A team of physicists from Rice University in the U.S. and the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) in Austria has put their heads together for over 15 years to uncover a quantum conundrum.
The study made the incredible discovery of quantum entanglement among “billions and billions” of electrons in a quantum critical matter — or, a “strange metal.”
The study was published in the journal Science on Friday.
Fifteen years’ worth of research
The research studied the electronic and magnetic behavior of a “strange metal” compound of ytterbium, rhodium, and silicon as it got close to and passed through a critical transition at the boundary between two quantum phases.
This study offers the strongest and most direct evidence to date of the role of entanglement in bringing about quantum criticality, noted Rice University theoretical physicist and co-author of the study, Qimiao Si.
Si stated “When we think about quantum entanglement, we think about small things.”
He continued, “We don’t associate it with macroscopic objects. But at a quantum critical point, things are so collective that we have this chance to see the effects of entanglement, even in a metallic film that contains billions of billions of quantum mechanical objects.”
Rice University researchers worked alongside scientists from TU Wien to overcome several challenges the study brought about.
TU Wien researchers developed a technique that involved highly complex materials synthesis to create incredibly pure films which contain one part ytterbium for every two parts of rhodium and silicon.
Rice University researchers performed terahertz spectroscopy experiments on these films at the incredibly low temperatures of up to 1.4 Kelvin. That’s -271 degrees Celcius (-457 degrees Fahrenheit).
Rice University graduate student and co-author of the paper, Junichiro Kono commented that “Less than 0.1% of the total terahertz radiation was transmitted, and the signal, which was the variation of conductivity as a function of frequency, was a further few percents of that.”
Kono continued “It took many hours to take reliable data at each temperature to average over many, many measurements, and it was necessary to take data at many, many temperatures to prove the existence of scaling.”
A lot of patience and precision were required for this study, but the outcome is impressive.
As Si explained “Quantum entanglement is the basis for storage and processing of quantum information.”
“At the same time, quantum criticality is believed to drive high-temperature superconductivity. So our findings suggest that the same underlying physics — quantum criticality — can lead to a platform for both quantum information and high-temperature superconductivity. When one contemplates that possibility, one cannot help but marvel at the wonder of nature.”
Bright-Red "Blood Snow" Is Falling From the Sky in Antarctica – Futurism
A Facebook post by Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science shows a research station on an island just off the coast of Antarctica’s northernmost peninsula covered in “blood snow.”
The gory-looking scene is not the result of a seal hunt gone wrong — it’s an astonishingly red-pigmented, microscopic algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis, which thrives in freezing water as the ice melts during Antarctica’s record-breaking warm summer.
When summer hits the polar regions, the algae bloom, staining the snow and ice around it in blood-resembling red, as Live Science explains. The phenomenon was first noticed by Aristotle thousands of years ago and is often referred to as “watermelon snow” thanks to its subtly sweet scent and color.
What makes the blooming algae red is the same stuff that give carrots and watermelons their reddish tint — carotenoids.
It’s a stunning display of a natural phenomenon — but it also creates a nasty feedback loop that causes the ice to melt faster. The red color causes less sunlight to be reflected off the snow, causing it to melt faster, as the Ukrainian team explains in its post. The accelerated melting then causes more algae to grow, completing the cycle.
It’s not the only surreal display in the world caused by such a feedback loop, as Live Science points out. Blooming algae caused sea foam to swallow up the coast of a Spanish town in January. Similar algae blooms even caused shores around islands in the East China Sea to glow blue.
READ MORE: Spooky ‘blood snow’ invades Antarctic island [Live Science]
More on algae: A New Bioreactor Captures as Much Carbon as an Acre of Trees
Scientists detect biggest explosion since Big Bang – BBC News
Scientists have detected evidence for a colossal explosion in space – five times bigger than anything observed before.
The huge release of energy is thought to have emanated from a supermassive black hole some 390 million light years from Earth.
The eruption is said to have left a giant dent in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster.
Researchers reported their findings in The Astrophysical Journal.
They had long thought there was something strange about Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, which is a giant aggregation containing thousands of individual galaxies intermingled with hot gas and dark matter. X-ray telescopes had spied a curious curved edge to it.
The speculation was that this might be the wall of a cavity that had been sculpted in its gas by emissions from a central black hole.
Black holes are famous for gorging on infalling matter, but they will also expel prodigious amounts of material and energy in the form of jets.
Scientists at first doubted their explanation however, because the cavity was so big; you could fit 15 of our own Milky Way galaxies in a row into the hole.
And that meant any black hole explosion would have to have been unimaginably prodigious.
But new telescope data from the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) in Australia and the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in India seem to confirm it.
“In some ways, this blast is similar to how the eruption of Mount St Helens (volcano) in 1980 ripped off the top of the mountain,” said Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, and lead author of the study.
Astronomers have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the universe – CBC.ca
Astronomers have discovered the biggest explosion seen in the universe, originating from a super-massive black hole.
Scientists reported Thursday that the blast came from a black hole in a cluster of galaxies 390 million light-years away.
The explosion was so large it carved out a crater in the hot gas that could hold 15 Milky Ways, said lead author Simona Giacintucci of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington.
It’s five times bigger than the previous record holder.
Astronomers used NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory to make the discovery, along with a European space observatory and ground telescopes. They believe the explosion came from the heart of the Ophiuchus cluster of thousands of galaxies: a large galaxy at the centre contains a colossal black hole.
First hint of explosion came 4 years ago
Black holes don’t just draw matter in. They also blast out jets of material and energy.
The first hint of this giant explosion actually came in 2016. Chandra images of the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster revealed an unusual curved edge, but scientists ruled out an eruption given the amount of energy that would have been needed to carve out such a large cavity in the gas.
The two space observatories, along with radio data from telescopes in Australia and India, confirmed that the curvature was, indeed, part of a cavity.
“The radio data fit inside the X-rays like a hand in a glove,” co-author Maxim Markevitch, of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said in a statement. “This is the clincher that tells us an eruption of unprecedented size occurred here.”
The blast is believed to be over by now: There are no signs of jets currently shooting from the black hole.
More observations are needed in other wavelengths to better understand what occurred, according to the team.
The findings appeared in the Astrophysical Journal.
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