All of us are familiar with the proverb ‘Sone pe Sohaaga’- aren’t we? What exactly this means? In English, the closest to this is ‘Icing on the cake’ or ‘Cherry on top’. Broadly, this proverb means additional benefit to something that is already considered positive or beneficial. For food, this indicates addition of taste or aroma enhancer; insertion of an appropriate stone to a pendant could do the same to the beauty of an attractive necklace. But you wonder what this has to do with science? Yes, it has a lot to do with science!The action hermitically expressed in this canindeed generate a huge interest among chemical engineers who look for accessing, through liquid solvent engineering, new environment friendly reaction media for large scale industrial applications as well as basic science researchers who searches for non-uniformity inside seemingly uniform distributions. Let us elaborate a bit with some examples.
When we exhale, we breath out several thousands of molecules with a diverse range of concentrations. However, when we have any disease or metabolic disorder, or any kind of bacterial infection, the profile and excretion kinetics of these exhaled molecular constituents change. Their concentrations may also change from the normal levels. Some of these molecules or their specific isotopes may be associated with the pathogenesis of the disease and can be markers of the particular medical conditions. Consequently, when our health changes, breath analysis may provide an alternative, rapid and non-invasive diagnostic method.
Certifying Quantum Entanglement: A step towards Quantum Security
Nearly hundred years after its discovery, quantum mechanics has reached an important threshold. Today, the laws of quantum physics play an essential role in safeguarding our ability to communicate securely. All communication activities ranging from financial transactions, data exchange and online education to personal emails, all would be untrustworthy in the absence of guaranteed protection from hackers and fraudsters. During the last two decades, it has been realized that two inherent properties possessed by fundamental particles such as photons, can indeed guarantee the privacy of communication using such information carriers. The application of quantum principles in storage, transfer and manipulation of information using these two properties, viz., superposition and entanglement, has opened up a whole new branch of physics called Quantum Information Science.
We are all familiar with the electrons, as one of the basic components of atoms, that are the glue binding atoms together. Electron, in addition to its charge, contains spin, which crudely can be described as spinning-top rotating around its axis. Ferromagnetism is the phenomena in which electron spins line up parallel to each other forming long range ordered pattern.
Artificial, Nanomedicine for Comprehensive Treatment of Several Diseases
Our group at S. N. Bose National Centre has developed a safe and cost effective nanomedicine that promises accurate treatment of a number of diseases. The medicine combines nanoparticles extracted from manganese salt with citrus extract, like from lemon. Both the ingredients are non-toxic, rather essential for the wellbeing of our body. Specifically manganese is a trace element, which our body needs in small amount for the normal functioning of our brain, nervous system and enzymes.
Manipulating Ferromagnetism in Femtosecond Timescale
Extracting the fundamental physics behind every physical phenomenon is the foundation stone for its futuristic technological applications. However, probing the underlying physics becomes a challenge when it occurs in extreme dimensions either in space (nanometre) or time (nanosecond). From the textbook physics we know that the magnetic moments, inside a ferromagnetic material, are aligned in a particular direction when subjected to an external magnetic field.
The current theories of physics, namely, the special and general theory of relativity, quantum mechanics and the quantum theory of fields have been formulated on the fabric of a continuous spacetime. By continuous spacetime, we mean a point in spacetime described by four coordinates (ct, x, y, z) that can take values varying continuously. The question that may arise immediately to the inquisitive mind is whether the concept of a continuous spacetime is always valid. It is important to realize that asking this question is in itself a giant leap from our common sense. Common sense would tell us that spacetime around us must be continuous because a discrete structure of spacetime would mean that there are regions (if at all they can be called as regions) where there is no spacetime at all.