Week in Review: 6/5/16 – 6/11/16

June 10, 2016

UChicago physicists first to see behavior of quantum materials in curved space

Light and matter are typically viewed as distinct entities that follow their own, unique rules. Matter has mass and typically exhibits interactions with other matter, while light is massless and does not interact with itself. Yet, wave-particle duality tells us that matter and light both act sometimes like particles, and sometimes like waves. Harnessing the shared wave nature of light and matter, researchers at the University of Chicago, led by Jonathan Simon, the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Physics, have used light to explore some of the most intriguing questions in the quantum mechanics of materials. The topic encompasses complex and non-intuitive phenomena that are often difficult to explain in non-technical language, but which carry important implications to specialists in the field.

June 9, 2016

Combining Electrons and Lasers to Create Designer Beams for Materials Research

Scientists developed a new probe to measure dynamic behavior of materials on ultrafast timescales. The extreme ultraviolet (EUV) probe is highly controlled (with respect to polarization, energy spectrum, and pulse shape) and can be used to extract dynamic information on electronic and magnetic properties. Lasers from tabletop systems create these probes by interacting with electrons in parent gas atoms, emitting EUV light.

Why don’t birds get lost? They may have mastered quantum mechanics.

“We think they are using quantum mechanics to navigate,” said Daniel Kattnig, a researcher in the chemistry department at Oxford University. Kattnig works in a lab that studies radical pairs — a phenomenon in which atoms acquire extra electrons that are “entangled” with one another, each affecting the other’s motion even though they’re separated by space. It’s a field of science that’s difficult to understand under the best of circumstances; imagine trying to figure out it out with a bird brain. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/06/09/why-dont-birds-get-lost-they-may-have-mastered-quantum-mechanics/

June 8, 2016

Kansas State University researchers invent, patent new class of lasers

A new class of lasers developed by a team that included physics researchers at Kansas State University could help scientists measure distances to faraway targets, identify the presence of certain gases in the atmosphere and send images of the earth from space. http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/jun16/newlasers6816.html

June 7, 2016

‘Breaking Me Softly:’ UCF Fiber Findings Featured in Nature

A finding by a University of Central Florida researcher that unlocks a means of controlling   materials at the nanoscale and opens the door to a new generation of manufacturing is featured online today in the journal Nature.