News / Highlights / Colloquium
- Published on 02 December 2015
High-precision and high-accuracy magnetic field measurement to support quest for missing antimatter in the universe
Every measurement is potentially prone to systematic error. The more sensitive the measurement method, the more important it is to make sure it is also accurate. This is key for example in measuring magnetic fields in state-of-the-art fundamental physics experiments. Now, an international team of physicists has developed an extremely high-precision method for the determination of magnetic fields. The resulting device, they found, has an intrinsic sensitivity that makes it ideal for fundamental physics and cosmology experiments attempting to explain the missing antimatter of the universe. The findings by Hans-Christian Koch from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and colleagues have just been published in EPJ D.
- Published on 17 November 2015
Study investigates how best to stabilise the output of quantum dot LEDs
Noise is an issue in optical telecommunications. And findings means of controlling noise is key to physicists investigating light-emitting diodes or lasers. Now, an Italo-Iraqi team has worked on a particular type of light source, called the quantum dot light-emitting diode (QDLED). In a study published in EPJ D, Kais Al Namee from the National Institute of Optics, in Florence, Italy and colleagues, demonstrate that modulating bias current of the QDLED could lead to countering the noise. This, in turn, leads to stabilising such light sources, making them better suited for optical telecommunications.
- Published on 23 September 2015
Chinese scientists uncover a novel way of stopping light in a state that stores information encoded in photons, opening the door to applications in quantum information processing
A team of Chinese physicists has now developed a way to confine light. This is significant because the approach allows quantum memories stored within photons to be retained. These findings stem from a study by Nan Sun from Nanjing University of Posts & Telecommunications, China, and colleagues, which has just been published in EPJ D. The results may herald the advent of a multitude of hybrid, optoelectronic devices relying on the use of quantum information stored in photons for processing information that can be used in communication networks or quantum computing.
- Published on 27 July 2015
Physicists now better understand wave systems exhibiting unusual disturbances by identifying growing localised patterns as early indicators of such disturbances
Physicists like to study unusual kinds of waves, like freak waves found in the sea. Such wave movements can be studied using models designed to describe the dynamics of disturbances. Theoretical physicists, based in France have focused on finding ways of best explaining how wave disturbance occurs under very specific initial conditions that are key to the genesis of these disturbances. They looked for solutions to this puzzle by resolving a type of equation, called the nonlinear Schrödinger equation. It is solved by applying a method designed for studying instabilities tailored to these initial conditions. Their approach makes it possible to locate exactly where and how pertinent information used to identify disturbance patterns can be extracted from localised disturbances' characteristics. The findings have been published in EPJ D by Saliya Coulibaly, from the University of Lille, and colleagues.
- Published on 22 July 2015
How many different measurement settings are needed in order to uniquely determine a pure quantum state, and how should such measurements be chosen? This problem goes back to a famous remark by Wolfgang Pauli in 1933, in which he raised the question whether or not the position and the momentum distributions are enough to define the wave function uniquely modulo a global phase. The original Pauli problem has a negative answer, but it has evolved into many interesting variants and has been studied from several fruitful perspectives.
In this review article the authors concentrate on a specific form of the Pauli problem, which is concerned with the minimal number of orthonormal bases in a finite dimensional Hilbert space that is needed in order to distinguish all pure quantum states.
- Published on 29 June 2015
Hyperfine structure of light absorption by short-lived cadmium atom isotopes reveals characteristics of the nucleus that matter for high precision detection methods
Atoms absorb and emit light of various wavelengths. Physicists have long known that there are some tiny changes, or shifts, in the light that gets absorbed or emitted, due to the properties of the atomic nucleus. Now, a team of scientists has elucidated the so-called hyperfine structure of cadmium atoms. Relying on a method called laser spectroscopy, they have measured variations in the energy transition within cadmium atom - Cd in the periodic table. They studied a chain of isotopes with an odd number of neutrons ranging from 59 in 107Cd to 75 in 123Cd. From these high-precision measurements, they were able to identify the physical cause of the shift within the nucleus. These findings by Nadja Frömmgen from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, in Germany, and international colleagues have now been published in EPJ D.
EPJ D Colloquium - Recent advances in the application of the Schwinger multichannel method with pseudopotentials to electron-molecule collisions
- Published on 18 June 2015
A new Colloquium paper published in EPJ D describes recent advances in the use of the Schwinger multichannel method and considers potential future applications of the technique. Based on the Schwinger variational principle for the scattering amplitude, the Schwinger multichannel method was designed to account for exchange, polarization and electronically multichannel coupling effects in the low-energy region of electron scattering from molecules with arbitrary geometry.
- Published on 13 May 2015
Carbon-based nanoparticles could be used to sensitize cancerous tumours to proton radiotherapy and induce more focused destruction of cancer cells, a new study shows
Radiotherapy used in cancer treatment is a promising treatment method, albeit rather indiscriminate. Indeed, it affects neighbouring healthy tissues and tumours alike. Researchers have thus been exploring the possibilities of using various radio-sensitizers; these nanoscale entities focus the destructive effects of radiotherapy more specifically on tumour cells. In a study published in EPJ D, physicists have now shown that the production of low-energy electrons by radio-sensitizers made of carbon nanostructures hinges on a key physical mechanism referred to as plasmons—collective excitations of so-called valence electrons; a phenomenon already documented in rare metal sensitizers. This reseach was conducted by Alexey Verkhovtsev, affiliated with the MBN Research Center in Frankfurt, Germany and A.F. Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute in St Petersburg, Russia and an international team.
- Published on 15 April 2015
Physicists have now devised an elegant plasma pressure diagnostic method by studying forces akin to the pressure change at the inner walls of energy saving light bulb when the light is switched on
Could the mundane action of switching on an energy saving light bulb still hold secrets? It does, at least for physicists. These bulbs are interesting because they contain low-temperature plasma—a gas containing charges from ions and electrons. Now, a German team has developed a method that could be used for measuring the increase in the plasma force on the inner side of such a light bulb when the light is switched on. These findings from Thomas Trottenberg and colleagues from Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany, have just been published in EPJ D. They have implications for plasma diagnostics concerning plasma-wall interactions used in surface modification and the production of thin film solar cells and microchips.
- Published on 17 March 2015
Data on the transport of electrical charges in water vapour provide the key ingredients to new plasma models applicable to medicine
Applications of plasmas in medicine are a new frontier in therapeutic treatment. For example, they can help in stimulating tissue regeneration in the contexts of wound healing and dermatology. Before these and further applications can be developed, it is essential to understand the processes at work in plasmas - a unique kind of gas-like state of matter containing charged particles. Now a study published in EPJ D by a team led by Zoran Petrović from the University of Belgrade, Serbia, provides previously unavailable data on oxygen ion transport and the likelihood of such ions interacting with water molecules. These could contribute to new models of plasmas in liquids which account for how discharges are created in water vapour.