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Physics News

  • Groundbreaking discovery confirms existence of orbiting supermassive black holes

    For the first time ever, astronomers at The University of New Mexico say they've been able to observe and measure the orbital motion between two supermassive black holes hundreds of millions of light years from Earth - a discovery more than a decade in the making.
    Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:23:51 EDT
  • Cotton candy capillaries lead to circuit boards that dissolve when cooled

    Building transient electronics is usually about doing something to make them stop working: blast them with light, soak them with acid, dunk them in water.
    Tue, 27 Jun 2017 11:21:42 EDT
  • Physicists make quantum leap in understanding life's nanoscale machinery

    A diagnostic technique that can detect tiny molecules signalling the presence of cancer could be on the horizon.
    Tue, 27 Jun 2017 06:04:27 EDT
  • Study finds way to pack more data in single acoustic beam for underwater communications

    A new strategy for sending acoustic waves through water could potentially open up the world of high-speed communications activities underwater, including scuba diving, remote ocean monitoring, and deep-sea exploration.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:00:11 EDT
  • Water exists as two different liquids

    We normally consider liquid water as disordered with the molecules rearranging on a short time scale around some average structure. Now, however, scientists at Stockholm University have discovered two phases of the liquid with large differences in structure and density. The results are based on experimental studies using X-rays, which are now published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (US).
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 15:00:04 EDT
  • X-ray technique provides a new window into exotic properties of an atomically thin material

    An international team of researchers, working at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley, fabricated an atomically thin material and measured its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for a budding branch of electronics known as "spintronics."
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:19 EDT
  • One billion suns: World's brightest laser sparks new behavior in light

    Physicists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are seeing an everyday phenomenon in a new light.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:18 EDT
  • Study reveals mysterious equality with which grains pack it in

    At the moment they come together, the individual grains in materials like sand and snow appear to have exactly the same probability of combining into any one of their many billions of possible arrangements, researchers have shown.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:00:13 EDT
  • Moisture-responsive 'robots' crawl with no external power source

    Using an off-the-shelf camera flash, researchers turned an ordinary sheet of graphene oxide into a material that bends when exposed to moisture. They then used this material to make a spider-like crawler and claw robot that move in response to changing humidity without the need for any external power.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:45:50 EDT
  • Electrocaloric refrigerator offers alternative way to cool everything from food to computers

    (Phys.org)—Researchers have built an electrocaloric refrigerator the size of a beverage coaster that can generate a temperature difference of about 2 K between the hot and cold ends of the device. The cooling mechanism, which is based on the electrocaloric effect, involves alternately applying and removing an electric field to a material to increase and decrease the material's temperature, respectively. The new cooling method can potentially achieve a higher efficiency than current methods, indicating that electrocaloric cooling devices may one day replace today's refrigerators and other cooling devices.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:30:01 EDT
  • A functional prototype nonvolatile ferroelectric domain wall memory

    (Phys.org)—A team of researchers from institutions in Australia, the U.S. and China has developed a functional prototype nonvolatile ferroelectric domain wall memory. In their paper published on the open access site Science Advances, the group describes their prototype, its properties and how well it worked.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 09:00:02 EDT
  • Tiny magnetic tremors unlock exotic superconductivity

    Deep within solids, individual electrons zip around on a nanoscale highway paved with atoms. For the most part, these electrons avoid one another, kept in separate lanes by their mutual repulsion. But vibrations in the atomic road can blur their lanes and sometimes allow the tiny particles to pair up. The result is smooth and lossless travel, and it's one way to create superconductivity.
    Mon, 26 Jun 2017 07:42:03 EDT
  • Making ferromagnets stronger by adding non-magnetic elements

    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory discovered that they could functionalize magnetic materials through a thoroughly unlikely method, by adding amounts of the virtually non-magnetic element scandium to a gadolinium-germanium alloy.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:46:52 EDT
  • Atomic imperfections move quantum communication network closer to reality

    An international team led by the University of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering has discovered how to manipulate a weird quantum interface between light and matter in silicon carbide along wavelengths used in telecommunications.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:43:55 EDT
  • Team launches 'comb and copter' system to map atmospheric gases

    Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado Boulder have demonstrated a new mobile, ground-based system that could scan and map atmospheric gas plumes over kilometer distances.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:19:10 EDT
  • Magnetic nanoknots evoke Lord Kelvin's vortex theory of atoms

    (Phys.org)—In the late 1800s when scientists were still trying to figure out what exactly atoms are, one of the leading theories, proposed by Lord Kelvin, was that atoms are knots of swirling vortices in the aether. Although this idea turned out to be completely wrong, it ushered in modern knot theory, which today is used in various areas of science such as fluid dynamics, the structure of DNA, and the concept of chirality.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 09:30:02 EDT
  • Physicists settle debate over how exotic quantum particles form

    New research by physicists at the University of Chicago settles a longstanding disagreement over the formation of exotic quantum particles known as Efimov molecules.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:49:34 EDT
  • A single electron's tiny leap sets off 'molecular sunscreen' response

    In experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists were able to see the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:43:13 EDT
  • Peering at the crystal structure of lithium

    Elemental metals usually form simple, close-packed crystalline structures. Though lithium (Li) is considered a typical simple metal, its crystal structure at ambient pressure and low temperature remains unknown.
    Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:43:31 EDT
  • Piling on pressure solves enduring mystery about metal's makeup

    Scientists have solved a decades-old puzzle about a widely used metal, thanks to extreme pressure experiments and powerful supercomputing.
    Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:00:12 EDT