Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 361

Jan 28, 2020

5 Big Ideas for Making Fusion Power a Reality

Posted by in categories: humor, nuclear energy, particle physics

After decades of not happening, fusion power finally appears to be maybe possibly happening.

The joke has been around almost as long as the dream: Nuclear fusion energy is 30 years away…and always will be. But now, more than 80 years after Australian physicist Mark Oliphant first observed deuterium atoms fusing and releasing dollops of energy, it may finally be time to update the punch line.

Over the past several years, more than two dozen research groups—impressively staffed and well-funded startups, university programs, and corporate projects—have achieved eye-opening advances in controlled nuclear fusion. They’re building fusion reactors based on radically different designs that challenge the two mainstream approaches, which use either a huge, doughnut-shaped magnetic vessel called a tokamak or enormously powerful lasers.

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Jan 28, 2020

Technological Applications of the Higgs Boson

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Essentially the higgs boson could create a replicator and even a teleportation device.

Can you think of any? Here’s what I mean. When we set about justifying basic research in fundamental science, we tend to offer multiple rationales. One (the easy and most obviously legitimate one) is that we’re simply curious about how the world works, and discovery is its own reward. But often we trot out another one: the claim that applied research and real technological advances very often spring from basic research with no specific technological goal. Faraday wasn’t thinking of electronic gizmos when he helped pioneer modern electromagnetism, and the inventors of quantum mechanics weren’t thinking of semiconductors and lasers. They just wanted to figure out how nature works, and the applications came later.


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Jan 28, 2020

Quantum computers offer another look at classic physics concepts

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

“Think what we can do if we teach a quantum computer to do statistical mechanics,” posed Michael McGuigan, a computational scientist with the Computational Science Initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

At the time, McGuigan was reflecting on Ludwig Boltzmann and how the renowned physicist had to vigorously defend his theories of . Boltzmann, who proffered his ideas about how atomic properties determine physical properties of matter in the late 19th century, had one extraordinarily huge hurdle: atoms were not even proven to exist at the time. Fatigue and discouragement stemming from his peers not accepting his views on atoms and physics forever haunted Boltzmann.

Today, Boltzmann’s factor, which calculates the probability that a system of particles can be found in a specific energy state relative to zero energy, is widely used in physics. For example, Boltzmann’s factor is used to perform calculations on the world’s largest supercomputers to study the behavior of atoms, molecules, and the quark “soup” discovered using facilities such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider located at Brookhaven Lab and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Jan 28, 2020

Method detects defects in 2-D materials for future electronics, sensors

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

To further shrink electronic devices and to lower energy consumption, the semiconductor industry is interested in using 2-D materials, but manufacturers need a quick and accurate method for detecting defects in these materials to determine if the material is suitable for device manufacture. Now a team of researchers has developed a technique to quickly and sensitively characterize defects in 2-D materials.

Two-dimensional materials are atomically thin, the most well-known being graphene, a single-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms.

“People have struggled to make these 2-D materials without defects,” said Mauricio Terrones, Verne M. Willaman Professor of Physics, Penn State. “That’s the ultimate goal. We want to have a 2-D material on a four-inch wafer with at least an acceptable number of defects, but you want to evaluate it in a quick way.”

Jan 23, 2020

🏺A while before the Sun was born

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, particle physics

Fyodor R.

Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth: stardust that’s 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite that struck our planet half a century ago.


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Jan 23, 2020

Neutrino generation

Posted by in category: particle physics

Circa 2002

This paper proposes a new concept for generating controlled, high-flux pulses of neutrinos. Laser-induced generation of relativistic protons, followed by pion production and decay, provides the neutrino source. By conservative estimate, the source will yield nanosecond-range pulses of muon–neutrinos, with fluxes of ~1019 νμ s−1 sr−1 and energies of ~20 MeV or higher. Concept feasibility depends upon further progress in high-intensity lasers; the process assumes a driving laser with pulse energy ~8 kJ, providing an irradiance of ~9 × 1022 W cm−2. The study of the KARMEN time anomaly and neutrino oscillations would be the possible applications of the source.

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Jan 23, 2020

Exploring Euclideon’s Unlimited Detail Engine

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

As others have pointed out, voxel-based games have been around for a long time; a recent example is the whimsical “3D Dot Game Hero” for PS3, in which they use the low-res nature of the voxel world as a fun design element.

Voxel-based approaches have huge advantages (“infinite” detail, background details that are deformable at the pixel level, simpler simulation of particle-based phenomena like flowing water, etc.) but they’ll only win once computing power reaches an important crossover point. That point is where rendering an organic world a voxel at a time looks better than rendering zillions of polygons to approximate an organic world. Furthermore, much of the effort that’s gone into visually simulating real-world phenomena (read the last 30 years of Siggraph conference proceedings) will mostly have to be reapplied to voxel rendering. Simply put: lighting, caustics, organic elements like human faces and hair, etc. will have to be “figured out all over again” for the new era of voxel engines. It will therefore likely take a while for voxel approaches to produce results that look as good, even once the crossover point of level of detail is reached.

I don’t mean to take anything away from the hard and impressive coding work this team has done, but if they had more academic background, they’d know that much of what they’ve “pioneered” has been studied in tremendous detail for two decades. Hanan Samet’s treatise on the subject tells you absolutely everything you need to know, and more: (…sr=8-1) and even goes into detail about the application of these spatial data structures to other areas like machine learning. Ultimately, Samet’s book is all about the “curse of dimensionality” and how (and how much) data structures can help address it.

Jan 22, 2020

Navy Files Patent for Compact Fusion Reactor

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

Essentially beyond this is a higgs boson reactor essentially a universe of power in a jar.

Scientists have longed to create the perfect energy source. Ideally, that source would eventually replace greenhouse gas-spewing fossil fuels, power cars, boats, and planes, and send spacecraft to remote parts of the universe. So far, nuclear fusion energy has seemed like the most likely option to help us reach those goals.

Jan 22, 2020

Physicists Develop Reversible Laser Tractor Beam Functional Over Long Distances

Posted by in categories: entertainment, particle physics, space travel, tractor beam

Circa 2015

Spaceships in movies and TV shows routinely use tractor beams to tow other vessels or keep them in place. Physicists have been hard at work trying take this technology from science fiction to reality. Significant process has recently been made by a team who have developed a laser tractor beam able to attract and repel particles about 100 times further than has been previously achieved. The lead author of the paper, published in Nature Photonics, is Vladlen Shvedov at Australian National University in Canberra.

Other recent tractor beams have used acoustics or water, but this one uses a single laser beam to control tiny particles about 0.2 millimeters in diameter. The tractor beam was able to manipulate the particles from a distance of 20 centimeters, shattering previous records. Despite this incredible distance, the researchers claim it is still on the short end of what is possible for this tractor beam technique.

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Jan 21, 2020

Coming Soon to a Processor Near You: Atom-Thick Transistors

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics

Devices made with 2D semiconductors might start to appear sooner than you expected.

If there’s one thing about Moore’s Law that’s obvious to anyone, it’s that transistors have been made smaller and smaller as the years went on. Scientists and engineers have taken that trend to an almost absurd limit during the past decade, creating devices that are made of one-atom-thick layers of material.

The most famous of these materials is, of course, graphene, a hexagonal honeycomb-shaped sheet of carbon with outstanding conductivity for both heat and electricity, odd optical abilities, and incredible mechanical strength. But as a substance with which to make transistors, graphene hasn’t really delivered. With no natural bandgap—the property that makes a semiconductor a semiconductor—it’s just not built for the job.

Instead, scientists and engineers have been exploring the universe of transition metal dichalcogenides, which all have the chemical formula MX2. These are made up of one of more than a dozen transition metals (M) along with one of the three chalcogenides (X): sulfur, selenium, or tellurium. Tungsten disulfide, molybdenum diselenide, and a few others can be made in single-atom layers that (unlike graphene) are natural semiconductors. These materials offer the enticing prospect that we will be able to scale down transistors all the way to atom-thin components long after today’s silicon technology has run its course.

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