Physics welcomes the idea that space contains energy whose gravitational effect approximates that of Einstein's cosmological constant, Lambda; today the concept is termed dark energy or quintessence. Physics also suggests that dark energy could be dynamical, allowing for the arguably appealing picture of an evolving dark-energy density approaching its natural value, zero, and small now because the expanding universe is old. This would alleviate the classical problem of the curious energy scale of a millielectron volt associated with a constant Lambda. Dark energy may have been detected by recent cosmological tests. These tests make a good scientific case for the context, in the relativistic Friedmann-Lemaitre model, in which the gravitational inverse-square law is applied to the scales of cosmology. We have well-checked evidence that the mean mass density is not much more than one-quarter of the critical Einstein-de Sitter value. The case for detection of dark energy is not yet as convincing but still serious; we await more data, which may be derived from work in progress. Planned observations may detect the evolution of the dark-energy density; a positive result would be a considerable stimulus for attempts at understanding the microphysics of dark energy. This review presents the basic physics and astronomy of the subject, reviews the history of ideas, assesses the state of the observational evidence, and comments on recent developments in the search for a fundamental theory.
Complex networks describe a wide range of systems in nature and society. Frequently cited examples include the cell, a network of chemicals linked by chemical reactions, and the Internet, a network of routers and computers connected by physical links. While traditionally these systems have been modeled as random graphs, it is increasingly recognized that the topology and evolution of real networks are governed by robust organizing principles. This article reviews the recent advances in the field of complex networks, focusing on the statistical mechanics of network topology and dynamics. After reviewing the empirical data that motivated the recent interest in networks, the authors discuss the main models and analytical tools, covering random graphs, small-world and scale-free networks, the emerging theory of evolving networks, and the interplay between topology and the network's robustness against failures and attacks.
Quantum cryptography could well be the first application of quantum mechanics at the single-quantum level. The rapid progress in both theory and experiment in recent years is reviewed, with emphasis on open questions and technological issues.
Electronic excitations lie at the origin of most of the commonly measured spectra. However. the first-principles computation of excited states requires a larger effort than ground-state calculations, which can be very efficiently carried out within density-functional theory. On the other hand, two theoretical and computational tools have come to prominence for the description of electronic excitations. One of them, many-body perturbation theory, is based on a set of Green's-function equations, starting with a one-electron propagator and considering the electron-hole Green's function for the response. Key ingredients are the electron's self-energy 1 and the electron-hole interaction. A good approximation for Sigma is obtained with Hedin's G W approach. using density-functional theory as a zero-order solution. First-principles G W calculations for real systems have been successfully carried out since the 1980s. Similarly, the electron-hole interaction is well described by the Bethe-Salpeter equation, via a functional derivative of Sigma. An alternative approach to calculating electronic excitations is the time-dependent density-functional theory (TDDFT). which offers the important practical advantage of a dependence on density rather than on multivariable Green's functions. This approach leads to a screening equation similar to the Bethe-Salpeter one. but with a two-point, rather than a four-point, interaction kernel, At present. the simple adiabatic local-density approximation has given promising results for finite systems, but has significant deficiencies in the description of absorption spectra in solids. leading to wrong excitation energies, the absence of bound excitonic states, and appreciable distortions of the spectral line shapes. The search for improved TDDFT potentials and kernels is hence a subject of increasing interest. It can be addressed within the framework of many-body perturbation theory: in fact. both the Green's functions and the TDDFT approaches profit from mutual insight. This review compares the theoretical and practical aspects of the two approaches and their specific numerical implementations, and presents an overview of accomplishments and work in progress.
Electron transport experiments on two lateral quantum dots coupled in series are reviewed. An introduction to the charge stability diagram is given in terms of the electrochemical potentials of both dots. Resonant tunneling experiments show that the double dot geometry allows for an accurate determination of the intrinsic lifetime of discrete energy states in quantum dots. The evolution of discrete energy levels in magnetic field is studied. The resolution allows one to resolve avoided crossings in the spectrum of a quantum dot. With microwave spectroscopy it is possible to probe the transition from ionic bonding (for weak interdot tunnel coupling) to covalent bonding (for strong interdot tunnel coupling) in a double dot artificial molecule. This review is motivated by the relevance of double quantum dot studies for realizing solid state quantum bits.
Like all true stars, massive stars are gravitationally confined thermonuclear reactors whose composition evolves as energy is lost to radiation and neutrinos. Unlike lower-mass stars (Mless than or similar to8M), however, no point is ever reached at which a massive star can be fully supported by electron degeneracy. Instead, the center evolves to ever higher temperatures, fusing ever heavier elements until a core of iron is produced. The collapse of this iron core to a neutron star releases an enormous amount of energy, a tiny fraction of which is sufficient to explode the star as a supernova. The authors examine our current understanding of the lives and deaths of massive stars, with special attention to the relevant nuclear and stellar physics. Emphasis is placed upon their post-helium-burning evolution. Current views regarding the supernova explosion mechanism are reviewed, and the hydrodynamics of supernova shock propagation and "fallback" is discussed. The calculated neutron star masses, supernova light curves, and spectra from these model stars are shown to be consistent with observations. During all phases, particular attention is paid to the nucleosynthesis of heavy elements. Such stars are capable of producing, with few exceptions, the isotopes between mass 16 and 88 as well as a large fraction of still heavier elements made by the r and p processes.
This article reviews our present knowledge of universality classes in nonequilibrium systems defined on regular lattices. The first section presents the most important critical exponents and relations, as well as the field-theoretical formalism used in the text. The second section briefly addresses the question of scaling behavior at first-order phase transitions. In Sec. III the author looks at dynamical extensions of basic static classes, showing the effects of mixing dynamics and of percolation. The main body of the review begins in Sec. IV, where genuine, dynamical universality classes specific to nonequilibrium systems are introduced. Section V considers such nonequilibrium classes in coupled, multicomponent systems. Most of the known nonequilibrium transition classes are explored in low dimensions between active and absorbing states of reaction-diffusion-type systems. However, by mapping they can be related to the universal behavior of interface growth models, which are treated in Sec. VI. The review ends with a summary of the classes of absorbing-state and mean-field systems and discusses some possible directions for future research.
The properties of quasi-two-dimensional semiconductor quantum dots are reviewed. Experimental techniques for measuring the electronic shell structure and the effect of magnetic fields are briefly described. The electronic structure is analyzed in terms of simple single-particle models, density-functional theory, and "exact" diagonalization methods. The spontaneous magnetization due to Hund's rule, spin-density wave states, and electron localization are addressed. As a function of the magnetic field, the electronic structure goes through several phases with qualitatively different properties. The formation of the so-called maximum-density droplet and its edge reconstruction is discussed, and the regime of strong magnetic fields in finite dot is examined. In addition, quasi-one-dimensional rings, deformed dots, and dot molecules are considered.
The cubic complex Ginzburg-Landau equation is one of the most-studied nonlinear equations in the physics community. It describes a vast variety of phenomena from nonlinear waves to second-order phase transitions, from superconductivity, superfluidity, and Bose-Einstein condensation to liquid crystals and strings in field theory. The authors give an overview of various phenomena described by the complex Ginzburg-Landau equation in one, two, and three dimensions from the point of view of condensed-matter physicists. Their aim is to study the relevant solutions in order to gain insight into nonequilibrium phenomena in spatially extended systems.
There is strong evidence that the area of any surface limits the information content of adjacent spacetime regions, at 1.4x10(69) bits per square meter. This article reviews the developments that have led to the recognition of this entropy bound, placing special emphasis on the quantum properties of black holes. The construction of light sheets, which associate relevant spacetime regions to any given surface, is discussed in detail. This article explains how the bound is tested, and its validity is demonstrated in a wide range of examples. A universal relation between geometry and information is thus uncovered. It has yet to be explained. The holographic principle asserts that its origin must lie in the number of fundamental degrees of freedom involved in a unified description of spacetime and matter. It must be manifest in an underlying quantum theory of gravity. This article surveys some successes and challenges in implementing the holographic principle.
The authors review recent advances in the physics of strongly interacting charged systems functioning in water at room temperature. In these systems, many phenomena go beyond the framework of mean-field theories, whether linear Debye-Huckel or nonlinear Poisson-Boltzmann, culminating in charge inversion-a counterintuitive phenomenon in which a strongly charged particle, called a macroion. binds so many counterions that its net charge changes sign. The review discusses the universal theory of charge inversion based on the idea of a strongly correlated liquid of adsorbed counterions. similar to a Wigner crystal. This theory has a vast array of applications, particularly in biology and chemistry; for example. in the presence of positive multivalent ions (e.g.. polycations), the DNA double helix acquires a net positive charge and drifts as a positive particle in an electric field. This simplifies DNA uptake by the cell as needed for gene therapy, because the cell membrane is negatively charged, Analogies of charge inversion to other fields of physics are also discussed.
A variety of observations suggest that magnetic fields are present in all galaxies and galaxy clusters. These fields are characterized by a modest strength (10(-7)-10(-5) G) and huge spatial scale (less than or similar to1 Mpc). It is generally assumed that magnetic fields in spiral galaxies arise from the combined action of differential rotation and helical turbulence, a process known as the alphaomega dynamo. However, fundamental questions concerning the nature of the dynamo as well as the origin of the seed fields necessary to prime it remain unclear. Moreover, the standard alphaomega dynamo does not explain the existence of magnetic fields in elliptical galaxies and clusters. The author summarizes what is known observationally about magnetic fields in galaxies, clusters, superclusters, and beyond. He then reviews the standard dynamo paradigm, the challenges that have been leveled against it, and several alternative scenarios. He concludes with a discussion of astrophysical and early-Universe candidates for seed fields.
Single-bubble sonoluminescence occurs when an acoustically trapped and periodically driven gas bubble collapses so strongly that the energy focusing at collapse leads to light emission. Detailed experiments have demonstrated the unique properties of this system: the spectrum of the emitted light tends to peak in the ultraviolet and depends strongly on the type of gas dissolved in the liquid; small amounts of trace noble gases or other impurities can dramatically change the amount of light emission, which is also affected by small changes in other operating parameters (mainly forcing pressure, dissolved gas concentration, and liquid temperature). This article reviews experimental and theoretical efforts to understand this phenomenon. The currently available information favors a description of sonoluminescence caused by adiabatic heating of the bubble at collapse, leading to partial ionization of the gas inside the bubble and to thermal emission such as bremsstrahlung. After a brief historical review, the authors survey the major areas of research: Section II describes the classical theory of bubble dynamics, as developed by Rayleigh, Plesset, Prosperetti, and others, while Sec. III describes research on the gas dynamics inside the bubble. Shock waves inside the bubble do not seem to play a prominent role in the process. Section IV discusses the hydrodynamic and chemical stability of the bubble. Stable single-bubble sonoluminescence requires that the bubble be shape stable and diffusively stable, and, together with an energy focusing condition, this fixes the parameter space where light emission occurs. Section V describes experiments and models addressing the origin of the light emission. The final section presents an overview of what is known, and outlines some directions for future research.
This article discusses the intimate relationship between quantum mechanics, information theory, and relativity theory. Taken together these are the foundations of present-day theoretical physics, and their interrelationship is an essential part of the theory. The acquisition of information from a quantum system by an observer occurs at the interface of classical and quantum physics. The authors review the essential tools needed to describe this interface, i.e., Kraus matrices and positive-operator-valued measures. They then discuss how special relativity imposes severe restrictions on the transfer of information between distant systems and the implications of the fact that quantum entropy is not a Lorentz-covariant concept. This leads to a discussion of how it comes about that Lorentz transformations of reduced density matrices for entangled systems may not be completely positive maps. Quantum field theory is, of course, necessary for a consistent description of interactions. Its structure implies a fundamental tradeoff between detector reliability and localizability. Moreover, general relativity produces new and counterintuitive effects, particularly when black holes (or, more generally, event horizons) are involved. In this more general context the authors discuss how most of the current concepts in quantum information theory may require a reassessment.
Bose-Einstein condensation, or BEC, has a long and rich history dating from the early 1920s. In this article we will trace briefly over this history and some of the developments in physics that made possible our successful pursuit of BEC in a gas. We will then discuss what was involved in this quest. In this discussion we will go beyond the usual technical description to try and address certain questions that we now hear frequently, but are not covered in our past research papers. These are questions along the lines of: How did you get the idea and decide to pursue it? Did you know it was going to work? How long did it take you and why? We will review some our favorites from among the experiments we have carried out with BEC. There will then be a brief encore on why we are optimistic that BEC can be created with nearly any species of magnetically trappable atom. Throughout this article we will try to explain what makes BEC in a dilute gas so interesting, unique, and experimentally challenging(1).
Since the first days of high-T-c superconductivity, the materials science and the physics of grain boundaries in superconducting compounds have developed into fascinating fields of research. Unique electronic properties, different from those of the grain boundaries in conventional metallic superconductors, have made grain boundaries formed by high-T-c cuprates important tools for basic science. They are moreover a key issue for electronic and large-scale applications of high-T-c superconductivity, The aim of this review is to give a summary of this broad and dynamic field. Starting with an introduction to grain boundaries and a discussion of the techniques established to prepare them individually and in a well-defined manner, the authors present their structure and transport properties. These provide the basis for a survey of the theoretical models developed to describe grain-boundary behavior, Following these discussions, the enormous impact of grain boundaries on fundamental studies is reviewed, as well as high-power and electronic device applications.
The authors review the history, current status, physical mechanisms, experimental methods, and applications of nonlinear magneto-optical effects in atomic vapors. They begin by describing the pioneering work of Macaluso and Corbino over a century ago on linear magneto-optical effects (in which the properties of the medium do not depend on the light power) in the vicinity of atomic resonances. These effects are then contrasted with various nonlinear magneto-optical phenomena that have been studied both theoretically and experimentally since the late 1960s. In recent years, the field of nonlinear magneto-optics has experienced a revival of interest that has led to a number of developments, including the observation of ultranarrow (1-Hz) magneto-optical resonances, applications in sensitive magnetometry, nonlinear magneto-optical tomography, and the possibility of a search for parity- and time-reversal-invariance violation in atoms.
Quantum mechanics and information theory are among the most important scientific discoveries of the last century. Although these two areas initially developed separately, it has emerged that they are in fact intimately related. In this review the author shows how quantum information theory extends traditional information theory by exploring the limits imposed by quantum, rather than classical, mechanics on information storage and transmission. The derivation of many key results differentiates this review from the usual presentation in that they are shown to follow logically from one crucial property of relative entropy. Within the review, optimal bounds on the enhanced speed that quantum computers can achieve over their classical counterparts are outlined using information-theoretic arguments. In addition, important implications of quantum information theory for thermodynamics and quantum measurement are intermittently discussed. A number of simple examples and derivations, including quantum superdense coding, quantum teleportation, and Deutsch's and Grover's algorithms, are also included.
Recent experimental data and progress in nuclear structure modeling have led to improved descriptions of astrophysically important weak-interaction processes. This review discusses these advances and their applications to hydrostatic solar and stellar burning, to the slow and rapid neutron-capture processes, to neutrino nucleosynthesis, and to explosive hydrogen burning. Special emphasis is given to the weak-interaction processes associated with core-collapse supernovae. Despite significant progress, improvements in the modeling of these processes are still warranted and are expected to come from future radioactive ion-beam facilities.