Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 16

Mar 7, 2023

Scientists Have Finally Discovered Massless Particles, And They Could Revolutionize Electronics

Posted by in categories: computing, education, particle physics, quantum physics, space

After 85 years of searching, researchers have confirmed the existence of a massless particle called the Weyl fermion for the first time ever. With the unique ability to behave as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, this strange particle can create electrons that have no mass.

The discovery is huge, not just because we finally have proof that these elusive particles exist, but because it paves the way for far more efficient electronics, and new types of quantum computing. “Weyl fermions could be used to solve the traffic jams that you get with electrons in electronics — they can move in a much more efficient, ordered way than electrons,” lead researcher and physicist M. Zahid Hasan from Princeton University in the US told Anthony Cuthbertson over at IBTimes. “They could lead to a new type of electronics we call ‘Weyltronics’.”

So what exactly is a Weyl fermion? Although we’re often taught in high school science that the Universe is made up of atoms, from a particle physics point of view, everything is actually made up of fermions and bosons. Put very simply, fermions are the building blocks that make up all matter, such as electrons, and bosons are the things that carry force, such as photons.

Mar 6, 2023

Protons Could Contain a Smaller Particle That Is Heavier Than The Proton Itself

Posted by in category: particle physics

Protons may have more “charm” than we thought, new research suggests.

A proton is one of the subatomic particles that make up the nucleus of an atom. As small as protons are, they are composed of even tinier elementary particles known as quarks, which come in a variety of “flavors,” or types: up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top.

Typically, a proton is thought to be made of two up quarks and one down quark. But a new study finds it’s more complicated than that.

Mar 5, 2023

Is science about to end? | Sabine Hossenfelder

Posted by in categories: computing, information science, particle physics, quantum physics, science

Short and sweet. Everyone needs a daily dose of Sabine.

Is science close to explaining everything about our universe? Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder reacts.

Continue reading “Is science about to end? | Sabine Hossenfelder” »

Mar 5, 2023

Quantum entanglement just got a whole lot weirder

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

For the first time, an experiment was able to demonstrate that it isn’t just identical quantum particles that can become entangled, but particles with opposite electric charges, too. (The π+ and the π, for what it’s worth, are one another’s antiparticle.) The technique of passing two heavy nuclei very close to one another at nearly the speed of light allows for photons, arising from the electromagnetic field of each nucleus, to interact with the other nucleus, occasionally forming a rho particle that decays into two pions. When both nuclei do this at once, the entanglement can be seen, and the radius of the atomic nucleus can be measured.

It’s also remarkable that measuring the size of the nucleus through this method, which uses the strong force rather than the electromagnetic force, gives a different, larger result than one would get by using the nuclear charge radius. As lead author on the study, James Brandenburg, put it, “Now we can take a picture where we can really distinguish the density of gluons at a given angle and radius. The images are so precise that we can even start to see the difference between where the protons are and where the neutrons are laid out inside these big nuclei.” We now have a promising method to probe the internal structure of these complex, heavy nuclei, with more applications, no doubt, soon to come.

Mar 5, 2023

Nothing” doesn’t exist. Instead, there is “quantum foam

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum physics shows that there is no such thing as ‘nothing.’ Even in a vacuum, particles can blink into and out of existence.

Mar 4, 2023


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Mar 4, 2023

First measurements of hydrogen-boron fusion in a magnetically confined fusion plasma

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, sustainability

As fusion developers around the world race to commercialize fusion energy, TAE Technologies has pioneered the pursuit of the cleanest and most economical path to providing electricity with hydrogen-boron (also known as p-B11 or p11 B), an abundant, environmentally sound fuel. Today the company is announcing, in collaboration with Japan’s National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS), a noteworthy research advancement: the first-ever hydrogen-boron fusion experiments in a magnetically confined fusion plasma.

In a paper published by Nature Communications, scientists explain the outcome of the nuclear reaction of hydrogen-boron in an experiment in NIFS’ Large Helical Device (LHD). This paper describes the experimental work of producing the conditions necessary for hydrogen-boron fusion in the LHD plasma and TAE’s development of a detector to make measurements of the hydrogen-boron reaction products: helium nuclei, known as alpha particles.

The finding reflects years of collaborative international scientific fusion research, and represents a milestone in TAE’s mission to develop commercial fusion power with hydrogen-boron, the cleanest, most cost-competitive, and most sustainable cycle for fusion.

Mar 3, 2023

Reactor Neutrinos Detected by Water

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics, security

Researchers have captured the signal of neutrinos from a nuclear reactor using a water-filled neutrino detector, a first for such a device.

In a mine in Sudbury, Canada, the SNO+ detector is being readied to search for a so-far-undetected nuclear-decay process. Spotting this rare decay would allow researchers to confirm that the neutrino is its own antiparticle (see Viewpoint: Probing Majorana Neutrinos). But while SNO+ team members prepare for that search, they have made another breakthrough by capturing the interaction with water of antineutrinos from nuclear reactors [1]. The finding offers the possibility of making neutrino detectors from a nontoxic material that is easy to handle and inexpensive to obtain, key factors for use of the technology in auditing the world’s nuclear reactors (see Feature: Neutrino Detectors for National Security).

The SNO+ detector was inherited from the earlier Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) experiment. Today the detector is filled with a liquid that lights up when charged particles pass through it. But in 2018, to calibrate the detector’s components and to characterize its intrinsic radioactive background signal after the experiment’s upgrade, it contained water. The antineutrino signal was observed when, after completing those measurements, the researchers took the opportunity to carry out additional experiments before the liquid was switched out.

Mar 3, 2023

Stringy Particles in Complex Plasmas

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Simulations and an experiment aboard the International Space Station show that changes in the system’s repulsive forces are behind the alignment of particles embedded in an electrified plasma.

Mar 3, 2023

High-Resolution Wind Detection

Posted by in categories: particle physics, transportation

“If we could see the air we fly in, we wouldn’t,” is a common saying among glider pilots. The invisible turbulent pockets that accompany soaring thermals present hazards to small aircraft, but today’s observational tools struggle to measure such wind features at high spatial resolutions over large distances. Now Yunpeng Zhang of the University of Science and Technology of China and his colleagues demonstrate how adapting a remote-sensing technology called pulsed coherent Doppler lidar (PCDL) enables long-range wind detection with submeter resolution [1].

PCDL senses wind speeds by detecting the frequency shift when a laser pulse scatters off dust particles in the air. By measuring the time taken for this scattered light to return to the detector, the technique allows wide-region profiling of wind speeds. This large-scale sampling comes at the cost of measurement precision, however. Measuring the laser’s travel time requires short-duration pulses, but short pulses transmit little total energy for a given laser power, and this energy is necessarily dispersed over a wide frequency range.

To avoid this trade-off, Zhang and his colleagues imprinted a phase-modulation pattern within each transmitted pulse using an electro-optic modulator. This pattern broke the link between pulse duration and spatial resolution, allowing a more flexible pulse duration. As a result, their setup achieved a spatial resolution of 0.9 m at a distance of 700 m (compared to a 3-m resolution at 300 m for a conventional instrument) and was able to detect the wind from an electric fan on a rooftop 329 m away.

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