Physics News

Scientists use neutrons to take a deeper look at record boost in thermoelectric efficiency

General Physics - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:05
Neutron facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are aiding scientists in research to boost the power and efficiency of thermoelectric materials. These performance increases could enable more cost-effective and practical uses for thermoelectrics, with wider industry adoption, to improve fuel economy in vehicles, make power plants more efficient, and advance body heat–powered technologies for watches and smartphones.

The secret to measuring the energy of an antineutrino

General Physics - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 07:03
Scientists study tiny particles called neutrinos to learn about how our universe evolved. These particles, well-known for being tough to detect, could tell the story of how matter won out over antimatter a fraction of a second after the Big Bang and, consequently, why we're here at all.

Future quantum technologies may exploit identical particle entanglement

Quantum Physics News - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 11:20
Usually when physicists perform quantum entanglement between particles—whether it be qubits, atoms, photons, electrons, etc.—the particles are distinguishable in some way. Only recently have physicists demonstrated the feasibility of generating entanglement between particles that are completely identical. Interestingly, this entanglement exists just because of the indistinguishability of the particles, without any interaction between them.

New form of matter may lie just beyond the periodic table

General Physics - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 09:30
Currently, the heaviest element on the periodic table is oganesson, which has an atomic mass of 294 and was officially named in 2016. Like every element on the periodic table, nearly all of oganesson's mass comes from protons and neutrons (types of baryons) that are themselves made of three quarks each. A crucial feature of all known baryonic matter is that its quarks are bound together so tightly by the strong force that they are inseparable. As particles made of bound quarks (such as protons and neutrons) are called hadrons, scientists refer to the ground state of baryonic matter as "hadronic matter."

A new experiment to understand dark matter

General Physics - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:10
Is dark matter a source of a yet unknown force in addition to gravity? The mysterious dark matter is little understood and trying to understand its properties is an important challenge in modern physics and astrophysics. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, have proposed a new experiment that makes use of super-dense stars to learn more about the interaction of dark matter with standard matter. This experiment already provides some improvement in constraining dark matter properties, but even more progress is promised by explorations in the centre of our Milky Way that are underway.

Quantum transfer at the push of a button

Quantum Physics News - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 05:32
In new quantum information technologies, fragile quantum states have to be transferred between distant quantum bits. Researchers at ETH have now realized such a quantum transmission between two solid-state qubits at the push of a button.

CERN starts major upgrade to reap more data at atom smasher

General Physics - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 05:31
The world's largest particle smasher is kicking off a major upgrade to churn out 10 times more data and help unlock the secrets of physics.

Hawking's voice to be beamed into space during memorial

General Physics - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 03:22
A message from late British astrophysics giant Stephen Hawking will be beamed towards the nearest black hole as his remains are laid to rest in London's Westminster Abbey on Friday.

Realization of high-performance magnetic sensors due to magnetic vortex structures

General Physics - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:52
Magnetic sensors play a key role in a variety of applications, such as speed and position sensing in the automotive industry or in biomedical applications. Within the framework of the Christian Doppler Laboratory "Advanced Magnetic Sensing and Materials" headed by Dieter Süss novel magnetic sensors have been realized that surpass conventional technologies in performance and accuracy in a cooperation between the University of Vienna, the Danube University Krems and Infineon AG. The researchers present the new development in the latest issue of the journal Nature Electronics.

Harmonic oscillator's most 'classical-like' state exhibits nonclassical behavior

Quantum Physics News - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:30
Showing just how blurry the boundary is between the quantum and classical worlds, physicists in a new study have theoretically demonstrated that a macroscopic oscillating object initially in a classical-like coherent state can exhibit nonclassical behavior—namely, it can violate the classical notion of realism by not having a single definite state at any given moment. Instead, the oscillator has one of two states with a certain probability, as theoretically shown by non-invasive measurements of the oscillator's position at different times.

Research shows short gamma-ray bursts do follow binary neutron star mergers

General Physics - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 17:12
Researchers at Oregon State University have confirmed that last fall's union of two neutron stars did in fact cause a short gamma-ray burst.

Scientists make first 'on demand' entanglement link

Quantum Physics News - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 13:00
Researchers at QuTech in Delft have succeeded in generating quantum entanglement between two quantum chips faster than the entanglement is lost. Via a novel smart entanglement protocol and careful protection of the entanglement, the scientists led by Prof. Ronald Hanson are the first in the world to deliver such a quantum link on demand. This opens the door to connect multiple quantum nodes and create the very first quantum network in the world. Their results are published in Nature.

A surprising twist on skyrmions

General Physics - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:25
Vortex structures are common in nature, reaching from swirls in our morning coffee to spiral galaxies in the universe. Vortices are been best known from fluid dynamics. Take the example of a tornado. Air circulates around an axis, forming a swirl, and once formed, the twisted air parcels can move, deform, and interact with their environment without disintegrating. A skyrmion is the magnetic version of a tornado which is obtained by replacing the air parcels that make up the tornado by magnetic spins, and by scaling the system down to the nanometre scale. Once formed, the ensemble of twisted spins can also move, deform, and interact with their environment without breaking up ‒ the ideal property for information carriers for memory and logic devices.

Quantum LEGO—building ultracold molecules

Quantum Physics News - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 08:44
Cooling matter is not easy. Atoms and molecules have the tendency to jump around, to rotate and to vibrate. Freezing these particles by slowing them down is a complicated process. For individual atoms, physicists have figured out over the years how to carry out this cooling process, using techniques like laser cooling, where finely tuned lasers remove energy from the particles. Molecules, on the other hand, are much harder to cool down so that they stand still. These particles consist of two or more atoms that are bound together, and as compound particles they are able to jiggle around in many more ways.

NIST neutron detection method—long-sought workaround to helium shortage?

General Physics - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 06:40
Doctors use X-rays to see inside people, and scientists use neutrons to peer inside advanced materials and devices such as fuel cells to better understand and improve them. But a critical shortage of a rare form of helium used for detecting neutrons—which are difficult to spot directly—threatens to slow advances in this critical type of materials research.