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A proton collides with a lead nucleus, sending a shower of particles through the CMS detector.
Collisions between particles inside the Large Hadron Collider atom smasher have created what looks like a new form of matter.
The new kind of matter is called color-glass condensate, and is a liquidlike wave of gluons, which are elementary particles related to the strong force that sticks quarks together inside protons and neutrons (hence they are like "glue").
Scientists didn't expect this kind of matter would result from the type of particle collisions going on at the Large Hadron Collider at the time. However, it may explain some odd behavior seen inside the machine, which is a giant loop where particles race around underneath Switzerland and France.
A state of magnetism predicted in 1987 has been observed for the first time at MIT, with researchers saying that it might one day find applications in storage and communications technologies.
The “one day” is still quite some way off, however, with the researchers only at the very beginning of observing the properties of what’s called a “quantum spin liquid” (QSL).
The properties of a quantum spin liquid are revealed in the spin properties of atoms in a crystal. Rather than settling into a stable state, as happens in ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic materials, the “spin moment” in a QSL is constantly changing.
In the familiar compass needle, magnetism comes from the alignment of all spins in the same direction. The second magnetic state, antiferromagnetism, was first proposed in the 1930s. In an antiferromagnetic material, the spin states align in such a way that the overall magnetism is zero, unless energy is applied. This property is exploited in hard drive read heads.
In the new state of magnetism, the magnetic orientation of particles is unable to settle into an ordered state. Instead, they fluctuate constantly, driven by quantum interactions between particles.
QSL only exists in a type of crystal called a kagome lattice. In the material examined in the MIT research, Herbertsmithite (named after its discoverer), copper atoms lie at the corners of triangular structures. Two of the copper atoms are able to align their spins in an “up-down” arrangement – but the third copper atom can’t align with both the others, so it flips between up and down.
CERN’s Large Hadron Collider will be shutting down for the next two years for maintenance, a pause in operations that will no doubt herald a new wave of black hole jokes from those outside the scientific community. During the next 24 months, the accelerator will be subjected to a series of extensive repairs and upgrades that will affect every component of its hardware.
A newfound particle discovered at the world's largest atom smasher last year is indeed a Higgs boson, which is thought to play a role in how other subatomic particles get their mass, scientists reported Thursday at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy. Physicists announced on July 4, 2012, that, with more than 99 percent certainty, they had found a new elementary particle weighing about 126 times the mass of the proton that could be the long-sought Higgs boson. The Higgs is sometimes referred to as the "God particle," to the chagrin of many scientists, who prefer its official name.
Astronomers have detected water vapour and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of a planet 130 light years away from Earth. However, the planet, known only as HR8799c, is devoid of methane, a gas that can indicate life, the researchers said.