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  • richardmitnick 4:00 pm on January 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists take the first step towards extending the Standard Model in physics", Atomic Physics, Atomic spectroscopy, , , Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University, , Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)   

    From Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University and Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)via phys.org: “Scientists take the first step towards extending the Standard Model in physics” 

    Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University


    Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

    From Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Polytechnic University and Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), and a number of German scientific organizations, calculated previously unexplored effects in atoms. The results were published in the Physical Review A, highlighted as an Editor’s Choice article.



    January 22, 2020

    Scientists analyzed their results using the King plot. Credit: Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University

    For many years, researchers all over the world have been looking for new particles beyond the currently accepted Standard Model of fundamental interactions in physics.


    Such research is most famously carried out at the Large Hadron Collider.


    CERN map

    CERN LHC Maximilien Brice and Julien Marius Ordan

    CERN LHC particles



    CERN ATLAS Image Claudia Marcelloni CERN/ATLAS


    CERN/ALICE Detector

    CERN CMS New

    CERN LHCb New II

    A group of scientists from Russia and Germany is engaged in another approach to this problem based on methods of atomic spectroscopy. Such studies are less resource-intensive, but very promising due to the fact that the accuracy of experiments is higher in atomic physics than in high-energy physics. SPbPU scientists calculated frequencies of electronic transitions in different isotopes of one element, in this case, argon.

    Researchers examined several states of argon ions with four, five, and six electrons. These are optimal electronic configurations. On one hand, they can be reliably calculated, and on the other hand, they are accessible for experiments. Scientists analyzed their results using the King plot, a widely used method for systematic studies of the isotope shifts of two atomic transitions in a chain of isotopes.

    Modern theory claims that the King plot should be linear to a very high accuracy. Until recently, possible nonlinear effects were considered much too small to be of any practical interest. But the international scientific group calculated the new effects and found that the nonlinearities in the King plot are stronger by four orders than was previously expected (at the 10 kHz level).

    Previously, due to the limitations of the instruments, such effects couldn’t be detected, but a new generation of spectroscopic experiments increases the achievable accuracy by several orders of magnitude, thus making these effects observable. This is an important contribution to science, confirming that generally accepted ideas should to be adjusted.

    “If the King plot turns out to be slightly curved, this may be a manifestation of new particles beyond the Standard Model of physics. It is necessary to continue studying these effects in other atoms with a larger number of electrons in order to reduce the influence of calculation errors,” said Vladimir Yerokhin, chief researcher at the Center for Advanced Studies of SPbPU.

    In the near future, the theoretical predictions obtained by scientists of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University will be verified experimentally at the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt using the facilities which trap ions in the magnetic and electric fields and investigate them using the quantum logic methods.

    “If the experiment is successful, we can obtain restrictions on parameters of the proposed new particle beyond the Standard Model. In addition, such experiments will help to determine whether the fundamental constants change over time, which is of great importance for our understanding of the development of the Universe,” commented Vladimir Yerokhin.

    See the full article here .


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    Science X™ is a leading web-based science, research and technology news service which covers a full range of topics. These include physics, earth science, medicine, nanotechnology, electronics, space, biology, chemistry, computer sciences, engineering, mathematics and other sciences and technologies. Launched in 2004 (Physorg.com), Science X’s readership has grown steadily to include 5 million scientists, researchers, and engineers every month. Science X publishes approximately 200 quality articles every day, offering some of the most comprehensive coverage of sci-tech developments world-wide. Science X community members enjoy access to many personalized features such as social networking, a personal home page set-up, article comments and ranking, the ability to save favorite articles, a daily newsletter, and other options.
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  • richardmitnick 12:22 pm on August 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Atomic Physics, , , ,   

    From Imperial College London: “Lab-based dark energy experiment narrows search options for elusive force” 

    Imperial College London
    From Imperial College London

    19 August 2019
    Hayley Dunning

    No image caption or credit.

    An experiment to test a popular theory of dark energy has found no evidence of new forces, placing strong constraints on related theories.

    Dark energy is the name given to an unknown force that is causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate.

    Some physicists propose dark energy is a ‘fifth’ force that acts on matter, beyond the four already known – gravitational, electromagnetic, and the strong and weak nuclear interactions.

    However, researchers think this fifth force may be ‘screened’ or ‘hidden’ for large objects like planets or weights on Earth, making it difficult to detect.

    Now, researchers at Imperial College London and the University of Nottingham have tested the possibility that this fifth force is acting on single atoms, and found no evidence for it in their most recent experiment.

    This could rule out popular theories of dark energy that modify the theory of gravity, and leaves fewer places to search for the elusive fifth force.

    Finding the fifth force

    The experiment, performed at Imperial College London and analysed by theorists at the University of Nottingham, is reported today in Physical Review Letters.

    Professor Ed Copeland, from the Centre for Astronomy & Particle Physics at the University of Nottingham, said: “This experiment, connecting atomic physics and cosmology, has allowed us to rule out a wide class of models that have been proposed to explain the nature of dark energy, and will enable us to constrain many more dark energy models.”

    The experiment tested theories of dark energy that propose the fifth force is comparatively weaker when there is more matter around – the opposite of how gravity behaves.

    This would mean it is strong in a vacuum like space, but is weak when there is lots of matter around. Therefore, experiments using two large weights would mean the force becomes too weak to measure.

    Experiment with a single atom

    The researchers instead tested a larger weight with an incredibly small weight – a single atom – where the force should have been observed if it exists.

    The team used an atom interferometer to test whether there were any extra forces that could be the fifth force acting on an atom. A marble-sized sphere of metal was placed in a vacuum chamber and atoms were allowed to free-fall inside the chamber.

    The theory is, if there is a fifth force acting between the sphere and atom, the atom’s path will deviate slightly as it passes by the sphere, causing a change in the path of the falling atom. However, no such force was found.

    Professor Ed Hinds, from the Department of Physics at Imperial, said: “It is very exciting to be able to discover something about the evolution of the universe using a table-top experiment in a London basement.”

    See the full article here .


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    Imperial College London

    Imperial College London is a science-based university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial is committed to developing the next generation of researchers, scientists and academics through collaboration across disciplines. Located in the heart of London, Imperial is a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle global challenges.

  • richardmitnick 8:58 am on April 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Atomic Physics, , , ,   

    From XFEL: “European XFEL scientists look deep into the atom” 

    XFEL bloc

    European XFEL

    09 April 2015
    No Writer Credit

    Digging into the “Giant Resonance”, scientists find hints of new quantum physics

    A cooperation between theoretical and experimental physicists has uncovered previously unknown quantum states inside atoms. The results, described in a paper published today in the journal Nature Communications, allow a better understanding of some aspects of electron behaviour in atoms, which in turn could lead to better insights into technologically relevant materials.

    In this study, scientists from European XFEL and the Center for Free Electron Laser Science (CFEL) at DESY examined the unknown quantum states in atoms of the noble gas xenon using DESY’s X-ray laser FLASH.

    XFEL Campus


    The bright X-ray light of free-electron lasers such as FLASH and the European XFEL allowed the scientists to observe these states for the first time. (CFEL is a joint venture between DESY, the University of Hamburg, and the Max Planck Society.)

    Atoms can develop an electrical charge by losing or gaining one or more electrons. This process, called ionization, was thought to be fairly simple. As an electron departs, it can briefly “hang” between the different locations of electrons in the atom, also called “shells”. In the world of quantum mechanics, this brief pause—lasting less than a femtosecond, or a quadrillionth of a second—is enough to be measured as what is called a “resonance”.

    “In a resonance, the electrons are ‘talking’ to each other”, says Michael Meyer, a leading scientist at European XFEL. This conversation of sorts can be picked up on a spectrograph, and, in most atoms, it shows up in a very narrow energy range.

    Yet for the past half century, scientists also have noted a strange resonance in atoms of the noble gas xenon and some rare earth elements. In contrast to other resonances, it covers a very broad energy range. This became known as the “giant dipole resonance”. “There were no good tools to investigate the giant dipole resonance more deeply”, says Meyer. “But extreme-ultraviolet and X-ray FELs present an opportunity to re-examine xenon’s strange property.” Such facilities have the possibility of studying nonlinear processes, or phenomena that are not a direct result of a single interaction—in the case of photoionization the disappearance of one photon, with its energy being transferred to the electron that can thus escape the atom. The extraordinary intensity of FELs makes non-linear processes observable—in this case, a process whereby two photons disappear, simultaneously transferring their energy to the escaping electron.

    Graphical representation of a 4d electron orbital in atomic xenon. Antonia Karamatskou / DESY

    This has become evident when Tommaso Mazza, a scientist in Meyer’s group at European XFEL, and others investigated the ionization of xenon atoms under intense FEL radiation at DESY’s FLASH. In parallel, DESY scientist Robin Santra, the leader of the CFEL theory group, and a student in his group, Antonia Karamatskou, thought there was something more to the giant dipole resonance. They worked off of a forty-year old suggestion that had been largely ignored: that xenon actually had not one but two resonances, and that earlier spectrographic techniques could not distinguish between them. In contrast, X-ray FELs can target very specific energies in the electronic structure of the atom using just two individual particles of light, enabling scientists to see both resonances more clearly.

    Santra and Karamatskou made calculations describing the energies of the resonances. The data from the experiments performed at FLASH by Tommaso Mazza and others match Santra’s and Karamatskou’s predictions. This is the first evidence of the giant dipole resonance being composed of two other resonances.

    Both Santra and Meyer think that there is far more to the behaviour of electrons within atoms in general than has been previously understood. The result point to not yet fully understood aspects of how atoms function.

    “We don’t even yet understand why there might be a second resonance”, Santra says. “Many people think simple atomic physics is figured out, but as this collaboration has shown, there is a lot of hidden stuff out there!”

    Also, the experiment has shown that FELs can be highly sophisticated tools for studying quantum physics. Santra says he expects the European XFEL, which is due to open to users in 2017, to expand these possibilities even further.

    The research collaboration between Meyer and Santra was initiated and supported by the Collaborative Research Center at the University of Hamburg, SFB 925.

    “Sensitivity of nonlinear photoionization to resonance substructure in collective excitation”; T. Mazza, A. Karamatskou, M. Ilchen, S. Bakhtiarzadeh, A.J. Rafipoor, P. O’Keeffe, T.J. Kelly, N. Walsh, J.T. Costello, M. Meyer & R. Santra; Nature Communications, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7799

    See the full article here.

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    XFEL Campus

    The Hamburg area will soon boast a research facility of superlatives: The European XFEL will generate ultrashort X-ray flashes—27 000 times per second and with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray radiation sources.

    The outstanding characteristics of the facility are unique worldwide. Starting in 2017, it will open up completely new research opportunities for scientists and industrial users.

  • richardmitnick 9:18 am on June 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Atomic Physics, , , ,   

    From Berkeley Lab: “Not Much Force: Berkeley Researchers Detect Smallest Force Ever Measured” 

    Berkeley Lab

    June 26, 2014
    Lynn Yarris

    What is believed to be the smallest force ever measured has been detected by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley. Using a combination of lasers and a unique optical trapping system that provides a cloud of ultracold atoms, the researchers measured a force of approximately 42 yoctonewtons. A yoctonewton is one septillionth of a newton and there are approximately 3 x 1023 yoctonewtons in one ounce of force.

    Mechanical oscillators translate an applied force into measureable mechanical motion. The Standard Quantum Limit is imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, in which the measurement itself perturbs the motion of the oscillator, a phenomenon known as “quantum back-action.” (Image by Kevin Gutowski)

    “We applied an external force to the center-of-mass motion of an ultracold atom cloud in a high-finesse optical cavity and measured the resulting motion optically,” says Dan Stamper-Kurn, a physicist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and the UC Berkeley Physics Department. “When the driving force was resonant with the cloud’s oscillation frequency, we achieved a sensitivity that is consistent with theoretical predictions and only a factor of four above the Standard Quantum Limit, the most sensitive measurement that can be made.”

    Stamper-Kurn is the corresponding author of a paper in Science that describes these results. The paper is titled Optically measuring force near the standard quantum limit. Co-authors are Sydney Schreppler, Nicolas Spethmann, Nathan Brahms, Thierry Botter and Maryrose Barrios.

    If you want to confirm the existence of gravitational waves, space-time ripples predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity, or want to determine to what extent the law of gravity on the macroscopic scale, as described by Sir Isaac Newton, continues to apply at the microscopic scale, you need to detect and measure forces and motions that are almost incomprehensively tiny. For example, at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), scientists are attempting to record motions as small as one thousandth the diameter of a proton.

    From left, Sydney Schreppler, Dan Stamper-Kurn and Nicolas Spethmann were part of a team that detected the smallest force ever measured using a unique optical trapping system that provides ultracold atoms. (Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt)

    At the heart of all ultrasensitive detectors of force are mechanical oscillators, systems for translating an applied force into measureable mechanical motion. As measurements of force and motion reach quantum levels in sensitivity, however, they bump up against a barrier imposed by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, in which the measurement itself perturbs the motion of the oscillator, a phenomenon known as “quantum back-action.” This barrier is called the Standard Quantum Limit (SQL). Over the past couple of decades, a wide array of strategies have been deployed to minimize quantum back-action and get ever closer to the SQL, but the best of these techniques fell short by six to eight orders of magnitude.

    “We measured force with a sensitivity that is the closest ever to the SQL,” says Sydney Schreppler, a member of the Stamper-Kurn research group and lead author of the Science paper. “We were able to achieve this sensitivity because our mechanical oscillator is composed of only 1,200 atoms.”

    In the experimental set-up used by Schreppler, Stamper-Kurn and their colleagues, the mechanical oscillator element is a gas of rubidium atoms optically trapped and chilled to nearly absolute zero. The optical trap consists of two standing-wave light fields with wavelengths of 860 and 840 nanometers that produce equal and opposite axial forces on the atoms. Center-of-mass motion is induced in the gas by modulating the amplitude of the 840 nanometer light field. The response is measured using a probe beam with a wavelength of 780 nanometers.

    To measure force, a cloud of atoms (gray oval) are trapped in an optical cavity created by two standing-wave light fields, ODT A and ODT B. The amplitude of ODT B is varied to create a force that is optomechanically transduced onto the phase of a probe light for measurement. No image credit.

    “When we apply an external force to our oscillator it is like hitting a pendulum with a bat then measuring the reaction,” says Schreppler. “A key to our sensitivity and approaching the SQL is our ability to decouple the rubidium atoms from their environment and maintain their cold temperature. The laser light we use to trap our atoms isolates them from external environmental noise but does not heat them, so they can remain cold and still enough to allow us to approach the limits of sensitivity when we apply a force.”

    Schreppler says it should be possible to get even closer to the SQL for force sensitivity through a combination of colder atoms and improved optical detection efficiency. She also says there are back-action evading techniques that can be taken by performing non-standard measurements. For now, the experimental approach demonstrated in this study provides a means by which scientists trying to detect gravitational waves can compare the limits of their detection abilities to the predicted amplitude and frequency of gravitational waves. For those seeking to determine whether Newtonian gravity applies to the quantum world, they now have a way to test their theories. The enhanced force-sensitivity in this experiment could also point the way to improved atomic force microscopy.

    “A scientific paper in 1980 predicted that the SQL might be reached within five years,” Schreppler says. “It took about 30 years longer than predicted, but we now have an experimental set-up capable both of reaching very close to the SQL and of showing the onset of different kinds of obscuring noise away from that SQL.”

    This research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation.

    See the full article here.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California

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