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Physics News

  • Unconventional quantum systems may lead to novel optical devices

    (Phys.org)—Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an optical system based on an unconventional class of quantum mechanical systems that could lead to the development of new quantum optical devices. The system is called a "PT-symmetric quantum walk," since it consists of single photons that occupy a superposition of states, called quantum walks, that obey parity-time (PT) symmetry—the property in which a system's coordinates in space and time can have their signs reversed without inherently changing the system.
    Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:30:03 EDT
  • Astronomers detect methanol maser emission towards nearby galaxy

    (Phys.org)—Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), a team of astronomers has detected methanol emission toward a nearby galaxy known as NGC 4945. The finding, reported Aug. 18 in a paper published on arXiv.org, could be helpful in improving our understanding of star formation processes.
    Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:00:03 EDT
  • Electrons flowing like liquid in graphene start a new wave of physics

    A new understanding of the physics of conductive materials has been uncovered by scientists observing the unusual movement of electrons in graphene.
    Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:34:30 EDT
  • Physicists explore a new recipe for heating plasma

    In the quest for fusion energy, scientists have spent decades experimenting with ways to make plasma fuel hot and dense enough to generate significant fusion power. At MIT, researchers have focused their attention on using radio-frequency (RF) heating in magnetic confinement fusion experiments like the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, which completed its final run in September 2016.
    Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:24:58 EDT
  • Engineers predict how flowing fluid will bend tiny hairs that line blood vessels and intestines

    Our bodies are lined on the inside with soft, microscopic carpets of hair, from the grassy extensions on our tastebuds, to fuzzy beds of microvilli in our stomachs, to superfine protein strands throughout our blood vessels. These hairy projections, anchored to soft surfaces, bend and twist with the currents of the fluids they're immersed in.
    Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:00:17 EDT
  • Scientists accelerate airflow in mid-air

    When a fan blows air across a room, the airflow typically decelerates and spreads out. Now in a new study, scientists have demonstrated the opposite: an airflow created by a carefully controlled ultrasound array can maintain its narrow shape and accelerate as it moves away from the source. The researchers explain that it's as if the airflow is being pushed along by a sequence of invisible fans floating in mid-air. They expect that the accelerating air stream could have unprecedented applications, such as the ability to perform and control chemical reactions in mid-air.
    Mon, 21 Aug 2017 08:00:03 EDT
  • 3-D particle tracking? There's an app for that

    Using four low-cost smartphone cameras and some simple colored backlighting, KAUST researchers have dispensed with expensive research-grade camera equipment and dangerous lasers to construct a tomographic particle image velocimetry (PIV) system that is capable of quantitative flow visualization. The proof-of-concept study demonstrates the research power of everyday devices, and puts a state-of-the-art tool within easy reach of a broader group of researchers and educators.
    Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:52:17 EDT
  • How heating up a quantum system can be used as a universal probe for exotic states of matter

    In physical sciences, certain quantities appear as integer multiples of fundamental and indivisible elements. This quantization of physical quantities, which is at the heart of our description of nature, made its way through the centuries, as evidenced by the antique concept of the atom. Importantly, the discovery of quantized quantities has often been associated with a revolution in our understanding and appreciation of nature's law, a striking example being the quantization of light in terms of photons, which led to our contemporary (quantum-mechanical) description of the microscopic world.
    Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:49:41 EDT
  • Nanomaterial wrap for improved tissue imaging

    Researchers at Tokai University describe in Advanced Materials how wrapping biological tissue in a nanosheet of a particular organic material results in high-quality microscopy images. Application of the wrap prevents the sample from drying out, and hence from shrinking, enabling larger image-recording times.
    Mon, 21 Aug 2017 07:10:50 EDT
  • New bioimaging technique is fast and economical

    A new approach to optical imaging makes it possible to quickly and economically monitor multiple molecular interactions in a large area of living tissue—such as an organ or a small animal; technology that could have applications in medical diagnosis, guided surgery, or pre-clinical drug testing. The method, which is detailed in Nature Photonics, is capable of simultaneously tracking 16 colors of spatially linked information over an area spanning several centimeters, and can capture interactions that occur in mere billionths of a second.
    Fri, 18 Aug 2017 17:52:34 EDT
  • A quick and easy way to shut down instabilities in fusion devices

    Scientists have discovered a remarkably simple way to suppress a common instability that can halt fusion reactions and damage the walls of reactors built to create a "star in a jar." The findings, published in June in the journal Physical Review Letters, stem from experiments performed on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U), at the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).
    Fri, 18 Aug 2017 14:28:24 EDT
  • Solutal Marangoni flows of miscible liquid drive transport without surface contamination

    A research team led by Hyoungsoo Kim, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST, succeeded in quantifying the phenomenon called, the Marangoni effect, which occurs at the interface between alcohol and water. It is expected that this finding will be a valuable resource used for effectively removing impurities from a surface fluid without any contamination, and developing materials that can replace surfactants.
    Fri, 18 Aug 2017 11:23:40 EDT
  • Super-photostable fluorescent labeling agent for super-resolution microscopy

    Chemists at ITbM, Nagoya University have developed a super-photostable fluorescent dye called PhoxBright 430 (PB430) to visualize cellular ultra-structure by super-resolution microscopy. The exceptional photostability of this new dye enables continuous STED imaging. With its ability to tag proteins with fluorescent labels, PB430 demonstrates its use in the 3-D construction and multicolor imaging of biological structures.
    Fri, 18 Aug 2017 06:51:02 EDT
  • Team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

    When Israeli scientist Daniel Shechtman first saw a quasicrystal through his microscope in 1982, he reportedly thought to himself, "Eyn chaya kazo"—Hebrew for, "There can be no such creature."
    Thu, 17 Aug 2017 15:03:47 EDT
  • New terahertz imaging approach could speed up skin cancer detection

    Researchers have developed a new terahertz imaging approach that, for the first time, can acquire micron-scale resolution images while retaining computational approaches designed to speed up image acquisition. This combination could allow terahertz imaging to be useful for detecting early-stage skin cancer without requiring a tissue biopsy from the patient.
    Thu, 17 Aug 2017 10:00:02 EDT
  • Sharp X-ray pulses from the atomic nucleus

    X-rays make the invisible visible: they permit the way materials are structured to be determined all the way down to the level of individual atoms. In the 1950s it was x-rays which revealed the double-helix structure of DNA. With new x-ray sources, such as the XFEL free-electron laser in Hamburg, it is even possible to "film" chemical reactions. The results obtained from studies using these new x-ray sources may be about to become even more precise. A team around Kilian Heeg from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg has now found a way to make the spectrum of the x-ray pulses emitted by these sources even narrower. In contrast to standard lasers, which generate light of a single colour and wavelength, x-ray sources generally produce pulses with a broad spectrum of different wavelengths. Sharper pulses could soon drive applications that were previously not feasible. This includes testing physical constants and measuring lengths and times even more precisely than can be achieved at present.
    Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:29:32 EDT
  • Breakthrough ink discovery could transform the production of new laser and optoelectronic devices

    A breakthrough 'recipe' for inkjet printing, which could enable high-volume manufacturing of next-generation laser and optoelectronic technologies, has been uncovered by Cambridge researchers.
    Thu, 17 Aug 2017 08:26:50 EDT
  • Superconductivity research reveals potential new state of matter

    A potential new state of matter is being reported in the journal Nature, with research showing that among superconducting materials in high magnetic fields, the phenomenon of electronic symmetry breaking is common. The ability to find similarities and differences among classes of materials with phenomena such as this helps researchers establish the essential ingredients that cause novel functionalities such as superconductivity.
    Wed, 16 Aug 2017 13:09:22 EDT
  • Physicists measure complementary properties using quantum clones

    (Phys.org)—In quantum mechanics, it's impossible to precisely and simultaneously measure the complementary properties (such as the position and momentum) of a quantum state. Now in a new study, physicists have cloned quantum states and demonstrated that, because the clones are entangled, it's possible to precisely and simultaneously measure the complementary properties of the clones. These measurements, in turn, reveal the state of the input quantum system.
    Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:40:04 EDT
  • Soft and spherical: Researchers study dynamics of drop impact

    For the most part, fluid dynamics researchers have focused efforts to understand the details of impacting drops on flat rigid surfaces; the effect of curved, convex or compliant surfaces on the dynamics of impacting drops is still relatively unknown. This is despite its extreme relevance to modern-day applications, such as 3-D ink-jet printing and the delivery of pesticides on leaves.
    Tue, 15 Aug 2017 11:28:09 EDT