Physics

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Firing beams of neutrons at samples of silicon could lead us to an elusive, unknown ‘fifth force’ of nature, according to researchers. Using a technique called pendellösung interferometry, a team of physicists led by Benjamin Heacock of the National Institute of Standards and Technology have used neutron beams to probe the crystal structure of silicon
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Nuclear fusion offers the tantalizing prospect of a sustainable energy source that can never be exhausted – and scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced what they describe as a “watershed moment” in making the technology viable. Fusion happens when two or more atomic nuclei merge together to create larger elements, releasing
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Physicists sifting through old particle accelerator data have found evidence of a highly-elusive, never-before-seen process: a so-called triangle singularity.  First envisioned by Russian physicist Lev Landau in the 1950s, a triangle singularity refers to a rare subatomic process where particles exchange identities before flying away from each other. In this scenario, two particles – called
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Vaccine and drug development, artificial intelligence, transport and logistics, climate science – these are all areas that stand to be transformed by the development of a full-scale quantum computer. And there has been explosive growth in quantum computing investment over the past decade. Yet current quantum processors are relatively small in scale, with fewer than
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Pure water is an almost perfect insulator. Yes, water found in nature conducts electricity – but that’s because of the impurities therein, which dissolve into free ions that allow an electric current to flow. Pure water only becomes “metallic” – electronically conductive – at extremely high pressures, beyond our current abilities to produce in a
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‘Magic angle’ twisted trilayer graphene doesn’t only have an impressively exotic name, it might be a particularly rare type of superconductor, according to new research – one that could be useful everywhere from medical equipment to quantum computers. Scientists are finding that stacking single-atom layers of graphene on top of each other at slightly different
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We’ve got another quantum computing milestone to report, with researchers in China unveiling a super-advanced 66-qubit quantum supercomputer called Zuchongzhi, which by one important metric is the most powerful machine of its kind we’ve seen to date. The performance of Zuchongzhi is undoubtedly impressive: it finished a designated quantum benchmark task in around 70 minutes, and
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Scientists have succeeded in combining two exciting material types together for the very first time: an ultrathin semiconductor just a single atom thick; and a superconductor, capable of conducting electricity with zero resistance. Both these materials have unusual and fascinating properties, and by putting them together through a delicate lab fabrication process, the team behind
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The mineral pyrite was historically nicknamed fool’s gold because of its deceptive resemblance to the precious metal. The term was often used during the California gold rush in the 1840s because inexperienced prospectors would claim discoveries of gold, but in reality it would be pyrite, composed of worthless iron disulfide (FeS₂). Ironically, pyrite crystals can
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There’s been a fabulous new achievement in particle physics. For the first time, scientists have managed to image the orbits of electrons within a quasiparticle known as an exciton – a result that has allowed them to finally measure the excitonic wave function describing the spatial distribution of electron momentum within the quasiparticle. This achievement