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Researchers demonstrate promising method for improving quantum information processing

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:51:34 EST

A team of researchers led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has demonstrated a new method for splitting light beams into their frequency modes. The scientists can then choose the frequencies they want to work with and encode photons with quantum information. Their work could spur advancements in quantum information processing and distributed quantum computing.



Major discovery in controlling quantum states of single atoms

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 14:00:01 EST

Researchers at the Center for Quantum Nanoscience within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) have made a major breakthrough in controlling the quantum properties of single atoms. In an international collaboration with IBM Research in San Jose, California, using advanced techniques, the scientists identified which mechanisms destroy the quantum properties of individual atoms by manipulating the magnetic state of a single iron atom on a thin insulator. Using a scanning tunneling microscope with an atomically sharp metal tip, they were able to image individual iron atoms and measure and control the time that they maintain their quantum behavior.



Bringing a hidden superconducting state to light

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:10:41 EST

A team of scientists has detected a hidden state of electronic order in a layered material containing lanthanum, barium, copper, and oxygen (LBCO). When cooled to a certain temperature and with certain concentrations of barium, LBCO is known to conduct electricity without resistance, but now there is evidence that a superconducting state actually occurs above this temperature too. It was just a matter of using the right tool—in this case, high-intensity pulses of infrared light—to be able to see it.



When collective spins in a double domain system relax towards a negative-temperature state

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 09:07:43 EST

A team of researchers from several institutions in Japan has described a physical system that can be described as existing above "absolute hot" and also below absolute zero. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group outlines their ideas on collective spins in double domain systems and the interesting situations that can occur within them.



Group uses computer simulations to theorize characteristics of heaviest element oganesson

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 08:40:02 EST

A team of researchers from the U.S., New Zealand and Norway has used computer simulations to predict several characteristics of the heaviest element, oganesson. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group explains the factors that went into the simulation and discuss what it showed.



Physicists speed up droplet-wrapping process

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:49:11 EST

Experimental physicists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today report that they have developed a fast, dynamic new process for wrapping liquid droplets in ultrathin polymer sheets, so what once was a painstaking process taking tens of minutes can now be done in a fraction of a second.



New form of light: Newly observed optical state could enable quantum computing with photons

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:00:08 EST

Try a quick experiment: Take two flashlights into a dark room and shine them so that their light beams cross. Notice anything peculiar? The rather anticlimactic answer is, probably not. That's because the individual photons that make up light do not interact. Instead, they simply pass each other by, like indifferent spirits in the night.



Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:21:54 EST

Quantum entanglement is a key feature of quantum computing. Yet, how can researchers verify that a quantum computer actually incorporates large-scale entanglement? Conventional methods require a large number of repeated measurements, presenting research difficulties. Aleksandra Dimić from the University of Belgrade and Borivoje Dakić from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna have developed a novel method for which even a single experimental run suffices to prove the presence of entanglement. Their results are published in the online open access journal npj Quantum Information.



Simulations reveal that atomic disorder from radiation can launch a cycle of self-healing in ceramic oxides

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:20:02 EST

Scientists discovered a self-healing cycle for defects in ceramics predicted by advanced atomic-level simulations. Irradiation creates defects and causes the ordered atomic structure to become disordered. Simulations showed that creation of a threshold amount of disorder caused the displaced atoms to move faster. This sped up annihilation of the defects and healed the structure.



Current generated when light hits a material reveals electrons behaving like an elusive particle

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 09:13:40 EST

A massless particle, a.k.a. Weyl fermion, predicted nearly 100 years ago, has been found in another corner of physics. Electrons in a semimetal can behave like these particles. They are either right-handed or left-handed—they are mirror images like our hands. Theory predicted that Weyl semimetals could produce handedness-dependent electrical current by shining circularly polarized infrared light onto it. Scientists then confirmed and measured this current. Changing from right- to left-handed light switched the direction of the current, meaning they could determine the handedness of these electrons.



The search for dark matter—axions have ever-fewer places to hide

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 07:03:30 EST

If they exist, axions, among the candidates for dark matter particles, could interact with the matter comprising the universe, but at a much weaker extent than previously theorized. New, rigorous constraints on the properties of axions have been proposed by an international team of scientists.



Recreating outer space plasma systems in the lab

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 06:49:48 EST

Thermodynamics provides insight into the internal energy of a system and the energy interaction with its surroundings. This relies on the local thermal equilibrium of a system. The application of classical thermodynamics to systems in disequilibrium is challenging. These include granular gas and materials, hard sphere packing in 3-D, and plasma systems.



Turning background room temperature heat into energy

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 05:19:31 EST

Every time we convert energy from one form to another, part of that energy is lost in the form of heat. Trying to efficiently get that energy back is very difficult once it is lost to the environment. Thermoelectric devices can change heat energy into electricity, and vice versa. But to capture energy from heat efficiently, these devices typically need to work at high temperatures with a large temperature difference.



Silicon qubits plus light add up to new quantum computing capability

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 13:29:30 EST

A silicon-based quantum computing device could be closer than ever due to a new experimental device that demonstrates the potential to use light as a messenger to connect quantum bits of information—known as qubits—that are not immediately adjacent to each other. The feat is a step toward making quantum computing devices from silicon, the same material used in today's smartphones and computers.



Stock market forces can be modeled with a quantum harmonic oscillator

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:30:01 EST

Traditionally, a quantum harmonic oscillator model is used to describe the tiny vibrations in a diatomic molecule, but the description is also universal in the sense that it can be extended to a variety of other situations in physics and beyond. One example of this is illustrated in a new study, in which researchers show that the restoring force in a vibrating quantum harmonic oscillator provides a good approximation of the market force that restores a fluctuating stock return to equilibrium.



Breaking local symmetry—why water freezes but silica forms a glass

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 06:29:51 EST

Everyone knows that water freezes at 0 degrees C. Life on Earth would be vastly different if this were not so. However, water's cousin, silica, exhibits wayward behavior when cooled that has long puzzled scientists.



New turbulent transport modeling shows multiscale fluctuations in heated plasma

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 16:32:35 EST

Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, a DOE Office of Science user facility operated by General Atomics, used a "reduced physics" fluid model of plasma turbulence to explain unexpected properties of the density profile inside a tokamak experiment. Modeling plasma's turbulent behavior could help scientists optimize the tokamak performance in future fusion reactors like ITER.



Powerful LED-based train headlight optimized for energy savings

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:59:32 EST

Researchers have designed a new LED-based train headlight that uses a tenth of the energy required for headlights using conventional light sources. If operated 8 hours every day, the electricity savings of the new design would reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by about 152 kilograms per year.



Three's company: New alloy sets magnetism benchmark

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 11:00:01 EST

The burgeoning field of spintronics leverages electron spins—as opposed to their charge—to enhance solid-state devices like hard drives and cell phone components by prolonging battery life. Spintronic developments, however, are increasingly running up against a barrier known as the Slater-Pauling limit, the maximum for how tightly a material can pack its magnetization. Now, a new thin film is poised to break through this decades-old benchmark.



Physicists extend stochastic thermodynamics deeper into quantum territory

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:30:02 EST

Physicists have extended one of the most prominent fluctuation theorems of classical stochastic thermodynamics, the Jarzynski equality, to quantum field theory. As quantum field theory is considered to be the most fundamental theory in physics, the results allow the knowledge of stochastic thermodynamics to be applied, for the first time, across the full range of energy and length scales.



Rapid decompression key to making low-density liquid water

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:27:57 EST

Water makes up more than 70 percent of our planet and up to 60 percent of our bodies.



Missing link to novel superconductivity revealed

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:23:11 EST

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered a state of magnetism that may be the missing link to understanding the relationship between magnetism and unconventional superconductivity. The research, recently published in npj Quantum Materials, provides tantalizing new possibilities for attaining superconducting states in iron-based materials.



New hole-punched crystal clears a path for quantum light

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 09:01:21 EST

Optical highways for light are at the heart of modern communications. But when it comes to guiding individual blips of light called photons, reliable transit is far less common. Now, a collaboration of researchers from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), led by JQI Fellows Mohammad Hafezi and Edo Waks, has created a photonic chip that both generates single photons, and steers them around. The device, described in the Feb. 9 issue of Science, features a way for the quantum light to seamlessly move, unaffected by certain obstacles.



Upscaling turbulence for better laboratory studies

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 06:33:59 EST

Turbulence in oceans, in the atmosphere or in industry is billions of times stronger than in lab experiments. Simply upscaling the lab results is not an option. Theoretically, however, there is a regime of turbulence in which scaling laws apply. Researchers of University of Twente succeeded in reaching this 'asymptotic ultimate regime' of turbulence by introducing roughness at the surface at which turbulent liquid flows. They present their findings in Nature Physics of February 12.



Transportable optical clock used to measure gravitation for the first time

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 06:26:17 EST

A European collaboration involving clock experts from the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRIM) has used a transportable optical atomic clock to measure gravitation for the first time. The results of the experiment were published in Nature Physics.



Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 15:05:26 EST

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.



Captured electrons excite nuclei to higher energy states

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:19:49 EST

For the first time, physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and their collaborators, led by a team from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, demonstrated a long-theorized nuclear effect. This advance tests theoretical models that describe how nuclear and atomic realms interact and may also provide new insights into how star elements are created.



Magnetic materials increase energy density in power transformation

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:26:22 EST

Power transformation. Electrification of vehicles. Creating motors that are efficient. Some of the biggest technologies of the future rest on finding ways to efficiently transform energy. And the backbone that enables the development of these technologies is the field of advanced materials.



First high-precision measurement of the mass of the W boson at the LHC

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 10:24:16 EST

In a paper published today in the European Physical Journal C, the ATLAS Collaboration reports the first high-precision measurement at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the mass of the W boson. This is one of two elementary particles that mediate the weak interaction – one of the forces that govern the behaviour of matter in our universe. The reported result gives a value of 80370±19 MeV for the W mass, which is consistent with the expectation from the Standard Model of Particle Physics, the theory that describes known particles and their interactions.



Tiny engine powered by demixing fluid

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:32:18 EST

An international team of researchers has developed a tiny, liquid-based engine powered by a demixing fluid. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their little engine and possible uses for it.