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Quantum Physics Working at the Macroscopic Scale

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Quantum physics is the general term for a set of physical approaches born in the 20th century which, like the theory of relativity, marks a break with what is now called classical physics. Thus, the so-called “quantum theory” describes the often non-intuitive behaviors of atoms, photons and other particles – something that classical physics could not do.

Today, we know how to produce, using experimental optic methods, twin photon pairs whose properties are perfectly described by quantum physics. Although composed of two particles, these objects must be considered as a whole, from the moment photons are created to the moment they are detected. This quantum phenomenon is fundamental for example in quantum optics because classical physics does not allow any correlation. It is therefore necessary to deeply understand not only their origin, but above all which external parameters could...

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An Approach to Manipulate Small Objects with Light

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Suspected from the outset Kepler’s observations of comet tails, the fact that light exerts forces on matter, and therefore on objects is now well established. Thanks to the work of Arthur Ashkin among many others, optical traps are now a reality. Using laser beams optical levitation of microspheres is used nowadays in many applications from stretching DNA to nanotechnology, spectroscopy, stochastic thermodynamics and critical Casimir forces.

Structuring light makes optical manipulation techniques possible, like using the Spatial Light Modulators (SLMs) to produce holographic optical traps (HOTs). These Spatial Light Modulators are liquid crystal technology with a fast and precise control of the beam shape used to control multiple particles in 2D and 3D configurations.

Previously holographic traps were limited to particular classes of light (scalar light), so it is very exciting that we can reveal a...

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From the Planck Constant to the Kilogram

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, RSF Research Scientist

The year 2018 is historic for the world of measurement. It will mark the redefinition of the International System (SI), and more particularly of four of its units: the kilogram, the ampere, the kelvin and the mole. In November 2018, the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) will vote on the new definitions of these units. These should be established on the basis of fundamental physical constants. LNE, the French metrology pilot, is actively contributing to the redesign of SI, in particular through the redefinitions of the kilogram, ampere and kelvin.

The International System of Units (SI) consists of a set of internationally recognized basic units controlled by the Comité International des Poids et Mesures (CIPM).

Today, the IS has 7 units that can be found in all aspects of our daily lives, let alone in the industry:

  • Kilogram (Planck Constant, speed of light, time)
  • Meter (time and speed of light)
  • Second...
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A Two Layers Graphene Superconductor Material

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Physicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Scientists have discovered that a two graphene layers can conduct electrons showing superconductivity if the two hexagonal nets are twisted against each other at a 1.1 degree angle. This finding could lead to room-temperature superconductors, a hypothetical material exhibiting superconductivity at temperatures above 0 °C (273.15 K). Most superconductors work only at temperatures close to absolute zero. Even ‘high-temperature’ superconductors are working in reality at  −140 ºC. A material that displayed the property at room temperature — eliminating the need for expensive cooling — could revolutionize energy transmission, medical scanners and transport.

Increasing the temperature at which superconductivity occurs could have phenomenal technological applications

A current that could flow forever without losing any energy means transmission of power...

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New Advanced Light Tractor Beam Moving Atoms

Article by by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist 

Tractor beams are often shown in science fiction film to move heavy weight. Even if our current technology is not advanced enough to lift large load, physicists have managed to move small objects using acoustic or laser tractor beam. As mentioned in a recent article, we saw acoustic tractor beam grabbing objects from behind obstacles. This time researchers manage to build a light beam able to attract and repel particles about 100 times further than has been previously achieved.

Tractor beams have been already used to control tiny particles about 0.2 millimeters in diameter from a distance of 20 centimeters. Despite this incredible distance, the researchers claim it is still on the short end of what is possible for this tractor beam technique. Laser beam has become a useful tool for the manipulation and transport of microscopic objects in biology, physical chemistry and condensed...

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New Measurement of the Roundness of the Electron

Article by Dr. Oliver Alirol, Physicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Point particle, electron cloud, if the electron is actually a physical object with a finite size, then how big is it. Surprisingly, there is yet no clear answer to this simple question. However, some theories turn out to be pretty interesting such as the Bohr radius (10-10m), the classical electron radius (10-15m), the Compton Wavelength (10-12m), the Planck length (point particle 10-35m), or finally the empiricist’s view with the measurement of the electron electric dipole moment (EDM).

Some theories suggest that some subatomic particles outside the electron could create a slight separation between a positive and a charge, giving the electron a pear shape. However, a new measurement from the ACME team at Yale suggests that any extra particles that exist may be permanently beyond the LHC’s reach.

We’re gonna need a bigger tunnel.

Yale University physicist David DeMille, a...

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A Physics Nobel Prize for a New Way of Manipulating Light

by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Physicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Three scientists on Tuesday won the Nobel Physics Prize, including the first woman to receive the prestigious award in 55 years, for inventing Chirped-pulse amplification, or CPA. The 9-million-Swedish-kronor award (about $1 million) will be doled out to Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., Gérard Mourou of École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, and Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo in Canada.

This is a technique for creating ultrashort, yet extremely high-energy laser pulses necessary in a variety of applications. It is remarkable what can be achieved with lasers in research and in applications, and there are many good reasons for it, including their coherence, frequency stability, and controllability, but for some applications, the thing that really matters is raw power.

With this he was able to use the radiation pressure of light to move tiny...

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Invention of an Essential Component Part for Quantum Computers

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Physicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

One difficulty of making quantum systems is because the qubits have to be maintained coherent during the whole process. Thus, due to the current technology, the qubits must be very close to each other, about 10 to 20 nm apart, in order to communicate. This leaves little room to place the electronics needed to make a quantum computer work. And one of these essential part to make a functional circuit is the circulator.

The circulator, like the insular, is crucial to communication systems for the manipulation of signals. For example, in the case of a RF signal, the isolator can be used to protect other RF components from excessive signal reflection. On the other hand, the RF circulator is usually used to control the direction of the signal flow in a circuit. These devices are essential to give a strict direction to processing signals and avoid any parasitic backward movement. The control of such...

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A Massless Particle Which Could Revolutionize Electronics

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Physicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist


In 2015, after 85 years of searching, researchers confirmed the existence of a massless particle called the Weyl fermion. With the unique ability to behave as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, this quasiparticle is like an electron with no mass. The story begun in 1928 when Dirac proposed an equation for the foundational unification of quantum mechanics and special relativity in describing the nature of the electron.  This new equation suggested three distinct forms of relativistic particles:  the Dirac, the Majorana, and the Weyl fermions. And recently, an analog of Weyl fermions has been discovered in certain electronic materials exhibiting a strong spin orbit coupling and topological behavior. Just as Dirac fermions emerge as signatures of topological insulators, in certain types of semimetals, electrons can behave like Weyl fermions.

These Weyl fermions are what can be...

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Looking for Planet Nine

Article by Dr. Olivier Alirol, Physicist, Resonance Science Foundation Research Scientist

Since 1992 and the declassification of Pluto for a dwarf planet, our solar system has only eight planets. However, astronomers are still looking for a ninth planet, the so-called planet X, analyzing the trajectories of all the objects beyond Neptune’s orbit. At this distance, a large population of small, rocky objects is having an anomalous collective structure meaning they are possibly interacting with a massive object. Many of these rocks appear to occupy a region close to the plane containing the eighth known planets, leading to this region being called the Kuiper Belt. It is difficult make observation in this region far remote from any light source and astronomers have yet discovered only a small fraction of the objects orbiting beyond Neptune.

In 2016, Caltech researchers found new evidence about “Planet X”. This hypothetical Neptune-sized planet would be orbiting our sun...

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