Tag Archives: paul dirac

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 Direct Look at Graphene

Direct Imaging by Berkeley Lab Researchers Confirms the Importance of Electron-Electron Interactions in Graphene

Perhaps no other material is generating as much excitement in the electronics world as graphene, sheets of pure carbon just one atom thick through which electrons can race at nearly the speed of light – 100 times faster than they move through silicon. Superthin, superstrong, superflexible and superfast as an electrical conductor, graphene has been touted as a potential wonder material for a host of electronic applications, starting with ultrafast transistors. For the vast potential of graphene to be fully realized, however, scientists must first learn more about what makes graphene so super. The latest step in this direction has been taken by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

Michael Crommie, a physicist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Physics Department, led a study in which the first direct observations at microscopic lengths were recorded of how electrons and holes respond to a charged impurity – a single Coulomb potential – placed on a gated graphene device. The results provide experimental support to the theory that interactions between electrons are critical to graphene’s extraordinary properties. (more…)

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Theoretical Breakthrough: Generating Matter and Antimatter from the Vacuum

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Under just the right conditions — which involve an ultra-high-intensity laser beam and a two-mile-long particle accelerator — it could be possible to create something out of nothing, according to University of Michigan researchers.

The scientists and engineers have developed new equations that show how a high-energy electron beam combined with an intense laser pulse could rip apart a vacuum into its fundamental matter and antimatter components, and set off a cascade of events that generates additional pairs of particles and antiparticles. (more…)

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Trapping Antihydrogen: Antimatter Atoms Successfully Stored for the First Time

An artist’s impression of an antihydrogen atom – a negatively charged antiproton orbited by a positively charge anti-electron, or positron – trapped by magnetic fields. Image credit:Katie Bertsche

Atoms of antimatter have been trapped and stored for the first time by the ALPHA collaboration, an international team of scientists working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, Switzerland. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have made key contributions to the ongoing international effort.

ALPHA stored atoms of antihydrogen, consisting of a single negatively charged antiproton orbited by a single positively charged anti-electron (positron). While the number of trapped anti-atoms is far too small to fuel the Starship Enterprise’s matter-antimatter reactor, this advance brings closer the day when scientists will be able to make precision tests of the fundamental symmetries of nature. Measurements of anti-atoms may reveal how the physics of antimatter differs from that of the ordinary matter that dominates the world we know today.

Large quantities of antihydrogen atoms were first made at CERN eight years ago by two other teams. Although they made antimatter they couldn’t store it, because the anti-atoms touched the ordinary-matter walls of the experiments within millionths of a second after forming and were instantly annihilated—completely destroyed by conversion to energy and other particles. (more…)

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