HAWC Launches in México

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An inaugural ceremony for the High Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) Gamma-Ray Observatory was held on March 19-20, 2015, in México's Volcán Sierra Negra mountains. Professor Jordan Goodman is the U.S. spokesperson on the experiment, working with associate research scientist Andrew J. Smith, postdoctoral researchers Colas Rivière and Brian Baughman, and graduate student Joshua Wood.

UMD and NIH Researchers Receive $1.7M BRAIN Grant

losertA University of Maryland-led research team, which includes Physics Professor Wolfgang Losert, has been awarded a three-year $1.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop new imaging technologies and data analysis techniques that will further our understanding of how large networks of neurons in the brain interact to process sensory information. This knowledge will help researchers identify the precise interactions between millions of nerve cells that drive behavior, like decision-making and speaking, and alterations in these interactions that may be responsible for disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and epilepsy.

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Sprinkling Spin Physics onto a Superconductor

Antiferromagnetic spin-spin interactions are mediated and enhanced by electrons in a superconductor. Graphic credit, S. Kelley/E.Edwards

Jay Sau, in collaboration with physicists from Harvard and Yale, has been studying the effects of embedding magnetic spins onto the surface of a superconductor. They recently report in paper that was chosen as an "Editor's Suggestion" in Physical Review Letters, that the spins can interact differently than previously thought. This hybrid platform could be useful for quantum simulations of complex spin systems, having the special feature that the interactions may be controllable, something quite unusual for most condensed matter systems.

The textbook quantum system known as a spin can be realized in different physical platforms. Due to advances in fabrication and imaging, magnetic impurities embedded onto a substrate have emerged as an exciting prospect for studying spin physics. Quantum ‘spin’ is related to a particle’s intrinsic angular momentum. What’s neat is that while the concept is fairly abstract, numerous effects in nature, such as magnetism, map onto mathematical spin models.

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Creating Optical Cables Out of Thin Air

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Imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on earth, or even into space. That’s what Howard Milchberg, professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland, wants to do.

In a paper published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Optica, Milchberg and his lab report using an “air waveguide” to enhance light signals collected from distant sources. These air waveguides could have many applications, including long-range laser communications, detecting pollution in the atmosphere, making high-resolution topographic maps and laser weapons.

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