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In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bells inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated \( p \) value of \( \lsim 7.4 \times 10^{−21} \). This experiment pushes back to at least ∼7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the freedom-of-choiceloophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.



The physical properties of glassy polymer films change as they become confined. These changes are often attributed to increased average molecular mobility and reduction in entanglement density. Both are known to alter mechanical behavior, including the formation of strain localizations, e.g., crazing and shear deformation zones. Here, we determine how the entanglement density and surface mobility change the mechanical behavior of a glassy polymer film when it becomes confined. We utilize a custom-built uniaxial tensile tester for ultrathin films and dark-field optical microscopy to characterize the complete stress strain response and the associated strain localizations for ultrathin polystyrene films of varying thickness (h(F) = 20-360 nm). These experiments provide direct measurement of the stress in a craze as well as the stresses involved through the transition from crazing to shear deformation zones. Most significantly, we observe a transition in strain localization from crazing to shear deformation zones as film thickness changes from 30 to 20 nm, providing new insights into how the surfaces alter the mechanical behavior in confined polymer films.


Uninhabited aerial vehicle synthetic aperture radar (UAVSAR) observations 2009–2017 of the Yuha Desert area and Global Positioning System (GPS) time series encompassing the region reveal a northward migrating pattern of deformation following the 4 April 2010 \( M_w \)7.2 El Mayor‐Cucapah (EMC) earthquake. The north end of the EMC rupture exhibits an asymmetric pattern of deformation that is substantial and smooth northeast of the rupture and limited but with surface fracturing slip northwest. The earthquake triggered ~1 cm of surface coseismic slip at the Yuha fault, which continued to slip postseismically. 2.5 cm of Yuha fault slip occurred by the time of the 15 June 2010 \( M_w \)5.7 Ocotillo aftershock and 5 cm of slip occurred by 2017 following a logarithmic afterslip decay 16‐day timescale. The Ocotillo aftershock triggered 1.4 cm of slip on a northwest trend extending to the Elsinore fault and by 7 years after the EMC earthquake 2.4 cm of slip had accumulated with a distribution following an afterslip function with a 16‐day timescale consistent with other earthquakes and a rate strengthening upper crustal sedimentary layer. GPS data show broad coseismic uplift of the Salton Trough and delayed postseismic motion that may be indicative of fluid migration there and subsidence west of the rupture extension, which continues following the earthquake. The data indicate that the Elsinore, Laguna Salada, and EMC ruptures are part of the same fault system. The results also suggest that north‐south shortening and east‐west extension across the region drove fracture advancing step tectonics north of the EMC earthquake rupture.


Mechanical power limitations emerge from the physical trade-off between force and velocity. Many biological systems incorporate power-enhancing mechanisms enabling extraordinary accelerations at small sizes. We establish how power enhancement emerges through the dynamic coupling of motors, springs, and latches and reveal how each displays its own force-velocity behavior. We mathematically demonstrate a tunable performance space for spring-actuated movement that is applicable to biological and synthetic systems. Incorporating nonideal spring behavior and parameterizing latch dynamics allows the identification of critical transitions in mass and trade-offs in spring scaling, both of which offer explanations for long-observed scaling patterns in biological systems. This analysis defines the cascading challenges of power enhancement, explores their emergent effects in biological and engineered systems, and charts a pathway for higher-level analysis and synthesis of power-amplified systems.


We demonstrate that rare decays of the Standard Model \( Z \) boson can be used to discover and characterize the nature of new hidden-sector particles. We propose new searches for these particles in soft, high-multiplicity leptonic final states at the Large Hadron Collider. The proposed searches are sensitive to low-mass particles produced in \( Z \) decays, and we argue that these striking signatures can shed light on the hidden-sector couplings and mechanism for mass generation.


Photons from distant astronomical sources can be used as a classical source of randomness to improve fundamental tests of quantum nonlocality, wave-particle duality, and local realism through Bell’s inequality and delayed-choice quantum eraser tests inspired by Wheeler’s cosmic-scale Mach-Zehnder interferometer gedanken experiment. Such sources of random numbers may also be useful for information-theoretic applications such as key distribution for quantum cryptography. Building on the design of an astronomical random number generator developed for the recent cosmic Bell experiment [Handsteiner et al. Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 060401 (2017)], in this paper we report on the design and characterization of a device that, with 20-nanosecond latency, outputs a bit based on whether the wavelength of an incoming photon is greater than or less than ≈700 nm. Using the one-meter telescope at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Table Mountain Observatory, we generated random bits from astronomical photons in both color channels from 50 stars of varying color and magnitude, and from 12 quasars with redshifts up to \( z = 3.9 \). With stars, we achieved bit rates of \( \sim1 \times 10^6\,\mathrm{Hz/m^2} \), limited by saturation of our single-photon detectors, and with quasars of magnitudes between 12.9 and 16, we achieved rates between \( \sim 10^2 \) and \( 2 \times 10^3 \,\mathrm{Hz/m^2} \). For bright quasars, the resulting bitstreams exhibit sufficiently low amounts of statistical predictability as quantified by the mutual information. In addition, a sufficiently high fraction of bits generated are of true astronomical origin in order to address both the locality and freedom-of-choice loopholes when used to set the measurement settings in a test of the Bell-CHSH inequality.


Hydrodynamic slip, the motion of a liquid along a solid surface, represents a fundamental phenomenon in fluid dynamics that governs liquid transport at small scales. For polymeric liquids, de Gennes predicted that the Navier boundary condition together with polymer reptation implies extraordinarily large interfacial slip for entangled polymer melts on ideal surfaces; this Navier-de Gennes model was confirmed using dewetting experiments on ultra-smooth, low-energy substrates. Here, we use capillary leveling-surface tension driven flow of films with initially non-uniform thickness-of polymeric films on these same substrates. Measurement of the slip length from a robust one parameter fit to a lubrication model is achieved. We show that at the low shear rates involved in leveling experiments as compared to dewetting ones, the employed substrates can no longer be considered ideal. The data is instead consistent with a model that includes physical adsorption of polymer chains at the solid/liquid interface.


We find that laser-induced local melting attracts and deforms grain boundaries in 2D colloidal crystals. When a melted region in contact with the edge of a crystal grain recrystallizes, it deforms the grain boundarythis attraction is driven by the multiplicity of deformed grain boundary configurations. Furthermore, the attraction provides a method to fabricate artificial colloidal crystal grains of arbitrary shape, enabling new experimental studies of grain boundary dynamics and ultimately hinting at a novel approach for fabricating materials with designer microstructures.


Direct experimental investigations of the low-energy electronic structure of the \( \mathrm{Na_2 IrO_3} \) iridate insulator are sparse and draw two conflicting pictures. One relies on flat bands and a clear gap, the other involves dispersive states approaching the Fermi level, pointing to surface metallicity. Here, by a combination of angle-resolved photoemission, photoemission electron microscopy, and x-ray absorption, we show that the correct picture is more complex and involves an anomalous band, arising from charge transfer from Na atoms to Ir-derived states. Bulk quasiparticles do exist, but in one of the two possible surface terminations the charge transfer is smaller and they remain elusive.


Two methods of quantifying the spatial resolution of a camera are described, performed, and compared, with the objective of designing an imaging-system experiment for students in an undergraduate optics laboratory. With the goal of characterizing the resolution of a typical digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, we motivate, introduce, and show agreement between traditional test-target contrast measurements and the technique of using Fourier analysis to obtain the modulation transfer function (MTF). The advantages and drawbacks of each method are compared. Finally, we explore the rich optical physics at work in the camera system by calculating the MTF as a function of wavelength and f-number. For example, we find that the Canon 40D demonstrates better spatial resolution at short wavelengths, in accordance with scalar diffraction theory, but is not diffraction-limited, being significantly affected by spherical aberration. The experiment and data analysis routines described here can be built and written in an undergraduate optics lab setting.

Recent Publications

Student authorFaculty author


Dominik Rauch, Johannes Handsteiner, Armin Hochrainer, Jason Gallicchio, Andrew S. Friedman, Calvin Leung, Bo Liu, Lukas Bulla, Sebastian Ecker, Fabian Steinlechner, Rupert Ursin, Beili Hu, David Leon, Chris Benn, Adriano Ghedina, Massimo Cecconi, Alan H. Guth, David I. Kaiser, Thomas Scheidl, and Anton Zeilinger

Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars

Physical Review Letters 121 (2018) 080403.

R. Konane Bay, Shinichiro Shimomura, Yujie Liu, Mark Ilton, and Alfred J. Crosby

Confinement Effect on Strain Localizations in Glassy Polymer Films

Macromolecules 51 (2018) 3647-3653.

Andrea Donnellan, Jay Parker, Michael Heflin, Gregory A. Lyzenga, Angelyn W. Moore, Lisa Grant Ludwig, John Rundle, Jun Wang, and Marlon Pierce

Fracture Advancing Step Tectonics Observed in the Yuha Desert and Ocotillo, CA, Following the 2010 Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah Earthquake

Earth and Space Science (2018) .

Mark Ilton, M. Saad Bhamla, Xiaotian Ma, Suzanne M. Cox, Leah L. Fitchett, Yongjin Kim, Je-sung Koh, Deepak Krishnamurthy, Chi-Yun Kuo, Fatma Zeynep Temel, Alfred J. Crosby, Manu Prakash, Gregory P. Sutton, Robert J. Wood, Emanuel Azizi, Sarah Bergbreiter, and S. N. Patek

The principles of cascading power limits in small, fast biological and engineered systems

Science 360 (2018) 397+.

Nikita Blinov, Eder Izaguirre, and Brian Shuve

Rare Z Boson Decays to a Hidden Sector

Physical Review D 97 (2018) 015009.

Calvin Leung, Amy Frances Brown, Hien Nguyen, Andrew S. Friedman, David I. Kaiser, and Jason Gallicchio

Astronomical Random Numbers for Quantum Foundations Experiments

Physical Review A 97 (2018) 042120.

Mark Ilton, Thomas Salez, Paul D. Fowler, Marco Rivetti, Mohammed Aly, Michael Benzaquen, Joshua D. McGraw, Elie Raphael, Kari Dalnoki-Veress, and Oliver Baeumchen

Adsorption-induced slip inhibition for polymer melts on ideal substrates

Nature Communications 9 (2018) .

Caitlin Ellen Cash, Jeremy Wang, Maya Maria Martirossyan, Kemper Ludlow, Alejandro E. Baptista, Nina M. Brown, Eli Joseph Weissler, Jatin Abacousnac, and Sharon Gerbode

Local Melting Attracts Grain Boundaries in Colloidal Polycrystals

Physical Review Letters 120 (2018) 018002.

L. Moreschini, I. Lo Vecchio, Nicholas P. Breznay, Nathan D. Moser, S. Ulstrup, R. Koch, J. Wirjo, C. Jozwiak, Ha S. Kim, E. Rotenberg, A. Bostwick, J. G. Analytis, and A. Lanzara

Quasiparticles and Charge Transfer At the Two Surfaces of the Honeycomb Iridate \( \mathrm{Na_2 IrO_3} \)

Physical Review B 96 (2017) 161116.

Calvin Leung and Thomas D. Donnelly

Measuring the spatial resolution of an optical system in an undergraduate optics laboratory

American Journal of Physics 85 (2017) 429-438.