Aug 2015, Volume 10 Issue 4

Cover illustration

  • Gravity is the most mysterious force. By assuming a thermodynamic origin for gravity, we can calculate the vacuum temperature field that is created by the presence of matter. The attractive gravitational force between classical objects results naturally as macroscopic systems progress from non-equilibrium to equilibrium states. In particular, we predict repulsive gravitational force for a quantum wave packet, which may be relevant to the dark energy. For more details, please [Detail] ...

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    Cao Li-Ping(曹丽萍), Chen Zhan-Dong(陈战东), Zhang Chun-Ling(张春玲), Yao Jiang-Hong(姚江宏)

    The optical absorption properties of femtosecond-laser-made “black silicon” as a function of the annealing conditions were investigated. We found that the annealing process changes the surface morphology and absorption spectroscopy of the “black silicon” samples, and obtained a maximum sub-band-gap absorptance value of approximately 30% by annealing at 1000 °C for 30 min. The thermal relaxation and atomic structural transformation mechanisms are used to describe the lattice recovery and the increase and decrease of the substitutional dopant atom concentration in the microstructured surface during the annealing. Our results confirm that: i) owing to the thermal relaxation, the lattice defects decrease with the increase of the annealing temperature; ii) the quasi-substitutional and interstitial configurations of the doped atoms transform into substitutional arrangements when the annealing temperature increases; iii) the quasi-substitutional and interstitial configurations with higher energies of the doped atoms transform into interstitial configurations with the lowest energy after high-temperature annealing for a long period of time, causing the deactivation or reactivation of the sub-band-gap absorptance by diffusion. The results demonstrate that the annealing can improve the properties of “black silicon”, including defects repairing, carrier lifetime lengthening, and retention of a high absorptive performance.

    Mike Guidry, Yang Sun

    Superconductivity (SC) or superfluidity (SF) is observed across a remarkably broad range of fermionic systems: in BCS, cuprate, iron-based, organic, and heavy-fermion superconductors, and in superfluid helium-3 in condensed matter; in a variety of SC/SF phenomena in low-energy nuclear physics; in ultracold, trapped atomic gases; and in various exotic possibilities in neutron stars. The range of physical conditions and differences in microscopic physics defy all attempts to unify this behavior in any conventional picture. Here we propose a unification through the shared symmetry properties of the emergent condensed states, with microscopic differences absorbed into parameters. This, in turn, forces a rethinking of specific occurrences of SC/SF such as high-Tc SC in cuprates, which becomes far less mysterious when seen as part of a continuum of behavior shared by a variety of other systems.

    Xu-Guang Xu, Wei Li

    We examine the electronic and magnetic structures of iron telluride KFe2Te2 using first-principle calculations. We demonstrate that the ground state of this compound is in bicollinear antiferromagnetic order with Fe local moments (~ 2.6 μB) that are ferromagnetically aligned along a diagonal direction and antiferromagnetically aligned along the other diagonal in the Fe-Fe square lattice, similar to the alignment discovered in the parent compound of superconductor α-FeTe. This bicollinear antiferromagnetic order results from the interplay among the nearest, next-nearest, and next-nextnearest neighbor exchange interactions, which are mediated by Te 5p orbitals. This finding may aid our understanding of the interplay between magnetism and superconductivity in the family of iron-based materials.

    Hua Li, Bing-Can Liu, Bing-Xin Shi, Si-Yu Dong, Qiang Tian

    The binding energy and effective mass of a polaron confined in a GaAs film deposited on an AlxGa1-x As substrate are investigated, for different film thickness values and aluminum concentrations and within the framework of the fractional-dimensional space approach. Using this scheme, we propose a new method to define the effective length of the quantum confinement. The limitations of the definition of the original effective well width are discussed, and the binding energy and effective mass of a polaron confined in a GaAs film are obtained. The fractional-dimensional theoretical results are shown to be in good agreement with previous, more detailed calculations based on second-order perturbation theory.

    Jia-He Lin, Hong Zhang, Xin-Lu Cheng

    The optical response of phosphorene nanostructures was studied using time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT). Compared with the absorption spectrum of graphene, that of the phosphorene nanostructure exhibits high absorbance in the ultraviolet region, which indicates a high light absorptivity. In a low-energy resonance zone, a spectral band extends to the entire near-infrared regions. When the impulse excitation polarizes in the armchair-edge direction, the low-energy plasmon in a few-layer phosphorene nanostructure shows an apparent long-range charge-transfer excitation but is significantly less pronounced along the zigzag-edge direction. The edge configuration significantly affects the absorption spectrum of monolayer phosphorene nanostructures. The armchair-edge and the zigzag-edge serve different functions in the absorption spectrum. Moreover, the absorption spectrum of the few-layer phosphorene nanostructure changes with the number of layers when the impulse excitation polarizes in the armchair-edge direction. In addition, the change in the low-energy resonance zone is significantly different from that in the high-energy resonance zone.

    Jian-Bing Gu, Chen-Ju Wang, Lin Zhang, Yan Cheng, Xiang-Dong Yang

    The structural, mechanical, electronic, and bonding properties and phase transition of NaZnSb are explored using the generalized gradient approximation based on ab initio plane-wave pseudopotential density functional theory. With the help of the quasi-harmonic Debye model, we probe the Grüneisen parameter, thermal expansivity, heat capacity, Debye temperature, and entropy of NaZnSb in the tetragonal phase. The results indicate that the lattice constants and the bulk modulus and its first pressure derivative agree well with the available theoretical and experimental data. NaZnSb in its ground state structure exhibits a distinct energy gap of about 0.41 eV, which increases with increasing pressure. Our conclusions are consistent with the theoretical predictions obtained by the ABINIT package, but are different from those obtained through the tight-binding linear muffin-tin orbital method. As a result, further experimental and theoretical researches need to be carried out. For the purpose of providing a comparative and complementary study for future research, we first investigate the thermodynamic properties of NaZnSb.

    Gui-Hua Chen, Hong-Cheng Wang, Zi-Fa Chen

    We consider the effects of anisotropy on two types of localized states with topological charges equal to 1 in two-dimensional nonlinear lattices, using the discrete nonlinear Schr?dinger equation as a paradigm model. We find that on-site-centered vortices with different propagation constants are not globally stable, and that upper and lower boundaries of the propagation constant exist. The region between these two boundaries is the domain outside of which the on-site-centered vortices are unstable. This region decreases in size as the anisotropy parameter is gradually increased. We also consider off-site-centered vortices on anisotropic lattices, which are unstable on this lattice type and either transform into stable quadrupoles or collapse. We find that the transformation of off-sitecentered vortices into quadrupoles, which occurs on anisotropic lattices, cannot occur on isotropic lattices. In the quadrupole case, a propagation-constant region also exists, outside of which the localized states cannot stably exist. The influence of anisotropy on this region is almost identical to its effects on the on-site-centered vortex case.

    Wei Jia, Jian Yu, Lu Chai, Ching-Yue Wang

    The physical process of forming a modified region in soda-lime glass was investigated using 1 kHz intense femtosecond laser pulses from a Ti: sapphire laser at 775 nm. Through the modifications induced by the femtosecond laser radiation using selective chemical etching techniques, we fabricated reproducible and defined microstructures and further studied their morphologies and etching properties. Moreover, a possible physical mechanism for the femtosecond laser modification in soda-lime glass was proposed.

    Chao Yu, Jingtao Zhang, Zhi-Wei Sun, Zhenrong Sun, Dong-Sheng Guo

    Using nonperturbative quantum electrodynamics, we develop a scattering theory for high harmonic generation (HHG). A transition rate formula for HHG is obtained. Applying this formula, we calculate the spectra of high harmonics generated from different noble gases shined by strong laser light. We study the cutoff property of the spectra. The data show that the cutoff orders of high harmonics are greater than that predicted by the “3.17” cutoff law. As a numerical experiment, the data obtained from our repeated calculations support the newly derived theoretical expression of the cutoff law. The cutoff energy of high harmonics described by the new cutoff law, in terms of the ponderomotive energy Up and the ionization potential energy Ip, is 3.34Up+ 1.83Ip. The higher cutoff orders predicted by this theory are due to the absorption of the extra photons, which participate only the photon-mode up-conversion and do nothing in the photoionization process.

    B. H. Sun, Yu. A. Litvinov, I. Tanihata, Y. H. Zhang

    The open question of where, when, and how the heavy elements beyond iron enrich our Universe has triggered a new era in nuclear physics studies. Of all the relevant nuclear physics inputs, the mass of very neutron-rich nuclides is a key quantity for revealing the origin of heavy elements beyond iron. Although the precise determination of this property is a great challenge, enormous progress has been made in recent decades, and it has contributed significantly to both nuclear structure and astrophysical nucleosynthesis studies. In this review, we first survey our present knowledge of the nuclear mass surface, emphasizing the importance of nuclear mass precision in r-process calculations. We then discuss recent progress in various methods of nuclear mass measurement with a few selected examples. For each method, we focus on recent breakthroughs and discuss possible ways of improving the weighing of r-process nuclides.

    Nuriman Abdukerim, Zi-Liang Li, Bai-Song Xie

    Electron–positron pair creation is studied in the low-density approximation by solving the quantum Vlasov equation exactly and the mapping equation approximately. The simpler mapping equation is an approximate treatment of the quantum Vlasov equation in which the continuous external field is regarded as a series of delta kicks. Our study indicates that this new treatment is appropriate because the results of the two methods are in good agreement with each other. However, as the period number increases, interference and a complicated structure in the momentum distribution are observed. Furthermore, we also obtain the square power law relation of the number density to the applied electric field strength.

    Jia-Sheng Huang, Xun-Da Jiang, Huai-Yu Chen, Zhi-Wei Fan, Wei Pang, Yong-Yao Li

    We study two-dimensional (2D) matter-wave solitons in the mean-field models formed by electric quadrupole particles with long-range quadrupole–quadrupole interaction (QQI) in 2D free space. The existence of 2D matter-wave solitons in the free space was predicted using the 2D Gross–Pitaevskii Equation (GPE). We find that the QQI solitons have a higher mass (smaller size and higher intensity) and stronger anisotropy than the dipole–dipole interaction (DDI) solitons under the same environmental parameters. Anisotropic soliton–soliton interaction between two identical QQI solitons in 2D free space is studied. Moreover, stable anisotropic dipole solitons are observed, to our knowledge, for the first time in 2D free space under anisotropic nonlocal cubic nonlinearity.

    Zhen-Bin Zhang, Ru-Juan Jia, Jasmina Tekić, Yang Yang, Cang-Long Wang, Jia-Wei Li, Xiao-Yun Wang, Wen-Shan Duan, Lei Yang

    Rectification phenomena and the phase locking in a two-dimensional overdamped Frenkel–Kontorova model with a graphite periodic substrate were studied. The presence of dc and ac forces in the longitudinal direction causes the appearance of dynamicalmode locking and the steps in the response function of the system. On the other hand, the presence of an ac force in the transverse direction causes the appearance of rectification, even though there is no net dc force in the transverse direction. It is found that whereas the longitudinal velocity increases in a series of steps, rectification in the transverse direction can occur only between two neighbor steps. The amplitude and phase of the external ac driving force affect the depinning force, rectification of the system and particles trajectories.

    Hongwei Xiong

    We consider the gravitational effect of quantum wave packets when quantum mechanics, gravity, and thermodynamics are simultaneously considered. Under the assumption of a thermodynamic origin of gravity, we propose a general equation to describe the gravitational effect of quantum wave packets. In the classical limit, this equation agrees with Newton’s law of gravitation. For quantum wave packets, however, it predicts a repulsive gravitational effect. We propose an experimental scheme using superfluid helium to test this repulsive gravitational effect. Our studies show that, with present technology such as superconducting gravimetry and cold atom interferometry, tests of the repulsive gravitational effect for superfluid helium are within experimental reach.