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Dec 16, 2017

Real-time observation of collective quantum modes

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

A cylindrical rod is rotationally symmetric — after any arbitrary rotation around its axis it always looks the same. If an increasingly large force is applied to it in the longitudinal direction, however, it will eventually buckle and lose its rotational symmetry. Such processes, known as “spontaneous symmetry breaking”, also occur in subtle ways in the microscopic quantum world, where they are responsible for a number of fundamental phenomena such as magnetism and superconductivity. A team of researchers led by ETH professor Tilman Esslinger and Senior Scientist Tobias Donner at the Institute for Quantum Electronics has now studied the consequences of spontaneous symmetry breaking in detail using a quantum simulator. The results of their research have recently been published in the scientific journal Science.

Phase transitions caused by symmetry breaking

In their new work, Esslinger and his collaborators took a particular interest in — physical processes, that is, in which the properties of a material change drastically, such as the transition of a material from solid to liquid or the spontaneous magnetization of a solid. In a particular type of phase transition that is caused by , so-called Higgs and Goldstone modes appear. Those modes describe how the particles in a material react collectively to a perturbation from the outside. “Such collective excitations have only been detected indirectly so far,” explains Julian Léonard, who obtained his doctorate in Esslinger’s laboratory now works as a post-doc at Harvard University, “but now we have succeeded in directly observing the character of those modes, which is dictated by symmetry.”

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Dec 16, 2017

Discovery could reduce cost, energy for high-speed Internet connections

Posted by in categories: energy, internet

Breakthrough research from The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Vermont could lead to a dramatic reduction in the cost and energy consumption of high-speed internet connections.

Nonlinear-optical effects, such as intensity-dependent refractive index, can be used to process data thousands of times faster than what can be achieved electronically. Such processing has, until now, worked only for one optical beam at a time because the nonlinear-optical effects also cause unwanted inter-beam interaction, or crosstalk, when multiple light beams are present.

An article published in the prestigious Nature Communications journal, by the research group of Michael Vasilyev, an electrical engineering professor at UTA, in collaboration with Taras I. Lakoba, a mathematics professor at UVM, detailed an experimental demonstration of an optical medium in which multiple beams of light can autocorrect their own shapes without affecting one another.

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Dec 16, 2017

BREAKING: Engineers Just Unveiled The First-Ever Design of a Complete Quantum Computer Chip

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Practical quantum computing has been big news this year, with significant advances being made on theoretical and technical frontiers.

But one big stumbling block has remained – melding the delicate quantum landscape with the more familiar digital one. This new microprocessor design just might be the solution we need.

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Dec 16, 2017

Why (most) future robots won’t look like robots

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI

A future robot’s body could combine soft actuators and stiff structure, with distributed computation throughout — an example of the new “material robotics.” (credit: Nikolaus Correll/University of Colorado)

Future robots won’t be limited to humanoid form (like Boston Robotics’ formidable backflipping Atlas). They’ll be invisibly embedded everywhere in common objects.

Such as a shoe that can intelligently support your gait, change stiffness as you’re running or walking, and adapt to different surfaces — or even help you do backflips.

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Dec 16, 2017

IBM Stuffs a Whopping 330TB of Data into a Tiny Cartridge

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

Some of the earliest computers relied upon tape drives for storage, but we’ve since moved on to faster and more versatile storage technologies. Still, tape drives continue to exist in enterprise, and they’ve been advancing by leaps and bounds while you haven’t been paying attention. IBM just announced a new record in data storage density — 201 gigabits per square inch on a magnetic tape (that’s one square inch of it above). That works out to a whopping 330TB of uncompressed data on a single tape drive cartridge.

IBM reached this plateau in magnetic tape density by developing several new technologies. Older versions of IBM’s magnetic tape used a thin film of barium ferrite particles applied to the surface like paint. “Sputtered tape” uses several layers of thin metal film that are applied using a new vacuum technology. A layer of lubricant is also applied to the reading surface of the tape to keep the tape in good working order as it’s run through the drive. The higher density arrangement of magnetic nanoparticles will, of course, require new drive technology to read.

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Dec 16, 2017

We Finally Know How Our Immune Cells Remember Diseases For So Long

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

For many of us, remembering faces from 30 years ago can be something of a challenge. But cells in our immune system can remember old foes just fine, and we’ve never really been sure exactly how they manage it.

A new study has filled in missing details on the steps our body takes to remember pathogens, finally revealing the steps our immune cells take to preserve a reference library of past battles.

Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, used a hydrogen isotope to label white blood cells inside volunteers, and tracked a specially selected virus from infection to immunity in order to record significant steps in the immune process.

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Dec 16, 2017

First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology

Researchers successfully constructed a first-of-its-kind chemical oscillator that uses DNA components. DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines…

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Dec 16, 2017

UK ISP creates 3.5 Mbps broadband internet connection using wet string

Posted by in categories: internet, materials

An experiment that created a 3.5 Mbps broadband internet connection won’t sound very impressive to most of us, especially since the average download speed in the US is about 75 megabits per second. But the surprising part is that it was established using a 6ft 7in piece of wet string.

While broadband connections tend to rely on wires made of materials such as copper, engineers at a small British internet service provider called Andrews and Arnold wanted to see if it was possible to send data through something less conventional.

They soaked the long piece of twine in a salt water as it’s a good conductor of electricity, though it had to be re-soaked every half an hour, and used a pair of alligator clips to establish the connection. The upkeep of these wet string connections is very hard; in our tests, we had to continually re-wet the string approximately every 30 minutes to avoid a complete loss of sync, and this process was always disruptive to the signals,” wrote Adrian Kennard, the ISP’s director, in a blog post.

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Dec 15, 2017

Engineers Just Figured Out How to Put Several Holograms Into a Single Surface

Posted by in categories: holograms, space

A new technique for recording image information onto a surface creates the ability for one space to contain multiple holographic snapshots, depending on how you look at it.

With this new research, cramming numerous holograms without loss of resolution on the same material could open the way to some fascinating new applications.

Holograms have been around for over half a century, serving as art, entertainment, and foils to counterfeiting. It’s been a hard and fast rule that no matter which way you view a hologram, the same object would appear in three dimensions. Until now.

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Dec 15, 2017

Bioquark Inc. — Aging Boomers Podcast

Posted by in categories: aging, bioengineering, biological, cryonics, genetics, health, science, transhumanism