Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Aug 5, 2021

‘Bogolons’ make graphene superconducting

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

2D form of carbon transforms into a high-temperature superconductor if placed near a Bose-Einstein condensate, say theorists.

Graphene can be made to superconduct by placing it next to a Bose-Einstein condensate – a form of matter in which all the atoms are in the same quantum state. According to the theorists who discovered it, this new type of superconductivity stems from interactions between the electrons in graphene and quasiparticles called “bogolons” in the condensate. If demonstrated experimentally, the work could make it possible to develop new types of hybrid superconducting devices for applications in quantum sensing and quantum computing.

Conventional superconductivity occurs when phonons – quasiparticles that arise from vibrations in a material’s crystal lattice – cause electrons in the material to pair up despite their mutual electromagnetic repulsion. If the material is cooled to sufficiently low temperatures, these paired electrons (known as Cooper pairs) can travel through it without any resistance.

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Aug 3, 2021

‘God particle’: TAU researchers further understanding of physics at CERN

Posted by in category: particle physics

The scientists found evidence that “beauty” quarks do not decay in the way they should following the Standard Model.

Beauty quarks, particles similar to but heavier than electrons, interact with all forces in the same way, so they should decay into muons and electrons at the same rate.

However, the data collected by the LHCb seems to show that these quarks are decaying into muons less often than they decay into electrons, which should only be possible if unknown particles are interfering and making them more likely to decay into electrons.

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Aug 3, 2021

A Cousin of Table Salt Could Make Rechargeable Batteries Faster and Safer

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, particle physics, sustainability, transportation

One of the biggest factors affecting consumer adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is the amount of time required to recharge the vehicles—usually powered by lithium-ion batteries. It can take up to a few hours or overnight to fully recharge EVs, depending on the charging method and amount of charge remaining in the battery. This forces drivers to either limit travel away from their home chargers or to locate and wait at public charging stations during longer trips.

Why does it take so long to fully charge a battery, even those used to power smaller devices, such as mobile phones and laptops? The primary reason is that devices and their chargers are designed so the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries charge only at slower, controlled rates. This is a safety feature to help prevent fires, and even explosions, due to tiny, rigid tree-like structures, called dendrites, that can grow inside a lithium battery during fast charging and induce short-circuits inside the battery.

To address the need for a more practical lithium-ion battery, researchers from the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) worked with scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to conduct neutron scattering experiments on a new type of material that could be used to make safer, faster-charging batteries. The researchers produced samples of lithium vanadium oxide (Li3V2O5), a “disordered rock salt” similar to table salt but with a certain degree of randomness in the arrangement of its atoms. The samples were placed in a powerful neutron beam that enabled observing the activity of ions inside the material after a voltage was applied.

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Aug 1, 2021

This Miniature Particle Accelerator Powers a Tiny Laser With Huge Promise

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Particle accelerators are hugely important in the study of the matter of the Universe, but the ones we think of tend to be gigantic instruments – surrounding cities in some cases. Now scientists have made a much smaller version to power an advanced laser, a setup that could be just as useful as its larger counterparts.

The particle accelerator in question is a plasma wakefield accelerator, which generates short and intense bursts of electrons, and the laser it’s powering is what’s known as a free-electron laser (FEL), which uses its light to analyze atoms, molecules, and condensed matter in incredibly high resolutions.

While this scenario has been tried before, the resulting laser light hasn’t been intense enough to be useful at smaller scales. Here, the researchers were able to keep the setup enclosed in few normal-sized rooms while amplifying the final electron beam produced by the laser, increasing the intensity by 100 times in the last step of the process.

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Jul 31, 2021

Acoustic tweezers can pick up objects without physical contact

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, particle physics

Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have developed a new technology which allows non-contact manipulation of small objects using sound waves. They used a hemispherical array of ultrasound transducers to generate a 3D acoustic field that stably trapped and lifted a small polystyrene ball from a reflective surface. Their technique employs a method similar to laser trapping in biology, but adaptable to a wider range of particle sizes and materials.

The ability to move objects without touching them might sound like magic, but in the world of biology and chemistry, technology known as has been helping scientists use light to move microscopic objects around for many years. In fact, half of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded to Arthur Ashkin (1922–2020) was in recognition of the remarkable achievements of this technology. But the use of laser light is not without its failings, particularly the limits placed on the properties of the objects which can be moved.

Enter acoustic trapping, an alternative that uses sound instead of optical waves. Sound waves may be applied to a wider range of sizes and materials, and successful manipulation is now possible for millimeter-sized particles. Though they haven’t been around for as long as their optical counterparts, acoustic levitation and manipulation show exceptional promise for both lab settings and beyond. But the that need to be surmounted are considerable. In particular, it is not easy to individually and accurately control vast arrays of ultrasound transducers in real time, or to get the right sound fields to lift objects far from the transducers themselves, particularly near surfaces that reflect .

Jul 30, 2021

New particle discovered at CERN is a long-lived double charmer

Posted by in category: particle physics

Physicists at CERN have discovered an exotic new particle that’s quite charming. Known as Tcc+, the particle belongs to a rare class called tetraquarks, and its unusual composition makes it the longest-lived exotic hadron found so far.

Matter is made up of fundamental particles called quarks, which come in six “flavors”: up, down, strange, charm, top and bottom. These quarks group together in different ways to make up different types of matter – baryons like protons and neutrons are made up of several quarks, while mesons are formed from quarks paired with antiquarks, their antimatter equivalents.

Baryons are usually comprised of two or three quarks, but exotic baryons made up of four or five have been discovered in recent years, after being theorized for decades. Tcc+ is one of these unusual particles with four quarks, known as a tetraquark.

Jul 30, 2021

Scientists transform water into shiny, golden metal

Posted by in category: particle physics

In a mind-mending experiment, scientists transformed purified water into metal for a few fleeting seconds, thus allowing the liquid to conduct electricity.

Unfiltered water can already conduct electricity — meaning negatively charged electrons can easily flow between its molecules — because unfiltered water contains salts, according to a statement about the new study. However, purified water contains only water molecules, whose outermost electrons remain bound to their designated atoms, and thus, they can’t flow freely through the water.

Jul 29, 2021

New exotic matter particle, a tetraquark, discovered

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Quarks are the fundamental building blocks from which matter is constructed. They combine to form hadrons, namely baryons, such as the proton and the neutron, which consist of three quarks, and mesons, which are formed as quark-antiquark pairs. In recent years a number of so-called exotic hadrons—particles with four or five quarks, instead of the conventional two or three—have been found. Today’s discovery is of a particularly unique exotic hadron, an exotic exotic hadron if you like.

The contains two and an up and a down antiquark. Several tetraquarks have been discovered in recent years (including one with two quarks and two charm antiquarks), but this is the first one that contains two charm quarks, without charm antiquarks to balance them. Physicists call this “open charm” (in this case, “double open charm”). Particles containing a charm quark and a charm antiquark have “hidden charm”—the charm quantum number for the whole particle adds up to zero, just like a positive and a negative electrical charge would do. Here the charm quantum number adds up to two, so it has twice the charm!

The content of Tcc+, has other interesting features besides being open charm. It is the first particle to be found that belongs to a class of tetraquarks with two heavy quarks and two light antiquarks. Such particles decay by transforming into a pair of mesons, each formed by one of the and one of the light antiquarks. According to some theoretical predictions, the mass of tetraquarks of this type should be very close to the sum of masses of the two mesons. Such proximity in mass makes the decay “difficult,” resulting in a longer lifetime of the particle, and indeed Tcc+, is the longest-lived exotic hadron found to date.

Jul 27, 2021

Laser pincers generate antimatter

Posted by in categories: climatology, cosmology, particle physics

Some of the greatest mysteries in cosmology revolve around antimatter, and it’s hard to study because it’s rare and hard to produce in the lab. Now a team of physicists has outlined a relatively simple new way to create antimatter, by firing two lasers at each other to reproduce the conditions near a neutron star, converting light into matter and antimatter.

In principle, antimatter sounds simple – it’s just like regular matter, except its particles have the opposite charge. That basic difference has some major implications though: if matter and antimatter should ever meet, they will annihilate each other in a burst of energy. In fact, that should have destroyed the universe billions of years ago, but obviously that didn’t happen. So how did matter come to dominate? What tipped the scales in its favor? Or, where did all the antimatter go?

Unfortunately, antimatter’s scarcity and instability make it difficult to study to help answer those questions. It’s naturally produced under extreme conditions, such as lightning strikes, or near black holes and neutron stars, and artificially in huge facilities like the Large Hadron Collider.

Jul 27, 2021

This is the first mini–particle accelerator to power a laser

Posted by in category: particle physics

For 2 decades, physicists have strived to miniaturize particle accelerators—the huge machines that serve as atom smashers and x-ray sources. That effort just took a big step, as physicists in China used a small “plasma wakefield accelerator” to power a type of laser called a free-electron laser (FEL). The 12-meter-long FEL isn’t nearly as good as its kilometers-long predecessors. Still, other researchers say the experiment marks a major advance in miniaccelerators.

Experiment demonstrates improvement in particle beams from plasma-based accelerators.

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