2016 Impact factor 1.288
Atomic, Molecular, Optical and Plasma Physics

News / Highlights / Colloquium

EPJ D Colloquium - Experimental progress in positronium laser physics

The field of experimental positronium physics has advanced significantly in the last few decades, with new areas of research driven by the development of techniques for trapping and manipulating positrons using Surko-type buffer gas traps. Large numbers of positrons (typically ≥106) accumulated in such a device may be ejected all at once, so as to generate an intense pulse.


EPJD Highlight - Antimatter study to benefit from recipe for ten-fold spatial compression of plasma

Example of raw images from the detector for identical particle operations with antiproton detection (left) and electron detection (right)

Improving the spatial compression of a mixed matter-antimatter trapped plasma brings us one step closer to grasping the acceleration of antimatter due to Earth’s gravity

An international team of physicists studying antimatter have now derived an improved way of spatially compressing a state of matter called non-neutral plasma, which is made up of a type of antimatter particles, called antiprotons, trapped together with matter particles, like electrons.


Topical Review - Theory of the n=2 levels in muonic helium-3 ions

In this new article in EPJ D, Franke et al. review the present understanding of Lamb shift, fine- and hyperfine structure of the 2S and 2P states in muonic helium-3 ions in anticipation of the results of the first measurements of several 2S -> 2P transition frequencies in the muonic helium-3 ion, 3He+. This ion is the bound state of a single negative muon μ- and a bare helium-3 nucleus (helion), 3He++.


EPJ D Highlight - Approximate quantum cloning: the new way of eavesdropping in quantum cryptography

New approximate cloning method facilitates quantum computing. Credit Markus Spiske via Unsplash.

New approximate cloning method avoids the previous limitations of quantum cloning to enhance quantum computing and quantum cryptography leaks

Cloning of quantum states is used for eavesdropping in quantum cryptography. It also has applications in quantum computation based on quantum information distribution. Uncertainty at the quantum scale makes exact cloning of quantum states impossible. Yet, they may be copied in an approximate way - with a certain level of probability - using a method called probabilistic quantum cloning, or PQC. In a new study published in EPJ D, Pinshu Rui from Anhui Xinhua and Anhui Universities, based in Hefei, China, and colleagues demonstrate that partial PQC of a given quantum state secretly chosen from a certain set of states, which can be expressed as the superposition of the other states, is possible.


EPJ D Highlight - Quantum noise reduction method for enhanced precision in atomic clocks

Atomic clock. Credit: Wendy via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Atomic Spin Squeezing: not the Olympic sport of your dreams, but a way of enhancing measurement reliability at the quantum scale

Noise: it affects us all by distracting us. Noise also occurs at the quantum scale and can e.g. interfere with the measurements of atomic fountain clocks or with quantum information processing. This is because at that scale, there are effects that don't exist at larger scales. As such, finding ways to reduce quantum noise can enhance the precision of measurement in the examples given above. Now a team of physicists including Aranya Bhattacherjee from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and colleagues are investigating ways of improving the analysis of quantum noise measurement in the case of spectroscopic investigations; their preliminary findings were released in a study in EPJ D. This method, called atomic spin squeezing, works by redistributing the uncertainty unevenly between two components of spin in these measurements systems, which operate at the quantum scale. The spin represents a degree of freedom of the quantum particles involved. Thus, the spin component with reduced uncertainty becomes more precise in delivering its measurement - as the two are inversely correlated. Potential applications include the development of future quantum networks.


EPJ D Highlight - Droplet explosion by shock waves, relevant to nuclear medicine

Simulation of a disintegrating droplet.

Ion beam cancer therapy could be improved if ion-induced shock waves are discovered. A new study explores how these predicted waves can be observed

An arrow shooting through an apple, makes for a spectacular explosive sight in slow motion. Similarly, energetic ions passing through liquid droplets induce shock waves, which can fragment the droplets. In a study published in EPJ D, Eugene Surdutovich from Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA with his colleagues from the MBN Research Centre, Frankfurt, Germany have proposed a solution to observe the predicted ion-induced shock waves. They believe these can be identified by observing the way incoming ions fragment liquid droplets into multiple smaller droplets. The discovery of such shock waves would change our understanding of the nature of radiation damage with ions to cancerous tumour. This matters for the optimisation of ion-beam cancer therapy, which requires a thorough understanding of the relation between the physical characteristics of the incoming ion beam and its effects on biological tissues.


EPJ D Colloquium - Two-dimensional laser-induced fluorescence in the gas phase: a spectroscopic tool for studying molecular spectroscopy and dynamics

Two-dimensional laser-induced fluorescence (2D-LIF) extends the usual laser-induced fluorescence technique by incorporating a second dimension, namely the wavelengths at which the excited molecules emit, thereby significantly enhancing the information that can be extracted. It allows overlapping absorption features, whether they arise from within the same molecule or from different molecules in a mixture, to be associated with their appropriate "parent" state and/or molecule.


EPJ D Highlight - Quantum manipulation power for quantum information processing gets a boost

Relationship between the output power and the number of photons.

Improving the efficiency of quantum heat engines involves reducing the number of photons in a cavity, ultimately impacting quantum manipulation power

Traditionally, heat engines produce heat from the exchange between high-temperature and low-temperature baths. Now, imagine a heat engine that operates at quantum scale, and a system made up of an atom interacting with light (photons) confined in a reflective cavity of sub-atomic dimensions. This setup can either be at a high or low temperature, emulating the two baths found in conventional heat engines. Controlling the parameters influencing how such quantum heat engine models work could dramatically increase our power to manipulate the quantum states of the coupled atom-cavity, and accelerate our ability to process quantum information. In order for this to work, we have to find new ways of improving the efficiency of quantum heat engines. In a study published in EPJ D, Kai-Wei Sun and colleagues from Beihang University, Beijing, China, show methods for controlling the output power and efficiency of a quantum thermal engine based on the two-atom cavity. In the familiar heat engine model at macroscopic scale, referred to as the Carnot heat engine, the efficiency increases as a function of the ratio between the temperatures of the low-and high-temperature baths. By comparison, the efficiency of two-level quantum heat engines is related to the level of quantum entanglement in these two states, which are either at a low or a high temperature, and display the same probability of being occupied.


EPJ D Highlight - How well electron transport works in furfural biogas

Schematic representation of the cis-isomer structure of furfural

A new study offers scientists a tool for assessing the energy efficiency of biomass-derived fuel

Furfural is a promising candidate in the quest for alternative biofuels. The combustion industries are very interested in what could become a potential new type of fuel derived from atmospheric-plasma treatment of biomass. But before the gas can be considered for use on a large scale, it is essential to understand its energy characteristics. Now, a Spanish team has published its findings on the gas's energy efficiency in EPJ D. Ana Lozano from the Institute of Fundamental Physics in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues studied an electron beam entering a cell filled with furfural gas molecules to study its scattering characteristics, providing the first accurate experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of the interaction between electron and gas particles—via electron scattering cross-section measurements— for selected electron beam impact energies.


EPJ D Highlight - Folding biomolecule model shows how form dictates function

New theoretical calculations of the conformation of very large biomolecules helps in understanding interactions with DNA strands as part of biological functions

Proteins are fundamental macromolecules for life, with a diversity of functions, like acting as channels through cellular walls, catalysers, DNA benders, etc. When it comes to these functions, what matters is the layout of the secondary branches, made up of each protein’s amino acids, such as alanine, glutamine, arginine, phenylalanine and tyrosine. These are stabilised mainly by weak interactions-- such as hydrogen bonds, intramolecular interactions, and inter molecular dispersive forces, -- between the backbone and the lateral chain of their amino acids. In a new study published in EPJ D, Jorge González from the University of the Basque Country, in Leioa, Spain and colleagues have developed a theoretical method to calculate the most stable disposition that biomolecules try to adopt when they are together, or in close contact in cases where the bonding is weak. They also demonstrate that their model is consistent with our understanding of the same systems gained from experiments, such as spectroscopic analysis.


T. Calarco, H. Kersten and A.V. Solov'yov
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