Physics News and Discussions

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Physics News and Discussions

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Physics News and Discussions

This thread covers general news and breakthroughs in physics – which includes both the quantum and classical worlds, time travel, warp drives, antimatter, quantum computing, room-temperature superconductors, holographics, spectroscopy, lasers, sensor technologies, and so on.

More specific and indepth coverage of particular fields will be found in other threads.


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Scientists get photons to interact, taking a step towards long-living quantum memory
May 18, 2021

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Scientists believe that individual light particles, or photons, are ideally suited for sending quantum information. Encoded with quantum data, they could literally transfer information at the speed of light. However, while photons would make for great carriers because of their speed, they don't like to interact with each other, making it difficult to achieve quantum entanglement.

An international research team from NUST MISIS, Russian Quantum Center, the Ioffe Institute St. Petersburg and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has obtained experimental evidence for effective interaction between microwave photons via superconductive qubits for the first time. The study, published in npj Quantum Materials, may be a step toward the implementation of a long-living quantum memory and the development of commercial quantum devices.
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-scientist ... antum.html
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Evidence found of superfluidity in extremely cold 2D gas of fermions
May 24, 2021

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A team of researchers working at the Institut für Laserphysik, Universität Hamburg, has found evidence of superfluidity in an extremely cold 2D gas of fermions. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes their work with a 2D Fermi gas and what they learned from it.

One of the big challenges remaining in physics is to understand the factors at play with superconductors operating at high temperatures. One approach to achieving that goal involves studying superfluidity in materials. Superfluids are materials that can flow without viscosity—though only at speeds lower than their critical velocity. In this new effort, the researchers looked at the possibility of a 2D Fermi gas as a superfluid. Prior research has shown that 3D Fermi gases can exhibit superfluid characteristics, and theory has suggested that 2D Fermi gasses could, as well—but until now, it had never been demonstrated.

The experiment and demonstration by the team in Germany began with the researchers isolating approximately 6,000 lithium-6 ions creating a Fermi gas. They then used optical and magnetic equipment to cool the gas down to near absolute zero—this held the ions firmly in place. The researchers then created a "box" for the atoms by suspending them in a lattice created using two blue lasers. This allowed for confining the atoms into a 2D configuration. The researchers then forced the gas through the lattice using dual red laser beams using an interference pattern. Changing the frequency of the lasers allowed the researchers to vary the speed at which the gas was moved through the lattice.
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-evidence- ... ld-2d.html
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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New Quantum Material Discovered – With Surprising Properties
May 24, 2021

A research team from TU Wien together with US research institutes came across a surprising form of ‘quantum criticality’; this could lead to a design concept for new materials.

In everyday life, phase transitions usually have to do with temperature changes — for example, when an ice cube gets warmer and melts. But there are also different kinds of phase transitions, depending on other parameters such as magnetic field. In order to understand the quantum properties of materials, phase transitions are particularly interesting when they occur directly at the absolute zero point of temperature. These transitions are called “quantum phase transitions” or a “quantum critical points.”

Such a quantum critical point has now been discovered by an Austrian-American research team in a novel material, and in an unusually pristine form. The properties of this material are now being further investigated. It is suspected that the material could be a so-called Weyl-Kondo semimetal, which is considered to have great potential for quantum technology due to special quantum states (so-called topological states). If this proves to be true, a key for the targeted development of topological quantum materials would have been found. The results were found in a cooperation between TU Wien, Johns Hopkins University, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Rice University and has now been published in the journal Science Advances.
https://scitechdaily.com/new-quantum-ma ... roperties/
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Rice physicists' RAMBO reveals magnetic phenomenon useful for quantum simulation and sensing
May 25, 2021

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Sometimes things are a little out of whack, and it turns out to be exactly what you need.

That was the case when orthoferrite crystals turned up at a Rice University laboratory slightly misaligned. Those crystals inadvertently became the basis of a discovery that should resonate with researchers studying spintronics-based quantum technology.

Rice physicist Junichiro Kono, alumnus Takuma Makihara and their collaborators found an orthoferrite material, in this case yttrium iron oxide, placed in a high magnetic field showed uniquely tunable, ultrastrong interactions between magnons in the crystal.

Orthoferrites are iron oxide crystals with the addition of one or more rare-earth elements.
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-rice-phys ... netic.html
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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Physicists uncover secrets of world's thinnest superconductor
https://phys.org/news/2021-05-physicist ... nnest.html
by Elizabeth A. Thomson, Materials Research Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Part of the resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) instrument at Diamond Light Source (UK) that was used to uncover secrets of the world’s thinnest superconductor. Credit: Diamond Light Source

Physicists from across three continents report the first experimental evidence to explain the unusual electronic behavior behind the world's thinnest superconductor, a material with myriad applications because it conducts electricity extremely efficiently. In this case the superconductor is only an atomic layer thick.

The work, led by an MIT professor and a physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, was possible thanks to new instrumentation available at only a few facilities in the world. The resulting data could help guide the development of better superconductors. These in turn could transform the fields of medical diagnostics, quantum computing, and energy transport, which all use superconductors.
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Detecting 5-MeV protons using a flexible organic thin-film device
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05- ... ilure.html
by Bob Yirka , Phys.org
A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Italy and one in the U.S. has developed an organic thin-film device that can be used to measure doses of proton radiation. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their semiconductor-based thin film device and possible uses for it.

As the researchers note, the development of proton-detecting devices has been a goal of physicists for many years because of their use in fundamental research efforts. More recently, such devices have become desirable for proton therapy, in which protons rather than traditional X-rays are fired at cancerous tumors because they can be directed more precisely. In this new effort, the researchers have developed an organic proton detection device. They note that it has advantages over other non-organic devices because its density is very nearly the same as human tissue meaning no recalibration is needed when using it for medical applications.[/quote]
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Imaging breakthrough highlights atoms in highest resolution ever
By Michael Irving
May 27, 2021
https://newatlas.com/physics/highest-re ... chography/
Researchers at Cornell University have snapped the clearest images of atoms ever taken. Aided by new noise-reducing algorithms, the images are of such high resolution that, the team says, they almost reach the ultimate limit possible.

The images were taken of atoms in a praseodymium orthoscandate (PrScO3) crystal, zoomed in 100 million times. The atoms can be clearly seen as bright dots, surrounded by red “clouds”, which, according to the researchers, are blurring created by the jiggling of the atoms themselves.
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In a first, neutrinos were caught interacting at the Large Hadron Collider
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/neu ... n-collider

May 26, 2021 at 11:30 am
The Large Hadron Collider’s claim to fame is its ability to unveil elusive subatomic particles. But there’s one class of particle that it had never directly detected, even though it produces them in abundance. Neutrinos, minute elementary particles, interact so little with matter that they sail through the particle accelerator’s massive detectors unnoticed (SN: 4/8/21).

Now, in a proof-of-concept experiment, the first evidence for neutrino interactions at the LHC has been spotted, researchers with the FASER collaboration report May 13 at arXiv.org. The technique could open up a window to neutrinos at energies for which the particles’ interactions are poorly understood.
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Exploring the boundaries of time travel
May 30, 2021



Be honest: who hasn't wanted to hit fast-forward or rewind on life? For as long as there has been a concept of time, that urge to break the bonds of time is, well, timeless.

"The idea of time travel is actually as old as civilization itself," said Lisa Yaszek, a professor of science fiction studies at Georgia Tech. "We see the very first stories in the 'Mahābhārata,' the great Indian epic, in 400 B.C.E., so they're nearly 2,500 years old."

According to Yaszek, early time travel stories, like Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle" or Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," were full of magic, not science. But, "As we moved into an industrial culture, suddenly we had trains that had to move on schedule from station to station, and ships that had to cross great bodies of water and make it into docks at certain time. We had to make sure that humans in different parts of the world were telling time in the same ways. And I think that was really exciting – we felt like we suddenly did have a little control over time."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/exploring- ... me-travel/
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.” - Steven Moffat
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