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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Feb 16, 2019

China made an artificial star that’s 6 times as hot as the sun, and it could be the future of energy

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, solar power, sustainability

Imagine if we could replace fossil fuels with our very own stars. And no, we’re not talking about solar power: We’re talking nuclear fusion. And recent research is helping us get there. Meet the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or EAST.

EAST is a fusion reactor based in Hefei, China. And it can now reach temperatures more than six times as hot as the sun. Let’s take a look at what’s happening inside. Fusion occurs when two lightweight atoms combine into a single, larger one, releasing energy in the process. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not easy to pull off. Because those two atoms share a positive charge. And just like two opposing magnets, those positive atoms repel each other.

Stars, like our sun, have a great way of overcoming this repulsion … their massive size, which creates a tremendous amount of pressure in their cores … So the atoms are forced closer together making them more likely to collide. There’s just one problem: We don’t have the technology to recreate that kind of pressure on Earth.

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Feb 15, 2019

Single Photon Reveals Quantum Entanglement of 16 Million Atoms

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Scientists have demonstrated entanglement between 16 million atoms in a crystal crossed by a single photon, reinforcing the quantum theory that entanglement can persist in macroscopic physical systems.

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Feb 15, 2019

Safer-by-Design Fluorescent Nanocrystals: Metal Halide Perovskites vs Semiconductor Quantum Dots

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Despite the young age of the research field, substantial progress has been made in the study of metal halide perovskite nanocrystals (HPNCs). Just as their thin-film counterparts are used for light absorption in solar cells, they are on the way to revolutionizing research on novel chromophores for light emission applications. Exciting physics arising from their peculiar structural, electronic, and excitonic properties are being discovered with breathtaking speed. Many things we have learned from the study of conventional semiconductor quantum dots (CSQDs) of II–VI (e.g., CdSe), IV–VI (e.g., PbS), and III–V (e.g., InP) compounds have to be thought over, as HPNCs behave differently. This Feature Article compares both families of nanocrystals and then focuses on approaches for substituting toxic heavy metals without sacrificing the unique optical properties as well as on surface coating strategies for enhancing the long-term stability.

In the early 1980s the quest for novel photocatalysts, fueled by the oil crisis in the preceding decade, led to the discovery of semiconductor quantum dots. Pioneering works by Efros, Brus, and Henglein showed both experimentally and theoretically that the reduction of size of semiconductor particles (e.g., CdS) down to the nanometer range induces a significant change in their band gap energy.(1−3) The underlying quantum confinement effect, occurring when the nanocrystal size is (significantly) smaller than twice the exciton Bohr radius of the semiconductor material (Table 1), leads to an increase, scaling with 1/r, of the band gap energy. It also gives rise to the appearance of discrete energy levels at the place of continuous valence and conduction energy bands. In the same period Ekimov as well as Itoh and co-workers observed quantum confinement in small CuCl crystallites embedded in a glass or a NaCl matrix.

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Feb 13, 2019

The atomic dynamics of rare everlasting electric fields

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

By ricocheting neutrons off the atoms of yttrium manganite (YMnO3) heated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, researchers have discovered the atomic mechanisms that give the unusual material its rare electromagnetic properties. The discovery could help scientists develop new materials with similar properties for novel computing devices and micro-actuators.

The experiment was conducted as a collaboration between Duke University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and appeared online in Nature Communications on January 2, 2018.

Ferromagnetism is the scientific term for the phenomenon responsible for permanent magnets like iron. Such exist because their molecular structure consists of tiny magnetic patches that all point in the same direction. Each patch, or domain, is said to have a , with a north and a south pole, which, added together, produce the magnetic fields so often seen at work on refrigerator doors.

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Feb 12, 2019

Questions in quantum computing—how to move electrons with light

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

Electronics rely on the movement of negatively-charged electrons. Physicists strive to understand the forces that push these particles into motion, with the goal of harnessing their power in new technologies. Quantum computers, for instance, employ a fleet of precisely controlled electrons to take on goliath computational tasks. Recently, researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) demonstrated how microwaves cut in on the movements of electrons. The findings may contribute to future quantum computing technology.

The logic operations of normal computers are based on zeros and ones, and this binary code limits the volume and type of information the machines can process. Subatomic particles can exist in more than two discrete states, so computers harness to crunch complex data and perform functions at whiplash speed. To keep electrons in limbo for experiments, scientists capture the particles and expose them to forces that alter their behavior.

In the new study, published December 18, 2018 in Physical Review B, OIST researchers trapped electrons in a frigid, vacuum-sealed chamber and subjected them to microwaves. The particles and light altered each other’s movement and exchanged energy, which suggests the sealed system could potentially be used to store quantum information – a microchip of the future.

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Feb 12, 2019

New theory illustrates the development of the universe may be different than we thought

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

The history of the universe is predicated on the idea that, compared to today, the universe was hotter and more symmetric in its early phase. Scientists have thought this because of the Higgs Boson finding—the particle that gives mass to all other fundamental particles. The concept is that as one analyzes time back toward the Big Bang, the universe gets hotter and the Higgs phase changes to one where everything became massless. Now, physicists are presenting a new theory that suggests an alternative history of the universe is possible.

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Feb 11, 2019

Engineers develop room temperature, two-dimensional platform for quantum technology

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

Possible quantum computing at room temperature. Scientists working with hexagonal boron nitride, which allows them to work in two-dimensional arrays. Simpler than using 3D objects such as diamonds.

Researchers have now demonstrated a new hardware platform based on isolated electron spins in a two-dimensional material. The electrons are trapped by defects in sheets of hexagonal boron nitride, a one-atom-thick semiconductor material, and the researchers were able to optically detect the system’s quantum states.

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Feb 9, 2019

Using Black Holes As A Particle Accelerator

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Particle physics needs a larger particle accelerator. Perhaps even one using black holes.

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Feb 8, 2019

Life on the edge in the quantum world

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

Quantum physics sets the laws that dominate the universe at a small scale. The ability to harness quantum phenomena could lead to machines like quantum computers, which are predicted to perform certain calculations much faster than conventional computers. One major problem with building quantum processors is that the tracking and controlling quantum systems in real time is a difficult task because quantum systems are overwhelmingly fragile: Manipulating these systems carelessly introduces significant errors in the final result. New work by a team at Aalto could lead to precise quantum computers.

The researchers report controlling in a custom-designed electrical circuit called a transmon. Chilling a transmon chip to within a few thousandths of a degree above absolute zero induces a , and the chip starts to behave like an artificial atom. One of the features that interests researchers is that the of the transmon can only take specific values, called . The energy levels are like steps on a ladder: A person climbing the ladder must occupy a step, and can’t hover somewhere between two steps. Likewise, the transmon energy can only occupy the set values of the energy levels. Shining microwaves on the circuit induces the transmon to absorb the energy and climb up the rungs of the ladder.

In work published 8 February in the journal Science Advances, the group from Aalto University led by Docent Sorin Paraoanu, senior university lecturer in the Department of Applied Physics, has made the transmon jump more than one energy level in a single go. Previously, this has been possible only by very gentle and slow adjustments of the microwave signals that control the device. In the new work, an additional microwave control signal shaped in a very specific way allows a fast, precise change of the energy level. Dr. Antti Vepsäläinen, the lead author, says, “We have a saying in Finland: ‘hiljaa hyvää tulee’ (slowly does it). But we managed to show that by continuously correcting the state of the system, we can drive this process more rapidly and at .”

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Feb 6, 2019

ANU successfully measures light for quantum internet data transfer

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

The quantum internet will require fast-moving data and the Australian National University believes it has found a way to measure information stored in light particles which will pave the way for a safe “data superhighway”.

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