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.
The manner in which states of some quantum systems become effectively classical is of great significance for the foundations of quantum physics, as well as for problems of practical interest such as quantum engineering. In the past two decades it has become increasingly clear that many (perhaps all) of the symptoms of classicality can be induced in quantum systems by their environments. Thus decoherence is caused by the interaction in which the environment in effect monitors certain observables of the system, destroying coherence between the pointer states corresponding to their eigenvalues. This leads to environment-induced superselection or einselection, a quantum process associated with selective loss of information. Einselected pointer states are stable. They can retain correlations with the rest of the universe in spite of the environment. Einselection enforces classicality by imposing an effective ban on the vast majority of the Hilbert space, eliminating especially the flagrantly nonlocal "Schrodinger-cat states." The classical structure of phase space emerges from the quantum Hilbert space in the appropriate macroscopic limit. Combination of einselection with dynamics leads to the idealizations of a point and of a classical trajectory. In measurements, einselection replaces quantum entanglement between the apparatus and the measured system with the classical correlation. Only the preferred pointer observable of the apparatus can store information that has predictive power. When the measured quantum system is microscopic and isolated, this restriction on the predictive utility of its correlations with the macroscopic apparatus results in the effective "collapse of the wave packet." The existential interpretation implied by einselection regards observers as open quantum systems, distinguished only by their ability to acquire, store, and process information. Spreading of the correlations with the effectively classical pointer states throughout the environment allows one to understand "classical reality" as a property based on the relatively objective existence of the einselected states. Effectively classical pointer states can be "found out" without being re-prepared, e.g, by intercepting the information already present in the environment. The redundancy of the records of pointer states in the environment (which can be thought of as their "fitness" in the Darwinian sense) is a measure of their classicality. A new symmetry appears in this setting. Environment-assisted invariance or envariance sheds new light on the nature of ignorance of the state of the system due to quantum correlations with the environment and leads to Born's rules and to reduced density matrices, ultimately justifying basic principles of the program of decoherence and einselection.
The last decade witnessed significant progress in angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) and its applications. Today, ARPES experiments with 2-meV energy resolution and 0.2degrees angular resolution are a reality even for photoemission on solids. These technological advances and the improved sample quality have enabled ARPES to emerge as a leading tool in the investigation of the high-T-c superconductors. This paper reviews the most recent ARPES results on the cuprate superconductors and their insulating parent and sister compounds, with the purpose of providing an updated summary of the extensive literature. The low-energy excitations are discussed with emphasis on some of the most relevant issues, such as the Fermi surface and remnant Fermi surface, the superconducting gap, the pseudogap and d-wave-like dispersion, evidence of electronic inhomogeneity and nanoscale phase separation, the emergence of coherent quasiparticles through the superconducting transition, and many-body effects in the one-particle spectral function due to the interaction of the charge with magnetic and/or lattice degrees of freedom. Given the dynamic nature of the field, we chose to focus mainly on reviewing the experimental data, as on the experimental side a general consensus has been reached, whereas interpretations and related theoretical models can vary significantly. The first part of the paper introduces photoemission spectroscopy in the context of strongly interacting systems, along with an update on the state-of-the-art instrumentation. The second part provides an overview of the scientific issues relevant to the investigation of the low-energy electronic structure by ARPES. The rest of the paper is devoted to the experimental results from the cuprates, and the discussion is organized along conceptual lines: normal-state electronic structure, interlayer interaction, superconducting gap, coherent superconducting peak, pseudogap, electron self-energy, and collective modes. Within each topic, ARPES data from the various copper oxides are presented.
Understanding the formation of stars in galaxies is central to much of modern astrophysics. However, a quantitative prediction of the star formation rate and the initial distribution of stellar masses remains elusive. For several decades it has been thought that the star formation process is primarily controlled by the interplay between gravity and magnetostatic support, modulated by neutral-ion drift (known as ambipolar diffusion in astrophysics). Recently, however, both observational and numerical work has begun to suggest that supersonic turbulent flows rather than static magnetic fields control star formation. To some extent, this represents a return to ideas popular before the importance of magnetic fields to the interstellar gas was fully appreciated. This review gives a historical overview of the successes and problems of both the classical dynamical theory and the standard theory of magnetostatic support, from both observational and theoretical perspectives. The outline of a new theory relying on control by driven supersonic turbulence is then presented. Numerical models demonstrate that, although supersonic turbulence can provide global support, it nevertheless produces density enhancements that allow local collapse. Inefficient, isolated star formation is a hallmark of turbulent support, while efficient, clustered star formation occurs in its absence. The consequences of this theory are then explored for both local star formation and galactic-scale star formation. It suggests that individual star-forming cores are likely not quasistatic objects, but dynamically collapsing. Accretion onto these objects varies depending on the properties of the surrounding turbulent flow; numerical models agree with observations showing decreasing rates. The initial mass distribution of stars may also be determined by the turbulent flow. Molecular clouds appear to be transient objects forming and dissolving in the larger-scale turbulent flow, or else quickly collapsing into regions of violent star formation. Global star formation in galaxies appears to be controlled by the same balance between gravity and turbulence as small-scale star formation, although modulated by cooling and differential rotation. The dominant driving mechanism in star-forming regions of galaxies appears to be supernovae, while elsewhere coupling of rotation to the gas through magnetic fields or gravity may be important.
This article reviews the progress of atomic force microscopy in ultrahigh vacuum, starting with its invention and covering most of the recent developments. Today, dynamic force microscopy allows us to image surfaces of conductors and insulators in vacuum with atomic resolution. The most widely used technique for atomic-resolution force microscopy in vacuum is frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy (FM-AFM). This technique, as well as other dynamic methods, is explained in detail in this article. In the last few years many groups have expanded the empirical knowledge and deepened our theoretical understanding of frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy. Consequently spatial resolution and ease of use have been increased dramatically. Vacuum atomic force microscopy opens up new classes of experiments, ranging from imaging of insulators with true atomic resolution to the measurement of forces between individual atoms.
This article discusses fluctuating order in a quantum disordered phase proximate to a quantum critical point, with particular emphasis on fluctuating stripe order. Optimal strategies are derived for extracting information concerning such local order from experiments, with emphasis on neutron scattering and scanning tunneling microscopy. These ideas are tested by application to two model systems-an exactly solvable one-dimensional (1D) electron gas with an impurity, and a weakly interacting 2D electron gas. Experiments on the cuprate high-temperature superconductors which can be analyzed using these strategies are extensively reviewed. The authors adduce evidence that stripe correlations are widespread in the cuprates. They compare and contrast the advantages of two limiting perspectives on the high-temperature superconductor: weak coupling, in which correlation effects are treated as a perturbation on an underlying metallic (although renormalized) Fermi-liquid state, and strong coupling, in which the magnetism is associated with well-defined localized spins, and stripes are viewed as a form of micro phase separation. The authors present quantitative indicators that the latter view better accounts for the observed stripe phenomena in the cuprates.
Environment-induced decoherence and superselection have been a subject of intensive research over the past two decades, yet their implications for the foundational problems of quantum mechanics, most notably the quantum measurement problem, have remained a matter of great controversy. This paper is intended to clarify key features of the decoherence program, including its more recent results, and to investigate their application and consequences in the context of the main interpretive approaches of quantum mechanics.
We review the theoretical and experimental status of intense laser alignment-a field at the interface between intense laser physics and chemical dynamics with potential applications ranging from high harmonic generation and nanoscale processing to stereodynamics and control of chemical reactions. After placing the intense laser approach in context with other alignment techniques, we proceed with a discussion of the physics underlying this technique and a description of methods of observing it in the laboratory. The roles played by the laser frequency, the pulse duration, and the system temperature are illustrated numerically and experimentally. Alignment is extended to three-dimensional orientational control, a method of hindering the rotation about all three axes of polyatomic molecules. We conclude with a discussion of potential applications of intense laser alignment.
This review presents a summary and evaluation of the experimental properties of unconventional superconductivity in Sr2RuO4 as they were known in the spring of 2002. At the same time, the paper is intended to be useful as an introduction to the physics of spin-triplet superconductivity. First, the authors show how the normal-state properties of Sr2RuO4 are quantitatively described in terms of a quasi-two-dimensional Fermi liquid. Then they summarize its phenomenological superconducting parameters in the framework of the Ginzburg-Landau model, and discuss the existing evidence for spin-triplet pairing. After a brief introduction to the vector order parameter, they examine the most likely symmetry of the triplet state. The structure of the superconducting energy gap is discussed, as is the effect of symmetry-breaking magnetic fields on the phase diagram. The article concludes with a discussion of some outstanding issues and desirable future work. Appendixes on additional details of the normal state, difficulty in observing the bulk Fermi surface by angle-resolved photoemission, and the enhancement of superconducting transition temperature in a two-phase Sr2RuO4-Ru system are included.
Single trapped ions represent elementary quantum systems that are well isolated from the environment. They can be brought nearly to rest by laser cooling, and both their internal electronic states and external motion can be coupled to and manipulated by light fields. This makes them ideally suited for quantum-optical and quantum-dynamical studies under well-controlled conditions. Theoretical and experimental work on these topics is reviewed in the paper, with a focus on ions trapped in radio-frequency (Paul) traps.
The authors review the present status of self-consistent mean-field (SCMF) models for describing nuclear structure and low-energy dynamics. These models are presented as effective energy-density functionals. The three most widely used variants of SCMF's based on a Skyrme energy functional, a Gogny force, and a relativistic mean-field Lagrangian are considered side by side. The crucial role of the treatment of pairing correlations is pointed out in each case. The authors discuss other related nuclear structure models and present several extensions beyond the mean-field model which are currently used. Phenomenological adjustment of the model parameters is discussed in detail. The performance quality of the SCMF model is demonstrated for a broad range of typical applications.
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.
Modern optical techniques allow one to accurately control light using atoms and to manipulate atoms using light. In this Colloquium the author reviews several ideas indicating how such techniques can be used for accurate manipulation of quantum states of atomic ensembles and photons. First a technique is discussed that allows one to transfer quantum states between light fields and metastable states of matter. The technique is based on trapping quantum states of photons in coherently driven atomic media, in which the group velocity is adiabatically reduced to zero. Next, possible mechanisms are outlined for manipulating quantum states of atomic ensembles. Specifically, a "dipole blockade" technique is considered in which optical excitation of mesoscopic samples into Rydberg states can be used to control the state of ensembles at the level of individual quanta. It is also noted that even simple processes involving atom-photon correlations can be used to effectively manipulate the ensemble states. Potentially these techniques can be used for implementation of important concepts from quantum information science.
This article describes the various experimental bounds on the variation of the fundamental constants of nature. After a discussion of the role of fundamental constants, their definition and link with metrology, it reviews the various constraints on the variation of the fine-structure constant, the gravitational, weak- and strong-interaction couplings and the electron-to-proton mass ratio. The review aims (1) to provide the basics of each measurement, (2) to show as clearly as possible why it constrains a given constant, and (3) to point out the underlying hypotheses. Such an investigation is of importance in comparing the different results and in understanding the recent claims of the detection of a variation of the fine-structure constant and of the electron-to-proton mass ratio in quasar absorption spectra. The theoretical models leading to the prediction of such variation are also reviewed, including Kaluza-Klein theories, string theories, and other alternative theories. Cosmological implications of these results are also discussed. The links with the tests of general relativity are emphasized.
Inhomogeneous superconductivity arises when the species participating in the pairing phenomenon have different Fermi surfaces with a large enough separation. In these conditions it could be more favorable for each of the pairing fermions to stay close to its Fermi surface and, unlike the usual BCS state, for the Cooper pair to have a nonzero total momentum. For this reason, in this state the gap varies in space, the ground state is inhomogeneous, and a crystalline structure might be formed. This situation was considered for the first time by Fulde and Ferrell (1964) and Larkin and Ovchinnikov (1964), after whom the corresponding state is called the LOFF state. The spontaneous breaking of the space symmetries in the vacuum state is a characteristic feature of this phase and is associated with the presence of long-wavelength excitations of zero mass. The situation described here is of interest both in solid-state and in elementary-particle physics, in particular in quantum chromodynamics at high density and low temperature. This review presents the theoretical approach to the LOFF state and its phenomenological applications using the language of the effective field theories.
Advances in the accuracy and efficiency of first-principles electronic structure calculations have allowed detailed studies of the energetics of materials under high pressures. At the same time, improvements in the resolution of powder x-ray diffraction experiments and more sophisticated methods of data analysis have revealed the existence of many new and unexpected high-pressure phases. The most complete set of theoretical and experimental data obtained to date is for the group-IVA elements and the group-IIIA-VA and IIB-VIA compounds. Here the authors review the currently known structures and high-pressure behavior of these materials and the theoretical work that has been done on them. The capabilities of modern first-principles methods are illustrated by a full comparison with the experimental data.
Recently there has been a remarkable synergy between the technologies of precision laser stabilization and mode-locked ultrafast lasers. This has resulted in control of the frequency spectrum produced by mode-locked lasers, which consists of a regular comb of sharp lines. Thus such a controlled mode-locked laser is a "femtosecond optical frequency comb generator." For a sufficiently broad comb, it is possible to determine the absolute frequencies of all of the comb lines. This ability has revolutionized optical frequency metrology and synthesis. It has also served as the basis for the recent demonstrations of atomic clocks that utilize an optical frequency transition. In addition, it is having an impact on time-domain applications, including synthesis of a single pulse from two independent lasers. In this Colloquium, we first review the frequency-domain description of a mode-locked laser and the connection between the pulse phase and the frequency spectrum in order to provide a basis for understanding how the absolute frequencies can be determined and controlled. Using this understanding, applications in optical frequency metrology and synthesis and optical atomic clocks are discussed. This is followed by a brief overview of how the comb technology is affecting and will affect time-domain experiments.
The mass of the nucleus, through its binding energy, continues to be of capital importance not only for various aspects of nuclear physics, but also for other branches of physics, notably weak-interaction studies and astrophysics. The authors first describe the modern experimental techniques dedicated to the particularly challenging task of measuring the mass of exotic nuclides and make detailed comparisons. Though tremendous progress in these and the associated production techniques has been made, allowing access to nuclides very far from stability, it is still not yet possible to produce many nuclides involved in stellar nucleosynthesis, especially the r process, leaving no choice but to resort to theory. The review thus goes on to describe and critically compare the various modern mass formulas that may be used to extrapolate from the data towards the neutron drip line. Special attention is devoted to the crucial interplay between theory and experiment, showing how new measurements far from stability can considerably reduce the ambiguity in extrapolations to nuclides even further away.
This article reviews recent advances in the theory of the three-dimensional dilute homogeneous Bose gas at zero and finite temperature. Effective-field-theory methods are used to formulate a systematic perturbative framework that can be used to calculate the properties of a system at T=0. The perturbative expansion of these properties is essentially an expansion in the gas parameter rootna(3), where a is the s-wave scattering length and n is the number density. In particular, the leading quantum corrections to the ground-state energy density, the condensate depletion, and long-wavelength collective excitations are rederived in an efficient and economical manner. Nonuniversal effects are also discussed. These effects are higher-order corrections that depend on properties of the interatomic potential other than the scattering length, such as the effective range. The article critically examines various approaches to the dilute Bose gas in equilibrium at finite temperature. These include the Bogoliubov approximation, the Popov approximation, the Hartree-Fock-Bogoliubov approximation, the Phi-derivable approach, optimized perturbation theory, and renormalization-group techniques. The article ends with a look at recent calculations of the critical temperature of the dilute Bose gas, which include 1/N techniques, lattice simulations, self-consistent calculations, and variational perturbation theory.
Significant progress has been made both in experimentation and in theoretical modeling of scanning probe microscopy. The theoretical models used to analyze and interpret experimental scanning probe microscope (SPM) images and spectroscopic data now provide information not only about the surface, but also the probe tip and physical changes occurring during the scanning process. The aim of this review is to discuss and compare the present status of computational modeling of two of the most popular SPM methods-scanning tunneling microscopy and scanning force microscopy-in conjunction with their applications to studies of surface structure and properties with atomic resolution. In the context of these atomic-scale applications, for the scanning force microscope (SFM), this review focuses primarily on recent noncontact SFM (NC-SFM) results. After a brief introduction to the experimental techniques and the main factors determining image formation, the authors consider the theoretical models developed for the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and the SFM. Both techniques are treated from the same general perspective of a sharp tip interacting with the surface-the only difference being that the control parameter in the STM is the tunneling current and in the SFM it is the force. The existing methods for calculating STM and SFM images are described and illustrated using numerous examples, primarily from the authors' own simulations, but also from the literature. Theoretical and practical aspects of the techniques applied in STM and SFM modeling are compared. Finally, the authors discuss modeling as it relates to SPM applications in studying surface properties, such as adsorption, point defects, spin manipulation, and phonon excitation.