25,222 research outputs found

    Some Remarks on Quantum Coherence

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    There are many striking phenomena which are attributed to ``quantum coherence''. It is natural to wonder if there are new quantum coherence effects waiting to be discovered which could lead to interesting results and perhaps even practical applications. A useful starting point for such discussions is a definition of ``quantum coherence''. In this article I give a definition of quantum coherence and use a number of illustrations to explore the implications of this definition. I point to topics of current interest in the fields of cosmology and quantum computation where questions of quantum coherence arise, and I emphasize the impact that interactions with the environment can have on quantum coherence.Comment: 25 pages plain LaTeX, no figures. More references have been added and typos have been corrected. Journal of Modern Optics, in press. Imperial/TP/93-94/1

    A master relation defines the nonlinear viscoelasticity of single fibroblasts

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    Cell mechanical functions like locomotion, contraction and division are controlled by the cytoskeleton, a dynamic biopolymer network whose mechanical properties remain poorly understood. We perform single-cell uniaxial stretching experiments on 3T3 fibroblasts. By superimposing small amplitude oscillations on a mechanically prestressed cell, we find a transition from linear viscoelastic behavior to power-law stress stiffening. Data from different cells over several stress decades can be uniquely scaled to obtain a master-relation between the viscoelastic moduli and the average force. Remarkably, this relation holds independently of deformation history, adhesion biochemistry, and intensity of active contraction. In particular, it is irrelevant whether force is actively generated by the cell or externally imposed by stretching. We propose that the master-relation reflects the mechanical behavior of the force bearing actin cytoskeleton, in agreement with stress stiffening known from semiflexible filament networks.Comment: 12 pages, 11 figures. Accepted for publication in Biophysical Journal, scheduled to appear in May 200

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    Large-scale variability in marine stratocumulus clouds defined from simultaneous aircraft and satellite measurements

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    Satellite images often show significant variations in the structure of marine stratocumulus clouds on scales ranging from 10 to 1000 km. This is illustrated where a GOES West satellite image shows a well-defined variation in cloud structure near 32 N, 122 W on 30 June 1987. Aircraft measurements were made with the UK C-130 and the NCAR Electra on this day as part of the FIRE Marine Stratocumulus Intensive Field Observations (IFO). The mean, turbulent, and the microphysical structure of the clouds sampled in these two areas are compared an an attempt is made to explain the differences in cloud structure. In an attempt to identify any systematic differences between the measurements made with the two aircraft, data were analyzed that were collected on 14 July 1987 with the C-130 and the Electra flying in close formation at an altitude of 250 m. The microphysical and turbulence data are being compared in an attempt to explain the differences in the cloud liquid water content obtained with the two aircraft and the differences in cloud structure shown by the GOES image. In addition, data are being analyzed for three other days during the experiment when coordinated downstream flights were made with the Electra and the C-130
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