The team used Brookhaven's giant atom smasher, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, or RHIC, to ram charged gold particles into each other billions of times, creating a "quark-gluon plasma" with a temperature hotter than anything known in the universe, even supernova explosions. The experiment is recreating the conditions of the universe a few microseconds after the Big Bang.
CU-Boulder physics department Professors Jamie Nagle and Edward Kinney are collaborators on the Pioneering High Energy Nuclear Interaction eXperiment, or PHENIX, one of four large detectors that helps physicists analyze the particle collisions using RHIC. PHENIX, which weighs 4,000 tons and has a dozen detector subsystems, sports three large steel magnets that produce high magnetic fields to bend charged particles along curved paths.
RHIC is the only machine in the world capable of colliding so called "heavy ions" -- atoms that have had their outer cloud of electrons stripped away. The research team used gold, one of the heaviest elements, for the experiment. The gold atoms were sent flying in opposite directions in RHIC, a 2.4-mile underground loop located in Upton, New York. The collisions melted protons and neutrons and liberated subatomic particles known as quarks and gluons.
"It is very exciting that scientists at the University of Colorado are world leaders in laboratory studies of both the coldest atomic matter and now the hottest nuclear matter in the universe," said Nagle, deputy spokesperson for the 500-person PHENIX team.
In 1995 CU-Boulder Distinguished Professor Carl Wieman and Adjoint Professor Eric Cornell of the physics department led a team of physicists that created the world's first Bose-Einstein condensate -- a new form of matter. Both Wieman and Cornell are fellows of JILA, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology where Cornell also is a fellow. The physicists, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics for their work in 2001, achieved the lowest temperature ever recorded at the time by cooling rubidium atoms to less that 170 billionths of a degree above absolute zero, causing individual atoms to form a "superatom" that behaved as a single entity.
The new experiments with RHIC produced a temperature 250,000 times hotter than the sun's interior. The collisions created miniscule bubbles heated to temperatures 40 times hotter than the interior of supernova. By studying the "soup" of subatomic particles created by the RHIC, researchers hope to gain insight into what occurred in the first microseconds after the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago, said Kinney.
Later this year physicists that include a team from CU-Boulder hope to use the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to ram ions together to create even hotter temperatures to replicate even earlier conditions following the Big Bang.
For more information on CU-Boulder's physics department visit http://www.colorado.edu/physics/Web/.
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Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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