Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 3

Apr 24, 2019

Dark matter detector observes rarest event ever recorded

Posted by in categories: alien life, particle physics

How do you observe a process that takes more than one trillion times longer than the age of the universe? The XENON Collaboration research team did it with an instrument built to find the most elusive particle in the universe—dark matter. In a paper to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature, researchers announce that they have observed the radioactive decay of xenon-124, which has a half-life of 1.8 X 1022 years.

“We actually saw this decay happen. It’s the longest, slowest process that has ever been directly observed, and our was sensitive enough to measure it,” said Ethan Brown, an assistant professor of physics at Rensselaer, and co-author of the study. “It’s an amazing to have witnessed this process, and it says that our detector can measure the rarest thing ever recorded.”

The XENON Collaboration runs XENON1T, a 1,300-kilogram vat of super-pure liquid xenon shielded from cosmic rays in a cryostat submerged in water deep 1,500 meters beneath the Gran Sasso mountains of Italy. The researchers search for (which is five times more abundant than ordinary matter, but seldom interacts with ordinary matter) by recording tiny flashes of light created when particles interact with xenon inside the detector. And while XENON1T was built to capture the interaction between a dark matter particle and the nucleus of a xenon atom, the detector actually picks up signals from any interactions with the xenon.

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Apr 23, 2019

Atomic beams shoot straighter via cascading silicon peashooters

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics, space travel

To a non-physicist, an “atomic beam collimator” may sound like a phaser firing mystical particles. That might not be the worst metaphor to introduce a technology that researchers have now miniaturized, making it more likely to someday land in handheld devices.

Today, atomic collimators are mostly found in physics labs, where they shoot out atoms in a beam that produces exotic quantum phenomena and which has properties that may be useful in precision technologies. By shrinking collimators from the size of a small appliance to fit on a fingertip, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology want to make the technology available to engineers advancing devices like or accelerometers, a component found in smartphones.

“A typical device you might make out of this is a next-generation gyroscope for a precision navigation system that is independent of GPS and can be used when you’re out of satellite range in a remote region or traveling in space,” said Chandra Raman, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Physics and a co-principal investigator on the study.

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Apr 22, 2019

Defying the laws of physics? Engineers demonstrate bubbles of sand

Posted by in categories: engineering, particle physics

The flow of granular materials, such as sand and catalytic particles used in chemical reactors, and enables a wide range of natural phenomena, from mudslides to volcanos, as well as a broad array of industrial processes, from pharmaceutical production to carbon capture. While the motion and mixing of granular matter often display striking similarities to liquids, as in moving sand dunes, avalanches, and quicksand, the physics underlying granular flows is not as well-understood as liquid flows.

Now, a recent discovery by Chris Boyce, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Columbia Engineering, explains a new family of gravitational instabilities in granular particles of different densities that are driven by a gas-channeling mechanism not seen in fluids. In collaboration with Energy and Engineering Science Professor Christoph Müller’s group at ETH Zurich, Boyce’s team observed an unexpected Rayleigh-Taylor (R-T)-like instability in which lighter grains rise through heavier grains in the form of “fingers” and “granular bubbles.” R-T instabilities, which are produced by the interactions of two fluids of different densities that do not mix—oil and water, for example—because the lighter fluid pushes aside the heavier one, have not been seen between two dry granular materials.

The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to demonstrate that “bubbles” of lighter sand form and rise through heavier sand when the two types of sand are subject to vertical vibration and upward gas , similar to the bubbles that form and rise in lava lamps. The team found that, just as air and oil bubbles rise in water because they are lighter than water and do not want to mix with it, bubbles of light sand rise through heavier sand even though two types of sand like to mix.

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Apr 22, 2019

What Makes the Strong Force So Special?

Posted by in category: particle physics

The Force is (super) strong with these quarks.

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Apr 22, 2019

Stunning new material invented in Turkey: “Metallic wood” is 5 times stronger than titanium, but lighter

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology, particle physics

(Natural News) Turkish inventors have created a new building material that is five times stronger than titanium and has the density of wood planks. Most remarkably, this new “Metallic wood” is lighter than titanium and still has the chemical stability of metal for use in manufacturing applications.

The new material is made out of nickel-based cellular materials as small as 17 nano-meters in diameter. These electroplated nickel nano-particles are strategically arranged in struts to maximize their load-bearing strength as a whole. This strategic arrangement of nickel makes the material four times stronger than bulk nickel plating. By tinkering with nano-meter-scale geometry, the inventors can increase the strength and density of the new material. This geometric arrangement of cellular materials is spatially organized and repeated to generate the new “Metallic wood” material. This geometric nano-meter engineering feat produces a very dense material, like that of wood. The inventors have even made the material as dense as water (1,000?kg/m3).

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Apr 21, 2019

The board games turning science into playtime

Posted by in categories: entertainment, particle physics, science, space

Science-themed board games are an increasingly popular way to learn about everything from atom building to colonising space.

Apr 19, 2019

Scientists invent way to trap mysterious ‘dark world’ particle at Large Hadron Collider

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Now that they’ve identified the Higgs boson, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have set their sights on an even more elusive target.

All around us is and —the invisible stuff that binds the galaxy together, but which no one has been able to directly detect. “We know for sure there’s a dark world, and there’s more energy in it than there is in ours,” said LianTao Wang, a University of Chicago professor of physics who studies how to find signals in large particle accelerators like the LHC.

Wang, along with scientists from the University and UChicago-affiliated Fermilab, think they may be able to lead us to its tracks; in a paper published April 3 in Physical Review Letters, they laid out an innovative method for stalking dark matter in the LHC by exploiting a potential particle’s slightly slower speed.

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Apr 19, 2019

A Genius First-of-Its-Kind Device Has Created Electricity From Snowfall

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Scientists have developed a first-of-its-kind device that generates electricity from nothing other than the natural phenomenon of snowfall.

Based upon the principles of the triboelectric effect, in which electrical charge is generated after two materials come into contact with one another, the researchers’ new technology exploits the fact that snow particles carry a positive electrical charge.

Because of that, snowflakes give up electrons, provided they get a chance to interact with the right, negatively charged substance.

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Apr 18, 2019

Scientists Freeze Atoms to Near Absolute Zero

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


We usually think of microwaves as waves that heat things up, usually leftover food, but did you know that they can also cool things down? For example, physicists recently decided to use them to freeze atoms, and attempts have been very successful: They managed to cool them down to within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero (–273.15°C or −459.67°F).

The University of Sussex team, led by Winifried Hensinger, had their results published in Physical Review Letters.

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Apr 18, 2019

Scientists have detected the earliest Big Bang molecule in space

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

When the universe formed during the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, the chemical reactions of the aftermath formed the first molecules. Those first molecules were crucial in helping form everything we know, but they’re also absent.

And although HeH+, the helium hydride ion, has been proposed for years as that first molecule, scientists couldn’t find any evidence of its existence in space — until now. The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

After the Big Bang, HeH+ formed in a molecular bond when helium atoms and protons combined. Later, these would break apart into hydrogen molecules and helium atoms. Both elements are the two most abundant throughout the universe, with hydrogen first and helium second.

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