Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 345

Oct 31, 2016

A Tiny Machine: UCSB electrical and computer engineers design an infinitesimal computing device

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

Abstract: In 1959 renowned physicist Richard Feynman, in his talk “Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” spoke of a future in which tiny machines could perform huge feats. Like many forward-looking concepts, his molecule and atom-sized world remained for years in the realm of science fiction.

And then, scientists and other creative thinkers began to realize Feynman’s nanotechnological visions.

In the spirit of Feynman’s insight, and in response to the challenges he issued as a way to inspire scientific and engineering creativity, electrical and computer engineers at UC Santa Barbara have developed a design for a functional nanoscale computing device. The concept involves a dense, three-dimensional circuit operating on an unconventional type of logic that could, theoretically, be packed into a block no bigger than 50 nanometers on any side.

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Oct 29, 2016

The Nine Billion Names Of God

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

Quantum theory is strange and counterintuitive, but it’s very precise. Lots of analogies and broad concepts are presented in popular science trying to give an accurate description of quantum behavior, but if you really want to understand how quantum theory (or any other theory) works, you need to look at the mathematical details. It’s only the mathematics that shows us what’s truly going on.

Mathematically, a quantum object is described by a function of complex numbers governed by the Schrödinger equation. This function is known as the wavefunction, and it allows you to determine quantum behavior. The wavefunction represents the state of the system, which tells you the probability of various outcomes to a particular experiment (observation). To find the probability, you simply multiply the wavefunction by its complex conjugate. This is how quantum objects can have wavelike properties (the wavefunction) and particle properties (the probable outcome).

No, wait. Actually a quantum object is described by a mathematical quantity known as a matrix. As Werner Heisenberg showed, each type of quantity you could observe (position, momentum, energy) is represented by a matrix as well (known as an operator). By multiplying the operator and the quantum state matrix in a particular way, you get the probability of a particular outcome. The wavelike behavior is a result of the multiple connections between states within the matrix.

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Oct 29, 2016

New Evidence for the Existence of Majorana Fermions Has Been Uncovered

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

In Brief:

  • 80 years after it was first theorized, researchers have found more evidence for the existence of a fermion that’s its own antiparticle.
  • The discovery of Majorana fermions could be the key to developing usable quantum computers.

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Oct 28, 2016

Electrical currents can be now be switched on and off at the atomic scale

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

To all those who said it couldn’t happen for another 10+ years; this article is definitely for you.

Robert Wolkow, University of Alberta

Robert Wolkow, University of Alberta physics professor and the Principal Research Officer at Canada’s National Institute for Nanotechnology, has developed a technique to switch a single-atom channel.

Continue reading “Electrical currents can be now be switched on and off at the atomic scale” »

Oct 26, 2016

Super-Cool Quantum Research Lab Heads to Space

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

Just WOW!

PULLMAN, Wash., Oct. 26 — Washington State University and NASA scientists are set to begin an investigation into the strange world of quantum physics on the International Space Station.

WSU physicists Peter Engels and Maren Mossman are part of a team studying the behavior of atoms laser-cooled to temperatures just a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero, the point where they behave like one wave of discrete particles.

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Oct 26, 2016

Quantum Bit MRI Machine to See Shapes of Individual Biomolecules for Drug Research

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Drug discovery is a long and difficult process that requires a comprehensive understanding of the molecular structures of compounds under investigation. It’s difficult to have an idea of the precise shape of complex molecules such as proteins, but researchers at University of Melbourne in Australia have come up with a way of seeing the location of individual atoms within biomolecules.

Using quantum bits, most notably utilized in quantum computer research, the investigators offer a way of producing a magnetic resonance sensor and a magnetic field gradient that can work as a tiny MRI machine. The machine would have the resolution capable of seeing single atoms components of larger molecules. This MRI machine has yet to be actually built, but the steps have been laid out based on comprehensive theoretical work. If it proves successful in practice, the technology may overcome current imaging techniques that rely on statistical averages and don’t work well on molecules that don’t crystallize well.

“In a conventional MRI machine large magnets set up a field gradient in all three directions to create 3D images; in our system we use the natural magnetic properties of a single atomic qubit,” said lead author of the research Viktor Perunicic. “The system would be fabricated on-chip, and by carefully controlling the quantum state of the qubit probe as it interacts with the atoms in the target molecule, we can extract information about the positions of atoms by periodically measuring the qubit probe and thus create an image of the molecule’s structure.”

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Oct 25, 2016

Scientists Generate the Fastest Electric Current Ever Measured Inside a Solid Material

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

Using ultrafast laser flashes, physicists from the Max Planck Institute have generated the fastest electric current that has ever been measured inside a solid material.

In the field of electronics, the principle ‘the smaller, the better’ applies. Some building blocks of computers or mobile phones, however, have become nearly as small today as only a few atoms. It is therefore hardly possible to reduce them any further.

Another factor for the performance of electronic devices is the speed at which electric currents oscillate. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have now created electric currents inside solids which exceed the frequency of visible light by more than ten times They made electrons in silicon dioxide oscillate with ultrafast laser pulses. The conductivity of the material which is typically used as an insulator was increased by more than 19 orders of magnitude.

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Oct 25, 2016

From the X-Files Dept: “Quantum Tunneling May Trigger Destruction of the Cosmos” (VIEW VIDEO)

Posted by in categories: existential risks, particle physics, quantum physics

Oh boy!

Space vacuum that appears to be stable due to the complete absence of substance in it, is likely to be fraught with great danger. The idea about the destruction of the universe is based on the hypothesis of vacuum instability. Any system in our world has a certain amount of potential energy. But, space vacuum is not as empty as it may seem to be. Vacuum in space is filled with quantum particles, which, in turn, may seek their own “stability” to annihilate the material world in its entirety during the process.

Continue reading “From the X-Files Dept: ‘Quantum Tunneling May Trigger Destruction of the Cosmos’ (VIEW VIDEO)” »

Oct 25, 2016

Decades-Old Collision Data Offers Tantalizing Hint of New Particle

Posted by in category: particle physics

The Large Electron-Positron collider returns to haunt the LHC.

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Oct 25, 2016

Researchers discover new rules for quasicrystals

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, particle physics

Crystals are defined by their repeating, symmetrical patterns and long-range order. Unlike amorphous materials, in which atoms are randomly packed together, the atoms in a crystal are arranged in a predictable way. Quasicrystals are an exotic exception to this rule. First discovered in 1982, their atoms pack together in an orderly fashion, but in a mosaic-like pattern that doesn’t repeat and can’t be predicted from a small sample.

Being able to map out the position of within a quasicrystal is a prerequisite for achieving a complete understanding of their structure and aids in designing them for specific applications, but conventional microscopy techniques don’t have the resolution to accomplish such a task.

In an effort to address this challenge, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan have engineered a quasicrystal that is formed by self-assembling nanoparticles, which are an order of magnitude larger than the atoms that comprise traditional quasicrystals. Their larger size enabled the team to use a suite of microscopy and simulation techniques to deduce, for the first time, the full three-dimensional configuration of a spontaneously formed quasicrystal.

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