Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 3

Jan 26, 2024

Turning glass into a ‘transparent’ light-energy harvester

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, particle physics

What happens when you expose tellurite glass to femtosecond laser light? That’s the question that Gözden Torun at the Galatea Lab at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in collaboration with Tokyo Tech scientists, aimed to answer in her thesis work when she made the discovery that may one day turn windows into single material light-harvesting and sensing devices. The results are published in Physical Review Applied.

Interested in how the atoms in the tellurite would reorganize when exposed to fast pulses of high energy femtosecond laser light, the scientists stumbled upon the formation of nanoscale tellurium and tellurium oxide crystals, both etched into the glass, precisely where the glass had been exposed. That was the eureka moment for the scientists, since a semiconducting material exposed to daylight may lead to the generation of electricity.

“Tellurium being semiconducting, based on this finding we wondered if it would be possible to write durable patterns on the tellurite glass surface that could reliably induce electricity when exposed to light, and the answer is yes,” explains Yves Bellouard who runs EPFL’s Galatea Laboratory. “An interesting twist to the technique is that no additional materials are needed in the process. All you need is tellurite glass and a femtosecond laser to make an active photoconductive material.”

Jan 26, 2024

Combining two types of molecular boron nitride could create hybrid material for faster, more powerful electronics

Posted by in categories: chemistry, particle physics

In chemistry, structure is everything. Compounds with the same chemical formula can have different properties depending on the arrangement of the molecules they’re made of. And compounds with a different chemical formula but a similar molecular arrangement can have similar properties.

Graphene and a form of called hexagonal boron nitride fall into the latter group. Graphene is made up of . Boron nitride, BN, is composed of boron and nitrogen atoms. While their chemical formulas differ, they have a similar structure —so similar that many chemists call hexagonal boron nitride “white graphene.”

Carbon-based graphene has lots of useful properties. It’s thin but strong, and it conducts heat and electricity very well, making it ideal for use in electronics.

Jan 26, 2024

Discovery of high order skyrmions and antiskyrmions

Posted by in categories: climatology, particle physics

Researchers at the University of Augsburg and the University of Vienna have discovered co-existing magnetic skyrmions and antiskyrmions of arbitrary topological charge at room temperature in magnetic Co/Ni multilayer thin films. Their findings have been published in Nature Physics and open up the possibility for a new paradigm in skyrmionics research.

The discovery of novel spin objects with arbitrary topological charge promises to contribute to advances in fundamental and applied research, particularly through their application in information storage devices.

Magnetic skyrmions are localized, stable topological magnetic spin textures resembling a tornado-like whirl in a magnetic material. They can be very small, with diameters in the nanometer range, and behave as particles that can be moved, created, and annihilated, which makes them suitable for ‘abacus’-type applications in information storage and logic devices.

Jan 25, 2024

Vampire black hole is a ‘cosmic particle accelerator’ that may solve a longstanding astronomy mystery

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

A microquasar’s jets are creating shockwaves that could be creating the strange cosmic rays we see bombarding Earth.

Jan 25, 2024

Sustainable Water Solutions: UT Austin’s Filter System Aims to Transform Global Access

Posted by in categories: engineering, particle physics, sustainability

How can clean drinking water be produced in the simplest most cost-effective way possible? This is what a recent study published in Nature Sustainability hopes to find out as an international team of researchers led by The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) have developed a novel method for producing clean drinking water using only a syringe and a hydrogel filter. This study holds the potential to develop cheaper and simpler methods for producing clean drinking water for individuals around the world.

“The pressing concern of particle-polluted water, particularly in remote and underdeveloped regions where people frequently rely on contaminated water sources for consumption, demands immediate attention and recognition,” said Dr. Guihua Yu, who is a professor of materials science in the Walker Department of Mechanical Engineering at UT Austin and a co-author on the study. “Our system, with its high efficiency in removing diverse types of particles, offers an attractive yet practical solution in improving freshwater availability.”

For the study, the researchers developed their water purification system that incorporates a biodegradable hydrogel filter capable of removing particles as small as approximately 10 nanometers (0.0000003937 inches) from water that is injected into the hydrogel using a syringe. Once injected, the water passes through the hydrogel and into any drinking or storage water apparatus. Along with filtering out particles at 10 nanometers, the researchers also noted the filter efficiency rate is 100 percent, both of which surpass commercially available filters. For context, the researchers note that commercial filter efficiency rates for particles larger than 10 nanometers are approximately 40 percent and 80 percent, respectively. Additionally, the device can be scaled at various sizes and is reusable, resulting in both reduced cost and environmental impact.

Jan 25, 2024

Scientists Successfully Trap Individual Krypton Atoms to Create the First-Ever One-Dimensional Gas

Posted by in category: particle physics

For the first time ever, researchers have successfully trapped individual atoms of krypton to create a one-dimensional gas.

Jan 25, 2024

Why is the Universe Ripping Itself Apart? A new study shows Dark Energy may be more complicated than we thought

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

What is the universe made of? This question has driven astronomers for hundreds of years.

For the past quarter of a century, scientists have believed “normal” stuff like atoms and molecules that make up you, me, Earth, and nearly everything we can see only accounts for 5% of the universe. Another 25% is “dark matter”, an unknown substance we can’t see but which we can detect through how it affects normal matter via gravity.

The remaining 70% of the cosmos is made of “dark energy”. Discovered in 1998, this is an unknown form of energy believed to be making the universe expand at an ever-increasing rate.

Jan 24, 2024

Simulation observes three distinct phases of superconducting dynamics

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

In physics, scientists have been fascinated by the mysterious behavior of superconductors—materials that can conduct electricity with zero resistance when cooled to extremely low temperatures. Within these superconducting systems, electrons team up in “Cooper pairs” because they’re attracted to each other due to vibrations in the material called phonons.

As a thermodynamic phase of matter, superconductors typically exist in an . But recently, researchers at JILA became interested in kicking these materials into excited states and exploring the ensuing dynamics. As reported in a new Nature paper, the theory and experiment teams of JILA and NIST Fellows Ana Maria Rey and James K. Thompson, in collaboration with Prof. Robert Lewis-Swan at the University of Oklahoma, simulated superconductivity under such excited conditions using an atom-cavity system.

Instead of dealing with actual superconducting materials, the scientists harnessed the behavior of strontium atoms, laser-cooled to 10 millionths of a degree above absolute zero and levitated within an optical cavity built out of mirrors.

Jan 24, 2024

The northern lights in 2024 are set to be the best in 20 years

Posted by in category: particle physics

It’s all thanks to what is called the “solar maximum,” when the sun is reaching its peak of a roughly 11-year cycle, which NASA says began again in December 2019. The sun’s activity has been ramping up since then, with an expected peak in July 2025.

MORE: Pilot performs mid-flight maneuver to give passengers a rare view of the northern lights

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, happen in regions around the earth’s magnetic pole. They appear when electrons from solar flares interact with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. That in turn creates lights and multiple colors in the sky.

Jan 24, 2024

New theory unites Einstein’s gravity with quantum mechanics

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

A radical theory that consistently unifies gravity and quantum mechanics while preserving Einstein’s classical concept of spacetime is announced today in two papers published simultaneously by UCL (University College London) physicists.

Modern physics is founded upon two pillars: quantum theory on the one hand, which governs the smallest particles in the universe, and Einstein’s theory of general relativity on the other, which explains gravity through the bending of spacetime. But these two theories are in contradiction with each other and a reconciliation has remained elusive for over a century.

The prevailing assumption has been that Einstein’s theory of gravity must be modified, or “quantised”, in order to fit within quantum theory. This is the approach of two leading candidates for a quantum theory of gravity, string theory and loop quantum gravity.

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