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Submission + - New Study Finds Mysterious Lack of Dark Matter in Sun's Neighbourhood (

fishmike writes: "The most accurate study so far of the motions of stars in the Milky Way has found no evidence for dark matter in a large volume around the Sun. According to widely accepted theories, the solar neighbourhood was expected to be filled with dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance that can only be detected indirectly by the gravitational force it exerts. But a new study by a team of astronomers in Chile has found that these theories just do not fit the observational facts. This may mean that attempts to directly detect dark matter particles on Earth are unlikely to be successful."

Submission + - Physicists detect elusive orbiton by 'splitting' electron (

ananyo writes: Condensed-matter physicists have managed to detect the third constituent of an electron — its 'orbiton'.
Isolated electrons cannot be split into smaller components, earning them the designation of a fundamental particle. But in the 1980s, physicists predicted that electrons in a one-dimensional chain of atoms could be split into three quasiparticles: a ‘holon’ carrying the electron’s charge, a ‘spinon’ carrying its spin and an ‘orbiton’ carrying its orbital location.
In 1996, physicists split an electron into a holon and spinon. Now, van den Brink and his colleagues have broken an electron into an orbiton and a spinon (abstract).
Orbitons could also aid the quest to build a quantum computer — one stumbling block has been that quantum effects are typically destroyed before calculations can be performed. But as orbital transitions are extremely fast, encoding information in orbitons could be one way to overcome that hurdle.

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