, to stabilise magnetic moments. Researchers worldwide are looking for suitable materials for magnetically stable nanomagnets so that data can be stored safely in the smallest of spaces.

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Jul 8, 2016

Scientists obtain evidence of many-body localization in a closed quantum system

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Finding evidence of many-body localization in a closed quantum system.


During equilibration ordinary many-body systems lose all information about the initial state. Every morning we experience an example for this behaviour. Milk poured into a cup of coffee mixes perfectly and after some time it is impossible to say how exactly the two fluids were put together. The same behaviour holds for almost all quantum systems. However, recently a new phenomenon called “many-body localization” has been predicted theoretically, which allows well insulated quantum systems to preserve memory of the initial state forever. Now a team of scientists around Dr. Christian Groß and Professor Immanuel Bloch (Director at MPQ and Chair of Quantum Optics at LMU Munich), in cooperation with David Huse (Princeton University), has obtained evidence of such a behaviour in a two-dimensional quantum system of cold rubidium atoms trapped in an optical lattice.

The scientists observed that – beyond a certain degree of disorder imprinted on the particle ensemble in the beginning – the system would relax into a steady state still containing detailed microscopic information about its past. “We were able to observe the transition from a thermalized state into a many-body localized phase”, Christian Groß points out. “It is the first observation of that kind in a regime that is not accessible with state-of-the-art simulations on classical computers.” The experiment is not only of fundamental interest; the results might also lead to new ways for storing quantum information.

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Jul 8, 2016

Could the Big Bang have been more of a Big Bounce?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, quantum physics

When the bang became a bounce.


How the universe began is one of the most brain-breaking questions you could possibly ask, and the Big Bang is probably the answer most people accept. But what if the infinitely dense point from which the entire universe burst forth wasn’t the beginning of everything, but merely the middle of an ongoing cycle? That’s the theory of the Big Bounce, which suggests that the universe regularly cycles through periods of expansion and contraction, meaning the Big Bang may have been preceded by an earlier universe collapsing in on itself. A new study details how this might be possible.

The idea of the Big Bounce has been bouncing around since 1922, but explaining just how the universe transitions between expanding and contracting has always been an issue. What’s to stop a universe just contracting into a point and collapsing completely? According to researchers from Imperial College London and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada, it may be the same quantum mechanics that prevent atoms from deteriorating into nothing.

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Jul 8, 2016

Air Force Seeks Ideas for How Quantum Computing Can Help Warfighters

Posted by in categories: government, information science, military, particle physics, quantum physics, supercomputing

Listen up all my QC buddies; the air force wants to hear from you. You have QC ideas for fighter jets they want you.

Guess I need to submit them some of mine.


The Air Force wants white papers that describe new ways quantum computing could help achieve its mission, according to an amended Broad Agency Announcement posted Friday. Eventually, the government could provide a test-bed where a contractor might install, develop and test a quantum computing system, according to the announcement.

Last year, the Air Force announced it had about $40 million available to fund research into, and the eventual maintenance and installation of a quantum system — a branch of emerging computing technology that relies on the mechanics of atomic particles to process complex equations.

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Jul 8, 2016

Atomic bits despite zero-point energy?

Posted by in categories: entertainment, particle physics

So-called “zero-point energy” is a term familiar to some cinema lovers or series fans; in the fictional world of animated films such as “The Incredibles” or the TV series “Stargate Atlantis”, it denotes a powerful and virtually inexhaustible energy source.

Whether it could ever be used as such is arguable. Scientists at Jülich have now found out that it plays an important role in the stability of nanomagnets. These are of great technical interest for the magnetic storage of data, but so far have never been sufficiently stable. Researchers are now pointing the way to making it possible to produce nanomagnets with low zero-point energy and thus a higher degree of stability (Nano Letters, “Zero-Point Spin-Fluctuations of Single Adatoms”).

Artistic depiction of the magnetic fluctuations (blue arrows)  of a single atom (red ball)  lying on a surface (gray balls)

Continue reading “Atomic bits despite zero-point energy?” »

Jul 8, 2016

Extra dimensions, gravitons, and tiny black holes

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Why is gravity so much weaker than the other fundamental forces? A small fridge magnet is enough to create an electromagnetic force greater than the gravitational pull exerted by planet Earth. One possibility is that we don’t feel the full effect of gravity because part of it spreads to extra dimensions. Though it may sound like science fiction, if extra dimensions exist, they could explain why the universe is expanding faster than expected, and why gravity is weaker than the other forces of nature.

In our everyday lives, we experience three spatial dimensions, and a fourth dimension of time. How could there be more? Einstein’s general theory of relativity tells us that space can expand, contract, and bend. Now if one dimension were to contract to a size smaller than an atom, it would be hidden from our view. But if we could look on a small enough scale, that hidden dimension might become visible again. Imagine a person walking on a tightrope. She can only move backward and forward; but not left and right, nor up and down, so she only sees one dimension. Ants living on a much smaller scale could move around the cable, in what would appear like an extra dimension to the tightrope-walker.

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