Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons
ADVERTISEMENT

Quantum Mechanics

In 1905, Albert Einstein provided an explanation of the photoelectric effect – that various metals emit electrons when light is shined on them – by suggesting that a beam of light is not simply a wave of electromagnetic radiation, but is also made up of discrete packets of energy called photons. Though a long accepted tenet in physics, no experiment has ever directly observed this wave/particle duality. Now, however, researchers at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland claim to have captured an image of this phenomenon for the first time ever. Read More
Solar cell efficiency has made significant strides in recent times, but cells are still far from their maximum theoretical efficiency, and part of the reason is that the semiconductors we use to build them don’t have ideal electrical properties. Researchers at Northwestern University have now found a way to tweak an important electrical feature of transition metal oxides, compounds commonly used as semiconductors, to build the optimal light-absorbing material for solar cells, lasers and photoelectrochemical cells. Read More
In spite of substantial scientific investigation and convincing indirect evidence, dark matter still eludes direct detection and its existence essentially remains a tantalizing, but unproven, hypothesis. Notwithstanding this, nearly 85 percent of the predicted mass of the universe remains unaccounted for, and dark matter theory is still the prime contender to explain where it may be. Researchers at the University of Southampton have theorized the existence of a new "lighter" dark matter particle in an effort to help unravel the mystery. Read More
A successful test in passing information from light into matter – using the teleportation of the quantum state of a photon via optical fiber cable to a receiving crystal located over 25 km (15 mi) away – has been claimed by physicists at the University of Geneva. This test shattered the same team’s previous record and may herald the development of greater, long-distance teleportation techniques and qubit communications and computing capabilities. Read More
With a new device set to make unbreakable, quantum-based cryptographic security available for everyone for the very first time, ordinary people will be able to use cryptographic systems that – until recently – only existed as experiments in the most advanced physics laboratories. Developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) the device incorporates the quantum mechanics of random photon polarization to generate random numbers and create cryptographic keys. Read More
Researchers working at TU Delft's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in the Netherlands claim to have successfully transferred data via teleportation. By exploiting the quantum phenomenon known as particle entanglement, the team says it transferred information across a 3 m (10 ft) distance, without the information actually traveling through the intervening space. Read More
Quantum physics likes the cold. In particular, macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superconductivity, superfluidity, and Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are only found at quite low temperatures. While current refrigeration methods can attain temperatures of a few nanoKelvins, attaining still lower temperatures is largely prevented by the need to support the cooling matter against the pull of Earth's gravity. Now NASA's Cold Atom Lab, scheduled for installation on the ISS in 2016, will aim for temperatures roughly four orders of magnitude smaller. Read More
“Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it,” Niels Bohr famously wrote. However, Minecraft players can now be slightly closer to parsing the perplexities of quantum theory, thanks to qCraft, a collaboration between Google and Dr. Spyridon Michalakis, a scholar of quantum mechanics. What does this new mod bring to the game? Only quantum teleportation, observer dependencies, and Schrödinger’s Cat, for starters. Read More
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel for the development of multi-scale computer models of chemical reactions. Such computational chemical models are now the foundation for protein, enzyme, and pharmaceutical research, and combine a classical description of the motion and structure of large molecules with a quantum description of the regions within the molecule where a reaction takes place. Read More
Physicists have long thought that the singularities associated with gravity (like the inside of a black hole) should vanish in a quantum theory of gravity. It now appears that this may indeed be the case. Researchers in Uruguay and Louisiana have just published a description of a quantum black hole using loop quantum gravity in which the predictions of physics-ending singularities vanish, and are replaced by bridges to another universe. Read More
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT