26 Feb 2024: PIB Summary for UPSC

26 Feb 2024 PIB
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1. International collaboration of physicists achieves first successful laser cooled
Positronium, a short-lived atom significant for quantum studies
2. India's 1st septic tank cleaning robot strengthening Swatch Bharat campaign
FIP Magazine

1. International collaboration of physicists achieves first successful laser cooledPositronium, a short-lived atom significant for quantum studies

Syllabus: GS-3, Science

Prelims: Quantum Computing


  • An international collaboration of physicists has achieved the first successful laser cooling of Positronium, a short-lived atom crucial for quantum studies.
  • Positronium, composed of an electron and a positron, lacks the usual nuclear matter, making it a purely leptonic atom and ideal for testing quantum electrodynamics.

Collaboration and Experimentation:

  • The Antihydrogen Experiment: Gravity, Interferometry, Spectroscopy (AEgIS) collaboration, consisting of physicists from 19 European groups and one Indian group, conducted experiments at CERN to accomplish this feat.
  • Led by Professor Sadiq Rangwala from the Raman Research Institute, the Indian team contributed significantly to the experiment, particularly in designing laser beam alignment diagnostics.
  • Despite decades of research since the late 1980s, advancements in technology, including cutting-edge lasers, were crucial for achieving laser cooling of Positronium.

Experimental Details and Implications:

  • The AEgIS team published their results in Physical Review Letters, showcasing the cooling of Positronium atoms from ~380 Kelvin to ~170 Kelvin using a pulsed alexandrite-based laser system.
  • Operating in the challenging environment of a CERN accelerator beam hall, the experiment required innovative solutions in various aspects, such as laser alignment and control systems.
  • Laser cooling of anti-atoms and their spectroscopic comparison is vital for testing Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) and opens doors for creating exotic systems like Bose-Einstein Condensates.
  • This breakthrough serves as a precursor to the AEgIS experiment’s goal of testing the equivalence principle through the formation of anti-Hydrogen.

Collaboration Overview:

  • The AEgIS collaboration comprises research groups from CERN, various Italian institutions, the University of Oslo, the University of Liverpool, and other institutions across Europe.
  • This diverse collaboration showcases the global effort and expertise required to advance fundamental research in physics, particularly in exploring the interactions between matter and antimatter.

2. India’s 1st septic tank cleaning robot strengthening Swatch Bharat campaign

Syllabus: GS-3, Science

Mains: Robotics 

Prelims: Homosep Atom

Introduction of Homosep Atom:

  • India’s first septic tank/manhole cleaning robot, Homosep Atom, developed by Solinas, is revolutionizing sanitation practices.
  • Incubated in the DST-TBI of IIT Madras, it eliminates manual scavenging through robotic cleaning methods.

Features and Applications:

  • Homosep Atom offers end-to-end solutions, including extensive blade cleaning, solid waste desilting, suction, and storage, reducing the need for multiple assets.
  • It has reached 16 cities across India, addressing sanitation challenges in various locations, such as Madurai and Chennai.
  • The robot empowers sanitary workers by allowing them to clean manholes from outside, enhancing safety and dignity.

Impact and Additional Solutions by Solinas:

  • Solinas, a deep-tech startup, specializes in developing miniature robots for various sanitation challenges.
  • Their technologies, like Endobot and Swasth AI, detect and mitigate water contamination, wastage, and sewer overflows.
  • Solinas’s AI-based pipeline defect identification services have saved costs and improved the drinking water supply in cities like Hubbali.
  • Partnership with entities like Chennai Metro has addressed key challenges such as cross-contamination and illegal tappings, enhancing pipeline integrity and water access.

Read previous PIB articles here.

Related Links
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