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Volume 20 Issue 6, June 2024

Neutrinos probe quantum gravity

The existence of fluctuations in the metric of spacetime induced by quantum gravity would have an impact on neutrinos produced in cosmic-ray air showers. They would lose their quantum coherence, causing their flavour oscillations to change. The IceCube collaboration reports a search for this effect but finds no evidence for it, thus constraining the magnitude of anomalous decoherence from quantum gravity.

See IceCube Collaboration

Image: Alexa Nelson / IceCube. Cover design: Amie Fernandez

Editorial

  • Construction of the European Spallation Source began 10 years ago. Upon completion, its advanced technology and sustainable design will herald a new era for neutron scattering experiments.

    Editorial

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Thesis

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Books & Arts

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News & Views

  • Stable regions in four-dimensional phase space have been observed by following the motion of accelerated proton beams subject to nonlinear forces. This provides insights into the physics of dynamical systems and may lead to improved accelerator designs.

    • Giulio Stancari
    News & Views
  • The properties of quantum matter arise from the combined effects of dimensionality, interactions and quantum statistics. An experiment now studies what happens to ultracold bosons when the dimensionality of the system changes continuously between one and two dimensions.

    • Jérôme Beugnon
    News & Views
  • When photons impinge on a material, free electrons can be created by the photoelectric effect. The emitted electron current usually fluctuates with Poisson statistics, but if squeezed quantum light is applied, the electrons bunch up.

    • Alfred Leitenstorfer
    • Peter Baum
    News & Views
  • Multi-step transitions between a variety of topological spin textures have been unveiled in a centrosymmetric magnet, which may enable efficient multistate memory and logic devices.

    • Jayjit Kumar Dey
    • Sujit Das
    News & Views
  • The shape and trajectory of a crack plays a crucial role in material fracture. High-precision experiments now directly capture this phenomenon, unveiling the intricate 3D nature of cracks.

    • Michael D. Bartlett
    News & Views
  • Spiral waves of cell density can form and propagate through bacterial biofilms. These waves are formed by a self-organization process that coordinates pulling forces between neighbouring cells.

    • Guram Gogia
    • David R. Johnson
    News & Views
  • The Hamiltonian describing a quantum many-body system can be learned using measurements in thermal equilibrium. Now, a learning algorithm applicable to many natural systems has been found that requires exponentially fewer measurements than existing methods.

    • Sitan Chen
    News & Views
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Research Briefings

  • The Q-value of electron capture in 163Ho has been determined with an uncertainty of 0.6 eV c–2 through a combination of high-precision Penning-trap mass spectrometry and precise atomic physics calculations. This high-precision measurement provides insight into systematic errors in neutrino mass measurements.

    Research Briefing
  • Ultrafast light pulses, if they are sufficiently intense, can induce phase transitions on ultrafast timescales. It is now shown that when a system is first excited by a weak preparatory pulse, this generates local changes in structure that transiently lower the energy barrier to the phase transition, enabling high-speed and energy-efficient transitions.

    Research Briefing
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Perspectives

  • Although topological photonics has been an active field of research for some time, most studies still focus on the linear optical regime. This Perspective summarizes recent investigations into the nonlinear properties of discrete topological photonic systems.

    • Alexander Szameit
    • Mikael C. Rechtsman
    Perspective
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Articles

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Amendments & Corrections

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Measure for Measure

  • The packaging of modern-day light sources is crammed with metrics. Paul Wiecki enlightens us about two: brightness and colour-rendering ability.

    • Paul Waymouth Wiecki
    Measure for Measure
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