Author: Pratiksha Paudyal

An experimental limit on the charge of antihydrogen

Last April Nature Communications published a paper [1] outlining a new technique in measuring the effect of gravity on neutral antimatter specifically regarding the trapping of antihydrogen. This recent experimental achievement has lead to a range of new possibilities in exploring fundamental physical phenomena, including most recently a paper published today in Nature Communications [2], signifying the charge neutrality of antihydrogen. Antimatter is predicted to have the same properties as matter aside from having an opposite charge. The universe is composed with a larger proportion of matter. One of the biggest questions in physics is to understand why there is such a significant asymmetry of matter and antimatter. The ALPHA experiment has been trapping antihydrogen (a positron orbiting an antiproton) since 2010 [3] holding antihydrogen for questioning for up to 1000 seconds (~15 mins) [4]. By applying an electric field of 50 Volts per metre across their trap they are able to deduce the total charge of the antiatom by the deflection induced as they turn off the trap. To date, some ~500 atoms of anti-hydrogen have been trapped in the ALPHA experiment, meaning applying macroscopic methods for studying the charge of normal matter are not suitable. Charge neutrality has been deduced from antihydrogen with a value of (-1.3 ±1.1 ±0.4) x 10-8 e,[i] a value consistent with zero; an accuracy the equivalent of measuring the distance between Anfield and...

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Solar Electricity – A multi-scale challenge

Last night began the start of this years Institute of Physics Merseyside Branch Events 2013-2014. This years programme  kicked off with a talk from Professor Ken Durose in the Surface Science Research Centre. There was a great turn out for this event, more than anticipated, including A-Level students, undergraduate students, lecturers and various others. Ken Durose  joined Liverpool University in 2011 and is a research leader for photovoltaic materials in the new Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy. He delivered a very interesting talk on the history behind solar electricity, the achievements and the problems faced by photovoltaic materials. The photovoltaic effect was discovered by Adams and Day in Britain in 1879 and it is basically the creation of electricity from exposure to sunlight. Since 1879 a lot of research has been undergone in order to efficiently harness this property of certain materials. These days the limit on the efficiency from solar cells has reached 40%. Although there is a lot of research into this area there are still main problems being faced which include developing solar cells which are: low cost, sustainable and which approach and exceed the Shockley-Quisser limit (the maximum theoretical efficiency of a solar cell). One of the biggest hurdles are the materials that the solar cells are made from. Silicon solar cells are the world leaders, as ~80 % of all solar cells are made...

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EuroSpine – The Spine Society of Europe

During the 2nd to the 4th of October, The Arena and Convention centre in Liverpool has played host to the annual International Medical Congress of EuroSpine – the spine society of Europe. This meeting is EuroSpine’s biggest event and it was the first time that the meeting was held in the UK so it was an honour that they chose to host the event in Liverpool. Spinal injuries can affect anyone at any time. In the UK and Ireland around 1000 people develop a spinal cord injury yearly and every 8 hours someone is paralysed in the UK. There are currently no effective treatments for spinal cord injuries but a lot of research is being undergone into ensuring that a spinal cord injury doesn’t mean that a person will be paralysed forever. Due to the potential severity of spinal cord injuries it is important to have a society who aims to increase research and education into spinal injuries. EuroSpine was founded in 1998 following the merging of many different societies and it has since been growing widely over the past 15 years. Although they are known as the European Spine Society, non EU countries are also involved including countries in Asia, Australia and Africa.  The society is becoming widespread. EuroSpine have 4 main priorities: Membership – to expand their membership to a wide range of ages, disciplines and countries and to...

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