SpaceJibe

December 22, 2011

New black holes ‘so big nobody believed them for 20 years’

Filed under: Big Bang, Black Holes, Cool, Cosmology, Wierd — bferrari @ 5:32 pm
These are the central black holes of NGC 3842 and NGC 4889, and each has a mass close to 10^10 solar masses.

These are the central black holes of NGC 3842 and NGC 4889, and each has a mass close to 10^10 solar masses.

A team led by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered the two gigantic black holes in clusters of elliptical galaxies more than 300 million light years away.
But they could not believe their eyes – and the scientific community spent two decades before they accepted what they were seeing.
The previous black hole record-holder was the size of 6 billion suns.
The Oxford University astrophysicist Michele Cappellari, who wrote an accompanying commentary to the research published in the journal Nature, said the findings were at first unbelievable.
“It took a couple of decades to believe that these black holes weren’t just fantasy but actually reality”, he told Radio Four’s Today programme.

In the research, the scientists suggest these black holes may be the leftovers of quasars that crammed the early universe. They are similar in mass to young quasars, they said, and have been well hidden until now.

The scientists used ground-based telescopes as well as the Hubble Space Telescope and Texas supercomputers, observing stars near the black holes and measuring the stellar velocities to uncover these vast, invisible regions.

Black holes are objects so dense that nothing, not even light, can escape. Some are formed by the collapse of a supersize star.

It’s uncertain how these two newly discovered whoppers originated, said Nicholas McConnell, a Berkeley graduate student who is the study’s lead author.

To be so massive now means they must have grown considerably since their formation, he said.

Most if not all galaxies are believed to have black holes at their centre.

The bigger the galaxy, it seems, the bigger the black hole.

Quasars are some of the most energised and distant of galactic centres.

The researchers said their findings suggest differences in the way black holes grow, depending on the size of the galaxy.

“They are monstrous,” Berkeley astrophysicist Chung-Pei Ma told reporters. “We did not expect to find such massive black holes because they are more massive than indicated by their galaxy properties. They’re kind of extraordinary.”

Ma speculates these two black holes remained hidden for so long because they are living in quiet retirement – much quieter and more boring than their boisterous youth powering quasars billions of years ago.

“For an astronomer, finding these insatiable black holes is like finally encountering people nine feet tall whose great height had only been inferred from fossilised bones.

“How did they grow so large?” Ma said in a news release. “This rare find will help us understand whether these black holes had very tall parents or ate a lot of spinach.”

One of the newly detected black holes weighs 9.7 billion times the mass of the sun. The second, slightly farther from Earth, is as big or even bigger.

Even larger black holes may be lurking out there. Ma said that’s the million-dollar question: How big can a black hole grow?

The researchers already are peering into the biggest galaxies for answers.

“If there is any bigger black hole,” Ma said, “we should be able to find them in the next year or two. Personally, I think we are probably reaching the high end now. Maybe another factor of two to go at best.”

Rare Galaxy from ‘Dawn of Time’ Photographed

Filed under: Big Bang, Cool, Cosmology, Gamma Ray Bursts, Wierd — bferrari @ 4:36 pm
This image from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes shows one of the most distant galaxies known, called GN-108036, dating back to 750 million years after the Big Bang that created our universe. The galaxy's light took 12.9 billion years to reach us. The galaxy's discovery was announced on Dec. 21, 2011. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes shows one of the most distant galaxies known, called GN-108036, dating back to 750 million years after the Big Bang that created our universe. The galaxy's light took 12.9 billion years to reach us. The galaxy's discovery was announced on Dec. 21, 2011. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An ancient galaxy that formed just after the birth of the universe has been photographed by telescopes on Earth and in space, and is the brightest galaxy ever seen at such remote distances, astronomers say.

The blob-shaped galaxy, called GN-108036, is about 12.9 billion light-years away and appears as it existed just 750 million years after the universe began. The universe, for comparison, is about 13.7 billion years old.

But the sheer distance to the galaxy isn’t the only thing to intrigue scientists. The galaxy is also creating stars at a furious pace, making it a rare cosmic find. NASA officials described the galaxy as shining from the “dawn of time,” with star formation inside it occurring at a “shockingly high rate.”

photo of the rare galaxy released by NASA shows the object as a red blob surrounded by other bright galaxies.

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Large Hadron Collider Discovers First New Particle

Filed under: Big Bang, Black Holes, Cool, Gadgets — bferrari @ 4:29 pm
European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists control computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation in CERN's control room, near Geneva, Switzerland.

European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) scientists control computer screens showing traces on Atlas experiment of the first protons injected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during its switch on operation in CERN's control room, near Geneva, Switzerland.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), famously engaged in the quest for the Higgs boson, has turned up a heavier variant of a sub-atomic particle first discovered a quarter-century ago, scientists reported Thursday.
The newcomer is called Chi-b(3P), which was uncovered in the debris from colliding protons, according to research published in the open-access online journal arXiv.

Like the elusive Higgs and the photon, it is a boson, meaning it is a particle that carries force.
But while the Higgs is not believed to be made of smaller particles, the Chi-b(3) comprises two relatively heavy particles, the beauty quark and its antiquark.
They are bonded by the so-called “strong” force which also causes the atomic nucleus to stick together.
The Chi-b(3P) is a heavier version of a particle that was first observed around 25 years ago.
“The Chi-b(3P) is a particle that was predicted by many theorists, but was not observed at previous experiments,” said James Walder, a British physicist quoted by the University of Birmingham in a press release.
Described by some as the world’s largest machine, the LHC is located in a 17-mile (27km) ring-shaped tunnel near Geneva that straddles the Franco-Swiss border up to 580 feet (175m) below ground.
Streams of protons are fired in opposite, but parallel, directions in the tunnel.
The beams are then bent by powerful magnets so that some of the protons collide in four giant labs, which are lined with detectors to record the sub-atomic debris that results.
On December 13, physicists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said they had narrowed the search for the Higgs — the so-called “God particle” that may confer mass.
The theory behind the Higgs is that mass does not derive from particles themselves.
Instead, it comes from a boson that interacts strongly with some particles but less, if at all, with others.
Finding the Chi-b(3P) is a further test of the powers of the LHC, which became the world’s biggest particle collider when it was completed in 2008.
“Our new measurements are a great way to test theoretical calculations of the forces that act on fundamental particles, and will move us a step closer to understanding how the Universe is held together,” said Miram Watson, a British research fellow working on the CHi-b(3) investigation.
A massive collaborative effort that brings in physicists from around the world, the LHC has cost more than 6.03 billion Swiss francs (roughly $4.5 billion).

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December 20, 2011

First Ever ‘Earth-Sized’ Alien Planets Discovered

Filed under: Cool, Exoplanets, Extraterrestrial Life, Gadgets — bferrari @ 3:36 pm
This illustrated graphic shows the two newfound Kepler-20 planets shown to scale with Earth and Venus.

This illustrated graphic shows the two newfound Kepler-20 planets shown to scale with Earth and Venus.

Two planets orbiting a star 950 light-years from Earth are the smallest, most Earth-size alien worlds known, astronomers announced Tues., Dec. 20. One of the planets is actually smaller than Earth, scientists say.
These planets, while roughly the size of our planet Earth, are circling very close to their star, giving them fiery temperatures that are most likely too hot to support life, researchers said. The discovery, however, brings scientists one step closer to finding a true twin of Earth that may be habitable.

“We’ve crossed a threshold: For the first time, we’ve been able to detect planets smaller than the Earth around another star,” lead researcher François Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass., told SPACE.com. “We proved that Earth-size planets exist around other stars like the sun, and most importantly, we proved that humanity is able to detect them. It’s the beginning of an era.”
To discover the new planets, Fressin and his colleagues used NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which noticed the tiny dips in the parent star’s brightness when the planets passed in front of it, blocking some of its light (this is called the transit method). The researchers then used ground-based observatories to confirm that the planets actually exist by measuring minute wobbles in the star’s position caused by gravitational tugs from its planets.
“These two new planets are the first genuinely Earth-sized worlds that have been found orbiting a sunlike star,” University of California, Santa Cruz astronomer Greg Laughlin, who was not involved in the new study, said in an email to SPACE.com. “For the past two decades, it has been clear that astronomers would eventually reach this goal, and so it’s fantastic to learn that the detection has now been achieved.” [Gallery: Smallest Alien Planets Ever Seen]
Chances for life
The two Earth-size planets are among five alien worlds orbiting a star called Kepler-20 that is of the same class (G-type) as our sun, and is slightly cooler.
Two of the star system’s planets, Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are 0.87 times and 1.03 times the width of Earth, respectively, making them the smallest exoplanets yet known. They also appear to be rocky, and have masses less than 1.7 and 3 times Earth’s mass, respectively.
Kepler-20e makes a circle around its star once every 6.1 days at a distance of 4.7 million miles (7.6 million kilometers) — almost 20 times closer than Earth, which orbits the sun at around 93 million miles (150 million km).
The planet’s sibling, Kepler-20f, makes a full orbit every 19.6 days, at a distance of 10.3 million miles (16.6 million km). Both planets circle closer to their star than Mercury does to the sun. [Infographic: Earth-Size Alien Planets Explained]
These snuggly orbits around their star give the newfound planets steamy temperatures of about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit (760 degrees Celsius) and 800 degrees Fahrenheit (430 degrees Celsius) — way too warm to support liquid water, and probably life, researchers said.
Fressin said the chance of life on either of these planets is “negligible,” though the researchers can’t exclude the possibility that they used to be habitable in the past, when they might have been farther from their star. There is also a slim chance that there are habitable regions on the planets in spots between their day and night sides (the planets orbit with one half constantly facing their star and the other half always in dark). But astronomers aren’t holding out hope.
“The chances of liquid water and life as we know it on Kepler-20e and f are zero,” Laughlin said.
Flip-flopped planets
The planetary system around Kepler-20 is an unusual one.
For one thing, scientists say the rocky planets can’t have formed in their current locations.
“There’s not enough rocky material that close to the host star to form five planets,” Fressin said. “They didn’t form here; they probably formed farther from their star and migrated in.”
Furthermore, the five planets are in an odd order, with the rocky worlds alternating with their gaseous, Neptune-size siblings. That’s quite different from most solar systems, including our own, which keeps the rocky terrestrial worlds in close to the sun, with the gas giants farther out.
“How did that form?” Fressin said. “I think it’s a puzzle the theorists will have to try to explain.”
The star’s other planets are called Kepler-20b, 20c, and 20d. Their diameters are 15,000 miles (24,000 km), 24,600 miles (40,000 km), and 22,000 miles (35,000 km), respectively, and they orbit Kepler-20 once every 3.7, 10.9, and 77.6 days.
The largest of these, Kepler-20d, weighs a little under 20 times Earth’s mass, while Kepler-20c is 16.1 times as heavy as Earth, and Kepler-20b is 8.7 times our planet’s mass.
Evolving effort
Scientists say finding the smallest exoplanets yet represents a significant milestone in the fast-evolving effort to learn about planets beyond the solar system.
The first alien planet was discovered in 1996, and the first planet found through the transit method came just 11 years ago. Both of those planets were roughly the size of Jupiter.
“I think we’re living in special times,” Fressin said. “This was unfeasible 10 years ago, and just with the quality of detectors and the quality of the treatment is it possible now.”
The total tally of known alien planets is above 700. Kepler alone has discovered 28 definite alien planets, and 2,326 planet candidates, since its launch in March 2009.
Earlier this month, the Kepler team announced another landmark find, the first planet known to occupy the habitable zonearound its star where liquid water, and perhaps life, could exist.
That planet, called Kepler-22b, is about 2.4 times as wide as Earth.
The dream now is for astronomers to combine the two discoveries and find an Earth-size planet that’s also orbiting its star in an Earth-like orbit that puts it in the habitable zone.
“The holy grail of the search for other worlds is to find an Earth analogue, a true Earth twin,” Fressin said. “We just need to have these two pieces of the puzzle together.”
While the newfound planets orbit with periods of 6.1 and 19.6 days, Fressin estimated the habitable zone around Kepler-20 begins at orbits that take roughly 100 days to make a circuit.
Astronomers think it’s only a matter of time before they finally find one that’s just right.
“These discoveries are a great technological step forward — to detect small planets, in size like Earth — but these planets are very hot and not in the habitable zone around their star,” astronomer Lisa Kaltenegger of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics wrote in an email. Kaltenegger, who studies the habitability of exoplanets, was not involved in the new study. “If we can already find these small planets with radii around Earth’s now, some future ones could be in the habitable zone of their stars and THOSE future ones would be great targets to look for liquid water and signatures for life.”
A paper detailing the discovery was published online in the journal Nature Dec. 20.

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December 5, 2011

Kepler confirms its first planet in habitable zone of Sun-like star

Filed under: Cool, Exoplanets, Extraterrestrial Life, Gadgets, Life, Space Exploration — bferrari @ 10:04 pm
This diagram compares our own solar system to Kepler-22, a star system containing the first "habitable zone" planet discovered by NASA's Kepler mission. NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

This diagram compares our own solar system to Kepler-22, a star system containing the first "habitable zone" planet discovered by NASA's Kepler mission. NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

The new world is 2.4 times the radius of Earth and orbits its home star in 290 days.

By NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. — Published: December 5, 2011

NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the “habitable zone,” the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Kepler also has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near Earth’s size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets.

The newly confirmed planet, Kepler-22b, is the smallest yet found to orbit in the middle of the habitable zone of a star similar to our Sun. The planet is about 2.4 times the radius of Earth. Scientists don’t yet know if Kepler-22b has a predominantly rocky, gaseous, or liquid composition, but its discovery is a step closer to finding Earth-like planets.

Previous research hinted at the existence of near-Earth-sized planets in habitable zones, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Two other small planets orbiting stars smaller and cooler than our Sun recently were confirmed on the edges of the habitable zone, with orbits more closely resembling those of Venus and Mars.

“This is a major milestone on the road to finding Earth’s twin,” said Douglas Hudgins from NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “Kepler’s results continue to demonstrate the importance of NASA’s science missions, which aim to answer some of the biggest questions about our place in the universe.”

Kepler discovers planets and planet candidates by measuring dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars to search for planets that cross in front, or “transit,” the stars. Kepler requires at least three transits to verify a signal as a planet.

“Fortune smiled upon us with the detection of this planet,” said William Borucki from NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California. “The first transit was captured just three days after we declared the spacecraft operationally ready. We witnessed the defining third transit over the 2010 holiday season.”

The Kepler science team uses ground-based telescopes and the Spitzer Space Telescope to review observations on planet candidates the spacecraft finds. The star field that Kepler observes in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra are only visible from ground-based observatories in spring through early fall. The data from these other observations help determine which candidates can be validated as planets.

Kepler-22b is located 600 light-years away. While the planet is larger than Earth, its orbit of 290 days around a Sun-like star resembles that of our world. The planet’s host star belongs to the same class as our Sun, called G-type, although it is slightly smaller and cooler.

Of the 54 habitable zone planet candidates reported in February 2011, Kepler-22b is the first to be confirmed.

The Kepler team is hosting its inaugural science conference at Ames December 5–9, announcing 1,094 new planet candidate discoveries. Since the last catalog was released in February, the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler has increased by 89 percent, and now totals 2,326. Of these, 207 are approximately Earth-sized, 680 are super-Earth-sized, 1,181 are Neptune-sized, 203 are Jupiter-sized, and 55 are larger than Jupiter.

The findings, based on observations conducted May 2009 to September 2010, show a dramatic increase in the numbers of smaller-sized planet candidates.

Kepler observed many large planets in small orbits early in its mission, which were reflected in the February data release. Having had more time to observe three transits of planets with longer orbital periods, the new data suggest that planets one to four times the size of Earth may be abundant in the galaxy.

The number of Earth-sized and super-Earth-sized candidates has increased by more than 200 and 140 percent since February, respectively.

There are 48 planet candidates in their stars’ habitable zones. While this is a decrease from the 54 reported in February, the Kepler team has applied a stricter definition of what constitutes a habitable zone in the new catalog to account for the warming effect of atmospheres, which would move the zone away from the star out to longer orbital periods.

“The tremendous growth in the number of Earth-size candidates tells us that we’re honing in on the planets that Kepler was designed to detect: those that are not only Earth-size, but also are potentially habitable,” said Natalie Batalha from San Jose State University in California. “The more data we collect, the keener our eye for finding the smallest planets out at longer orbital periods.”

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Filed under: Cool, Exoplanets, Extraterrestrial Life, Life, Space Exploration — bferrari @ 2:45 pm
This artist's image shows a newly formed planet swimming through the gas and dust surrounding the star. Such a planet might scoop up gas and dust to build an atmosphere, which it could lose as it moves closer to its sun. Thus it could shift from a gas planet to a terrestrial planet.

This artist's image shows a newly formed planet swimming through the gas and dust surrounding the star. Such a planet might scoop up gas and dust to build an atmosphere, which it could lose as it moves closer to its sun. Thus it could shift from a gas planet to a terrestrial planet.

Astronomers have found 18 new alien planets, all of them Jupiter-size gas giants that circle stars bigger than our sun, a new study reports.
The discoveries increase the number of known planets orbiting massive stars by 50 percent. The exoplanet bounty should also help astronomers better understand how giant planets form and grow in nascent alien solar systems, researchers said.

The haul comes just a few months after a different team of researchers announced the discovery of 50 newfound alien worlds, including one rocky planet that could be a good candidate for life. The list of known alien planets is now well over 700 and climbing fast.

Staring at ‘retired’ stars

The researchers surveyed about 300 stars using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii and instruments in Texas and Arizona. They focused on so-called “retired” type A stars that are at least 1.5 times more massive than our own sun.

These stars are just beyond the main stage of life — hence the name “retired” — and are now ballooning out to become what’s known as subgiant stars.

The team scrutinized these stars, looking for slight wobbles caused by the gravitational tug of orbiting planets. This process revealed 18 new alien worlds, all of them with masses similar to Jupiter’s. All 18 planets also orbit relatively far from their stars, at a distance of at least 0.7 times the span from Earth to the sun (about 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers). [Gallery: The Strangest Alien Planets]

Planet-formation theories

In addition to boosting the ever-growing alien planet tally, the new finds lend support to one of two theories that attempt to explain the formation and evolution of planets, researchers said.

This theory, called core accretion, posits that planets grow as gas and dust glom onto seed particles in a protoplanetary disk. Core accretion predicts that the characteristics of a planetary system — the number and size of planets, for example — depend strongly on the mass of the star.

The main competing theory, called gravitational collapse, holds that planets form when big clouds of gas and dust in the disk spontaneously collapse into clumps that become planets. According to this idea, stellar mass should have little impact on planet size, number and other characteristics.

As the exoplanet finds pile up, it seems that stellar mass does in fact play an important role. The 18 huge newfound alien worlds, which all orbit massive stars, add more evidence in support of core accretion, researchers said.

“It’s nice to see all these converging lines of evidence pointing toward one class of formation mechanisms,” study lead author John Johnson, of Caltech in Pasadena, said in a statement.

Johnson and his colleagues reported their results in the December issue of the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

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Scientists Discover Monster Black Holes, Biggest Yet

Filed under: Black Holes, Cool, Wierd — bferrari @ 2:33 pm
An artist's rendition of a mammoth black hole.

An artist's rendition of a mammoth black hole.

Scientists have found the biggest black holes known to exist — each one 10 billion times the size of our sun.
A team led by an astronomer at the University of California at Berkeley discovered the two gigantic black holes in clusters of galaxies 300 million light years away. That’s relatively close on the galactic scale.
The previous black hole record-holder is as large as 6 billion suns. A black hole is formed by the collapse of a super-size star. It’s a region where nothing, not even light, can escape.
The scientists say their findings suggest differences in the way black holes grow, depending on the size of the galaxy.
The research was released Monday by the journal Nature.

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December 2, 2011

The vibrational states of two spatially separated, millimeter-sized diamonds are entangled at room temperature by beaming laser light at them (green). The researchers verified this entanglement by studying the subsequent laser pulses beamed through the system.

Filed under: Uncategorized — bferrari @ 6:19 pm
The vibrational states of two spatially separated, millimeter-sized diamonds are entangled at room temperature by beaming laser light at them (green). The researchers verified this entanglement by studying the subsequent laser pulses beamed through the system.

The vibrational states of two spatially separated, millimeter-sized diamonds are entangled at room temperature by beaming laser light at them (green). The researchers verified this entanglement by studying the subsequent laser pulses beamed through the system.

Scientists have linked two diamonds in a mysterious process called entanglement that is normally only seen on the quantum scale.

Entanglement is so weird that Einstein dubbed it “spooky action at a distance.” It’s a strange effect where one object gets connected to another so that even if they are separated by large distances, an action performed on one will affect the other. Entanglement usually occurs with subatomic particles, and was predicted by the theory of quantum mechanics, which governs the realm of the very small.

But now physicists have succeeded in entangling two macroscopic diamonds, demonstrating that quantum mechanical effects are not limited to the microscopic scale.

“I think it’s an important step into a new regime of thinking about quantum phenomena,” physicist Ian Walmsley of England’s University of Oxford said.”That is, in this regime of the bigger world, room temperatures, ambient conditions. Although the phenomenon was expected to exist, actually being able to observe it in such a system we think is quite exciting.” [Twisted Physics: 7 Mind-Blowing Findings]

Another study recently used quantum entanglement to teleport bits of light from one place to another. And other researchers have succeeded in entangling macroscopic objects before, but they have generally been under special circumstances, prepared in special ways, and cooled to cryogenic temperatures. In the new achievement, the diamonds were large and not prepared in any special way, the researchers said.

“It’s big enough you can see it,” Walmsley told LiveScience of the diamonds.”They’re sitting on the table, out in plain view. The laboratory isn’t particularly cold or particularly hot, it’s just your everyday room.”

Walmsley, along with a team of physicists led by Oxford graduate student Ka Chung Lee, accomplished this feat by entangling the vibration of two diamond crystals. To do so, the researchers set up an apparatus to send a laser pulse at both diamonds simultaneously. Sometimes, the laser light changed color, to a lower frequency, after hitting the diamonds. That told the scientists it had lost a bit of energy.

Because energy must be conserved in closed systems (where there’s no input of outside energy), the researchers knew that the “lost” energy had been used in some way. In fact, the energy had been converted into vibrational motion for one of the diamonds (albeit motion that is too small to observe visually). However, the scientists had no way of knowing which diamond was vibrating.

Then, the researchers sent a second pulse of laser light through the now-vibrating system. This time, if the light emerged with a color of higher frequency, it meant it had gained the energy back by absorbing it from the diamond, stopping its vibration.

The scientists had set up two separate detectors to measure the laser light — one for each diamond.

If the two diamonds weren’t entangled, the researchers would expect each detector to register a changed laser beam about 50 percent of the time. It’s similar to tossing a coin, where random chance would lead to heads about half the time and tails the other half the time on average.

Instead, because the two diamonds were linked, they found that one detector measured the change every time, and the other detector never fired. The two diamonds, it seemed, were so connected they reacted as a single entity, rather than two individual objects.

The scientists report their results in the Dec. 2 issue of the journal Science.

“Recent advances in quantum control techniques have allowed entanglement to be observed for physical systems with increasing complexity and separation distance,” University of Michigan physicist Luming Duan, who was not involved in the study, wrote in an accompanying essay in the same issue of Science.”Lee et al. take an important step in this direction by demonstrating entanglement between oscillation patterns of atoms—phonon modes—of two diamond samples of millimeter size at room temperature, separated by a macroscopic distance of about 15 cm.”

In addition to furthering scientists’ understanding of entanglement, the research could help develop faster computers called photonic processors, relying on quantum effects, said Oxford physicist Michael Sprague, another team member on the project.

“The long-term goal is that if you can harness the power of quantum phenomena, you can potentially do things more efficiently than is currently possible,” Sprague said.

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