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ScienceDaily

From China to the South Pole: Joining forces to solve the neutrino mass puzzle

Among the most exciting challenges in modern physics is the identification of the neutrino mass ordering. Physicists from the Cluster of Excellence PRISMA+ at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) play a leading role in a new study that indicates that the puzzle of neutrino mass ordering may finally be solved in the next few years. This will be thanks to the combined performance of two new neutrino experiments that are in the pipeline — the Upgrade of the IceCube experiment at the South Pole and the Jiangmen Underground Neutrino Observatory (JUNO) in China. They will soon give the physicists access to much more sensitive and complementary data on the neutrino mass ordering.

Neutrinos are the chameleons among elementary particles

Neutrinos are produced by natural sources — in the interior of the sun or other astronomical objects, for example — but also in vast quantities by nuclear power plants. However, they can pass through normal matter — such as the human body — practically unhindered without leaving a trace of their presence. This means that extremely complex methods requiring the use of massive detectors are needed to observe the occasional rare reactions in which these ‘ghost particles’ are involved.

Neutrinos come in three different types: electron, muon and tau neutrinos. They can change from one type to another, a phenomenon that scientists call ‘neutrino oscillation’. It is possible to determine the mass of the particles from observations of the oscillation patterns. For years now, physicists have been trying to establish which of the three neutrinos is the lightest and which is the heaviest. Prof. Michael Wurm, a physicist at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence and the Institute of Physics at JGU, who is playing an instrumental role in setting up the JUNO experiment in China, explains: “We believe that answering this question will contribute significantly towards enabling us to gather long-term data on the violation of matter-antimatter symmetry in the neutrino sector. Then, using this data, we hope to find out once and for all why matter and anti-matter did not completely annihilate each other after the Big Bang.”

Global cooperation pays off

Both large-scale experiments use very different and complementary methods in order to solve the puzzle of the neutrino mass ordering. “An obvious approach is to combine the expected results of both experiments,” points out Prof. Sebastian Böser, also from the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence and the Institute of Physics at JGU, who researches neutrinos and is a major contributor to the IceCube experiment.

No sooner said than done. In the current issue of the journal Physical Review D, researchers from the IceCube and the JUNO collaboration have published a combined analysis of their experiments. For this, the authors simulated the predicted experimental data as a function of the measuring time for each experiment. The results vary depending on whether the neutrino masses are in their normal or reversed (inverted) order. Next, the physicists carried out a statistical test, in which they applied a combined analysis to the simulated results of both experiments. This revealed the degree of sensitivity with which both experiments combined could predict the correct order, or rather rule out the wrong order. As the observed oscillation patterns in JUNO and IceCube depend on the actual neutrino mass ordering in a way specific to each experiment, the combined test has a discriminating power significantly higher than the individual experimental results. The combination will thus permit to definitively rule out the incorrect neutrino mass ordering within a measuring period of three to seven years.

“In this case, the whole really is more than the sum of its parts,” concludes Sebastian Böser. “Here we have clear evidence of the effectiveness of a complementary experimental approach when it comes to solving the remaining neutrino puzzles.” “No experiment could achieve this by itself, whether it’s the IceCube Upgrade, JUNO or any of the others currently running,” adds Michael Wurm. “Moreover it just shows what neutrino physicists here in Mainz can achieve by working together.”

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Materials provided by Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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ProgrammableWeb

iOS 13.4 Includes CarKey API, Enables NFC Car Keys

Apple has recently announced the beta version of iOS 13.4 and developers have noticed an exciting new API that may portend all-new iOS features. The new CarKey API that has been found in the latest release is expected to allow iOS users to unlock their cars using NFC (near-field communication).

9to5Mac was the first to report the new API and their coverage notes that there is evidence to support the idea that this new API will enable new features within Apple’s existing Wallet application. To take advantage of the new functionality iOS users would need to have a car with NFC enabled. The setup would happen in the Apple Wallet application where it appears that users would be redirected to authorize this functionality in the car manufacturer’s app. Once the setup process is finished users would be able to unlock their car by holding their phone on the car’s NFC reader.

It also appears that these “CarKeys’ may be shareable, allowing a car owner to easily provide access to their car to family or friends. It appears that Apple is working with car manufacturers to enable this feature. As a result, it is possible that these features may not be released at the same time as the rest of iOS 13.4. 

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Author: <a href="https://www.programmableweb.com/user/%5Buid%5D">KevinSundstrom</a>

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ScienceDaily

Cesium vapor aids in the search for dark matter

The hunt for dark matter is one of the most exciting challenges facing fundamental physics in the 21st century. Researchers have long known that it must exist, as many astrophysical observations would otherwise be impossible to explain. For example, stars rotate much faster in galaxies than they would if only ‘normal’ matter existed.

In total, the matter we can see only accounts for, at the most, 20 percent of the total matter in the universe — meaning that a remarkable 80 percent is dark matter. “There’s an elephant in the room but we just can’t see it,” said Professor Dmitry Budker, a researcher at the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM), explaining the problem he and many of his colleagues worldwide are contending with.

Dark matter could consist of extremely light particles

But so far no one knows what dark matter is made of. Scientists in the field are considering and researching a whole range of possible particles that might theoretically qualify as candidates. Among these are extremely lightweight bosonic particles, currently considered to be one of the most promising prospects. “These can also be regarded as a classical field oscillating at a specific frequency. But we can’t yet put a figure on this — and therefore the mass of the particles,” explained Budker. “Our basic assumption is that this dark matter field is coupled to visible matter and has an extremely subtle influence on certain atomic properties that would normally be constant.”

Budker and his team in Mainz have now developed a new method which they describe in the current issue of the leading specialist journal Physical Review Letters. It employs atomic spectroscopy and involves the use of cesium atom vapor. Only on exposure to laser light of a very specific wavelength do these atoms become excited. The conjecture is that minute changes in the corresponding observed wavelength would indicate coupling of the cesium vapor to a dark matter particle field.

“In principle, our work is based on a particular theoretical model, the hypotheses of which we are experimentally testing,” added the paper’s principal author, Dr. Dionysis Antypas. “In this case, the concept underlying our work is the relaxion model developed by our colleagues and co-authors at the Weizmann Institute in Israel.” According to the relaxion theory, there must be a region in the vicinity of large masses such as the Earth in which the density of dark matter is greater, making the coupling effects easier to observe and detect.

Previously inaccessible frequency range searched

With their new technique, the scientists have now accessed a hitherto unexplored frequency range in which, as postulated in relaxion theory, the effects of certain forms of dark matter on the atomic properties of cesium should be relatively easy to spot. The results also allow the researchers to formulate new restrictions as to what the nature of dark matter is likely to be. Dmitry Budker likens this meticulous search to the hunt for a tiger in a desert. “In the frequency range that we’ve explored in our current work, we still have not pinpointed dark matter. But at least, now that we’ve searched in this range, we know we don’t have to do it again.” The researchers still don’t know where dark matter — the tiger in his metaphor — is lurking, but they now know where it is not. “We just keep on targeting in more closely on the part of the desert where the tiger is most likely to be. And, at some point, we will catch him,” maintained Budker with confidence.

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Materials provided by Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Hackster.io

Trill: touch sensors for Bela (and beyond!) // Fund’em Friday

Exciting news from Bela: the new Trill sensors are going like hotcakes on Kickstarter! These touch sensors and their associated board are capable of 30 separate touch channels. WOW!

(Also, announcing Hackster News!)

// https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/423153472/trill-touch-sensing-for-makers
// https://twitter.com/BelaPlatform/status/1173522204648189952
// https://forum.bela.io/d/994-beta-testers-needed-new-ide-shareable-libraries-and-guis
// https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_Wire.html
// https://www.hackster.io/videos/169
// https://www.hackster.io/112305/bela-low-latency-audio-sensor-cape-for-pocketbeagle-1615e0
// https://www.hackster.io/glowascii/getting-started-with-bela-mini-e23ed2
// https://www.hackster.io/news/the-new-bela-mini-low-latency-audio-in-a-smaller-package-f41eeccc88cf

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Hackster.io

The Hackster Blog Is Moving

We have some exciting news to share with you! Over the past six months our team has been hard at work to provide our readers with a much more integrated experience.

We heard your feedback loud and clear: you love our blog and enjoy fresh daily features but wish to remain under a single platform without the need to log in, worry about your privacy, or encounter a metered paywall on Medium. Plus, many of you have mentioned that it would be nicer to maintain product and project hyperlinks under one roof versus two completely separate sites. We totally agree.

Starting September 30th, the Hackster Blog will be hosted on Hackster.io under the name Hackster News.

We encourage you to continue following along with us as we bring you all the latest and greatest from the industry. Same great content, better location.

– Artie, Hackster CMO and Newsman

P.S. Your thoughts are always welcomed: [email protected].

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Author: Hackster Staff