Dhaka, Sept 15 (UNB) – A Bangladeshi physicist of Princeton University has led an international research team in discovering a novel quantum state of matter that can be ‘tuned’ at will — and it’s 10 times more tunable than existing theories can explain.
M Zahid Hasan and his team’s discovery of this level of manipulability of quantum matter opens up enormous possibilities for next-generation nanotechnologies and quantum computing.
Hasan, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics, shot to fame in 2014 when he led a team of scientists discovering ‘Weyl fermion’, an elusive massless particle theorised 85 years ago. In pursuit to an alternative theory of gravity, Albert Einstein’s colleague at Princeton, physicist Hermann Weyl, first predicted the particle back in 1929.
About the latest discovery, considered a potential gamechanger in quantum physics, Prof Zahid Hasan said, “We found a new control knob for the quantum topological world. We expect this is tip of the iceberg. There will be a new subfield of materials or physics grown out of this. … This would be a fantastic playground for nanoscale engineering.”
Hasan and his colleagues, whose research – “Giant and anisotropic spin-orbit tunability in a strongly correlated kagome magnet” – appears in the current issue of Nature, are calling their discovery a “novel” quantum state of matter because it is not explained by existing theories of material properties.
Princeton University’s Office of Communications’ writer Liz Fuller-Wright wrote elaborately about Zahid Hasan and his team’s discovery.
Hasan’s interest in operating beyond the edges of known physics attracted Jia-Xin Yin, a postdoctoral research associate and one of three co-first-authors on the paper, to his lab. Yin said, when he talked to Professor Hasan, “He (Hasan) told me something very interesting. He’s searching for new phases of matter. The question is undefined. What we need to do is search for the question rather than the answer.”
The classical phases of matter — solids, liquids and gases — arise from interactions between atoms or molecules. In a quantum phase of matter, the interactions take place between electrons, and are much more complex, wrote Liz Fuller-Wright.
“This could indeed be evidence of a new quantum phase of matter — and that’s, for me, exciting,” said David Hsieh, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology and a 2009 Ph.D. graduate of Princeton, who was not involved in this research. “They’ve given a few clues that something interesting may be going on, but a lot of follow-up work needs to be done, not to mention some theoretical backing to see what really is causing what they’re seeing.”
Hasan has been working in the groundbreaking subfield of topological materials, an area of condensed matter physics, where his team discovered topological quantum magnets a few years ago. In the current research, he and his colleagues “found a strange quantum effect on the new type of topological magnet that we can control at the quantum level,” said Hasan, who was listed in the Thomson Reuters' World's Most Influential Scientific Minds-2014.
The key was looking not at individual particles but at the ways they interact with each other in the presence of a magnetic field. Some quantum particles, like humans, act differently alone than in a community, Hasan said. “You can study all the details of the fundamentals of the particles, but there’s no way to predict the culture, or the art, or the society, that will emerge when you put them together and they start to interact strongly with each other,” he said.
To study this quantum “culture,” he and his colleagues arranged atoms on the surface of crystals in many different patterns and watched what happened. They used various materials prepared by collaborating groups in China, Taiwan and Princeton. One particular arrangement, a six-fold honeycomb shape called a “kagome lattice” for its resemblance to a Japanese basket-weaving pattern, led to something startling — but only when examined under a spectromicroscope in the presence of a strong magnetic field, equipment found in Hasan’s Laboratory for Topological Quantum Matter and Advanced Spectroscopy, located in the basement of Princeton’s Jadwin Hall.
All the known theories of physics predicted that the electrons would adhere to the six-fold underlying pattern, but instead, the electrons hovering above their atoms decided to march to their own drummer — in a straight line, with two-fold symmetry.
“The electrons decided to reorient themselves,” Hasan said. “They ignored the lattice symmetry. They decided that to hop this way and that way, in one line, is easier than sideways. So this is the new frontier. … Electrons can ignore the lattice and form their own society.”
The researchers were shocked to discover this two-fold arrangement, said Songtian Sonia Zhang, a graduate student in Hasan’s lab and another co-first-author on the paper. “We had expected to find something six-fold, as in other topological materials, but we found something completely unexpected,” she said. “We kept investigating — Why is this happening? — and we found more unexpected things. It’s interesting because the theorists didn’t predict it at all. We just found something new.”
“There are many things we can calculate based on the existing theory of quantum materials, but this paper (published in Nature) is exciting because it’s showing an effect that was not known,” he said. This has implications for nanotechnology research especially in developing sensors. At the scale of quantum technology, efforts to combine topology, magnetism and superconductivity have been stymied by the low effective g factors of the tiny materials.
“The fact that we found a material with such a large effective g factor, meaning that a modest magnetic field can bring a significant effect in the system — this is highly desirable,” said Hasan. “This gigantic and tunable quantum effect opens up the possibilities for new types of quantum technologies and nanotechnologies.”
The discovery was made using a two-story, multi-component instrument known as a scanning tunneling spectromicroscope, operating in conjunction with a rotatable vector magnetic field capability, in the sub-basement of Jadwin Hall. The spectromicroscope has a resolution less than half the size of an atom, allowing it to scan individual atoms and detect details of their electrons while measuring the electrons’ energy and spin distribution.
M Zahid Hasan did his SSC from Dhanmondi Government Boys High School and HSC from Dhaka College with outstanding results. He studied at the University of Texas in Austin and got his PhD from Stanford University.
He joined Princeton as a lecturer. Now, he is a professor of Physics with a specific interest in the field of Quantum Condensed Matter Physics at the university.
His research work features in Physics Today, Nature News, Science News, New Scientist, Scientific American, and Physics Worlds.
Dhaka, Sep 15 (UNB) – The Asia Cup, that enjoys a rather exalted status as cricket’s one and only continental championship, returns Saturday for its 14th edition with an unmistakable sense of anticipation in the cricketing fraternity of Bangladesh.
Having experienced a two-time of heartbreak as losing finalists in 2012 and 2016 editions, and being the only one of Asia’s four Test-playing nations yet to get their name on the trophy, perhaps no team at this year’s tournament has a bigger axe to grind in setting the record straight than the Tigers.
To that end, Mashrafe bin Mortaza’s men must look to hit the ground running in Saturday’s tournament opener in swanky Dubai - one of two host venues for this year’s tournament in the UAE, alongside even swankier Abu Dhabi - against Sri Lanka, a team in transition but still packing enough firepower to overcome any opposition on their day.
Having expanded to 6 teams for the first time, this year’s Asia Cup will be the first to feature an initial round robin phase, during which they will be divided into two groups of three teams each.
The top two teams in each group will then progress to a ‘Super 4’ phase (when semi-finals may have been the more logical option), drawing on the Super 6 phase that has featured in recent editions of cricket’s World Cup, although not to be retained in England 2019.
Each team will carry forward points gained against their fellow advancers, and face off against opponents who came up through the other side of the draw, making for two more games for each side in the Super 4. After that the top 2 teams in the standings will progress to the final to be played on September 28.
The format makes the price of a bad day potentially very costly, while a good start off the blocks can prove invaluable to easing some of the pressure teams are under. Despite being placed in the slightly easier sounding (on paper) Group B with the Lankans and Afghanistan, Mashrafe must use his influence and leadership to stamp out any sign of complacency in the Tigers set-up.
Recent meetings against Sri Lanka may have seen Bangladesh in the ascendancy, but as 5-time winners of the Asia Cup to go with their memorable WOrld Cup triumph of 1996, the islanders’ pedigree is very real and despite some stalwarts recently departing, a slew of matchwinners fill their ranks.
Afghanistan on the other hand continue to progress in leaps and bounds, something the Tigers learned the hard way as recently as June, when a three-match series played on Indian soil (international cricket is yet to commence in war-torn Afghanistan, making the team’s emergence and progress even more remarkable) ended in a humiliating Pashtun-wash.
The only redeeming fact for Bangladesh in the wake of that series being that it was in their weakest format -T20I - and the Asia Cup is not. At least this year it’s not. The Asian Cricket Council has announced however that going forward, the tournament will alternate between the T20I and 50-over formats, in sync with the ICC’s schedule for the World Cup in each format. To date only the 2016 Asia Cup followed the T20I format.
Looking ahead to the tournament, Pakistan legend Zaheer Abbas, one of only three cricketers to have served as President of the ICC, has named Bangladesh as his pick with the best chance “to upset the apple-cart”, whereby either India (6-time Asian champions, including the inaugural T20I version in 2016) or Pakistan (3-time Asian champions) are heavily favoured to win again.
“There is also Sri Lanka who will be fancying their chances, but personally I believe that Bangladesh have the best chance to upset the applecart. They have a highly improved team and could do well in the event,” Abbas said, in comments to Pakistani media.
Bangladesh arrived in the UAE largely untroubled in terms of injuries, although Shakib al Hasan, the country’s most accomplished cricketer, has been putting off an operation to his spinning finger.
Dhaka, Sept 15 (UNB) - The state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL), founded in 2007 as a generation entity for the country’s north-western region, has planned to generate 10,000 MW of electricity by 2030.
The company has already installed several power plants having a total generation capacity of 1070 MW.
“Now our target is to become a leading power generation company of the country,” said a top official at the NWPGCL.
In its latest move, the company signed a joint development agreement (JDA) on September 7 with German-based global leading power equipment and technology Siemens to set up an imported LNG-based 3,600 MW power plant by 2024.
As per the plan, the new plant will be located adjacent to the existing 1320 MW coal-fired power plant in Payra of Patuakhali district.
According to the deal with Siemens, the first phase of 1200 MW of the plant will be installed by 2021 while the second phase of 2400 MW plant by 2024.
“We’ll make our all-out efforts to implement the largest power project within the targeted time,” said AM Khurshid Alam, the managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the NWPGL.
The officials said the NWPGCL primarily started with projects like Sirajganj 150 MW peaking power plant, Khulna 150 MW peaking power plant and Bheramara 410 MW combined cycle power plant.
It began providing electricity to the national grid in November 2012 after the commissioning of its Sirajganj 150 MW simple cycle power plant which was later upgraded to a 225 MW combined cycle one.
“We’ve successfully implemented the Sirajganj 225 MW combined cycle power plant, Khulna 225 MW combined cycle power plant, and Bheramara 410 MW combined cycle power plant within 10 years’ time,” said another NWPGCL official.
The NWPGCL is currently engaged in implementation of a good number of new projects like unit-3 of Sirajganj 225 MW, Sirajganj 400 MW (±10%) combined cycle power plant, Payra coal-fired 1320 MW thermal power plant under JVA with Chinese company CMG, Madhumati 100 MW HFO-based power plant, Rupsha LNG-based 800 MW combined cycle power plant and Sirajganj 7.6 MW grid-connected solar photovoltaic power plant projects.
After implementation of these projects, the NWPGCL officials said, its total installed capacity will rise to 3928 MW.
As part of future development projects, they said, there are seven power plant projects with the installed capacity of 6237.6 MW are under planning.
The NWPGCL will be able to supply some 7,000 MW of electricity within 2021 and 10,000 MW within 2030 to the national grid, said the company officials.
Rangpur, Sept 11 (UNB) - Cultivation of transplanted Aman paddy cultivation is facing a setback because of a drought-like situation in Rangpur region.
The croplands have dried up and the seedling is turning yellowish due to absence of rainfall and scorching summer heat, farmers said.
Mohammad Ali, meteorologist of the Rangpur met office, said this year the rainfall is less than the last year. Only 170 millimeters of rainfall was recorded in August this year but it was 600 millimeters in the same period last year, he said.
Inadequate rainfall has led to a near-drought situation in Rangpur, Kurigram, Nilphamari, Gaibandha, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon and Panchagarh districts.
Moniruzzaman, deputy director of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Rangpur region, said to overcome the situation the farmers have been advised to continue supplementary irrigation by deep tube well or from surface water sources in the affected districts of the region.
The farmers of these areas have been trying to save the transplanted seedlings by irrigation from shallow and deep tube-wells, he added.
Asaduzzaman Afzal, farmer of Khashbag in the Rangpur city, said it cost Tk 1,950 for irrigation of his one and half acres of paddy field.
Another farmer Aminur Rahman of Sadar upazila, said he irrigated his two acres of land at a cost of Tk 2000.
Many farmers could not irrigate their lands properly due to the high cost of irrigation and now they are waiting eagerly for heavy rainfall, he added.
Now farmers are apprehending that the production cost would be up if the drought-like situation continues and they have to give irrigation from deep and shallow tube-wells for more days, sources said.
DAE sources said current season farmers cultivated Aman paddy on a total 10 lakh hectares of land in eight districts of the Rangpur division.
Naogaon, Sept 10 (UNB) – Farmers of the district are very happy this year due to the good price of jute after so many years.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), jute is now selling at Tk 1,800-2,000 per maund while its highest price was Tk 1,500 per maund last year.
However, the land brought under jute cultivation this year is lesser than that of the past year as many growers did not take interest in cultivating it due to its low prices in previous years.
DAE sources said farmers cultivated jute on 7,200 hectares of land this time which was 8,300 hectares in the previous year.
Some local farmers said they will cultivate jute on more lands next year as they are getting good prices this year.
Sekandar Ali, a farmer of Enayetpur village in Manda upazila, said he cultivated jute on 40 decimals of land and the total cost of the production was Tk 8,000. He got Tk 22,000 selling his jute.
Farmers of Shitli Hasna village in Mohadebpur upazila said the price of per maund jute was Tk 800-900 three years back which increased to Tk 1,400-1,500 last year, and it is now selling at Tk 1,800-2,000 per maund.
They are now making a profit of Tk 6,000-7,000 from per of bigha jute, said the farmers.
Some wholesale buyers of jute said they are buying jute from farmers at Tk 1,800-2,000 per maund and they will sell it to mills at Tk 2,100-2,300 per maund.
DAE deputy-director Monojit Kumar Mallik said many farmers could not plant seedlings for heavy rainfall at the beginning of the season, which is the main reason behind the fall in jute farming.
If the weather remains favourable, the production will get a boost next year, hoped the official.