Digest: New Journal of Physics vol.13



Shape analysis of strongly interacting systems: the heavy ion case

M A Lisa, E Frodermann, G Graef, M Mitrovski, E Mount, H Petersen and M Bleicher

Collisions between nuclei at ultrarelativistic energies produce a colour-deconfined plasma that expands explosively and rapidly reverts to the colour-confined (hadronic) state. In non-central collisions, the zone of hot matter is transversely anisotropic and may be 'tilted' relative to the direction of the incoming beams. As the matter cools and expands into the vacuum, the evolution of the system shape depends sensitively on the dynamical response of the plasma under extreme conditions. Two-pion intensity interferometry performed relative to the impact parameter can be used to measure the approximate final shape of the system when pions decouple from the system. We use several transport models to illustrate the dependence of the final shape on the QCD equation of state and late-stage hadronic rescattering. The dependence of the final shape on collision energy may reveal non-trivial structures in the QCD phase diagram. Indeed, the few measurements published to date show an intriguing behaviour in an energy region under intense experimental and theoretical scrutiny, as signatures of a first-order phase transition may appear there. We discuss strong parallels between shape studies in heavy-ion collisions and those in two other strongly coupled systems.

Topologically non-trivial superconductivity in spin–orbit-coupled systems: bulk phases and quantum phase transitions

Sumanta Tewari, Tudor D Stanescu, Jay D Sau and S Das Sarma

Topologically non-trivial superconductivity has been predicted to occur in superconductors with a sizable spin–orbit (SO) coupling in the presence of an external Zeeman splitting. Two such systems have been proposed: (a) s-wave superconductor pair potential is proximity induced on a semiconductor and (b) pair potential naturally arises from an intrinsic s-wave pairing interaction. As it is now well known, such systems in the form of a two-dimensional (2D) film or 1D nano-wires in a wire network can be used in topological quantum computation. When the external Zeeman splitting Γ crosses a critical value Γc, the system passes from a regular superconducting phase to a non-Abelian topological superconducting phase. In both cases (a) and (b) that we consider in this paper, the pair potential Δ is strictly s-wave in both the ordinary and the topological superconducting phases, which are separated by a topological quantum critical point at Gamma_mathrm{c} = sqrt{Delta^2 + mu^2}  , where μ (GtΔ) is the chemical potential. On the other hand, since ΓcGtΔ, the Zeeman splitting required for the topological phase (Γ>Γc) far exceeds the value (Γ~Δ) above which an s-wave pair potential is expected to vanish (and the system to become non-superconducting) in the absence of SO coupling. We are thus led to the situation that the topological superconducting phase appears to set in a parameter regime at which the system is actually non-superconducting in the absence of SO coupling. In this paper, we address the question of how a pure s-wave pair potential can survive a strong Zeeman field to give rise to a topological superconducting phase. We show that the SO coupling is the crucial parameter for the quantum transition into and the robustness of the topologically non-trivial superconducting phase realized for ΓGtΔ.

Formation of dust in low-pressure magnetized hydrocarbon plasmas

L Laguardia, A Cremona, M De Angeli, E Lazzaro, S Ratynskaia, M Passoni, D Dellasega, G Gervasini, G Grosso, R Schiavone and E Vassallo

The rapid formation of large molecules and the subsequent production of solid-state dust particles in a low-pressure discharge is unlikely, because of the low rates of the polymerization reactions and short lifetimes of the species. Here, we suggest that C dust particles can form in atypically low (10− 3 mbar)-pressure hydrocarbon plasmas if the dust charging time is much shorter than the gas residence time in the device; we present supporting experimental evidence for this. Such a condition can be obtained by the production of high-density plasmas. The results show that dust formation from the gaseous phase can occur in a much wider parameter range than is commonly assumed.


Solitons as probes of the structure of holographic superfluids

Ville Keränen, Esko Keski-Vakkuri, Sean Nowling and K P Yogendran

The detailed features of solitons in holographic superfluids are discussed. Using solitons as probes, we study the behavior of holographic superfluids by varying the scaling dimension of the condensing operator and make a comparison to the Bose–Einstein condensate–Bardeen–Cooper–Schrieffer comparison phenomena. Further evidence of this analogy is provided by the behavior of the solitons' length scales as well as by the superfluid critical velocity.

Enhanced photoluminescence extraction efficiency from a diamond photonic crystal via leaky modes

L Ondič, K Kůsová, O Cibulka, I Pelant, K Dohnalová, B Rezek, O Babchenko, A Kromka and N Ganesh

Two-dimensional photonic crystal can be exploited as the top part of a light source in order to increase its extraction efficiency. Here, we report on the room-temperature intrinsic photoluminescence (PL) behavior of a nanocrystalline diamond (NCD) layer with diamond columns prepared on the top and periodically ordered into the lattice with square symmetry. Angle-resolved far-field measurements in the Γ–X crystal direction of broadband visible PL revealed up to six-fold enhancement of extraction efficiency as compared to a smooth NCD layer. A photonic band diagram above the lightcone derived from these measurements is in agreement with the diagram obtained from transmission measurements and simulation, suggesting that the enhancement is primarily due to light's coupling to leaky modes.

Global neutrino data and recent reactor fluxes: the status of three-flavour oscillation parameters

Thomas Schwetz, Mariam Tórtola and J W F Valle

We present the results of a global neutrino oscillation data analysis within the three-flavour framework. We include the latest results from the MINOS long-baseline experiment (including electron neutrino appearance and anti-neutrino data), updating all relevant solar (Super-Kamiokande (SK) II+III), atmospheric (SK I+II+III) and reactor (KamLAND) data. Furthermore, we include a recent re-calculation of the anti-neutrino fluxes emitted from nuclear reactors. These results have important consequences for the analysis of reactor experiments and in particular for the status of the mixing angle θ13. In our recommended default analysis, we find from the global fit that the hint for nonzero θ13 remains weak, at 1.8σ for both neutrino mass hierarchy schemes. However, we discuss in detail the dependence of these results on assumptions regarding the reactor neutrino analysis.

A derivation of quantum theory from physical requirements

Lluís Masanes and Markus P Müller

Quantum theory (QT) is usually formulated in terms of abstract mathematical postulates involving Hilbert spaces, state vectors and unitary operators. In this paper, we show that the full formalism of QT can instead be derived from five simple physical requirements, based on elementary assumptions regarding preparations, transformations and measurements. This is very similar to the usual formulation of special relativity, where two simple physical requirements—the principles of relativity and light speed invariance—are used to derive the mathematical structure of Minkowski space–time. Our derivation provides insights into the physical origin of the structure of quantum state spaces (including a group-theoretic explanation of the Bloch ball and its three dimensionality) and suggests several natural possibilities to construct consistent modifications of QT.

Quantum Fourier transform, Heisenberg groups and quasi-probability distributions

Manas K Patra and Samuel L Braunstein

This paper aims to explore the inherent connection between Heisenberg groups, quantum Fourier transform (QFT) and (quasi-probability) distribution functions. Distribution functions for continuous and finite quantum systems are examined from three perspectives and all of them lead to Weyl–Gabor–Heisenberg groups. The QFT appears as the intertwining operator of two equivalent representations arising out of an automorphism of the group. Distribution functions correspond to certain distinguished sets in the group algebra. The marginal properties of a particular class of distribution functions (Wigner distributions) arise from a class of automorphisms of the group algebra of the Heisenberg group. We then study the reconstruction of the Wigner function from the marginal distributions via inverse Radon transform giving explicit formulae. We consider some applications of our approach to quantum information processing and quantum process tomography.

Digest: Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics


We review the methods which have been proposed for measuring masses of new particles at the Large Hadron Collider paying particular attention to the kinematical techniques suitable for extracting mass information when invisible particles are expected.

Determining pseudoscalar meson photoproduction amplitudes from complete experiments

A M Sandorfi, S Hoblit, H Kamano and T-S H Lee

A new generation of complete experiments is focused on a high precision extraction of pseudoscalar meson photoproduction amplitudes. Here, we review the development of the most general analytic form of the cross section, dependent upon the three polarization vectors of the beam, target and recoil baryon, including all single-, double- and triple-polarization terms involving 16 spin-dependent observables. We examine the different conventions that have been used by different authors, and we present expressions that allow the direct numerical calculation of any pseudoscalar meson photoproduction observables with arbitrary spin projections from the Chew–Goldberger–Low–Nambu amplitudes. We use this numerical tool to clarify apparent sign differences that exist in the literature, in particular with the definitions of six double-polarization observables. We also present analytic expressions that determine the recoil baryon polarization, together with examples of their potential use with quasi-4π detectors to deduce observables. As an illustration of the use of the consistent machinery presented in this review, we carry out a multipole analysis of the γp → K+Λ reaction and examine the impact of recently published polarization measurements. When combining data from different experiments, we utilize the Fierz identities to fit a consistent set of scales. In fitting multipoles, we use a combined Monte Carlo sampling of the amplitude space, with gradient minimization, and find a shallow χ2 valley pitted with a very large number of local minima. This results in broad bands of multipole solutions that are experimentally indistinguishable. While these bands have been noticeably narrowed by the inclusion of new polarization measurements, many of the multipoles remain very poorly determined, even in sign, despite the inclusion of data on eight different observables. We have compared multipoles from recent PWA codes with our model-independent solution bands and found that such comparisons provide useful consistency tests which clarify model interpretations. The potential accuracy of amplitudes that could be extracted from measurements of all 16 polarization observables has been studied with mock data using the statistical variations that are expected from ongoing experiments. We conclude that, while a mathematical solution to the problem of determining an amplitude free of ambiguities may require eight observables, as has been pointed out in the literature, experiments with realistically achievable uncertainties will require a significantly larger number.

Constraining the initial state granularity with bulk observables in Au+Au collisions at sqrt{s_{rm NN}}=200 GeV

Hannah Petersen, Christopher Coleman-Smith, Steffen A Bass and Robert Wolpert

In this paper we conduct a systematic study of the granularity of the initial state of hot and dense QCD matter produced in ultra-relativistic heavy-ion collisions and its influence on bulk observables like particle yields, mT spectra and elliptic flow. For our investigation we use a hybrid transport model, based on (3+1)D hydrodynamics and a microscopic Boltzmann transport approach. The initial conditions are generated by a non-equilibrium hadronic transport approach and the size of their fluctuations can be adjusted by defining a Gaussian smoothing parameter σ. The dependence of the hydrodynamic evolution on the choices of σ and tstart is explored by means of a Gaussian emulator. To generate particle yields and elliptic flow that are compatible with experimental data the initial state parameters are constrained to be σ = 1 fm and tstart = 0.5 fm. In addition, the influence of changes in the equation of state is studied and the results of our event-by-event calculations are compared to a calculation with averaged initial conditions. We conclude that even though the initial state parameters can be constrained by yields and elliptic flow, the granularity needs to be constrained by other correlation and fluctuation observables.

Understanding the proton's spin structure

F Myhrer and A W Thomas

We discuss the tremendous progress that has been made toward an understanding of how the spin of the proton is distributed on its quark and gluon constituents. This is a problem that began in earnest 20 years ago with the discovery of the proton 'spin crisis' by the European Muon Collaboration. The discoveries prompted by that original work have given us unprecedented insight into the amount of spin carried by polarized gluons and the orbital angular momentum of the quarks.

Digest: New Journal of Physics vol.13



Inadequacy of von Neumann entropy for characterizing extractable work

Oscar C O Dahlsten, Renato Renner, Elisabeth Rieper and Vlatko Vedral

The lack of knowledge that an observer has about a system limits the amount of work it can extract. This lack of knowledge is normally quantified using the Gibbs/von Neumann entropy. We show that this standard approach is, surprisingly, only correct in very specific circumstances. In general, one should use the recently developed smooth entropy approach. For many common physical situations, including large but internally correlated systems, the resulting values for the extractable work can deviate arbitrarily from those suggested by the standard approach.


Equilibration of quantum systems and subsystems

Anthony J Short

We unify two recent results concerning equilibration in quantum theory. We first generalize a proof of Reimann (2008 Phys. Rev. Lett. 101 190403), that the expectation value of ‘realistic’ quantum observables will equilibrate under very general conditions, and discuss its implications for the equilibration of quantum systems. We then use this to re-derive an independent result of Linden et al (2009 Phys. Rev. E 79 061103), showing that small subsystems generically evolve to an approximately static equilibrium state. Finally, we consider subspaces in which all initial states effectively equilibrate to the same state.


Sheet plasmons in modulated graphene on Ir(111)

T Langer, D F Förster, C Busse, T Michely, H Pfnür and C Tegenkamp

The sheet plasmon of graphene on Ir(111) was investigated in this paper by means of high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy. The perfect lateral coordination of sp2-hybridized C atoms on a large scale is manifested by brilliant moiré diffraction images. However, the modulation of the graphene films caused by hybridization at the interface limits the lifetimes of the collective excitation modes. This modulation within the films can be lowered owing to intercalation of Na. Linear dispersion was found, but surprisingly the overall slope of the dispersion is not dependent on the chemical potential within the graphene films. The dispersion measured for graphene on Ir(111) is almost identical to that measured on SiC(0001), although the carrier densities differ by two orders of magnitude. This contradicts the model that the relevant carrier density for a two-dimensional plasmon is given by (2π)− 1kF2.


Tailoring the photon emission patterns in nanostructures

Shi-Fang Guo, Su-Qing Duan, Yan Xie, Wei-Dong Chu and Wei Zhang

We investigate photon emission in coupled quantum dots on the basis of symmetry considerations. With the help of a new theorem that we have proved, we reveal the origin of various emission patterns, which is the combinative symmetry in the time domain and the spectrum domain. We are able to tailor the emission patterns to obtain emission spectra with odd harmonics alone, even harmonics alone or both odd and even harmonic components, and even with the quenching of all harmonic components. These interesting emission patterns can be obtained in experiments by a careful design of nanostructures, which have many applications in optical–electric nanodevices.


The electronic structure of a weakly correlated antiferromagnetic metal, SrCrO3: first-principles calculations

Yumin Qian, Guangtao Wang, Zhi Li, C Q Jin and Zhong Fang

On the basis of our idea of degree modulation, by using systematic first-principles calculations, we study the electronic structure and magnetic properties of SrCrO3. Our results suggest that SrCrO3 is a weakly correlated antiferromagnetic (AF) metal, a very rare situation in transition-metal oxides. Among various possible AF states, C-type spin ordering with a small amount of orbital polarization (the dxy orbital is more occupied than the dyz/zx orbital) is favored. The detailed understanding of the mechanism that stabilizes the C-type AF state is analyzed on the basis of the competition between itinerant Stoner instability and superexchange, and our results suggest that magnetic instability rather than lattice or charge instabilities plays an important role in this system. The experimentally observed c-axis compressed tetragonal distortion can be naturally explained with the C-type AF state. By using the LDA+U method to study this system, we show that the wrong ground state will be obtained if U is large.


Turbulence in collisionless plasmas: statistical analysis from numerical simulations with pressure anisotropy

G Kowal, D A Falceta-Gonçalves and A Lazarian

In recent years, we have experienced increasing interest in the understanding of the physical properties of collisionless plasmas, mostly because of the large number of astrophysical environments (e.g. the intracluster medium (ICM)) containing magnetic fields that are strong enough to be coupled with the ionized gas and characterized by densities sufficiently low to prevent the pressure isotropization with respect to the magnetic line direction. Under these conditions, a new class of kinetic instabilities arises, such as firehose and mirror instabilities, which have been studied extensively in the literature. Their role in the turbulence evolution and cascade process in the presence of pressure anisotropy, however, is still unclear. In this work, we present the first statistical analysis of turbulence in collisionless plasmas using three-dimensional numerical simulations and solving double-isothermal magnetohydrodynamic equations with the Chew–Goldberger–Low laws closure (CGL-MHD). We study models with different initial conditions to account for the firehose and mirror instabilities and to obtain different turbulent regimes. We found that the CGL-MHD subsonic and supersonic turbulences show small differences compared to the MHD models in most cases. However, in the regimes of strong kinetic instabilities, the statistics, i.e. the probability distribution functions (PDFs) of density and velocity, are very different. In subsonic models, the instabilities cause an increase in the dispersion of density, while the dispersion of velocity is increased by a large factor in some cases. Moreover, the spectra of density and velocity show increased power at small scales explained by the high growth rate of the instabilities. Finally, we calculated the structure functions of velocity and density fluctuations in the local reference frame defined by the direction of magnetic lines. The results indicate that in some cases the instabilities significantly increase the anisotropy of fluctuations. These results, even though preliminary and restricted to very specific conditions, show that the physical properties of turbulence in collisionless plasmas, as those found in the ICM, may be very different from what has been largely believed. Implications can range from interchange of energies to cosmic ray acceleration.

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