Physics

For the first time, scientists of the BaBar experiment at the Department of Energy's Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) have observed the transition of one type of particle, the neutral D-meson, into its antimatter particle. This observation will now be used as a test of the Standard Model, the current theory that best describes all the universe's luminous matter and its associated forces.


Silicon Vertex Tracker. The SVT is the heart of the BABAR experiment at SLAC—in the photo, physicists are putting the finishing touches on improvements to the detector. (Photo Courtesy of Peter Ginter)

Work completed by a visiting research professor at Rowan University, physics professors and a student from the institution shows that light is made of particles and waves, a finding that refutes a common belief held for about 80 years.

Shahriar S. Afshar, the visiting professor who is currently at Boston's Institute for Radiation-Induced Mass Studies (IRIMS), led a team, including Rowan physics professors Drs.

Quantum gravity is the holy grail of theoretical physics in the 21st century. The frustrating thing about the search for it is that the window in which we could experimentally access quantum effects of gravity is very far away from what we can reach. It would take particle energies as high as 1016 TeV to access them. That is 15 orders of magnitude higher than what even the Large Hadron Collider - The World's largest Microscope - will probe. Alternatively, one had to examine distances as small as 10-20femtometers!

Understanding the origin and behavior of the magnetic fields of planets and stars is the goal of research being carried out by many teams from all over the world. The VKS1 collaboration (CEA2, CNRS3,4, Ecole normale supérieure in Lyon3, Ecole normale supérieure in Paris4) has succeeded in creating in the laboratory a magnetic field in a highly turbulent flow of liquid sodium. Although the extreme conditions specific to astrophysical and geophysical environments cannot all be reproduced in the laboratory, the magnetic field observed shows remarkable similarities with magnetic fields observed in the cosmos. The findings represent a significant advance in the understanding of the mechanisms at work in the formation of natural magnetic fields.

Superconductivity -- the conduction of electricity with zero resistance -- sometimes can, it seems, become stalled by a form of electronic "gridlock."

A possible explanation why is offered by new research at Cornell University.

It's essential to all life, and numerous research papers are published about it every year. Yet there are still secrets to reveal about water, that seemingly simple compound we know as H2O.

Equipped with high-speed computers and the laws of physics, scientists from the University of Delaware and Radboud University in the Netherlands have developed a new method to "flush out" the hidden properties of water--and without the need for painstaking laboratory experiments.


The secrets of water revealed: UD's computer simulation of water molecules is based exclusively on quantum physics laws. Credit: Figure by Omololu Akin-Ojo and David Barczak, University of Delaware.

Researchers have used the world's thinnest material to create the world's smallest transistor – a breakthrough that could spark the development of a new type of super-fast computer chip.

Professor Andre Geim and Dr Kostya Novoselov from The School of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Manchester, reveal details of transistors that are only one atom thick and less than 50 atoms wide, in the March issue of Nature Materials.

They believe this innovation will allow the rapid miniaturisation of electronics to continue when the current silicon-based technology runs out of steam.

In recent decades, manufacturers have crammed more and more components onto integrated circuits.

Professor Sam Braunstein, of the University of York's Department of Computer Science, and Dr Arun Pati, of the Institute of Physics, Sainik School, Bhubaneswar, India, have established that quantum information cannot be 'hidden' in conventional ways, or in Braunstein's words, "quantum information can run but it can't hide."

This result gives a surprising new twist to one of the great mysteries about black holes.

Conventional (classical) information can vanish in two ways, either by moving to another place (e.g. across the internet), or by "hiding", such as in a coded message.

Physicists at JILA are using ultrashort pulses of laser light to reveal precisely why some electrons, like ballet dancers, hold their spin positions better than others—work that may help improve spintronic devices, which exploit the magnetism or "spin" of electrons in addition to or instead of their charge. One thing spinning electrons like, it turns out, is some disorder.

JILA is a joint venture of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Using the highest magnetic fields in the world, an international team of researchers has observed the quantum Hall effect – a much studied phenomenon of the quantum world – at room temperature.

The quantum Hall effect was previously believed to only be observable at temperatures close to absolute zero (equal to minus 459 degrees). But when scientists at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in the U.S. and at the High Field Magnet Laboratory in the Netherlands put a recently developed new form of carbon called graphene in very high magnetic fields, scientists were surprised by what they saw.


This image is a scanning electron microscope micrograph of a strongly crumpled graphene sheet on a silicon wafer.