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Colloquia & Seminars, Spring 2006

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Quest for new states of matter in stars

Speaker: Dr. Igor Shovkovy (FIAS)
Date: Friday, March 10, 2006
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
Neutron stars were predicted theoretically almost immediately after the discovery of the neutron by Chadwick. This was more than 30 years before neutron stars have actually been discovered in observations. In the first part of the talk, I will give a brief historical overview on neutron stars and present a short introduction to their properties. I will argue then that the density of matter in the center of such stars is so high that nuclei are likely to be crushed into quark matter. Then, I will present a simple overview of current ideas regarding the properties of such dense quark matter, finishing with a brief outlook.

About the speaker:
Dr. Igor Shovkovy obtained his Ph.D. in 1997 from Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics (Kiev, Ukraine). After that he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cincinnati, the University of Minnesota, and J. W. Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany. Currently, Dr. Igor Shovkovy is a Junior Fellow at Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies.

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Experiments with Ultra-sensitive Atomic Magnetometers: from Fundamental Symmetry Tests to NMR detection

Speaker: Dr. Igor M. Savukov (Princeton University)
Date: Friday, February 10, 2006
Time: 4 p.m.
Room: 205 Currens Hall

Abstract
While the senstivity of high-density alkali-metal atomic magnetometers exceeds that of superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUIDS), Nature, 422, 596(2003), these magnetometers also do not require cryogenic cooling and allow low-cost multi-channel operation. The applications of atomic magnetometers range from fundamental symmetry tests such as CPT and CP to the measurements of tiny magnetice fields of human brain and to NMR detection. A current limit of CPT violatoin can be obtained with an atomic magnetometer within one day. An atomic magnetometer can be used to detect proton NMR at low field suggesting applications in NMR and MRI that do not require expensive superconducting magnets and cryogenic cooling. Recently, we detected the smallest number of Xe nuclei with NMR method using a K-Xe co-magnetometer. Such extremely sensitive detection can be used in applications based on hyperpolarized Xe, which is particularly attractive for biomedical imaging of lungs. By extending the range of operation of atomic magnetometers from DC to MHz frequencies in our recent experiments, we anticipate the application of the magnetometers in nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) detection of explosives and narcotics. Atomic magnetometers involve diverse physical phenomena, an optical pumping, spin-exchange collisions, and light-shifts, optical activity, magnetism, quantum fluctuations, and diverse experimental techniques, so the research related to atomic mangetometers is extremely interesting. For example, in our most recent experiment, we used sensitive polarimetry, which is a functional part of our atomic magnetometer, to optically detect NMR signals from hyperpolarized Xe and thermally polarized water. This is a new promising experimetnal technique which can be applied to the imaging of dipolar interaction with extremely high spatial resolution and due to unversal nature of this effect to structural analysis of many chemical compounds.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Savukov obtained his Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of Notre Dame. Currently, he is a Research Associate at Princeton University. Despite his still young career, Dr. Savukov already has an impressive record of publications and experience in teaching. Dr. Savukov's development of cheap super-sensitive magnetometers made headlines in Science Magazine and BBC News.