22 September 2015

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Achieves Record Quantum Teleportation Distance

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have "teleported" or transferred quantum information carried in light particles over 100 kilometers (km) of optical fiber, four times farther than the previous record.

The experiment confirmed that quantum communication is feasible over long distances in fiber. Other research groups have teleported quantum information over longer distances in free space, but the ability to do so over conventional fiber-optic lines offers more flexibility for network design. The experiment used photons to transfer the information.

A photon is a single particle of light. It is an elementary particle that exhibits both particle and wave properties; wave–particle duality. The study of photons usually falls under but not limited to quantum mechanics.

Photons have many real world applications. Solar energy cells use photons to convert sunlight to energy. Some systems like the Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) use it to generate images. The mass of photons was one of the factors that lead researchers at CERN in the Large Hadron Collider to help discover the Higgs Particle. Even in science fiction, the photon torpedo or photon gun is part of a spaceship's arsenal.

16 September 2015

Image of Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy Captured By ESO

The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy, pictured in this new image from the Wide Field Imager camera, installed on the 2.2-metre MPG/ESO telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory, is a close neighbour of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Despite their close proximity, both galaxies have very distinct histories and characters. This galaxy is much smaller and older than the Milky Way, making it a valuable subject for studying both star and galaxy formation in the early Universe. However, due to its faintness, studying this object is no easy task.

The Sculptor Dwarf Galaxy — also known as the Sculptor Dwarf Elliptical or the Sculptor Dwarf Spheroidal — is a dwarf spheroidal galaxy, and is one of the fourteen known satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. This is not to be confused with the similarly named and much brighter Sculptor Galaxy which is located in the same constellation of Sculptor.

A dwarf galaxy is a small galaxy composed of up to several billion stars. A regular galaxy like the Milky Way has 200 to 400 billion stars. Since these dwarf galaxies are small, they have been observed to be pulled toward and merge with nearby spiral galaxies.