Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 2

Nov 9, 2020

Europa glows: Radiation does a bright number on Jupiter’s moon

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

As the icy, ocean-filled moon Europa orbits Jupiter, it withstands a relentless pummeling of radiation. Jupiter zaps Europa’s surface night and day with electrons and other particles, bathing it in high-energy radiation. But as these particles pound the moon’s surface, they may also be doing something otherworldly: making Europa glow in the dark.

New research from scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California details for the first time what the glow would look like, and what it could reveal about the composition of ice on Europa’s . Different salty compounds react differently to the radiation and emit their own unique glimmer. To the naked eye, this glow would look sometimes slightly green, sometimes slightly blue or white and with varying degrees of brightness, depending on what material it is.

Scientists use a spectrometer to separate the light into wavelengths and connect the distinct “signatures,” or spectra, to different compositions of ice. Most observations using a spectrometer on a moon like Europa are taken using reflected sunlight on the moon’s dayside, but these new results illuminate what Europa would look like in the dark.

Nov 9, 2020

Scientists Develop Nasal Spray That Can Disable Coronavirus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, particle physics

Most efforts to combat the coronavirus have focused on public health measures and the race to develop a vaccine. However, a team from Columbia University, Cornell University, and others has developed something new: a nasal spray that attacks the virus directly. In a newly released study, the concoction was effective at deactivating the novel coronavirus before it could infect cells.

Like all viruses, SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) needs to enter a cell to reproduce. The virus injects its RNA genome and hijacks cellular machinery to make copies of itself, eventually killing the cell and spreading new virus particles to infect other cells. Gaining access to a cell requires a “key” that fits into a protein lock on the cell surface. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, we call that the spike protein, and that’s where the new nasal spray blocker attacks.

The spike protein “unzips” when it meets up with a cell, exposing two chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). The spray contains a lipoprotein, which has a complementary strand of amino acids linked with a cholesterol particle. The lipoprotein inserts itself into the spike protein, sticking to one of the chains that would otherwise bind to a receptor and allow the virus to infect the cell. With that lipoprotein in the way, the virus is inactivated.

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Nov 9, 2020

“Fifth state of matter” used to make new type of superconductor

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

Superconductors – materials in which electricity flows without any resistance whatsoever – could be extremely useful for future electronics. Now, engineers at the University of Tokyo have managed to create a superconductor out of a state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) for the first time ever.

Sometimes called the fifth state of matter, behind the more commonly known solids, liquids, gases and plasmas, Bose-Einstein condensates are what happens when you cool a gas of bosons right down to almost the coldest temperature possible. Experiments have shown that at this point, quantum phenomena can be observed at the macro scale. Scientists have used BECs as a starting point to create exotic states of matter like supersolids, excitonium, quantum ball lightning, and fluids exhibiting negative mass.

“A BEC is a unique state of matter as it is not made from particles, but rather waves,” says Kozo Okazaki, lead author of the study. “As they cool down to near absolute zero, the atoms of certain materials become smeared out over space. This smearing increases until the atoms – now more like waves than particles – overlap, becoming indistinguishable from one another. The resulting matter behaves like it’s one single entity with new properties the preceding solid, liquid or gas states lacked.”

Nov 9, 2020

Are Teleporting Qutrits the Future of Computing?

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

Scientists have successfully teleported a three-dimensional quantum state. The international effort between Chinese and Austrian scientists could be crucial for the future of quantum computers.

The researchers, from Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Vienna, and University of Science and Technology of China, were able to teleport the quantum state of one photon to another distant state. The three-dimensional transportation is a huge leap forward. Previously, only two-dimensional quantum teleportation of qubits has been possible. By entering a third dimension, the scientists were able to transport a more advanced unit of quantum information known as a “qutrit.”

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Nov 8, 2020

To Understand Gravity, Toss a Hard Drive into a Black Hole

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

We probably think we know gravity pretty well. After all, we have more conscious experience with this fundamental force than with any of the others (electromagnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces). But even though physicists have been studying gravity for hundreds of years, it remains a source of mystery.

In our video Why Is Gravity Different? We explore why this force is so perplexing and why it remains difficult to understand how Einstein’s general theory of relativity (which covers gravity) fits together with quantum mechanics.

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Nov 7, 2020

Astronomers Discover Activity on Distant Centaur Planetary Object

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Centaurs are minor planets believed to have originated in the Kuiper Belt in the outer solar system. They sometimes have comet-like features such as tails and comae—clouds of dust particles and gas—even though they orbit in a region between Jupiter and Neptune where it is too cold for water to readily sublimate, or transition, directly from a solid to a gas.

Only 18 active Centaurs have been discovered since 1927, and much about them is still poorly understood. Discovering activity on Centaurs is also observationally challenging because they are faint, telescope time-intensive and because they are rare.

A team of astronomers, led by doctoral student and Presidential Fellow Colin Chandler in Northern Arizona University’s Astronomy and Planetary Science PhD program, earlier this year announced their discovery of activity emanating from Centaur 2014 OG392, a planetary object first found in 2014. They published their findings in a paper in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, “Cometary Activity Discovered on a Distant Centaur: A Nonaqueous Sublimation Mechanism.” Chandler is the lead author, working with four NAU co-authors: graduate student Jay Kueny, associate professor Chad Trujillo, professor David Trilling and Ph.D. student William Oldroyd.

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Nov 7, 2020

Z boson

Posted by in category: particle physics

The Z boson is a neutral particle that mediates the weak force.

Nov 7, 2020

Scientists observe Z-boson production with two associated photons

Posted by in category: particle physics

Circa 2016 o,.o.

An international group of physicists has observed Z-boson production with two associated photons with later Z decay to electrons, muons or neutrinos at the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN.

Observation of this extremely rare physics process, predicted theoretically in 1960s, further validates the Standard Model ℠, according to ATLAS experiment contributor Dimitrii Krasnopevtsev.

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Nov 7, 2020

New mineral from the moon could explain what happens in the Earth’s mantle

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

A team of European researchers discovered a new high-pressure mineral in a lunar meteorite which is helping to explain what happens to materials within the extreme pressures of the Earth’s mantle.

The new mineral donwilhelmsite is the first high-pressure mineral found in meteorites with application for terrestrial sediments dragged deep into the Earth mantle by plate tectonics. Mainly composed of calcium, aluminum, silicon, and oxygen atoms, donwilhelmsite was discovered within the Oued Awlitis 001 found in 2014 in the Western Sahara.

The meteorite is compositionally similar to rocks comprising the Earth’s continents. Eroded sediments from these continents are transported by wind and rivers to the oceans, and subducted into the Earth’s mantle as part of the dense oceanic crust. Once dragged to depths of about 460–700 km, their constituent minerals transform at high pressures and high temperatures existing at those depths into denser mineral phases, including the newly discovered mineral donwilhelmsite. In the terrestrial rock cycle, donwilhelmsite is therefore an important agent for transporting continental crustal sediments through the transition zone of the Earth’s mantle (460−700 km depth).

Nov 7, 2020

Higgs boson probes for new phenomena

Posted by in category: particle physics

Physicists at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are on the hunt for physics phenomena beyond the standard model. Some theories predict an as-yet undiscovered particle could be found in the form of a new resonance (a narrow peak) similar to the one that heralded the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012.

However, Nature is not always so kind and new resonances may be so massive that their production requires collision energies beyond that of the LHC. If so, all is not lost. Just as gently sloping terrain may indicate the presence of a mountain peak ahead, LHC data may contain some hints that interesting phenomena are present at higher energy scales.

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