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Thread: Physicists discover never-before seen particle sitting on a tabletop

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    Physicists discover never-before seen particle sitting on a tabletop

    Source: Live Science


    Physicists discover never-before seen particle sitting on a tabletop

    This newly-discovered particle could account for dark matter.








    Researchers have discovered a new particle that is a magnetic relative of the Higgs boson. Whereas the discovery of the Higgs boson required the tremendous particle-accelerating power of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), this never-before-seen particle  —  dubbed the axial Higgs boson — was found using an experiment that would fit on a small kitchen countertop.

    As well as being a first in its own right, this magnetic cousin of the Higgs boson  —  the particle responsible for granting other particles their mass  —  could be a candidate for dark matter, which accounts for 85%t of the total mass of the universe but only reveals itself through gravity.

    "When my student showed me the data I thought she must be wrong," Kenneth Burch, a professor of physics at Boston College and lead researcher of the team that made the discovery, told Live Science. "It’s not every day you find a new particle sitting on your tabletop."

    The axial Higgs boson differs from the Higgs boson, which was first detected by the ATLAS and CMS detectors at the LHC a decade ago in 2012 ,  because it has a magnetic moment, a magnetic strength or orientation that creates a magnetic field. As such, it requires a more complex theory to describe it than its non-magnetic mass-granting cousin.

    n the Standard Model of particle physics, particles emerge from different fields that permeate the universe, and some of these particles shape the universe’s fundamental forces. For example photons mediate electromagnetism, and hefty particles known as W and Z bosons mediate the weak nuclear force, which governs nuclear decay at subatomic levels. When the universe was young and hot, however, electromagnetism and weak force were one thing and all of these particles were nearly identical. As the universe cooled, the electroweak force split, causing the W and Z bosons to gain mass and to behave very differently from photons, a process physicists have called "symmetry breaking." But how exactly did these weak-force-mediating particles get so heavy?

    It turns out that these particles interacted with a separate field, known as the Higgs field. Perturbations in that field gave rise to the Higgs boson and lent the W and Z bosons their heft.

    The Higgs boson is produced in nature whenever such a symmetry is broken, . "however, typically only one symmetry is broken at a time, and thus the Higgs is just described by its energy," Burch said.

    The theory behind the axial Higgs boson is more complicated.

    "In the case of the axial Higgs boson, it appears multiple symmetries are broken together, leading to a new form of the theory and a Higgs mode [the specific oscillations of a quantum field like the Higgs field] that requires multiple parameters to describe it: specifically, energy and magnetic momentum," Burch said.

    Burch, who along with colleagues described the new magnetic Higgs cousin in a study published Wednesday (June 8) in the journal Nature, explained that the original Higgs boson doesn’t couple directly with light, meaning it has to be created by smashing other particles together with enormous magnets and high-powered lasers while also cooling samples to extremely cold temperatures. It's the decay of those original particles into others that pop fleetingly into existence that reveals the presence of the Higgs.

    The axial Higgs boson, on the other hand, arose when room-temperature quantum materials mimicked a specific set of oscillations, called the axial Higgs mode. Researchers then used the scattering of light to observe the particle.

    "We found the axial Higgs boson using a tabletop optics experiment which sits on a table measuring about 1 x 1 meters by focusing on a material with a unique combination of properties," Burch continued. "Specifically we used rare-earth Tritelluride (RTe3) [a quantum material with a highly 2D crystal structure]. The electrons in RTe3 self-organize into a wave where the density of the charge is periodically enhanced or reduced."

    The size of these charge density waves,   which emerge above room temperature, can be modulated over time, producing the axial Higgs mode.

    In the new study, the team created the axial Higgs mode by sending laser light of one color into the RTe3 crystal. The light scattered and changed to a color of lower frequency in a process known as Raman scattering, and the energy lost during the color change created the axial Higgs mode. The team then rotated the crystal and found that the axial Higgs mode also controls the angular momentum of the electrons, or  the rate at which they move in a circle, in the material meaning this mode must also be magnetic.

    “Originally we were simply investigating the light scattering properties of this material. When carefully examining the symmetry of the response  —  how it differed as we rotated the sample  —  we discovered anomalous changes that were the initial hints of something new,” Burch explained. “As such, it is the first such magnetic Higgs to be discovered and indicates the collective behavior of the electrons in RTe3 is unlike any state previously seen in nature.”

    Particle physicists had previously predicted an axial Higgs mode and even used it to explain dark matter, but this is the first time it has been observed. This is also the first time scientists have observed a state with multiple broken symmetries.

    Symmetry breaking occurs when a symmetric system that appears the same in all directions becomes asymmetric. Oregon University suggests thinking of this as being like a spinning coin that has two possible states. The coin eventually falls onto its head or tail face thus releasing energy and becoming asymmetrical.

    The fact that this double symmetry-breaking still jives with current physics theories is exciting, because it could be a way of creating hitherto unseen particles that could account for dark matter.

    “The basic idea is that to explain dark matter you need a theory consistent with existing particle experiments, but producing new particles that have not yet been seen,” Burch said.

    Adding this extra symmetry-breaking via the axial Higgs mode is one way to accomplish that, he said. Despite being predicted by physicists, the observation of the axial Higgs boson came as a surprise to the team, and they spent a year attempting to verify their results, Burch said.


    Source: Live Science
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    Last night I was dreaming of completing a circle and this morning I was thinking what the hell was that all about.

    A while back I was starting to believe that the Big Bang was wrong and there must be another explanation. I considered God/nature. I believe this discovery will save the theory indicating the physicists are on the correct track after all.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chuckie View Post
    A while back I was starting to believe that the Big Bang was wrong and there must be another explanation.
    Well, the thing with the Big Bang is that 99.9% of the people misunderstand what it really was. It was not the universe suddenly exploding out of a single point, because if that were the case, then there would be a discernible "center of the universe", and there isn't. The universe keeps on expanding (and at an accelerating rate) in all directions.

    So rather than a "bang", the Big Bang was simply the moment that the universe whisked into existence. And while it did know an accelerated expansion during the first phases of its life, it then slowed down a great deal in its expansion, but it still keeps on expanding, and the farthest-away-from us part of the universe is expanding faster than the regions closer to us. Also, those far-away regions are expanding much faster than the speed of light, albeit that this is not a violation of Einstein's relativity theory, because it is spacetime itself that's moving faster than the speed of light, not the objects within spacetime.

    Therefore, all things considered, one could posit that the whole universe is in fact behaving like an inside-out black hole. The escape velocity of a black hole is greater than the speed of light, and thus, no light can ever escape from within a black hole — hence why it is termed "black". And as the universe keeps on expanding and the velocity of this expansion is higher than the speed of light, the light emanated from those remnants of the Big Bang can never reach us, just as the light emanated by a black hole can also never reach us. As such, both a black hole and the circumference of the observable universe have a for our human senses impenetrable event horizon — our eyes will never be able to see what's beyond that event horizon.

    Of course, none of this has anything to do with the phenomenon described in the article of the opening post to this thread, because that's a quantum-mechanical phenomenon, not a relativistic or astrophysical one. Or at least, not an astrophysical phenomenon unless it were indeed the explanation for what we call "dark matter", in which case the fact that those particles have magnetic properties could also come in handy in the search for zero-point energy. Magnetism and electricity are the same thing, and as such, magnetism can be converted into electricity. Furthermore, perhaps the inverse polarity of these particles could perhaps explain what we call "dark energy", i.e. the energy that accelerates the faster expanding regions of the universe.

    So, it may be a wild goose chase, but maybe getting to the bottom of this is perhaps one day not only going to yield us zero-point energy, but then maybe also warp drive capability.
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    Or at least, not an astrophysical phenomenon unless it were indeed the explanation for what we call "dark matter", in which case the fact that those particles have magnetic properties could also come in handy in the search for zero-point energy. Magnetism and electricity are the same thing, and as such, magnetism can be converted into electricity. Furthermore, perhaps the inverse polarity of these particles could perhaps explain what we call "dark energy", i.e. the energy that accelerates the faster expanding regions of the universe.

    So, it may be a wild goose chase, but maybe getting to the bottom of this is perhaps one day not only going to yield us zero-point energy, but then maybe also warp drive capability.
    Yeah, man! I'm down with that. This dark energy, dark matter puzzle has had me intrigued for quite some time. I do hope this is another step towards understanding.

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    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Well, the thing with the Big Bang is that 99.9% of the people misunderstand what it really was. It was not the universe suddenly exploding out of a single point, because if that were the case, then there would be a discernible "center of the universe", and there isn't. The universe keeps on expanding (and at an accelerating rate) in all directions.

    So rather than a "bang", the Big Bang was simply the moment that the universe whisked into existence. And while it did know an accelerated expansion during the first phases of its life, it then slowed down a great deal in its expansion, but it still keeps on expanding, and the farthest-away-from us part of the universe is expanding faster than the regions closer to us. Also, those far-away regions are expanding much faster than the speed of light, albeit that this is not a violation of Einstein's relativity theory, because it is spacetime itself that's moving faster than the speed of light, not the objects within spacetime.

    Therefore, all things considered, one could posit that the whole universe is in fact behaving like an inside-out black hole. The escape velocity of a black hole is greater than the speed of light, and thus, no light can ever escape from within a black hole — hence why it is termed "black". And as the universe keeps on expanding and the velocity of this expansion is higher than the speed of light, the light emanated from those remnants of the Big Bang can never reach us, just as the light emanated by a black hole can also never reach us. As such, both a black hole and the circumference of the observable universe have a for our human senses impenetrable event horizon — our eyes will never be able to see what's beyond that event horizon.

    Of course, none of this has anything to do with the phenomenon described in the article of the opening post to this thread, because that's a quantum-mechanical phenomenon, not a relativistic or astrophysical one. Or at least, not an astrophysical phenomenon unless it were indeed the explanation for what we call "dark matter", in which case the fact that those particles have magnetic properties could also come in handy in the search for zero-point energy. Magnetism and electricity are the same thing, and as such, magnetism can be converted into electricity. Furthermore, perhaps the inverse polarity of these particles could perhaps explain what we call "dark energy", i.e. the energy that accelerates the faster expanding regions of the universe.

    So, it may be a wild goose chase, but maybe getting to the bottom of this is perhaps one day not only going to yield us zero-point energy, but then maybe also warp drive capability.
    Have you seen the latest breakthroughs regarding Alcubierre's engine theory. A quantum warp has been produced in a laboratory setting.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chuckie View Post
    Have you seen the latest breakthroughs regarding Alcubierre's engine theory. A quantum warp has been produced in a laboratory setting.
    Yes, I've read about it, but I don't remember the details.
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    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Yes, I've read about it, but I don't remember the details.
    hunh!? Details, you ask too much. Essentially the breakthrough was the amount of energy required to create it. It placed things kinda in the realm of possibility. I'll find the video when I get a chance ... a little later. If you don't get there first.

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    Quote Originally posted by Chuckie View Post
    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Quote Originally posted by Chuckie View Post
    Have you seen the latest breakthroughs regarding Alcubierre's engine theory. A quantum warp has been produced in a laboratory setting.
    Yes, I've read about it, but I don't remember the details.
    hunh!? Details, you ask too much. Essentially the breakthrough was the amount of energy required to create it. It placed things kinda in the realm of possibility. I'll find the video when I get a chance ... a little later. If you don't get there first.
    Yes, I remember now that it was a video — thanks for jogging my memory — and I also remember that about a decade ago, a Belgian physicist had already calculated that far less dark energy would be needed than what Alcubierre's equations had initially predicted.

    But that said, there are plenty of additional problems when it comes to a warp drive, which Alcubierre himself has also recently addressed, such as the fact that the compressed spacetime at the front of the warp bubble would effectively trap and focus all ionizing radiation that the ship would be encountering on its journey, with as a result that the radiation levels would be lethal to the occupants of the ship. Also, constructing a warp bubble around the ship that isolates it from the surrounding spacetime would yield the extra problem that the occupants of the ship would have no way to control the drive — they wouldn't be able to switch it on or off, accelerate, decelerate or change direction.

    But okay, we're long from there yet. We don't even know whether this newly discovered particle is indeed what we call dark matter, nor whether an inversely polarized variant of it exists which would then account for dark energy, let alone that we'd be building a propulsion system capable of moving a ship around in the universe by bending spacetime around it.
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    Far out, man.

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