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Quantum Mechanics

Science

Researchers discover new property of light with a twist

Light is a fundamental avenue of study in physics, and its properties are well established with steadfast rules and invariable constraints. So, until recently, we thought we knew just about everything there was to know about it. But now physicists from Trinity College Dublin have added a twist to the existing canon by demonstrating a new form of light with a total angular momentum that has a half-integer spin. In other words, light that does not obey the rules.Read More

Quantum Computing

Primitive quantum computers may already outperform standard machines for very specific tasks

Quantum bits (qubits) are the building blocks of quantum computers, but putting enough of them together in the one place to run computations like those expected in a standard computer is difficult to say the least. But now researchers have come up with a way to use even primitive quantum computers to run calculations that can already outperform the capabilities of classical computing for very specific tasks.Read More

Science

Bizarre fourth state of water discovered

You already know that water can have three states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. But scientists at the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) have discovered that when it's put under extreme pressure in small spaces, the life-giving liquid can exhibit a strange fourth state known as tunneling.Read More

Physics

World's smallest engine powered by a single atom

A team of German physicists has just created the world's smallest working engine. Powered by a single electrically-charged calcium atom, the new device is claimed to have the equivalent thermodynamic efficiency (if scaled to size) of an average automobile engine. Basically a heat-exchange engine, its single-atom acts as both fuel and powerplant and is heated by electrical noise and cooled by laser beam.Read More

Physics

MIT physicists build world's first fermion microscope

MIT researchers claim to have created a method to better observe fermions – the sub-atomic building blocks of matter – by constructing a microscope capable of viewing them in groups of a thousand at a time. A laser technique is used to herd the fermions into a viewing area and then freeze them in place so all of the captured particles can be imaged simultaneously.Read More

Physics

Image captures light as both wave and particle for very first time

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

Electronics

New technique could produce the ideal light-absorbing material for solar cells

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

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