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Science News

Scientists from MIT have observed a quantum effect that blocks ultracold atoms from scattering light, reports Emily Conover for Science News. To observe the effect, the researchers “beamed light through a cloud of lithium atoms, measuring the amount of light it scattered,” writes Conover. “Then, the team decreased the temperature to make the atoms fill up the lowest energy states, suppressing the scattering of light.”

New Scientist

A new study by MIT scientists has uncovered evidence of Pauli blocking, confirming that as atoms are chilled and squeezed to extremes their ability to scatter light is suppressed, reports Leah Crane for New Scientist. “This is a very basic phenomenon, but it’s sort of a devil to see,” explains former MIT postdoc Yair Margalit. “You need these extreme conditions to be able to see it – high densities and ultra-low temperatures – and it is difficult to get both of these at once.”

Marketplace

President L. Rafael Reif speaks with Sabri Ben-Achour of Marketplace about the importance of the Senate passing a new bill that invests in research and development. “We are in a science and technology race for the future,” says Reif. “It is with science and technology that we address things like Covid and the biggest challenges the world has; the health of our economy, our security. That is key to all of the above.”

Symmetry

Symmetry Magazine reporter Sarah Charley writes that a new study co-authored by MIT postdoc Xiaojun Yao examines how quantum computing could advance our understanding of quantum processes. Yao explored how “the properties of a heavy particle could be impacted after it traversed through a quark-gluon plasma,” and after several months of testing was able to “demonstrate that these kinds of calculations are already feasible on today’s quantum computers.”

Forbes

Researchers from MIT Lincoln Laboratory have developed a new quantum chip with integrated photonics, a “vital step to advance the evolution of trapped-ion quantum computers and quantum sensors,” reports Paul Smith-Goodson for Forbes.

Forbes

Forbes contributor Elizabeth Fernandez writes that a study co-authored by MIT researchers shows quantum entanglement could give blackjack players a slight edge. Fernandez adds that the research shows how, “entangled systems can show up in our macroscopic, everyday lives.”

Quanta Magazine

Writing for Quanta Magazine, David Freedman spotlights Prof. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero’s discovery that when twisted to a “magic” angle, graphene can act as a semiconductor. Freedman writes that the “discovery has given scientists a relatively simple platform for exploring exotic quantum effects.”

Gizmodo

Prof. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero speaks with Gizmodo reporter Ryan Mandelbaum about his work showing that when twisted to the right angle, graphene can serve as an insulator or semiconductor. “This sort of field of ‘twistronics’ is something with great potential in terms of scientific discovery and intellectual interest,” Jarillo-Herrero explains.

Nature

Nature reporter Elizabeth Gibney spotlights Prof. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero’s discovery that graphene can act as a superconductor when twisted to a magic angle. “I haven’t seen this much excitement in the graphene field since its initial discovery,” said ChunNing Jeanie Lau, a professor at Ohio State University, of the impact of Jarillo-Herrero’s findings.

Physics World

Prof. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero’s discovery that when graphene is rotated to a “magic angle” it can act as a high-temperature superconductor has been named the Physics World 2018 Breakthrough of the Year. Physics World reporter Hamish Johnston writes that the “discovery led to the development of ‘twistronics’, which is a new and very promising technique for adjusting the electronic properties of graphene.”

The New Yorker

Writing for The New Yorker, Prof. David Kaiser contrasts a new study in Nature, which concludes that “if human will is free, there are physical events… that are intrinsically random, that is, impossible to predict,” with the 19th century writings of Stephen Freeman, who argued that, “human consciousness and our perception of free will must be subject to chains of causation.” The researchers, says Kaiser, “turned Freeman’s formulation on its head.”

Newsweek

Kagome metal, a new discovery made through research by Assistant Prof. Joseph Checkelsky and graduate student Linda Ye, allows for the transfer of electrical currents “across atomic layers in the crystal” without any energy loss. Aristos Georgiou for Newsweek writes that such material may enable quantum computers "to solve certain problems that even the most powerful classical computers struggle to calculate.”

BBC News

BBC News reports on the creation of Kagome metal, an “electrically conducting crystal, made from layers of iron and tin atoms,” that could be used in more powerful quantum computers. The shape of the conductor, developed by Assistant Professor Joseph Checkelsky and graduate student Linda Ye, mimics a popular pattern in Japanese basket-weaving.

Gizmodo UK

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Nature

MIT researchers have discovered that arranging two stacked layers of graphene at a slight angle makes the material a superconductor, writes Elizabeth Gibney for Nature. After discovering that the graphene had the ability to conduct electrons, researchers applied “a small electric field to feed just a few extra charge carriers into the system, and it became a superconductor.”