Physicists use computer simulation to investigate aging in living glassy systems

Physicists use computer simulation to investigate aging in living glassy systems
A representation of an active particle being propelled through an energy landscape to lower energy states. Credit: Dr Rituparno Mandal, University of Göttingen

Aging is a process that affects not only living beings. Many materials, like plastics and glasses, also age—i.e. they change slowly over time as their particles try to pack better—and there are already computer models to describe this. Biological materials, such as living tissue, can show similar behavior to glasses except that the particles are actual cells or bacteria which have their own propulsion. Researchers at the University of Göttingen have now used computer simulations to explore the aging behavior of these “living” glassy systems. There was a surprise in that the activity of the particles can actually drive aging, which has potential consequences for a number of applications. Their research was published in Physical Review Letters.


In materials like glasses and plastics, their particles pack

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Physicists develop efficient modem for a future quantum internet

Physicists develop efficient modem for a future quantum internet
The Garching quantum modem: The crystal disk with the quantum bits of erbium atoms (arrows) is in the middle, the back and forth reflected infrared light is indicated by the red disks. Credit: Christoph Hohmann (MCQST)

The first quantum revolution brought about semiconductor electronics, the laser and finally the internet. The coming, second quantum revolution promises spy-proof communication, extremely precise quantum sensors and quantum computers for previously unsolvable computing tasks. But this revolution is still in its infancy. A central research object is the interface between local quantum devices and light quanta that enable the remote transmission of highly sensitive quantum information. The Otto-Hahn group “Quantum Networks” at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching is researching such a “quantum modem”. The team has now achieved a first breakthrough in a relatively simple but highly efficient technology that can be integrated into existing fiber optic networks. The work is published

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