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Medical imaging

illustration of quantum spin
Winter 2020

It’s a matter of spin

The quantum realm is incredibly fascinating but can be difficult to visualize. Washington State University physicists share a few tangible insights.


Michael Forbes, associate professor of physics and spokesman for the WSU Quantum Initiative says quantum’s advantage over classical Newtonian physics comes down to the phenomena called entanglement and superposition.

“This is a weird thing in quantum mechanics,” he says. “You can have a pair of quantum particles that spin in such a way that one points up and the other points down. Entanglement is the idea that they always have to point in opposite directions—if you measure one to be up, you … » More …

Spring 2017

Paths that grew crystal clear

Crystals reflect the best of nature’s handiwork. With their atoms aligned in repeating 3D patterns, crystals can be as momentary as a snowflake or as common as the sodium chloride in table salt. They can sparkle on a finger, scatter rainbows across the room, or be grown on your kitchen table with a few ingredients from the hobby shop.

Some also possess unusual properties, such as quartz crystal’s ability to generate a tiny electrical current when pressure is applied. Known as the piezoelectric effect, this useful phenomenon helped inspire the rise of a global, multibillion dollar crystal growth industry.

Today, manmade crystals power an astonishing … » More …