Buried 1-kilometer underground near the city of Hida, Japan, is a 40-meter tall cylinder filled with 50 million liters of water—the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory. Since 1996, it has been observing neutrinos—subatomic particles—from solar, extrasolar, terrestrial and artificial sources with highly sensitive optical sensors which record minute flashes of light that occur when a neutrino interacts with a molecule of water. Normally full of pure water, the observatory has recently received a dose of the rare-earth element gadolinium, giving it the ability to see supernova explosions in more distant galaxies.
Early in August, scientists at the University of Machester successfully developed a pocket-sized particle accelerator capable of projecting ultrashort electron beams with laser light at more than 99.99% of the speed of light. To achieve this result, the researchers had to slow light to match electron speeds using a specially designed metallic structure lined with quartz layers thinner than a human hair. This leap forward simultaneously offers the ability to both measure and manipulate particle bunches on time scales of less than 10 femtoseconds, enabling researchers to create strobe photographs of atomic motion.
The 2020 Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC) will be held virtually over two weeks beginning October 24 and will offer a combined virtual platform for plenary, oral and poster presentations, a conference exhibition, a new program for young professionals called ELEVATE, virtual breakouts, coffee breaks and other features.
On August 20, Trinity College Dublin announced that physicists from the college have proposed a thermometer based on quantum entanglement that can accurately measure temperatures a billion times colder than those in outer space. These ultracold temperatures arise in clouds of atoms, known as Fermi gases, which are created by scientists to study how matter behaves in extreme quantum states.
On August 5, Lake Shore Cryotronics (CSA CSM) announced the acquisition of Janis Research’s Laboratory Cryogenics (CSA CSM) business—a move that unites two of the world’s foremost providers of cryogenic and material characterization solutions for low temperature research. The acquisition of the Woburn MA-based business allows Lake Shore to now offer Janis Research liquid nitrogen, liquid helium and closed-cycle refrigerator (cryogen-free) cryostats, magnet systems, probe stations and lab cooling systems.
Barber-Nichols, a supplier of electronics enhanced turbomachines and turbomachine-based subsystems for the aerospace, defense and cryogenics industries, was named one of the winners of the fifth annual Colorado Manufacturing Awards (CMA)—hosted by CompanyWeek and Manufacturers Edge, a NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership partner—as “Aerospace Manufacturer of the Year.” Winners were announced on August 9.
For the first time ever, scientists have witnessed the interaction of a new phase of matter known as “time crystals.” An international team of researchers from Lancaster, Yale, Royal Holloway London and Aalto University in Helsinki observed time crystals by using Helium-3, a rare isotope of helium with one missing neutron. The experiment was carried out at Aalto University. The discovery, published in Nature Materials on August 17, may lead to applications in quantum information processing as time crystals automatically remain intact—coherent—in varying conditions.
On August 21, representatives from global standards organization ASTM International and Standards New Zealand, a division of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will lead to a closer working relationship between ASTM and Standards NZ. The MoU was signed by Katharine Morgan, president, ASTM International, and Carmen Mak, national manager, Standards New Zealand, and promotes information exchange on topics of mutual interest while supporting Standards NZ’s review and consideration of ASTM standards for reference or adoption as solutions for New Zealand’s industry and regulation concerns.
US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette speaks after the groundbreaking of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Grid Storage Launchpad project in Benton Country WA on August 14. The project is of a small group being hosted at PNNL designed to make the country’s energy grid stronger, more flexible and secure. Read the Secretary’s remarks regarding the DOE’s vision for America’s energy future and the role PNNL will play.