tisdag 26 april 2011

Photons are superconducting.

Think of the Cosmos as a superconductor, say frank Wilczek. And he wants to see more chemistry and biology linked to physics. There can be lots of benefits in looking at things from different perspectives. The video, about 10 min. From Physics Buzz.

"we have come to suspect that the entity we call empty space is an
exotic kind of superconductor ... (quark/antiquark)QQ* "

A color superconducting phase is a state in which the quarks near the Fermi surface become correlated in Cooper pairs, which condense. In phenomenological terms, a color superconducting phase breaks some of the symmetries of the underlying theory, and has a very different spectrum of excitations and very different transport properties from the normal phase.
It is very hard to predict which pairing patterns will be favored in nature. In principle this question could be decided by a QCD calculation, since QCD is the theory that fully describes the strong interaction. In the limit of infinite density, where the strong interaction becomes weak because of asymptotic freedom, controlled calculations can be performed, and it is known that the favored phase in three-flavor quark matter is the color-flavor-locked phase. But at the densities that exist in nature these calculations are unreliable, and the only known alternative is the brute-force computational approach of lattice QCD, which unfortunately has a technical difficulty (the "sign problem") that renders it useless for calculations at high quark density and low temperature.

Quantum Chromodynamics suggests that most of what we call "matter" is not all that material, because a body is made of elementary "particles" that are almost mass-less (for example, the proton is made of two quarks, whose combined masses are about 1% of the mass of the proton, and of gluons, which are mass-less).

Nature wants a quark and an anti-quark to be as near as possible to minimize the energy required (the strong/color force increases with distance) but pinpointing an anti-quark's position next to its quark would require an infinite amount of energy (as per Heisenberg's uncertainty principle); and viceversa (the energy is minimal when the two particles are let loose in the universe, but then the strong force between them would become infinite). The compromise between these two extremes is the mass of the proton.

The laws by which the states of physical systems alter are independent of the alternative, to which of two systems of coordinates, in uniform motion of parallel translation relatively to each other, these alterations of state are referred (principle of relativity).

If a body gives off the energy L in the form of radiation, its mass diminishes by L/c². The fact that the energy withdrawn from the body becomes energy of radiation evidently makes no difference, so that we are led to the more general conclusion that

The mass of a body is a measure of its energy-content; if the energy changes by L, the mass changes in the same sense by L/9 × 1020, the energy being measured in ergs, and the mass in grammes.

It is not impossible that with bodies whose energy-content is variable to a high degree (e.g. with radium salts) the theory may be successfully put to the test.

If the theory corresponds to the facts, radiation conveys inertia between the emitting and absorbing bodies.

Einstein, footnote 2005.

Noting that photons become heavy inside (electric) superconductors (or, better, that an observer inside a superconductor would perceive a photon as a massive particle), Wilczek derives the analogy that we live inside a (non-electric) superconductor into which particles (and then objects) acquire mass. That "superconductor" is made of the Higgs condensate, which is made from the Higgs particle. The rest of the review of 'The Lightness of Being', here.

The product structure SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1), the reducibility of the fermion representation (that is, the fact that the symmetry does not make connections linking all the fermions), and the peculiar values of the quantum number hypercharge assigned to the known particles all suggest a larger symmetry. The devil is in the details and it is not at all automatic that the observed, complex pattern of matter will fit neatly into a simple mathematical structure.
From 'The search of symmetry lost'.

Superconductivity, short.
When the pixel is hit by a photon, it disrupts Cooper pairs, releasing free electrons - referred to as "quasiparticles" in this context - which can pass through the insulating junction and are immediately swept out as a measurable current.

The superconducting photon sensors have been used in radiation counters whose spectroscopic capabilities allow them to identify particular controlled radioactive materials and not be confounded by background radiation. Arrays are also useful in astronomy, particularly in the millimeter and submillimeter regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. A wide range of other applications is also being investigated.

Reading The Lightness of Being by Frank Wilczek

I borrow and quote this lovely review, posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2011

An electron is a physical condensation of the electromagnetic field that permeates all of spacetime. Thus every electron has the same source. The electron is like the morning dew, appearing from and returning to “the thin air.”

Photons are not massless in a superconductor. They are heavy. Electromagnetic radiation does not penetrate superconductors. If the universe were a type of superconductor it could explain mass very well.. Mass could be the result of the type of superconductor we call empty space. This superconductor would require a new kind of particle… The Higgs condensate. Normal supereconductors conduct electrons. This new superconductor would conduct Higgs particles.

Put it this way: if we lived in a Higgs Superconductor we would have trouble finding the Higgs particle that causes Mass.

Dark energy is the discovery that space has an intrinsic density. The grid, the field, weighs. There is a constant pressure everywhere in space and for all time. This pressure is caused by the density of the grid, or field (the ether?). It is the weight of the universe.

Could the universe be a like a virtual photon that has condensed out of some more fundamental material? The explosiion that we call virtual particle creation, or quark-antiquark creation, might well be described as a “small bang.” Could the big bang be a small bang of some greater world’s particles?

Its from bits. In each 10^-24 seconds a proton computes data equivalent to what our fastest supercomputers compute in months. That is, if you took a supercomputer that could do a million million, or trillion (10^12) floating point operations (flops) per second for several months, this would approximate how much the proton calculates in each second. The quantum computer could, an analogue of the proton, could calculate in mere seconds what supercomputers could never finish within the lifetime of the universe.

We have already made the simplest of these quantum computers.

Know this: no one alive can possibly dream of the changes that such a computer would bring to the world.

In physics, a grad student is he who knows everything about nothing and a professor is he who knows nothing about everything. That is to say, grad students study equations; professors understand them. If, after solving the equation you are surprised at the result, then you are far away from any understanding. Now, with regards to current science, which equations are still surprising us? Well, the solution of the equations that tell us what mass is, they output mass from an input of non-mass. It seems we get something from nothing. The search for the Higgs particle is a search to understand why this is. It is a quest to understand mass and inertia, the most fundamental property we are aware of in the universe.

This is to acknowledge that here we have reached the very bottom of what is explainable in the universe, for everything is explained in terms of something else but we still have no deeper explanation of mass and inertia; we simply observe their effects. To this day, their explanation – their cause – remains a complete and total mystery, surpassed only perhaps by the mystery of the nature of God.

Mass is the sound of space vibrating. Our fingers can hear this vibration and send the data to our brain, which creates a map of this data. This map, we call mass. We have other maps made through sight, sound, taste, smell. Each of these senses feel certain vibrations of the universe and send the data to our brain. These maps converge in the mind to create what we call reality.

When you have an apparent contradiction, this means appearances are wrong. The question then becomes, why? This is the lesson of all paradox. We are faced with discovering some flaw in appearances.


electron >------------------< quark
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photon >------------------< gluon

Spin in quantum terms can be thought of as layers of dimensions such that as a particle moves from one layer, one dimension, to another, it changes spin. This at first looked like different particles. They had different masses. But supersymmetry sees these particles of different spin and different mass as the same particle as it moves from one quantum dimension to another.

According to physics, gravity is fundamental. It can’t be explained in terms of anything simpler. It is what it is. It could be that the explanation of gravity is due to a phenomema beyond the perimeter of our universe.

Mass is derived from the energy of quarks and gluons, moving at the speed of light, huddling together to shield one another from the force of the grid from which they precipitated.

Publications of Frank Wilczek
K. Rajagopal and F. Wilczek, "The condensed matter physics of QCD", arXiv.org:hep-ph/0011333
F. Wilczek, 2008: The Lightness of Being: Mass, Ether, and the Unification of Forces. Google Books.
F. Wilczek, 2005: In search of symmetry lost, Nature 433.
Einstein, A. Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content? [english translation] Ann. Phys. 18, 639–641 (1905) and some of its citations.

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