Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Spin


New ages for flowstone, sediments and fossil bones from the Dinaledi Chamber are presented. We combined optically stimulated luminescence dating of sediments with U-Th and palaeomagnetic analyses of flowstones to establish that all sediments containing Homo naledi fossils can be allocated to a single stratigraphic entity (sub-unit 3b), interpreted to be deposited between 236 ka and 414 ka. This result has been confirmed independently by dating three H. naledi teeth with combined U-series and electron spin resonance (US-ESR) dating. Two dating scenarios for the fossils were tested by varying the assumed levels of (222)Rn loss in the encasing sediments: a maximum age scenario provides an average age for the two least altered fossil teeth of 253 +82/-70 ka, whilst a minimum age scenario yields an average age of 200 +70/-61 ka. We consider the maximum age scenario to more closely reflect conditions in the cave, and therefore, the true age of the fossils. By combining the US-ESR maximum age estimate obtained from the teeth, with the U-Th age for the oldest flowstone overlying Homo naledi fossils, we have constrained the depositional age of Homo naledi to a period between 236 ka and 335 ka. These age results demonstrate that a morphologically primitive hominin, Homo naledi, survived into the later parts of the Pleistocene in Africa, and indicate a much younger age for the Homo naledi fossils than have previously been hypothesized based on their morphology.

Concepts: Electron, Spin, Sediment, Sedimentary rock, Geology, Fossil, Paleontology, Geologic time scale


Background The presence of a cardiovascular implantable electronic device has long been a contraindication for the performance of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We established a prospective registry to determine the risks associated with MRI at a magnetic field strength of 1.5 tesla for patients who had a pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) that was “non-MRI-conditional” (i.e., not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for MRI scanning). Methods Patients in the registry were referred for clinically indicated nonthoracic MRI at a field strength of 1.5 tesla. Devices were interrogated before and after MRI with the use of a standardized protocol and were appropriately reprogrammed before the scanning. The primary end points were death, generator or lead failure, induced arrhythmia, loss of capture, or electrical reset during the scanning. The secondary end points were changes in device settings. Results MRI was performed in 1000 cases in which patients had a pacemaker and in 500 cases in which patients had an ICD. No deaths, lead failures, losses of capture, or ventricular arrhythmias occurred during MRI. One ICD generator could not be interrogated after MRI and required immediate replacement; the device had not been appropriately programmed per protocol before the MRI. We observed six cases of self-terminating atrial fibrillation or flutter and six cases of partial electrical reset. Changes in lead impedance, pacing threshold, battery voltage, and P-wave and R-wave amplitude exceeded prespecified thresholds in a small number of cases. Repeat MRI was not associated with an increase in adverse events. Conclusions In this study, device or lead failure did not occur in any patient with a non-MRI-conditional pacemaker or ICD who underwent clinically indicated nonthoracic MRI at 1.5 tesla, was appropriately screened, and had the device reprogrammed in accordance with the prespecified protocol. (Funded by St. Jude Medical and others; MagnaSafe number, NCT00907361 .).

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, X-ray, Spin, Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, Cardiac electrophysiology, Magnetic resonance imaging, Artificial pacemaker


The announcement of the discovery of a Higgs boson-like particle at CERN will be remembered as one of the milestones of the scientific endeavor of the 21(st) century. In this paper we present a study of information spreading processes on Twitter before, during and after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle with the features of the elusive Higgs boson on 4(th) July 2012. We report evidence for non-trivial spatio-temporal patterns in user activities at individual and global level, such as tweeting, re-tweeting and replying to existing tweets. We provide a possible explanation for the observed time-varying dynamics of user activities during the spreading of this scientific “rumor”. We model the information spreading in the corresponding network of individuals who posted a tweet related to the Higgs boson discovery. Finally, we show that we are able to reproduce the global behavior of about 500,000 individuals with remarkable accuracy.

Concepts: Spin, Particle physics, Standard Model, Elementary particle, Boson, Large Hadron Collider, Higgs boson, W and Z bosons


The control of nuclear spin polarization is important to the design of materials and algorithms for spin-based quantum computing and spintronics. Towards that end, it would be convenient to control the sign and magnitude of nuclear polarization as a function of position within the host lattice. Here we show that, by exploiting different mechanisms for electron-nuclear interaction in the optical pumping process, we are able to control and image the sign of the nuclear polarization as a function of distance from an irradiated GaAs surface. This control is achieved using a crafted combination of light helicity, intensity and wavelength, and is further tuned via use of NMR pulse sequences. These results demonstrate all-optical creation of micron scale, rewritable patterns of positive and negative nuclear polarization in a bulk semiconductor without the need for ferromagnets, lithographic patterning techniques, or quantum-confined structures.

Concepts: Electron, Optics, Spin, Light, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Gallium arsenide, Germanium, Spintronics


Electronic carriers in graphene show a high carrier mobility at room temperature. Thus, this system is widely viewed as a potential future charge-based high-speed electronic material to complement-or replace-silicon. At the same time, the spin properties of graphene have suggested improved capability for spin-based electronics or spintronics and spin-based quantum computing. As a result, the detection, characterization and transport of spin have become topics of interest in graphene. Here we report a microwave photo-excited transport study of monolayer and trilayer graphene that reveals an unexpectedly strong microwave-induced electrical response and dual microwave-induced resonances in the dc resistance. The results suggest the resistive detection of spin resonance, and provide a measurement of the g-factor, the spin relaxation time and the sub-lattice degeneracy splitting at zero magnetic field.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic moment, Materials science, Physical quantities


Quasi-particle excitations in graphene exhibit a unique behavior concerning two key phenomena of mesoscopic physics: electron localization and the quantum Hall effect. A direct transition between these two states has been found in disordered two-dimensional electron gases at low magnetic field. It has been suggested that it is a quantum phase transition, but the nature of the transition is still debated. Despite the large number of works studying either the localization or the quantum Hall regime in graphene, such a transition has not been investigated for Dirac fermions. Here we discuss measurements on low-mobility graphene where the localized state at low magnetic fields and a quantum Hall state at higher fields are observed. We find that the system undergoes a direct transition from the insulating to the Hall conductor regime. Remarkably, the transverse magneto-conductance shows a temperature independent crossing point, pointing to the existence of a genuine quantum phase transition.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Condensed matter physics, Electric current, Hall effect, Quantum Hall effect


The realization of a controllable metamagnetic transition from AFM to FM ordering would open the door to a plethora of new spintronics based devices that, rather than reorienting spins in a ferromagnet, harness direct control of a materials intrinsic magnetic ordering. In this study FeRh films with drastically reduced transition temperatures and a large magneto-thermal hysteresis were produced for magnetocaloric and spintronics applications. Remarkably, giant controllable magnetization changes (measured to be as high has ~25%) are realized by manipulating the strain transfer from the external lattice when subjected to two structural phase transitions of BaTiO3 (001) single crystal substrate. These magnetization changes are the largest seen to date to be controllably induced in the FeRh system. Using polarized neutron reflectometry we reveal how just a slight in plane surface strain change at ~290C results in a massive magnetic transformation in the bottom half of the film clearly demonstrating a strong lattice-spin coupling in FeRh. By means of these substrate induced strain changes we show a way to reproducibly explore the effects of temperature and strain on the relative stabilities of the FM and AFM phases in multi-domain metamagnetic systems. This study also demonstrates for the first time the depth dependent nature of a controllable magnetic order using strain in an artificial multiferroic heterostructure.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Paramagnetism, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Magnetic moment, Permeability


Excitation of magnetization dynamics by pure spin currents has been recently recognized as an enabling mechanism for spintronics and magnonics, which allows implementation of spin-torque devices based on low-damping insulating magnetic materials. Here we report the first spatially-resolved study of the dynamic modes excited by pure spin current in nanometer-thick microscopic insulating Yttrium Iron Garnet disks. We show that these modes exhibit nonlinear self-broadening preventing the formation of the self-localized magnetic bullet, which plays a crucial role in the stabilization of the single-mode magnetization oscillations in all-metallic systems. This peculiarity associated with the efficient nonlinear mode coupling in low-damping materials can be among the main factors governing the interaction of pure spin currents with the dynamic magnetization in high-quality magnetic insulators.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Spin, Electric current, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Insulator


We describe a magnetic field sensor based on a spin wave interferometer. Its sensing element consists of a magnetic cross junction with four micro-antennas fabricated at the edges. Two of these antennas are used for spin wave excitation while two other antennas are used for detection of the inductive voltage produced by the interfering spin waves. Two waves propagating in the orthogonal arms of the cross may accumulate significantly different phase shifts depending on the magnitude and direction of the external magnetic field. This phenomenon is utilized for magnetic field sensing. The sensitivity attains its maximum under the destructive interference condition, where a small change in the external magnetic field results in a drastic increase of the inductive voltage, as well as in the change of the output phase. We report experimental data obtained for a micrometer scale Y3Fe2(FeO4)3 cross structure. The change of the inductive voltage near the destructive interference point exceeds 40 dB per 1 Oe. The phase of the output signal exhibits a π-phase shift within 1 Oe. The data are collected at room temperature. Taking into account the low thermal noise in ferrite structures, we estimate that the maximum sensitivity of the spin wave magnetometer may exceed attotesla.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Diffraction, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Wave, Phase, Interference, Superposition principle


In spin-based nanosystems for quantum information processing, electron spin qubits are subject to decoherence due to their interactions with nuclear spin environments. In this paper, we present an exact master equation for a central spin-½ system in time-dependent external fields and coupled to a spin-half bath in terms of hyperfine interaction. The master equation provides a unified description for free and controlled dynamics of the central spin and is formally independent of the details and size of spin environments. Different from the previous approaches, the master equation remains exact even in the presence of external control fields. Using the parameters for realistic nanosystems with nonzero nuclear spins, such as GaAs, we investigate the Overhauser’s effect on the decoherence dynamics of the central spin under different distributions of bath-spin frequencies and system-bath coupling strengths. Furthermore, we apply the leakage elimination operator, in a nonperturbative manner, to this system to suppress the decoherence induced by hyperfine interaction.

Concepts: Electron, Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Quantum computer, Quantum state, Quantum information