Hexbyte Glen Cove CCNY team in quantum algorithm breakthrough thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove CCNY team in quantum algorithm breakthrough

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The Google Quantum Computer. Credit: Google Quantum AI

Researchers led by City College of New York physicist Pouyan Ghaemi report the development of a quantum algorithm with the potential to study a class of many-electron quantums system using quantum computers. Their paper, entitled “Creating and Manipulating a Laughlin-Type ν=1/3 Fractional Quantum Hall State on a Quantum Computer with Linear Depth Circuits,” appears in the December issue of PRX Quantum, a journal of the American Physical Society.

“Quantum physics is the fundamental theory of nature which leads to formation of molecules and the resulting matter around us,” said Ghaemi, assistant professor in CCNY’s Division of Science. “It is already known that when we have a macroscopic number of quantum particles, such as electrons in the metal, which interact with each other, novel phenomena such as superconductivity emerge.”

However, until now, according to Ghaemi, tools to study systems with large numbers of interacting quantum particles and their novel properties have been extremely limited.

“Our research has developed a which can be used to study a class of many-electron quantum systems using quantum computers. Our algorithm opens a new venue to use the new quantum devices to study problems which are quite challenging to study using classical computers. Our results are new and motivate many follow up studies,” added Ghaemi.

On for this advancement, Ghaemi, who’s also affiliated with the Graduate Center, CUNY noted: “Quantum computers have witnessed extensive developments during the last few years. Development of new quantum algorithms, regardless of their direct application, will contribute to realize applications of quantum computers.

“I believe the direct application of our results is to provide tools to improve devices. Their direct real-life application would emerge when quantum computers can be used for daily life applications.”

More information:
Armin Rahmani et al. Creating and Manipulating a Laughlin-Type ν=1/3 Fractional Quantum Hall State on a Quantum Computer with Linear Depth Circuits, PRX Quantum (2020). DOI: 10.1103/PRXQuantum.1.020309

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Plastic pollution is everywhere. Study reveals how it travels thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Plastic pollution is everywhere. Study reveals how it travels

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Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Plastic pollution is ubiquitous today, with microplastic particles from disposable goods found in natural environments throughout the globe, including Antarctica. But how those particles move through and accumulate in the environment is poorly understood. Now a Princeton University study has revealed the mechanism by which microplastics, like Styrofoam, and particulate pollutants are carried long distances through soil and other porous media, with implications for preventing the spread and accumulation of contaminants in food and water sources.

The study, published in Science Advances on November 13, reveals that get stuck when traveling through porous materials such as soil and sediment but later break free and often continue to move substantially further. Identifying this stop-and-restart process and the conditions that control it is new, said Sujit Datta, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering and associated faculty of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, the High Meadows Environmental Institute and the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials. Previously, researchers thought that when microparticles got stuck, they generally stayed there, which limited understanding of particle spread.

Datta led the research team, which found that the microparticles are pushed free when the rate of fluid flowing through the media remains high enough. The Princeton researchers showed that the process of deposition, or the formation of clogs, and erosion, their breakup, is cyclical; clogs form and then are broken up by fluid pressure over time and distance, moving particles further through the pore space until clogs reform.

“Not only did we find these cool dynamics of particles getting stuck, clogged, building up deposits and then getting pushed through, but that process enables particles to get spread out over much larger distances than we would have thought otherwise,” said Datta.

The team included Navid Bizmark, a postdoctoral research associate in the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials, graduate student Joanna Schneider, and Rodney Priestley, professor of chemical and and vice dean for innovation.

They tested two types of particles, “sticky” and “nonsticky,” which correspond with actual types of microplastics found in the environment. Surprisingly, they found that there was no difference in the process itself; that is, both still clogged and unclogged themselves at high enough fluid pressures. The only difference was where the clusters formed. The “nonsticky” particles tended to get stuck only at narrow passageways, whereas the sticky ones seemed to be able to get trapped at any surface of the solid medium they encountered. As a result of these dynamics, it is now clear that even “sticky” particles can spread out over large areas and throughout hundreds of pores.

In the paper, the researchers describe pumping fluorescent polystyrene microparticles and fluid through a transparent porous media developed in Datta’s lab, and then watching the microparticles move under a microscope. Polystyrene is the plastic microparticle that makes up Styrofoam, which is often littered into soils and waterways through shipping materials and fast food containers. The porous media they created closely mimics the structure of naturally-occurring media, including soils, sediments, and groundwater aquifers.

Typically porous media are opaque, so one cannot see what microparticles are doing or how they flow. Researchers usually measure what goes in and out of the media, and try to infer the processes going on inside. By making transparent porous media, the researchers overcame that limitation.

Research has shown how plastics, depicted here as green particles, travel long distances in soil and other substances through a process of repeatedly getting stuck and then released. Credit: Princeton University/Datta Lab

“Datta and colleagues opened the black box,” said Philippe Coussot, a professor at Ecole des Ponts Paris Tech and an expert in rheology who is unaffiliated with the study.

“We figured out tricks to make the media transparent. Then, by using fluorescent microparticles, we can watch their dynamics in real time using a microscope,” said Datta. “The nice thing is that we can actually see what individual particles are doing under different experimental conditions.”

The study, which Coussot described as a “remarkable experimental approach,” showed that although the Styrofoam microparticles did get stuck at points, they ultimately were pushed free, and moved throughout the entire length of the media during the experiment.

The ultimate goal is to use these particle observations to improve parameters for larger scale models to predict the amount and location of contamination. The models would be based on varying types of and varying particle sizes and chemistries, and help to more accurately predict contamination under various irrigation, rainfall, or ambient flow conditions. The research can help inform mathematical models to better understand the likelihood of a particle moving over a certain distance and reaching a vulnerable destination, such as a nearby farmland, river or aquifer. The researchers also studied how the deposition of microplastic particles impacts the permeability of the medium, including how easily water for irrigation can flow through soil when microparticles are present.

Datta said this experiment is the tip of the iceberg in terms of particles and applications that researchers can now study. “Now that we found something so surprising in a system so simple, we’re excited to see what the implications are for more complex systems,” said Datta.

He said, for example, this principle could yield insight into how clays, minerals, grains, quartz, viruses, microbes and other particles move in media with complex surface chemistries.

The knowledge will also help the researchers understand how to deploy engineered nanoparticles to remediate contaminated groundwater aquifers, perhaps leaked from a manufacturing plant, farm, or urban wastewater stream.

Beyond environmental remediation, the findings are applicable to processes across a spectrum of industries, from drug delivery to filtration mechanisms, effectively any in which particles flow and accumulate, Datta said.

More information:
Multiscale dynamics of colloidal deposition and erosion in porous media, Science Advances (2020). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc2530 , advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/46/eabc2530

Plastic pollution is everywhere. Study reveals how it travels (2020, November 13)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Hard-hit Central America in crosshairs of another hurricane thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Hard-hit Central America in crosshairs of another hurricane

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Residents evacuate a flooded area in Baracoa, Honduras on November 8, 2020

Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua announced evacuations Friday as a second major hurricane in days closed in on Central America with the region still reeling from deadly storm Eta last week.

Eta killed more than 200 people across Central America, with heavy rain bursting river banks and triggering landslides as far north as Chiapas, Mexico.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami has now confirmed that another is approaching Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, whose populations total more than 30 million.

The NHC forecasts Tropical Storm Iota to become a Category 2 or 3 hurricane as it moves into the same shell-shocked countries, hitting Nicaragua and Honduras by late Sunday or early Monday—less than two weeks after Eta hit.

Authorities in Honduras on Friday ordered the evacuation by police and the army of people in the area of San Pedro Sula—the country’s second city and industrial capital, located 180 kilometers (110 miles) north of Tegucigalpa.

“Our red alert (in Honduras) orders mandatory evacuations,” Julissa Mercado of Honduras’ Emergency Response Agency told AFP.

The San Pedro Sula valley was hit hard by Eta and about 40,000 people are still in shelters across the country.

In Nicaragua relief agencies began to evacuate some from the Coco River, on the border with Honduras, which could be affected by heavy rains and floods due to the .

“We are asking you to calmly prepare” for the hurricane that “threatens to cause floods and disasters,” Rose Cunnigham, the mayor of Waspam, on the border with Honduras, urged the community over a local radio station.

Waspam authorities on Friday sent boats to evacuate the community in Cabo Gracias a Dios, the cape where the Coco River flows into the Caribbean along the “Mosquito Coast”, and buses to transport people from the village of Bihmuna.

The town of Morales in Guatemala’s Izabal Department is seen flooded following the passage of storm Eta on November 7, 2020

Guatemala’s disaster management agency CONRED meanwhile called on residents in the country’s most threatened areas in the north and northeast to voluntarily evacuate to shelters. It also recommended avoiding waterways and other risky areas.

“Our ground is already oversaturated,” said Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei.

“So it’s to be expected that we will have more farming and infrastructure damage,” he warned after meeting his Honduran counterpart, Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Guatemala City.

Eta hit the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm and was one of the strongest November storms ever recorded.

Warmer seas caused by are making hurricanes stronger for longer after landfall, increasing the destruction they can wreak, scientists say.

Guatemala’s Giammattei on Friday accused industrialized nations of being responsible for the catastrophes caused by climate change that are ravaging the area.

“Central America is one of the regions where climate change is felt the most,” he told reporters.

The region is hit by “catastrophic floods, extreme droughts and the greatest poverty” but nonetheless receives “the least help on behalf of these industrialized nations”, he said.

This year’s season has seen a record 30 named tropical storms wreak havoc across the southeastern United States, the Caribbean and Central America.

The NHC was even forced to switch to the Greek alphabet after 2020’s storms exhausted its list of Latin names.

© 2020 AFP

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