Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 313

Oct 30, 2019

Researchers uncover an anomaly in the electromagnetic duality of Maxwell Theory

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

Researchers at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (WPI) and Tohoku University in Japan have recently identified an anomaly in the electromagnetic duality of Maxwell Theory. This anomaly, outlined in a paper published in Physical Review Letters, could play an important role in the consistency of string theory.

The recent study is a collaboration between Yuji Tachikawa and Kazuya Yonekura, two string theorists, and Chang-Tse Hsieh, a condensed matter theorist. Although the study started off as an investigation into string theory, it also has implications for other areas of physics.

In current physics theory, classical electromagnetism is described by Maxwell’s equations, which were first introduced by physicist James Clerk Maxwell around 1865. Objects governed by these equations include electric and magnetic fields, electrically charged particles (e.g., electrons and protons), and magnetic monopoles (i.e. hypothetical particles carrying single magnetic poles).

Oct 29, 2019

‘First Light’ Achieved on an Experiment That Could Crack The Mystery of Dark Energy

Posted by in categories: cosmology, mapping, particle physics

As an astronomer, there is no better feeling than achieving “first light” with a new instrument or telescope. It is the culmination of years of preparations and construction of new hardware, which for the first time collects light particles from an astronomical object.

This is usually followed by a sigh of relief and then the excitement of all the new science that is now possible.

On October 22, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) on the Mayall Telescope in Arizona, US, achieved first light. This is a huge leap in our ability to measure galaxy distances – enabling a new era of mapping the structures in the Universe.

Oct 26, 2019

Lattice QCD Calculations Predict Exotic Nuclei Not on Periodic Table

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

Have you ever wondered how the Sun creates the energy that we get from it every day and how the other elements besides hydrogen have formed in our universe? Perhaps you know that this is due to fusion reactions where four nuclei of hydrogen join together to produce a helium nucleus. Such nucleosynthesis processes are possible solely due to the existence, in the first place, of stable deuterons, which are made up of a proton and a neutron.

Probing deeper, one finds that a deuteron consists of six light quarks. Interestingly, the strong interaction between quarks, which brings stability to deuterons, also allows for various other six-quark combinations, leading to the possible formation of many other deuteron-like nuclei. However, no such nuclei, though theoretically speculated about and searched for experimentally many times, have yet been observed.

All this may get changed with an exciting new finding, where, using a state-of-the-art first-principles calculation of lattice quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the basic theory of strong interactions, a definite prediction of the existence of other deuteron-like nuclei has been made by TIFR’s physicists. Using the computational facility of the Indian Lattice Gauge Theory Initiative (ILGTI), Prof. Nilmani Mathur and postdoctoral fellow Parikshit Junnarkar in the Department of Theoretical Physics have predicted a set of exotic nuclei, which are not to be found in the Periodic Table. The masses of these new exotic nuclei have also been calculated precisely.

Oct 25, 2019

IBM quantum computing research breakthrough controls individual atoms

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

IBM has made a breakthrough in quantum computing by demonstrating a way to control the quantum behavior of individual atoms. The discovery has demonstrated a new building block for quantum computation. The team demonstrated the use of single atoms as qubits for quantum information processing.

Oct 25, 2019

Mix master: Modeling magnetic reconnection in partially ionized plasma

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Many of the most dramatic events in the solar system—the spectacle of the Northern Lights, the explosiveness of solar flares, and the destructive impact of geomagnetic storms that can disrupt communication and electrical grids on Earth—are driven in part by a common phenomenon: fast magnetic reconnection. In this process the magnetic field lines in plasma—the gas-like state of matter consisting of free electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions—tear, come back together and release large amounts of energy (Figure 1).

Astrophysicists have long puzzled over whether this mechanism can occur in the cold, relatively dense regions of interstellar space outside the where stars are born. Such regions are filled with partially ionized plasma, a mix of free charged electrons and ions and the more familiar neutral, or whole, atoms of gas. If magnetic reconnection does occur in these regions it might dissipate magnetic fields and stimulate .

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a model and simulation that show the potential for reconnection to occur in interstellar space.

Oct 25, 2019

The Scientists Who Look for Nothing to Understand Everything

Posted by in category: particle physics

Physicist Usama Hussain laughed uncomfortably every time the conversation even got close to the question, “Do you look for nothing?” His professors would kill him if they heard him agree with that. After all, he’s technically looking for a brand new particle that may or may not exist, with the hopes that it might help explain some of the Universe’s weirdness.

But hunting for a new particle (even the famous Higgs Boson) is a search for something by finding all of the nothing. It requires confirming all of the places it can’t be, and understanding all the properties it doesn’t have, so what’s left is the discovery. It’s like carving a sculpture from marble. You spend all your effort removing the nothing, and maybe you’ll end up with something. Or maybe not.

Oct 24, 2019

This ‘two-faced’ membrane can create electricity—from nothing but salty water

Posted by in category: particle physics

New membrane acts as one-way path for charged particles.

Oct 24, 2019

NASA Innovator Experiments with Force Fields for Moving Matter

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

On a metal workbench covered with tools, instruments, cords, and bottles of solution, Aaron Yevick is using laser light to create a force field with which to move particles of matter.

Yevick is an optical engineer who came to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, full-time earlier this year. Despite being in his current position with NASA less than a year, Yevick received funding from the Goddard Fellows Innovation Challenge (GFIC) — a research and development program focused on supporting riskier, less mature technologies — to advance his work.

His goal is to fly the technology aboard the International Space Station, where astronauts could experiment with it in microgravity. Eventually, he believes the technology could help researchers explore other planets, moons, and comets by helping them collect and study samples.

Oct 24, 2019

Scientists observe a single quantum vibration under ordinary conditions

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

When a guitar string is plucked, it vibrates as any vibrating object would, rising and falling like a wave, as the laws of classical physics predict. But under the laws of quantum mechanics, which describe the way physics works at the atomic scale, vibrations should behave not only as waves, but also as particles. The same guitar string, when observed at a quantum level, should vibrate as individual units of energy known as phonons.

Now scientists at MIT and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have for the first time created and observed a single phonon in a common material at room temperature.

Until now, single phonons have only been observed at ultracold temperatures and in precisely engineered, microscopic materials that researchers must probe in a vacuum. In contrast, the team has created and observed single phonons in a piece of diamond sitting in open air at room temperature. The results, the researchers write in a paper published today in Physical Review X, “bring quantum behavior closer to our daily life.”

Oct 24, 2019

The Future of Particle Physics Is Bright, Bleak, and Magical

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider triumphantly announced the discovery of the Higgs boson back in the summer of 2012. Nicknamed “the God particle,” it was the last new undiscovered particle predicted by the backbone theory of particle physics.

Since then, physicists have found a whole lot of, well, nothing. The Higgs high hasn’t carried through the past decade, and no groundbreaking discoveries have appeared since 2012. New York Times science reporter Dennis Overbye called this silence ominous.”

But ahead lies a whole frontier of grand unsolved mysteries, including why there’s more matter than antimatter in the universe, what the true identity of dark matter and dark energy is, or how the strange, ultra-weak neutrino particles ended up so ghostly. For many, it’s an exciting time, with lots of new ideas and upcoming experiments to test them.