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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 2

Jul 18, 2020

Improved waste separation using super-stable magnetic fluid

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

Magnetically separating waste particles makes it possible to reclaim a variety of raw materials from waste. Using a magnetic fluid, a waste flow can be separated into multiple segments in a single step. Researchers from Utrecht and Nijmegen have now succeeded in creating a magnetic fluid that remains stable in extremely strong magnetic fields, which makes it possible to separate materials with a high density, such as electronic components. The results have recently been published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

Magnetic density separation

When you drop a stone and a wooden ball into a basin of , the stone will sink while the ball floats on the surface. This is because the two objects have different densities: the stone is more dense than the water, while the wood is less dense. That principle is also used in magnetic density separation (MDS), except that instead of using water—which has a fixed density—it uses a magnetic fluid with an effective density that can change in relation to its distance from a magnet: it has a higher apparent density at less distance to the magnet. As a result, waste particles of different densities float at different depths in the fluid.

Jul 18, 2020

A cheaper, faster way to nuclear fusion

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

This is the third in a series. Read part 1 here and part 2 here.

One of the most notable features of Eric Lerner’s approach to fusion using the Dense Plasma Focus (DPF), presented in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, lies in the possibility of using hydrogen and boron as a fuel. This property is shared by the hydrogen-boron laser fusion reactor, which I discussed in a previous series of articles in Asia Times.

Among other things, the fusion reaction between nuclei of hydrogen and boron is aneutronic: no neutrons are produced, but only charged alpha particles. This gives the DPF enormous potential advantages over the mainline fusion technologies, which are all designed to employ a mixture of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium (D) and tritium (T) as their fuel.

Jul 17, 2020

Atomtronic device could probe boundary between quantum, everyday worlds

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

A new device that relies on flowing clouds of ultracold atoms promises potential tests of the intersection between the weirdness of the quantum world and the familiarity of the macroscopic world we experience every day. The atomtronic Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) is also potentially useful for ultrasensitive rotation measurements and as a component in quantum computers.

“In a conventional SQUID, the quantum interference in electron currents can be used to make one of the most sensitive detectors,” said Changhyun Ryu, a physicist with the Material Physics and Applications Quantum group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We use rather than charged electrons. Instead of responding to magnetic fields, the atomtronic version of a SQUID is sensitive to mechanical rotation.”

Although small, at only about 10 millionths of a meter across, the atomtronic SQUID is thousands of times larger than the molecules and atoms that are typically governed by the laws of quantum mechanics. The relatively large scale of the device lets it test theories of macroscopic realism, which could help explain how the world we are familiar with is compatible with the quantum weirdness that rules the universe on very small scales. On a more pragmatic level, atomtronic SQUIDs could offer highly sensitive rotation sensors or perform calculations as part of quantum computers.

Jul 17, 2020

“Light Picoscope” – Laser Takes Pictures of Electrons in Crystals

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

The researchers used powerful laser flashes to irradiate thin, films of crystalline materials. These laser pulses drove crystal electrons into a fast wiggling motion. As the electrons bounced off with the surrounding electrons, they emitted radiation in the extreme ultraviolet part of the spectrum. By analyzing the properties of this radiation, the researchers composed pictures that illustrate how the electron cloud is distributed among atoms in the crystal lattice of solids with a resolution of a few tens of picometers which is a billionth of a millimeter.

The experiments pave the way towards developing a new class of laser-based microscopes that could allow physicists, chemists, and material scientists to peer into the details of the microcosm with unprecedented resolution and to deeply understand and eventually control the chemical and the electronic properties of materials.

For decades scientists have used flashes of laser light to understand the inner workings of the microcosm. Such lasers flashes can now track ultrafast microscopic processes inside solids. Still they cannot spatially resolve electrons, that is, to see how electrons occupy the minute space among atoms in crystals, and how they form the chemical bonds that hold atoms together. The reason is long known. It was discovered by Abbe more than a century back. Visible light can only discern objects commensurable in size to its wavelength which is approximately few hundreds of nanometers. But to see electrons, the microscopes have to increase their magnification power by a few thousand times.

Jul 17, 2020

Pentadiamond, a new addition to the carbon family

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

To calculate the most stable atomic configuration, as well as estimate its hardness, the team relied on a computational method called density functional theory (DFT). DFT has been successfully used throughout chemistry and solid-state physics to predict the structure and properties of materials. Keeping track of the quantum states of all the electrons in a sample, and their interactions, is usually an intractable task. Instead, DFT uses an approximation that focuses on the final density of electrons in space orbiting the atoms. This simplifies the calculation to make it suitable for computers, while still providing very precise results.

Based on these calculations, the scientists found that the Young’s modulus, a measure of hardness, for pentadiamond is predicted to be almost 1700 GPa – compared with about 1200 GPa for conventional diamond.

“Not only is pentadiamond harder than conventional diamond, its density is much lower, equal to that of graphite,” explains co-author Professor Mina Maruyama.

Jul 17, 2020

Physicists engineer an optical mirror made of only a few hundred atoms

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) have engineered the lightest optical mirror imaginable. The novel metamaterial is made of a single structured layer that consists only of a few hundred identical atoms. The atoms are arranged in the two dimensional array of an optical lattice formed by interfering laser beams. The research results are the first experimental observations of their kind in an only recently emerging new field of subwavelength quantum optics with ordered atoms. So far, the mirror is the only one of its kind. The results are today published in Nature.

Usually, mirrors utilize highly polished metal surfaces or specially coated optical glasses to improve performance in smaller weights. But physicists at MPQ now demonstrated for the very first time that even a single structured layer of a few hundred atoms could already form an optical , making it the lightest one imaginable. The new mirror is only several tens of nanometers thin, which is a thousand times thinner than the width of a human hair. The reflection, however, is so strong it could even be perceived with the pure human eye.

Jul 16, 2020

Scientists discover heavy element chemistry can change at high pressures

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

New research shows that one of the heaviest known elements can be manipulated to a greater degree than previously thought, potentially paving the way for new strategies to recycle nuclear fuel and better long-term storage of radioactive elements.

An international team of researchers has demonstrated how curium—element 96 in the periodic table and one of the last that can be seen with the naked eye—responds to the application of high pressure created by squeezing a sample between two diamonds.

Led by Florida State University Professor Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt and collaborators at the University at Buffalo and Aachen University, the team found that the behavior of curium’s outer electrons—which influence its ability to bond with other elements—can be altered by shortening the distance between it and surrounding lighter atoms. The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Jul 15, 2020

Twisting magnetic fields for extreme plasma compression

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, quantum physics, space

A new spin on the magnetic compression of plasmas could improve materials science, nuclear fusion research, X-ray generation and laboratory astrophysics, research led by the University of Michigan suggests.

The study shows that a spring-shaped magnetic field reduces the amount of plasma that slips out between the .

Known as the fourth state of matter, plasma is a gas so hot that electrons rip free of their atoms. Researchers use magnetic compression to study extreme plasma states in which the density is high enough for quantum mechanical effects to become important. Such states occur naturally inside stars and gas giant planets due to compression from gravity.

Jul 15, 2020

World’s thinnest mirror is made from a single layer of rubidium atoms

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Cooling rubidium atoms and slowing them down makes them behave like a mirror that could one day be used to explore the quantum world.

Jul 15, 2020

The solar panel made from a particle collider

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

Circa 2012


Big science meets applied engineering. CERN, renowned for smashing protons, culling antimatter and the like, has put its accelerating processes to use making and commercializing solar panels.

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