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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 9

Sep 28, 2019

The Frustrating Search for New Physics

Posted by in category: particle physics

The foundational theory of particle physics, the Standard Model, predicts…

Sep 28, 2019

Neutrino Experiment Reveals (Again) That Something Is Missing from Our Universe

Posted by in category: particle physics

The KATRIN experiment has turned up a new, more-precise-than-ever measurement for the barely-detectable neutrino mass.

Sep 26, 2019

Researchers observe phase transition in artificially created flock

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, transportation

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in France has observed a phase transition in an artificially created flock. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes how they created their artificial flock and the events that led to a phase transition.

Scientists trying to understand generally create computer models meant to mimic under crowded conditions—but such simulations are limited by the parameters that are used to create them. Most in the field agree on the need to recreate or flocking behavior physically in a lab. In this new effort, the researchers have built on prior work with an artificial crowd, and have found that under certain conditions it underwent a phase transition similar to water freezing to an ice state.

Working on a prior effort, some of the team members created an artificial crowd consisting of millions of suspended in a liquid between two plates of glass. The plates were joined in a way that allowed the beads to move around the outer edges of an oval—similar to cars on a partially three-dimensional race track. The beads were forced to move in one direction by applying an —the Quincke effect spun the beads, which pushed them through the liquid in the same direction. Also, due to a dipole effect, the beads did not adhere to one another—instead, they moved around the track, seemingly of their own accord. The prior team showed that increasing density of the beads could set off a Vicsek-like transition in which randomly moving particles exhibit flock-like behaviors. In this new effort, the researchers used the same setup with the beads to create a flock and then watched what would happen as density was increased.

Sep 26, 2019

A different kind of gravitational wave detector

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

Hidden deep in a basement at Stanford stands a 10-meter-tall tube, wrapped in a metal cage and draped in wires. A barrier separates it from the main room, beyond which the cylinder spans three stories to an apparatus holding ultra-cold atoms ready to shoot upward. Tables stocked with lasers to fire at the atoms—and analyze how they respond to forces such as gravity—fill the rest of the laboratory.

The tube is an , a custom-built device designed to study the wave nature of . According to quantum mechanics, atoms exist simultaneously as particles and waves. The Stanford instrument represents a model for an ambitious new instrument ten times its size that could be deployed to detect gravitational waves—minute ripples in spacetime created by energy dissipating from moving astronomical objects. The instrument also could shed light on another mystery of the universe: dark matter.

Stanford experimental physicists Jason Hogan and Mark Kasevich never intended for their device to be implemented this way. When Hogan began his graduate studies in Kasevich’s lab, he focused instead on testing gravity’s effects on atoms. But conversations with theoretical physicist Savas Dimopoulos, a professor of physics, and his graduate students—often lured downstairs by an espresso machine housed directly across the hall from Kasevich’s office—led them to start thinking about its utility as a highly .

Sep 24, 2019

Theorists discover the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for neutrino physics

Posted by in categories: engineering, mathematics, particle physics, robotics/AI

Linear algebra is a field of mathematics that has been thoroughly investigated for many centuries, providing invaluable tools used not only in mathematics, but also across physics and engineering as well as many other fields. For years physicists have used important theorems in linear algebra to quickly calculate solutions to the most complicated problems.

This August, three theoretical physicists—Peter Denton, a scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and a scholar at Fermilab’s Neutrino Physics Center; Stephen Parke, at Fermilab; and Xining Zhang, a University of Chicago graduate student working under Parke—turned the tables and, in the context of particle physics, discovered a fundamental in .

The identity relates eigenvectors and eigenvalues in a direct way that hadn’t been previously recognized. Eigenvectors and eigenvalues are two important ways of reducing the properties of a matrix to their most basic components and have applications in many math, physics and real-world contexts, such as in analyzing vibrating systems and facial recognition programs. The eigenvectors identify the directions in which a transformation occurs, and the eigenvalues specify the amount of stretching or compressing that occurs.

Sep 24, 2019

NA62 spots two potential instances of rare particle decay

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Are there new, unknown particles that can explain dark matter and other mysteries of the universe? To try to answer this question, particle physicists typically sift through the myriad of particles that are produced in particle collisions. But they also have an indirect but powerful way of looking for new particles, which is to measure processes that are both rare and precisely predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics. A slight discrepancy between the Standard Model prediction and a high-precision measurement would be a sign of new particles or phenomena never before observed.

One such process is the transformation, or “decay”, of a positively charged variant of a particle known as kaon into a positively charged pion and a neutrino–antineutrino pair. In a seminar that took place today at CERN, the NA62 collaboration reported two potential instances of this ultra-rare kaon decay. The result, first presented at the International Conference on Kaon Physics, shows the experiment’s potential to make a precise test of the Standard Model.

The Standard Model predicts that the odds of a positively charged kaon decaying into a positively charged pion and a neutrino–antineutrino pair (K+ → π+ ν ν) are only about one in ten billion, with an uncertainty of less than ten percent. Finding a deviation, even if small, from this prediction would indicate new physics beyond the Standard Model.

Sep 24, 2019

2000 atoms in two places at once: A new record in quantum superposition

Posted by in categories: information science, particle physics, quantum physics

The quantum superposition principle has been tested on a scale as never before in a new study by scientists at the University of Vienna in collaboration with the University of Basel. Hot, complex molecules composed of nearly two thousand atoms were brought into a quantum superposition and made to interfere. By confirming this phenomenon—” the heart of quantum mechanics,” in Richard Feynman’s words—on a new mass scale, improved constraints on alternative theories to quantum mechanics have been placed. The work will be published in Nature Physics.

Quantum to classical?

The superposition principle is a hallmark of quantum theory which emerges from one of the most fundamental equations of quantum mechanics, the Schrödinger equation. It describes particles in the framework of wave functions, which, much like on the surface of a pond, can exhibit . But in contrast to water waves, which are a collective behavior of many interacting , quantum waves can also be associated with isolated single particles.

Sep 24, 2019

Even Huge Molecules Follow the Quantum World’s Bizarre Rules

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

A record-breaking experiment shows an enormous molecule is also both a particle and a wave—and that quantum effects don’t only apply at tiny scales.

Sep 23, 2019

Theory proposes that LIGO/Virgo black holes originate from a first order phase transition

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

A few years ago, the LIGO/Virgo collaboration detected gravitational waves arising from a binary black hole merger using the two detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). This eventually led to the observation of black holes with masses that are roughly 30 times the mass of the sun. Since then, researchers worldwide have been investigating these black holes, specifically examining whether they could be of primordial origin, meaning that they were produced in the early universe before stars and galaxies were formed.

Hooman Davoudiasl, a at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, has recently introduced a new theory suggesting that the black holes observed by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration originate from a first order quark confinement phase transition. In his paper, published in Physical Review Letters, Davoudiasl implemented this idea using a light scalar that could turn out to be a good dark matter candidate.

Recent detections by the LIGO/Virgo collaboration suggest that there are several black holes that have similar masses (approximately 30 solar masses). This suggests that there might be a population of black holes that are characterized by a typical mass value.

Sep 23, 2019

Atoms spin backward while flying along a surface

Posted by in category: particle physics

Atoms experience a kind of rolling friction when they fly along a surface.

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