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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 2

Jul 15, 2021

Scientists take first snapshots of ultrafast switching in a quantum electronic device

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

Electronic circuits that compute and store information contain millions of tiny switches that control the flow of electric current. A deeper understanding of how these tiny switches work could help researchers push the frontiers of modern computing.

Now scientists have made the first snapshots of atoms moving inside one of those switches as it turns on and off. Among other things, they discovered a short-lived state within the switch that might someday be exploited for faster and more energy-efficient computing devices.

The research team from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Hewlett Packard Labs, Penn State University and Purdue University described their work in a paper published in Science today.

Jul 15, 2021

Nanosphere at the quantum limit

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

Why can atoms or elementary particles behave like waves according to quantum physics, which allows them to be in several places at the same time? And why does everything we see around us obviously obey the laws of classical physics, where that is impossible? To answer those questions, in recent years researchers have coaxed larger and larger objects into behaving quantum mechanically. One consequence of this is that, when passing through a double slit, they form an interference pattern that is characteristic of waves.

Up to now this could be achieved with molecules consisting of a few thousand atoms. However, physicists hope one day to be able to observe such quantum effects with properly macroscopic objects. Lukas Novotny, Professor of Photonics, and his collaborators at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich have now made a crucial step in that direction. Their results were recently published in the scientific journal Nature.


Researchers at ETH Zurich have trapped a tiny sphere measuring a hundred nanometres using laser light and slowed down its motion to the lowest quantum mechanical state. Based on this, one can study quantum effects in macroscopic objects and build extremely sensitive sensors.

Continue reading “Nanosphere at the quantum limit” »

Jul 14, 2021

The next generation of information processing is through coherent gate operations

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

Many of us swing through gates every day—points of entry and exit to a space like a garden, park or subway. Electronics have gates too. These control the flow of information from one place to another by means of an electrical signal. Unlike a garden gate, these gates require control of their opening and closing many times faster than the blink of an eye.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering have devised a unique means of achieving effective gate operation with a form of processing called electromagnonics. Their pivotal discovery allows real-time control of information transfer between and magnons. And it could result in a new generation of classical electronic and quantum signal devices that can be used in various applications such as signal switching, low-power computing and quantum networking.

Microwave photons are forming the employed in, for example, wireless communications. Magnons are the particle-like representatives of “spin waves.” That is, wave-like disturbances in an ordered array of microscopically aligned spins that occur in certain magnetic materials.

Jul 14, 2021

NASA’s Juno spacecraft Detects Jupiter’s Highest-Energy Ions

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Trapped ions discovered at midlatitudes can have energies exceeding 100 megaelectron volts per nucleon. Their detection adds to our understanding of the powerful radiation environment around Jupiter.

Jupiter’s planetary radiation environment is the most intense in the solar system. NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been orbiting the planet closer than any previous mission since 2016, investigating its innermost radiation belts from a unique polar orbit. The spacecraft’s orbit has enabled the first complete latitudinal and longitudinal study of Jupiter’s radiation belts. Becker et al. leverage this capability to report the discovery of a new population of heavy, high-energy ions trapped at Jupiter’s midlatitudes.

Continue reading “NASA’s Juno spacecraft Detects Jupiter’s Highest-Energy Ions” »

Jul 14, 2021

Faster Physics: How AI and NVIDIA A100 GPUs Automate Particle Physics

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, robotics/AI

Circa 2020


What are the fundamental laws that govern our universe? How did the matter in the universe today get there? What exactly is dark matter?

Continue reading “Faster Physics: How AI and NVIDIA A100 GPUs Automate Particle Physics” »

Jul 14, 2021

Optical singularities could be used for a wide range of applications from super resolution imaging to optical trapping

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, robotics/AI, singularity

When we think about singularities, we tend to think of massive black holes in faraway galaxies or a distant future with runaway AI, but singularities are all around us. Singularities are simply a place where certain parameters are undefined. The North and South Pole, for example, are what’s known as coordinate singularities because they don’t have a defined longitude.

Optical singularities typically occur when the phase of with a specific wavelength, or color, is undefined. These regions appear completely dark. Today, some optical singularities, including optical vortices, are being explored for use in optical communications and particle manipulation but scientists are just beginning to understand the potential of these systems. The question remains—can we harness darkness like we harnessed light to build powerful, new technologies?

Now, researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new way to control and optical singularities. The technique can be used to engineer singularities of many shapes, far beyond simple curved or straight lines. To demonstrate their technique, the researchers created a singularity sheet in the shape of a heart.

Jul 14, 2021

Harnessing the Dark Side: Optical Singularities Could Be Used for a Wide Range of Applications

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics, robotics/AI, singularity

“You can also engineer dead zones in radio waves or silent zones in acoustic waves,” said Lim. “This research points to the possibility of designing complex topologies in wave physics beyond optics, from electron beams to acoustics.”


When we think about singularities, we tend to think of massive black holes in faraway galaxies or a distant future with runaway AI, but singularities are all around us. Singularities are simply a place where certain parameters are undefined. The North and South Pole, for example, are what’s known as coordinate singularities because they don’t have a defined longitude.

Optical singularities typically occur when the phase of light with a specific wavelength, or color, is undefined. These regions appear completely dark. Today, some optical singularities, including optical vortices, are being explored for use in optical communications and particle manipulation but scientists are just beginning to understand the potential of these systems. The question remains — can we harness darkness like we harnessed light to build powerful, new technologies?

Continue reading “Harnessing the Dark Side: Optical Singularities Could Be Used for a Wide Range of Applications” »

Jul 14, 2021

Nickel isotopes link Siberian Traps aerosol particles to the end-Permian mass extinction

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics

The Sverdrup Basin was a Carboniferous to Paleogene depocenter that accumulated over 12 km of sediment from Carboniferous to Paleogene time18 (Fig. 1). From Late Carboniferous to Early Triassic time, the Sverdrup Basin was along the NW margin of Pangea at palaeolatitudes of 35–40°N (ref. 19) (Fig. 1). Until the EPME, the basin was characterised by a central deep basinal area of fine-grained clastic deposition surrounded by a shallow shelf dominated by biogenic carbonate that transitioned in the late Permian to chert formed by shallow water siliceous sponges19. After the EPME, the Sverdrup basin was dominated by clastic-dominated sedimentation18. In this study, we examined the distal deep-water Buchanan Lake section which preserves outstanding Boreal records of the EPME, followed by the biotic recovery in the Early Triassic5. The Buchanan Lake section consists mostly of black shale of the Late Permian Black Stripe Formation and overlying Early Triassic Blind Fiord Formation that preserves characteristic post-extinction fauna20 (Fig. 2).

During the last decade, the Buchanan Lake section has been extensively examined, and the carbon isotope chemostratigraphy, elemental compositions of the shale, and oceanic palaeo-redox changes have been well constrained5, 11, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 (Fig. 2). The EPME in the Sverdrup Basin is marked by eradication of silica and carbonate producers along with the onset of a significant negative δ13 Corg shift that has been correlated globally with the dated Global Stratotype Section and Point (GSSP) for the Permian-Triassic boundary at Meishan, China, at ~251.9 Ma (refs. 3, 4, 20, 27, 28) (Fig. 2). The palaeo-redox conditions during the deposition of the Late Permian Black Stripe Formation and Early Triassic Blind Fiord Formation evolved from an oxic water column with a strong redoxcline in the sediments to anoxic and then to sulphidic bottom water conditions (Fig. 2).

Jul 13, 2021

Plasma Particle Accelerators Could Find New Physics

Posted by in category: particle physics

The next big collider will likely rely on novel technology.

Jul 13, 2021

Seeing with radio waves

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

Scientists from the Division of Physics at the University of Tsukuba used the quantum effect called ‘spin-locking’ to significantly enhance the resolution when performing radio-frequency imaging of nitrogen-vacancy defects in diamond. This work may lead to faster and more accurate material analysis, as well as a path towards practical quantum computers.

Nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers have long been studied for their potential use in quantum computers. A NV center is a type of defect in the lattice of a diamond, in which two adjacent carbon atoms have been replaced with a nitrogen atom and a void. This leaves an unpaired electron, which can be detected using radio-frequency waves, because its probability of emitting a photon depends on its . However, the of radio wave detection using conventional radio-frequency techniques has remained less than optimal.

Now, researchers at the University of Tsukuba have pushed the resolution to its limit by employing a technique called ‘spin-locking’. Microwave pulses are used to put the electron’s spin in a quantum superposition of up and down simultaneously. Then, a driving electromagnetic field causes the direction of the spin to precess around, like a wobbling top. The end result is an electron spin that is shielded from random noise but strongly coupled to the detection equipment. “Spin-locking ensures high accuracy and sensitivity of the electromagnetic field imaging,” first author Professor Shintaro Nomura explains. Due to the high density of NV centers in the diamond samples used, the collective signal they produced could be easily picked up with this method. This permitted the sensing of collections of NV centers at the micrometer scale.

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