Quantum Physics

  • The tractor beam is a long-time staple of sci-fi, but now Australian researchers have created a real-world version. While it won’t exactly be capturing enemy spaceships anytime soon, the device can use light to pull in and trap atoms, which may be handy for quantum communications or memory systems.
  • Quantum entanglement is an eerie concept that Einstein himself had trouble accepting, and yet it’s been experimentally demonstrated. To find out whether there are other variables, a new experiment provides the strongest evidence so far of quantum entanglement or a 12-billion year “conspiracy."
  • The fastest-spinning manmade object has been created in a lab at Purdue University. This microscopic rotor is made up of two silica nanoparticles stuck together to form a "dumbbell," and by hitting it with laser light the team has sent it spinning at a blistering 60 billion rpm.
  • In a quantum network, information is passed instantly between nodes that have been entangled, and are unhackable since any unauthorized observation of the data will scramble it. Delft scientists have now overcome a hurdle to that technology, by generating quantum links faster than they deteriorate.
  • Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking passed away earlier this year, but his legacy to science will live on. His final theory on the origin of the universe has now been published, and it offers an interesting departure from earlier ideas about the nature of the “multiverse.”
  • Quantum entanglement is the idea that two distant atoms can become so entwined that changes to one can instantly affect the other. Now scientists have managed to demonstrate it on a much larger scale, which is beginning to cross over into our everyday world.
  • Photons, the elementary particles that make up light, are fast, weightless and don't interact with each other. But in new experiments, physicists have now created a new form of light, demonstrating that groups of photons can be made to interact with each other, slow down and gain mass.
  • Physicists have discovered a new form of matter called excitonium. First theorized almost 50 years ago, the Illinois researchers have found a “smoking gun” that they claim is the first definitive proof that excitonium exists.
  • Is our entire universe just a computer simulation? Theoretical physicists believe they’ve found proof that our universe is far too complex to be captured in any simulation. According to the researchers, the hypothesis is done in by gravitational anomalies, tiny “twists” in the fabric of spacetime.
  • Supercomputers and quantum computers rely on a “brute force” approach to solve problems, performing billions of calculations very quickly until they arrive at the optimal solution. But a new system has the potential to outperform them, using “magic dust” as a beacon to highlight the solution.
  • In quantum physics particles can tunnel through barriers that they shouldn’t normally be able to. While this process, called quantum tunneling, is well documented, physicists haven’t been able to tell if it happens instantly or takes time, but now a team from the Max Planck Institute has an answer.
  • If you kick a ball on the ground, it will roll away from you – that’s pretty basic science. But mathematicians have found that a quantum ball would roll toward your foot instead. When a force is applied to them, quantum particles can move in the opposite direction, in an effect known as “backflow.”