- August 2015: Women driving the Large Hadron Collider forward – Part 1
- August 2015: Taaneh™ Announces Appointments of Sol Gruner, Ph.D., as Chief Technology Officer and Laura Coruzzi, Ph.D., to the Board of Directors
- July 2015: Physicists close in on world’s most sensitive resonators
- July 2015: Like paper, graphene twists, folds into nanoscale machines
- July 2015: Physics professor Chris Henley dies at 59
Did you know that only 20% of CERN’s staff members are women? As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) reopens, DiscovHER gives a voice to the women making their way in this male-dominated environment. This week, we unveil the interview of Margaret Zientek, who is studying dark matter using the LHC.
To read the rest of the Discover/Her article, click here.
Taaneh™ Announces Appointments of Sol Gruner, Ph.D., as Chief Technology Officer and Laura Coruzzi, Ph.D., to the Board of Directors
PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Taaneh, Inc., developer of authentication systems based on the use of diamond microparticles, today announced the appointments of Sol Gruner, Ph.D., as chief technology officer, and Laura Coruzzi, Ph.D., to the company’s board of directors.
Dr. Gruner currently serves as the John L. Wetherill Professor of Physics at Cornell University. For 17 years, Dr. Gruner was the director of the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, where he was responsible for administering its multi-million dollar annual budget and meeting nationally mandated research goals. He was also previously named as a fellow at both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Science. In his role at Taaneh, Dr. Gruner will help advance the commercial and scientific strategies for the company’s technology platform and services based on the use of diamond microparticles in product authentication.
To read the rest of the story in Cloud Computing Magazine, click here.
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SOURCE Taaneh, Inc.
In their quest to make the world’s most precise sensors, Cornell physicists have developed a novel method of manipulating mechanical resonators to be sensitive enough to work at the quantum scale.
These quantum-compatible mechanical resonators were conceived in the lab of Mukund Vengalattore, assistant professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, who established Cornell’s first ultracold atomic physics laboratory. The work, described in a recent Physical Review Letters paper, was supported by the Army Research Office under the DARPA QuASAR (Quantum Assisted Sensing and Readout) program and the National Science Foundation INSPIRE program, which rewards high-risk, high-reward collaborations.
Sensors made out of mechanical resonators are commonplace devices in electronics. For example, they are used in mobile phones as accelerometers, gyroscopes and signal filters. Due to their sensitivity to miniscule forces, they are also increasingly used in materials studies and nanoscale imaging.
But their performance is limited by their rapid loss of energy to the environment in the form of random, uncontrolled vibrations – a phenomenon called thermomechanical noise. Minimizing this energy loss is key to more accurate mechanical sensor technologies. Using insights from atomic physics, Vengalattore’s group has developed methods to control this energy loss, thus creating the world’s most accurate mechanical resonators, capable of detecting temperature changes as small as a millionth of a degree.
Their prototype resonator is a small silicon nitride drumhead, from which vibrations can be regarded as localized sound waves or “tones.” In their PRL paper, they use one tone of this drum to manipulate another, akin to how physicists use light to manipulate light in the field of quantum optics.
Using the principle of nonlinear control, they have suppressed the random vibrations and demonstrated the classical physics analog of the mysterious quantum phenomenon of entanglement. For the experiments, the researchers developed precision techniques that can be extended to the quantum regime, opening doors to studying quantum acoustics.
“People thought these two things were not compatible in a mechanical resonator,” Vengalattore said. “You could either have nonlinear control, or you could make it quantum compatible. Now we have both, for the very first time.”
What does this mean for sensor technology? Potentially, it’s revolutionary. A room-temperature resonator sensitive to quantum forces could, for example, form the basis for such technologies as inertial navigation systems, which use gyroscopes and accelerometers instead of satellites. It could also be used to detect the motion of individual electrons in exotic materials, with applications in solar cell technologies, among other things.
“We’re exploring ways to build sensors and sensor technologies that make use of quantum mechanics to get higher levels of precision than what’s been available before,” Vengalattore said.
While ultracold atoms are great for precision measurements, they are fragile and thus not yet practical for application in everyday sensing technologies. On the other hand, the robustness and versatility of mechanical resonators makes them excellent candidates for technical applications. “Our approach has been to extend techniques from ultracold atomic physics to microresonator-based sensors, and get the best of both worlds,” Vengalattore said.
The paper is authored by graduate students Yogesh Patil and Srivatsan Chakram, and Laura Chang ’15.
Cornell Chronicle article by Anne Ju.
The art of kirigami involves cutting paper into intricate designs, like snowflakes. Cornell physicists are kirigami artists, too, but their paper is only an atom thick, and could become some of the smallest machines the world has ever known.
A research collaboration led by Paul McEuen, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science and director of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science (KIC), is taking kirigami down to the nanoscale. Their template is graphene, single atom-thick sheets of hexagonally bonded carbon, famous for being ultra thin, ultra strong and a perfect electron conductor. In the journal Nature July 29, they demonstrate the application of kirigami on 10-micron sheets of graphene (a human hair is about 70 microns thick), which they can cut, fold, twist and bend, just like paper.
Graphene and other thin materials are extremely sticky at that scale, so the researchers used an old trick to make it easier to manipulate: They suspended it in water and added surfactants to make it slippery, like soapy water. They also made gold tab “handles” so they could grab the ends of the graphene shapes. Co-author Arthur Barnard, also a Cornell physics graduate student, figured out how to manipulate the graphene this way. Click here to read the entire Cornell Chronicle article by Anne Ju.
Physics professor Chris Henley dies at 59
Christopher L. Henley, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, died June 29 after an illness. He was 59 years old.
Henley joined the Cornell faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor of physics, was promoted to associate professor in 1993, and became a full professor in 2001. Before that, he was an assistant professor at Boston University and also worked at AT&T Bell Laboratories.
At Cornell, Henley’s research was in the theory of frustrated magnetism, both classical and quantum; interacting electron systems; quasicrystals; and biological physics.
In interacting electron systems, Henley’s research group worked on the border of analytic theory and computation. They studied the ground states of a spinless fermion lattice model with supersymmetry. They also worked on phenomenology of scanning tunneling microscopy measurements in high-temperature superconductors.
In biological physics, Henley led projects in pattern formation and mechanics, specifically a large project about the physical bases of left/right symmetry breaking in various animals including snails; in plants; or in assemblies of single cells. He also was fascinated by the exterior shell geometry of viruses and worked to model the mechanics of plant roots.
Paul McEuen, the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science, called Henley a “brilliant scientist.”
“He was interested in almost anything, unafraid of applying his careful and precise approach to wild and wooly problems in fields ranging from quantum physics to biology,” McEuen said.
“He was a productive colleague, dedicated mentor and deeply committed to intellectual and academic pursuits,” said Jeevak Parpia, professor of physics. “He will be missed by all of us.”
Last September, Henley’s colleagues and friends came together to celebrate his 59th birthday and his contributions to the field of theoretical solid-state physics. The symposium included an international panel of speakers.
Henley was born Sept. 24, 1955, in Washington, D.C., to Norman F. and Nancy Henley. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1977 and his doctorate in physics from Harvard University in 1983. He was a fellow of the American Physical Society and was the recipient of many professional honors, including an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship and a Presidential Young Investigator Award.
When young, according to his mother, he had a strong interest in maps and was a precocious navigator for his family’s trips. In adulthood, Henley ran, swam or bicycled every day, and enjoyed hiking, reading, contra dancing, classical music and Scrabble, among other things.
Henley was given a natural burial in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. He is survived by his mother, son, aunt and cousins.
By Anne Ju, July 8, 2015
Three alumni win million euro Brain Prize
Cornell Chronicle By Linda B. Glaser, March 24, 2015
The 1 million euro Brain Prize has been awarded to four scientists – three of them Cornell alumni – for their groundbreaking work with two-photon microscopy: Winfried Denk, Ph.D. ’89, Karel Svoboda ’88, David Tank, M.S. ’80, Ph.D. ’83, and Arthur Konnerth. All three graduates – who studied math, physics and applied and engineering physics at Cornell – worked in the laboratory of Watt Webb, professor emeritus of applied and engineering physics, where multiphoton microscopy for biological applications was pioneered.
“These alumni embody the ‘Webb Group’ style of mixing physics, engineering and biology together to achieve their goal,” says Warren R. Zipfel, associate professor of biomedical engineering and a former Webb research associate. “For decades, Watt’s lab was the place to be at Cornell if you loved playing with lasers and optics and applying them to biological questions.”
Zipfel still has the world’s first two-photon microscope in a case near his office, built by Denk out of an early confocal microscope “scanbox.” Denk took the first two-photon microscopy images with the help of Frank Wise, the Samuel B. Eckert Professor of Engineering, who built the femtosecond laser needed to make two-photon microscopy work.
Solving the mystery of how circuits in the brain produce behavior, thoughts and feelings is one of the most important scientific frontiers in the 21st century. Two-photon microscopy is a transformative tool in brain research, combining advanced techniques from physics and biology to allow scientists to examine the finest structures of the brain in real time.
To read the entire Cornell Chronicle article, click here.
Visualizing how radiation bombardment boosts superconductivity
by Staff Writers
Upton NY (SPX) May 29, 2015
Sometimes a little damage can do a lot of good – at least in the case of iron-based high-temperature superconductors. Bombarding these materials with high-energy heavy ions introduces nanometer-scale damage tracks that can enhance the materials’ ability to carry high current with no energy loss – and without lowering the critical operating temperature.
Such high-current, high-temperature superconductors could one day find application in zero-energy-loss power transmission lines or energy-generating turbines. But before that can happen, scientists would like to understand quantitatively and in detail how the damage helps–and use that knowledge to strategically engineer superconductors with the best characteristics for a given application.
In a paper published May 22, 2015, in Science Advances, researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven and Argonne national laboratories describe atomic-level “flyovers” of the pockmarked landscape of an iron-based superconductor after bombardment with heavy ion radiation. The surface-scanning images show how certain types of damage can pin potentially disruptive magnetic vortices in place, preventing them from interfering with superconductivity.
The work is a product of the Center for Emergent Superconductivity, a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center established at Brookhaven in partnership with Argonne and the University of Illinois to foster collaboration and maximize the impact of this research.
“This study opens a new way forward for designing and understanding high-current, high-performing superconductors,” said study co-author J.C. Seamus Davis, a physicist at Brookhaven Lab and Cornell University.
To read the entire Space Daily article click here.
Large Hadron Collider Restarts
The world’s largest particle accelerator is fired up again after two years of being offline for an upgrade. The Large Hadron Collider is located underground on the border of France and Switzerland and is run by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
CERN is credited with the discovery of a new particle that led to further understanding of the Standard Model, the predominant theory of particle physics. Now, the Large Hadron Collider is even more powerful than before.
Julia Thom-Levy, an associate professor of experimental physics at Cornell University, told Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that scientists believe it will continue to pave the way for new scientific discoveries. She and her grad students are using detectors to record data at the Large Hadron Collider.
“It’s very, very challenging to go to such high energies, to accelerate protons to such high energies, and so there was a fair amount of work done to the accelerator to allow that,” Thom-Levy said. “And now we’re at 13 teraelectronvolts. That’s unimaginably high energy that has never been reached before, and at those high energies, different things can happen. Things happen at different rates, and new production channels open up. So that’s what all the excitement is about.”
So how will the upgrades impact the world of physics, for scientists and outsiders alike?
“It’s understanding the world at the most fundamental level,” Thom-Levy said. “So what are the elementary particles, how do they hold together, how do they communicate with each other, what are the forces between them, what mediates the forces, how to they acquire their mass. So for me those are really, really exciting questions.”
Photo and story courtesy of Here and Now with Robin Young & Jeremy Hobson, wbur Boston’s NPR News Station http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/06/03/large-hadron-collider-restarts