18,242 research outputs found

    Development of shape memory metal as the actuator of a fail safe mechanism

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    A small, compact, lightweight device was developed using shape memory alloy (SMA) in wire form to actuate a pin-puller that decouples the flanges of two shafts. When the SMA is heated it contracts producing a useful force and stroke. As it cools, it can be reset (elongated in this case) by applying a relatively small force. Resistive heating is accomplished by running a current through the SMA wire for a controlled length of time. The electronics to drive the device are not elaborate or complicated, consisting of a timed current source. The total available contraction is 3 percent of the length of the wire. This device, the engineering properties of the SMA, and the tests performed to verify the design concept are described

    Gravitons and Lightcone Fluctuations II: Correlation Functions

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    A model of a fluctuating lightcone due to a bath of gravitons is further investigated. The flight times of photons between a source and a detector may be either longer or shorter than the light propagation time in the background classical spacetime, and will form a Gaussian distribution centered around the classical flight time. However, a pair of photons emitted in rapid succession will tend to have correlated flight times. We derive and discuss a correlation function which describes this effect. This enables us to understand more fully the operational significance of a fluctuating lightcone. Our results may be combined with observational data on pulsar timing to place some constraints on the quantum state of cosmological gravitons.Comment: 16 pages and two figures, uses eps

    Quantum inequalities in two dimensional curved spacetimes

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    We generalize a result of Vollick constraining the possible behaviors of the renormalized expected stress-energy tensor of a free massless scalar field in two dimensional spacetimes that are globally conformal to Minkowski spacetime. Vollick derived a lower bound for the energy density measured by a static observer in a static spacetime, averaged with respect to the observers proper time by integrating against a smearing function. Here we extend the result to arbitrary curves in non-static spacetimes. The proof, like Vollick's proof, is based on conformal transformations and the use of our earlier optimal bound in flat Minkowski spacetime. The existence of such a quantum inequality was previously established by Fewster.Comment: revtex 4, 5 pages, no figures, submitted to Phys. Rev. D. Minor correction

    Quantum measurement and decoherence

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    Distribution functions defined in accord with the quantum theory of measurement are combined with results obtained from the quantum Langevin equation to discuss decoherence in quantum Brownian motion. Closed form expressions for wave packet spreading and the attenuation of coherence of a pair of wave packets are obtained. The results are exact within the context of linear passive dissipation. It is shown that, contrary to widely accepted current belief, decoherence can occur at high temperature in the absence of dissipation. Expressions for the decoherence time with and without dissipation are obtained that differ from those appearing in earlier discussions

    Quantum Inequalities and Singular Energy Densities

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    There has been much recent work on quantum inequalities to constrain negative energy. These are uncertainty principle-type restrictions on the magnitude and duration of negative energy densities or fluxes. We consider several examples of apparent failures of the quantum inequalities, which involve passage of an observer through regions where the negative energy density becomes singular. We argue that this type of situation requires one to formulate quantum inequalities using sampling functions with compact support. We discuss such inequalities, and argue that they remain valid even in the presence of singular energy densities.Comment: 18 pages, LaTex, 2 figures, uses eps

    Wigner Distribution Function Approach to Dissipative Problems in Quantum Mechanics with emphasis on Decoherence and Measurement Theory

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    We first review the usefulness of the Wigner distribution functions (WDF), associated with Lindblad and pre-master equations, for analyzing a host of problems in Quantum Optics where dissipation plays a major role, an arena where weak coupling and long-time approximations are valid. However, we also show their limitations for the discussion of decoherence, which is generally a short-time phenomenon with decay rates typically much smaller than typical dissipative decay rates. We discuss two approaches to the problem both of which use a quantum Langevin equation (QLE) as a starting-point: (a) use of a reduced WDF but in the context of an exact master equation (b) use of a WDF for the complete system corresponding to entanglement at all times

    Classical Scalar Fields and the Generalized Second Law

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    It has been shown that classical non-minimally coupled scalar fields can violate all of the standard energy conditions in general relativity. Violations of the null and averaged null energy conditions obtainable with such fields have been suggested as possible exotic matter candidates required for the maintenance of traversable wormholes. In this paper, we explore the possibility that if such fields exist, they might be used to produce large negative energy fluxes and macroscopic violations of the generalized second law (GSL) of thermodynamics. We find that it appears to be very easy to produce large magnitude negative energy fluxes in flat spacetime. However we also find, somewhat surprisingly, that these same types of fluxes injected into a black hole do {\it not} produce violations of the GSL. This is true even in cases where the flux results in a decrease in the area of the horizon. We demonstrate that two effects are responsible for the rescue of the GSL: the acausal behavior of the horizon and the modification of the usual black hole entropy formula by an additional term which depends on the scalar field.Comment: 25 pages, 2 figures; paper substantially rewritten, major changes in the conclusion

    Low-lying isovector monopole resonances

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    The mass difference between the even-even isobaric nuclei having the valence nucleons on the same degenerate level is attributed to a Josephson-type interaction between pairs of protons and pairs of neutrons. This interaction can be understood as an isospin symmetry-breaking mean field for a four-particle interaction separable in the two particles-two holes channel. The strength of this mean field is estimated within an o(5) algebraic model, by using the experimental value of the inertial parameter for the collective isorotation induced by the breaking of the isospin symmetry. In superfluid nuclei, the presumed interaction between the proton and neutron condensates leads to coupled oscillations of the BCS gauge angles, which should appear in the excitation spectrum as low-lying isovector monopole resonances.Comment: 16 pages/LaTex + 1 PostScript figure; related to cond-mat/9904242, math-ph/000500
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