ScienceDaily: Quantum Physics News

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Description: News on quantum physics. Read current research on everything from quantum mechanics to quantum dots. Was Albert Einstein right?

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ScienceDaily: Quantum Physics News

Finding quantum 'lines of desire': Physicists track quantum system's wanderings through quantum state space
by on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:24:31 EDT:
What paths do quantum particles, such as atoms or photons, follow through quantum state space? Scientists have used an "artificial atom" to continuously and repeatedly record the paths through quantum state space. From the cobweb of a million paths, a most likely path between two quantum states emerged, much as social trails emerge as people round off corners or cut across lawns between buildings.
The Quantum Cheshire Cat: Can neutrons be located at a different place than their own spin?
by on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:38:03 EDT:
Can neutrons be located at a different place than their own spin? A quantum experiment demonstrates a new kind of quantum paradox. The Cheshire Cat featured in Lewis Caroll's novel "Alice in Wonderland" is a remarkable creature: it disappears, leaving its grin behind. Can an object be separated from its properties? It is possible in the quantum world. In an experiment, neutrons travel along a different path than one of their properties -- their magnetic moment. This "Quantum Cheshire Cat" could be used to make high precision measurements less sensitive to external perturbations.
Physicists unlock nature of high-temperature superconductivity
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:40:34 EDT:
Physicists have identified the 'quantum glue' that underlies a promising type of superconductivity -- a crucial step towards the creation of energy superhighways that conduct electricity without current loss.
Measuring the smallest magnets: Physicists measure magnetic interactions between single electrons
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:44:08 EDT:
Imagine trying to measure a tennis ball that bounces wildly, every time to a distance a million times its own size. The bouncing obviously creates enormous "background noise" that interferes with the measurement. But if you attach the ball directly to a measuring device, so they bounce together, you can eliminate the noise problem. Physicists have used a similar trick to measure the interaction between the smallest possible magnets -- two single electrons -- after neutralizing magnetic noise that was a million times stronger than the signal they needed to detect.
A transistor-like amplifier for single photons
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:43:25 EDT:
Scientists have achieved a twentyfold amplification of single-photon signals with the help of an ultracold quantum gas.
Superconductivity could form at high temperatures in layered 2-D crystals
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:05:54 EDT:
An elusive state of matter called superconductivity could be realized in stacks of sheetlike crystals just a few atoms thick, new analysis determined. Electrons and 'holes' would accumulate in separate layers of a 2D semiconductor compound in response to an electrical field forming a superfluid gas of indirect excitons. Counterflow superconductivity would result.
Unleashing the power of quantum dot triplets
by on Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:40:23 EDT:
Another step towards faster computers relies on three coherently coupled quantum dots used as quantum information units. Quantum computers have yet to materialize. Yet, scientists are making progress in devising suitable means of making such computers faster. One such approach relies on quantum dots-a kind of artificial atom, easily controlled by applying an electric field. A new study demonstrates that changing the coupling of three coherently coupled quantum dots (TQDs) with electrical impulses can help better control them.
The birth of topological spintronics: New material combo could lead to more efficient computers
by on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:17:24 EDT:
The discovery of a new material combination that could lead to a more efficient approach to computer memory and logic is the first promising indication that it may be possible to build a practical technology with a novel material known as a 'topological insulator.' The research team's results show that such a scheme can be 10 times more efficient for controlling magnetic memory or logic than any other combination of materials measured to date.
Scientists find way to maintain quantum entanglement in amplified signals
by on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:10:32 EDT:
Physicists have found a way to preserve quantum entanglement of particles passing through an amplifier and, conversely, when transmitting a signal over long distances.
Quantum leap in lasers brightens future for quantum computing
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:07:36 EDT:
Scientists have devised a breakthrough laser that uses a single artificial atom to generate and emit particles of light. The laser may play a crucial role in the development of quantum computers, which are predicted to eventually outperform today's most powerful supercomputers.
Boosting the force of empty space: Theorists propose way to amplify force of vacuum fluctuations
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:14:25 EDT:
Vacuum fluctuations may be among the most counter-intuitive phenomena of quantum physics. Theorists have now proposed a way to amplify their force. The researchers believe that their proposed enhancement of the power of vacuum fluctuations can have profound implications for understanding Casimir and Van der Waals forces and it may even be used for applications in quantum information processing and other emerging quantum technologies.
Massive neutrinos and new standard cosmological model: No concordance yet
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:13:26 EDT:
Neutrinos, also known as ‘ghost particles’ because they barely interact with other particles or their surroundings, are massless particles according to the standard model of particle physics. However, there is a lot of evidence that their mass is in fact non-zero, but it remains unmeasured. In cosmology, neutrinos are suspected to make up a fraction —- small but important -— of the mysterious dark matter, which represents 90% of the mass of the galaxy. Modifying the standard cosmological model in order to include fairly massive neutrinos does not explain all the physical observations simultaneously.
Carbyne morphs when stretched: Calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor
by on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:40:28 EDT:
Applying just the right amount of tension to a chain of carbon atoms can turn it from a metallic conductor to an insulator. The research has implications for mechanically activated nanoscale electronics and optics.
Highly charged ions: Multiply ionized atoms for clocks, qubits, and constants
by on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:15:16 EDT:
Why can't neodymium be more like tin? Well it can, if you ionize it enough. Why strip atoms of a dozen or more electrons? To make them more amenable for use in atomic clocks and quantum computers.
It's go time for LUX-Zeplin dark matter experiment
by on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:15:14 EDT:
From the physics labs at Yale University to the bottom of a played-out gold mine in South Dakota, a new generation of dark matter experiments is ready to commence. The go-ahead has been given to the Large Underground Xenon-Zeplin, a key experiment in the hunt for dark matter, the invisible substance that may make up much of the universe.
Universal three-body relation: Physicists succeed in revealing the scaling behavior of exotic giant molecules
by on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:14:36 EDT:
When a two-body relation becomes a three-body relation, the behavior of the system changes and typically becomes more complex. While the basic physics of two interacting particles is well understood, the mathematical description of a three- or many-body system becomes increasingly difficult, such that calculating the dynamics can blast the capacities of even modern supercomputers. However, under certain conditions, the quantum mechanical three-body problem may have a universal scaling solution. The predictions of such a model have now been confirmed experimentally.
Future electronics may depend on lasers, not quartz
by on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:05:40 EDT:
Nearly all electronics require devices called oscillators that create precise frequencies -- frequencies used to keep time in wristwatches or to transmit reliable signals to radios. For nearly a century, these oscillators have relied upon quartz crystals to provide a frequency reference, much like a tuning fork is used as a reference to tune a piano. A new approach could ultimately replace the quartz crystal frequency reference -- technology in use since the 1920s.
Scientists experimentally re-create conditions deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter and many exo-planets
by on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:20:11 EDT:
Using the largest laser in the world, scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system.
Physicists detect process even rarer than the long-sought Higgs particle
by on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:55:17 EDT:
Scientists running the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful "atom smasher," report the first evidence of a process that can be used to test the mechanism by which the recently discovered Higgs particle imparts mass to other fundamental particles.
Labs characterize carbon for lithion-ion batteries
by on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:24:10 EDT:
Researchers have found a universal descriptor of charge-transfer binding properties for carbon-based lithium-ion batteries. The model is based on intrinsic electronic characteristics of materials used as battery anodes. These include the material's quantum capacitance (the ability of the material to absorb charge) and the material's absolute Fermi level, which determines how many lithium ions may bond to the electrodes.
Quantum computers? First photonic router demonstrated
by on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:41:03 EDT:
Scientists have demonstrated for the first time a photonic router -- a quantum device based on a single atom that enables routing of single photons by single photons. This achievement is another step toward overcoming the difficulties in building quantum computers.
Making quantum connections: The speed of information in a spin network
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:15:31 EDT:
Physicists are pretty adept at controlling quantum systems and even making certain entangled states. Researchers are putting these skills to work to explore the dynamics of correlated quantum systems. Recent results investigated how information flows through a quantum many-body system.
New paths into the world of quasiparticles
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:59:14 EDT:
Quasiparticles can be used to explain physical phenomena in solid bodies even though they are not actual physical particles. Physicists have now realized quasiparticles in a quantum system and observed quantum mechanical entanglement propagation in a many-body system.
Highway for ultracold atoms in light crystals
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:56:22 EDT:
When a superconductor is exposed to a magnetic field, a current on its surface appears which creates a counter field that cancels the magnetic field inside the superconductor. This phenomenon, known as "Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect" after its discoverers, was first observed in 1933. Physicists have now succeeded in realizing an analogue of the Meissner effect by measuring edge currents in a ladder-like crystal of light.
Building much smaller, greener electronics: Atom-scale, ultra-low-power computing devices to replace transistor circuits
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:25:14 EDT:
The digital age has resulted in a succession of smaller, cleaner and less power-hungry technologies since the days the personal computer fit atop a desk, replacing mainframe models that once filled entire rooms. Desktop PCs have since given way to smaller and smaller laptops, smartphones and devices that most of us carry around in our pockets. Scientists are now developing atom-scale, ultra-low-power computing devices to replace transistor circuits.
The quantum dance of oxygen: Proposal for a new phase of the element, when atoms dance in quartets
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:23:12 EDT:
Under extremely high pressure conditions oxygen molecules group into quartets and give rise to a “dance of their magnetic moments”. This results in magnetic properties never previously observed in these conditions and in theory points to the existence of a new phase of the element, called epsilon 1.
Ultra-cold atom transport made simple
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:15:05 EDT:
Techniques for controlling ultra-cold atoms traveling in ring traps currently represent an important research area in physics. A new study gives a proof of principle, confirmed by numerical simulations, of the applicability to ultra-cold atoms of a very efficient and robust transport technique called spatial adiabatic passage.
From pencil marks to quantum computers
by on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:23:06 EDT:
One of the hottest materials in condensed matter research today is graphene. Graphene had an unlikely start: it began with researchers messing around with pencil marks on paper. Pencil "lead" is actually made of graphite, which is a soft crystal lattice made of nothing but carbon atoms. When pencils deposit that graphite on paper, the lattice is laid down in thin sheets. By pulling that lattice apart into thinner sheets -- originally using Scotch tape -- researchers discovered that they could make flakes of crystal just one atom thick.
Tunable quantum behavior observed in bilayer graphene
by on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:23:42 EDT:
Researchers have observed the fractional quantum Hall effect in bilayer graphene and shown that this exotic state of matter can be tuned by an electric field.
Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:00:36 EDT:
Scientists have created a nonlinear mirror that could advance laser systems. The metamaterials were created with nonlinear optical response a million times as strong as traditional nonlinear materials.
Hollow optical fibers for UV light
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:16:50 EDT:
If you want to send light on a trip through optical fibers -- with as little loss as possible, you should opt for infrared light, as is the case, for example, in the telecommunication networks worldwide. For certain applications, such as spectroscopic investigations on ions or atoms, however, (laser) light in the ultraviolet range is required. But this type of light would quickly damage conventional optical fibers. Researchers have now tested a new type of optical fiber with a hollow core and have found out that this type of optical fiber was able to guide UV laser light without being damaged and with acceptable loss.
Superconducting-silicon qubits: Using a bottom-up approach to make hybrid quantum devices
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:36:12 EDT:
Theorists propose a way to make superconducting quantum devices such as Josephson junctions and qubits, atom-by-atom, inside a silicon crystal. Such systems could combine the most promising aspects of silicon spin qubits with the flexibility of superconducting circuits.
'Deep learning' makes search for exotic particles easier: New computing techniques could aid hunt for Higgs bosons
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:36:06 EDT:
Fully automated 'deep learning' by computers greatly improves the odds of discovering particles such as the Higgs boson, beating even veteran physicists' abilities, according to new findings.
Reigning in chaos in particle colliders yields big results
by on Mon, 30 Jun 2014 14:08:32 EDT:
Physicists have published details on an important method of detecting and correcting unwanted chaotic behavior in particle colliders. The method is helping accelerator physicists design high-performing, cost-efficient accelerators in an era of constrained science budgets.
Quantum dots created with single-atom precision
by on Mon, 30 Jun 2014 09:45:35 EDT:
Physicists have used a scanning tunneling microscope to create quantum dots with identical, deterministic sizes. The perfect reproducibility of these dots opens the door to quantum dot architectures completely free of uncontrolled variations, an important goal for technologies from nanophotonics to quantum information processing as well as for fundamental studies.
Counterintuitive phenomenon: Coexistence of superconductivity with dissipation
by on Sun, 29 Jun 2014 14:21:19 EDT:
A novel way to fabricate superconducting nanocircuitry has been developed. However, the newly designed extremely small zinc nanowires did some unexpected -- and sort of funky -- things.
'Compressive sensing' provides new approach to measuring a quantum system
by on Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:49:39 EDT:
In quantum physics, momentum and position are an example of conjugate variables. This means they are connected by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which says that both quantities cannot be simultaneously measured precisely. Recently, researchers have been developing novel techniques, such as 'weak measurement,' to measure both at the same time. Now physicists have shown that a technique called compressive sensing offers a way to measure both variables at the same time, without violating the Uncertainty Principle.
Astronomers closer to proving gravitational waves with precise measurements of rapidly rotating neutron star
by on Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:27:14 EDT:
When Albert Einstein proposed the existence of gravitational waves as part of his theory of relativity, he set in train a pursuit for knowledge that continues nearly a century later. These ripples in the space-time continuum exert a powerful appeal because it is believed they carry information that will allow us to look back into the very beginnings of the universe. But although the weight of evidence continues to build, undisputed confirmation of their existence still eludes scientists. Researchers have now provided another piece of the puzzle with their precise measurements of a rapidly rotating neutron star: one of the smallest, densest stars in the universe.
Not much force: Researchers detect smallest force ever measured
by on Thu, 26 Jun 2014 15:09:24 EDT:
Researchers have detected the smallest force ever measured -- approximately 42 yoctonewtons -- using a unique optical trapping system that provides ultracold atoms. A yoctonewton is one septillionth of a newton.
Black hole trio holds promise for gravity wave hunt
by on Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:24:06 EDT:
The discovery of three closely orbiting supermassive black holes in a galaxy more than four billion light years away could help astronomers in the search for gravitational waves: the 'ripples in spacetime' predicted by Einstein.
Innovation: Magnetic field conductors
by on Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:13:52 EDT:
Physicists have developed a new technology to transfer magnetic fields to arbitrary long distances, which is comparable to transmitting and routing light in optical fibers. They have theoretically proposed and already tested this new device experimentally. The field of possible applications is broad and includes spintronic and quantum computers among others.
Should the Higgs boson have caused our universe to collapse? Findings puzzle cosmologists
by on Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:32:46 EDT:
British cosmologists are puzzled: they predict that the universe should not have lasted for more than a second. This startling conclusion is the result of combining the latest observations of the sky with the recent discovery of the Higgs boson.
New evidence bolsters Higgs boson discovery: Confirmation of particle responsible for mass
by on Mon, 23 Jun 2014 12:10:04 EDT:
If evidence of the Higgs boson revealed two years ago was the smoking gun, particle physicists have now found a few of the bullets. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has just published research that details evidence of the direct decay of the Higgs boson to fermions, among the particles anticipated by the Standard Model of physics. The finding fits what researchers expected to see amid the massive amount of data provided by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Discovery of pure organic substances exhibiting the quantum spin liquid state
by on Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:16:37 EDT:
Researchers have discovered pure organic substances exhibiting the quantum spin liquid state. Water loses kinetic energy as it is cooled, and when water molecules become unable to move, water becomes solid (ice). Similarly, electron spins in magnetic materials normally align and form a solid state at low temperature. Recent theoretical studies suggest that spins on a triangular lattice maintain their liquid state (quantum spin liquid state) even at an extremely low temperature.
Experimentally testing nonlocality in many-body systems
by on Fri, 20 Jun 2014 12:04:44 EDT:
Researchers constructed multipartite Bell inequalities built from the easiest-to-measure quantities, the two-body correlators, which are capable of revealing nonlocality in many-body systems. As these are considered a fundamental resource for quantum information theory, this study will pave a new path towards experimental detection of nonlocality in large composite quantum systems.
Princess and the Pea? Invisibility cloak prevents an object from being felt
by on Fri, 20 Jun 2014 10:23:14 EDT:
In the past years, invisibility cloaks were developed for various senses. Objects can be hidden from light, heat or sound. However, hiding of an object from being touched still remained to be accomplished. Scientists have now succeeded in creating a volume in which an object can be hidden from touching similar to a pea under the mattress of a princess.
Grid computing resources: Schedule algorithms based on game theory
by on Thu, 19 Jun 2014 14:59:28 EDT:
Grid computing is a powerful form of distributed computing wherein a network of loosely coupled and geographically separated computers, typically of different computational powers, work together to perform data-intensive calculations. The technology uses numerical simulations to help investigate a variety of challenging scientific problems, including the subatomic world revealed by particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider.
Possibly primordial gravitational waves, but galactic dust not ruled out: Nuanced account of stunning patterns in the microwave sky
by on Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:55:29 EDT:
Following a thorough peer-review process, the researchers who previously announced the detection of B-mode polarization in a patch of the microwave sky have published their findings. Their research provides some evidence that the signals they have found may be the result of gravitational waves from the earliest moments of the universe's existence and thus might constitute the first observation of phenomena from the rapid expansion of the universe known as the inflationary period.
NEMO closes in on neutrino mass
by on Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:51:36 EDT:
The NEMO (Neutrino Ettore Majorana Observatory) experiment, whose goal was to elucidate the nature of neutrinos and measure their mass, yielded very positive results. The observation, in seven different isotopes, of an extremely rare radioactive decay event, the so-called 'allowed' double-beta decay, helped improve our understanding of the atomic nucleus. In addition, the data collected during the search for the so-called 'forbidden' double-beta decay enabled the researchers to establish a range (0.3-0.9 eV) for the upper limit on the mass of the neutrino.
New quantum mechanism to trigger the emission of tunable light at terahertz frequencies
by on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 10:05:30 EDT:
Scientists have found that two-dimensional (2-D) nanostructures with asymmetric design enable a new quantum mechanism, triggering the emission of tunable light at terahertz frequencies-with unprecedented efficiency. The researchers found that quantum wells, 2-D nanostructures formed of several layers of semi-conductor alloys placed on top of each other like a sandwich, can enhance light emission in a technological challenging spectral range.
Scientists predict fermionic matter in a previously unknown state
by on Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:20:10 EDT:
Scientists have presented theoretical calculations which indicate the possible existence of fermionic matter in a previously unknown state -- in the form of a one-dimensional liquid, which cannot be described within the framework of existing models.
Ultra-thin wires for quantum computing
by on Tue, 17 Jun 2014 11:18:18 EDT:
Take a fine strand of silica fiber, attach it at each end to a slow-turning motor, torture it over a flame until it nearly reaches its melting point and then pull it apart. The middle will thin out like taffy until it is less than half a micron across, and that, according to researchers, is how you fabricate ultrahigh transmission optical nanofibers, a potential component for future quantum information devices.
Strange physics turns off laser
by on Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:29:25 EDT:
Inspired by anomalies that arise in certain mathematical equations, researchers have demonstrated a laser system that paradoxically turns off when more power is added rather than becoming continuously brighter. The findings could lead to new ways to manipulate the interaction of electronics and light, an important tool in modern communications networks and high-speed information processing.
Quantum biology: Algae evolved to switch quantum coherence on and off
by on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:15:09 EDT:
Scientists have discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird quantum phenomenon that occurs during photosynthesis. The function in the algae of this quantum effect, known as coherence, remains a mystery, but it is thought it could help them harvest energy from the sun much more efficiently. Working out its role in a living organism could lead to advances such as better organic solar cells.
Quantum theory reveals puzzling pattern in how people respond to some surveys
by on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:13:47 EDT:
Researchers used quantum theory -- usually invoked to describe the actions of subatomic particles -- to identify an unexpected and strange pattern in how people respond to survey questions.
Long-range tunneling of quantum particles
by on Thu, 12 Jun 2014 14:22:15 EDT:
One of the most remarkable consequences of the rules in quantum mechanics is the capability of a quantum particle to penetrate through a potential barrier even though its energy would not allow for the corresponding classical trajectory. This is known as the quantum tunnel effect and manifests itself in a multitude of well-known phenomena. For example, it explains nuclear radioactive decay, fusion reactions in the interior of stars, and electron transport through quantum dots. Tunneling also is at the heart of many technical applications, for instance it allows for imaging of surfaces on the atomic length scale in scanning tunneling microscopes.
Weird 'magic' ingredient for quantum computing: Contextuality
by on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 13:18:58 EDT:
A form of quantum weirdness is a key ingredient for building quantum computers according to new research. Researchers have shown that a weird aspect of quantum theory called contextuality is a necessary resource to achieve the so-called magic required for universal quantum computation.
Viewing deeper into the quantum world
by on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:28:26 EDT:
Researchers have experimentally demonstrated that interferometers, the most sensitive measuring instruments yet invented, can be improved using nonlinear physics. The result answers a fundamental question in quantum mechanics and could open the way to more sensitive detection of magnetic fields in delicate systems such as the human heart.
Chemical sensor on a chip created to test chemical composition of liquids
by on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:21:57 EDT:
A tiny laser and a corresponding light detector has been developed in one production process, on a single chip. The light is transported from the laser to the detector on a specially designed waveguide. That way, the chip can measure the chemical composition of the liquid in which it is submerged.
Technology using microwave heating may impact electronics manufacturing
by on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:47:46 EDT:
A continuous flow reactor can produce high-quality nanoparticles by using microwave-assisted heating -- essentially the same forces that heat up leftover food with such efficiency. This may finally make it possible for this technology to move into large scale manufacturing and usher in an electronics revolution.