Tag Archives: electrons

Fast and curious: Electrons hurtle into the interior of a new class of quantum materials

As smartphones get smarter and computers compute faster, researchers actively search for ways to speed up the processing of information. Now, scientists at Princeton University have made a step forward in developing a new class of materials that could be used in future technologies.

They have discovered a new quantum effect that enables electrons — the negative-charge-carrying particles that make today’s electronic devices possible — to dash through the interior of these materials with very little resistance. (more…)

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A Superconductor-Surrogate Earns Its Stripes

Berkeley Lab Study Reveals Origins of an Exotic Phase of Matter

Understanding superconductivity – whereby certain materials can conduct electricity without any loss of energy – has proved to be one of the most persistent problems in modern physics. Scientists have struggled for decades to develop a cohesive theory of superconductivity, largely spurred by the game-changing prospect of creating a superconductor that works at room temperature, but it has proved to be a tremendous tangle of complex physics.

Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have teased out another important tangle from this giant ball of string, bringing us a significant step closer to understanding how high- temperature superconductors work their magic. Working with a model compound, the team illuminated the origins of the so-called “stripe phase” in which electrons become concentrated in stripes throughout a material, and which appears to be linked to superconductivity. (more…)

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UCLA physicists played prominent role in Nobel Prize-winning Higgs boson research

Two large collaborations of scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made worldwide news in July 2012 when they announced independent observations of the elusive Higgs boson particle — a discovery hailed as one of the greatest scientific accomplishments of recent decades.

This so-called “God particle” was first postulated some 50 years ago as a crucial element of the modern theory of the forces of nature — it is, physicists say, what gives everything in the universe mass — and it had been the subject of worldwide searches ever since. (more…)

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Particle Accelerator That Can Fit on a Tabletop Opens New Chapter for Science Research

AUSTIN, Texas — Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have built a tabletop particle accelerator that can generate energies and speeds previously reached only by major facilities that are hundreds of meters long and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

“We have accelerated about half a billion electrons to 2 gigaelectronvolts over a distance of about 1 inch,” said Mike Downer, professor of physics in the College of Natural Sciences. “Until now that degree of energy and focus has required a conventional accelerator that stretches more than the length of two football fields. It’s a downsizing of a factor of approximately 10,000.” (more…)

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Flawed Diamonds Promise Sensory Perfection

Berkeley Lab researchers and their colleagues extend electron spin in diamond for incredibly tiny magnetic detectors

From brain to heart to stomach, the bodies of humans and animals generate weak magnetic fields that a supersensitive detector could use to pinpoint illnesses, trace drugs – and maybe even read minds. Sensors no bigger than a thumbnail could map gas deposits underground, analyze chemicals, and pinpoint explosives that hide from other probes.

Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, working with colleagues from Harvard University, have improved the performance of one of the most potent possible sensors of magnetic fields on the nanoscale – a diamond defect no bigger than a pair of atoms, called a nitrogen vacancy (NV) center. (more…)

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Long Predicted Atomic Collapse State Observed in Graphene

Berkeley Lab researchers recreate elusive phenomenon with artificial nuclei

The first experimental observation of a quantum mechanical phenomenon that was predicted nearly 70 years ago holds important implications for the future of graphene-based electronic devices. Working with microscopic artificial atomic nuclei fabricated on graphene, a collaboration of researchers led by scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have imaged the “atomic collapse” states theorized to occur around super-large atomic nuclei.

“Atomic collapse is one of the holy grails of graphene research, as well as a holy grail of atomic and nuclear physics,” says Michael Crommie, a physicist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Physics Department. “While this work represents a very nice confirmation of basic relativistic quantum mechanics predictions made many decades ago, it is also highly relevant for future nanoscale devices where electrical charge is concentrated into very small areas.” (more…)

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Researchers Propose New Way to Probe Earth’s Deep Interior

AUSTIN, Texas — Researchers from Amherst College and The University of Texas at Austin have described a new technique that might one day reveal in higher detail than ever before the composition and characteristics of the deep Earth.

There’s just one catch: The technique relies on a fifth force of nature (in addition to gravity, the weak and strong nuclear forces and electromagnetism) that has not yet been detected, but which some particle physicists think might exist. Physicists call this type of force a long-range spin-spin interaction. If it does exist, this exotic new force would connect matter at Earth’s surface with matter hundreds or even thousands of kilometers below, deep in Earth’s mantle. In other words, the building blocks of atoms—electrons, protons, and neutrons—separated over vast distances would “feel” each other’s presence. The way these particles interact could provide new information about the composition and characteristics of the mantle, which is poorly understood because of its inaccessibility. (more…)

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UCLA Engineers Develop New Energy-Efficient Computer Memory Using Magnetic Materials

MeRAM is up to 1,000 times more energy-efficient than current technologies

By using electric voltage instead of a flowing electric current, researchers from UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have made major improvements to an ultra-fast, high-capacity class of computer memory known as magnetoresistive random access memory, or MRAM.

The UCLA team’s improved memory, which they call MeRAM for magnetoelectric random access memory, has great potential to be used in future memory chips for almost all electronic applications, including smart-phones, tablets, computers and microprocessors, as well as for data storage, like the solid-state disks used in computers and large data centers. (more…)

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