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Physics News

  • Prevention is better than cure: Targeted vaccination to halt epidemics

    Amidst growing concerns over the low uptake of flu shots in Europe, scientists from the Italian National Research Council and the JRC confirm that vaccinations remain the best way forward when it comes to stopping the spread of infectious diseases.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 12:49:48 EST
  • Walking crystals may lead to new field of crystal robotics

    Researchers have demonstrated that tiny micrometer-sized crystals—just barely visible to the human eye—can "walk" inchworm-style across the slide of a microscope. Other crystals are capable of different modes of locomotion such as rolling, flipping, bending, twisting, and jumping. In the future, these moving crystals may open the doors to the development of crystal-based robots.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:30:01 EST
  • Seeing nanoscale details in mammalian cells

    In 2014, W. E. Moerner, the Harry S. Mosher Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for co-developing a way of imaging shapes inside cells at very high resolution, called super-resolution microscopy. Now, he and his lab have created a new microscope that produces 3-D nanoscale images of mammalian cells in their entirety.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:15:28 EST
  • Researchers validate several fluctuation theorems for first time

    Researchers at Purdue University have performed the first experimental tests of several fundamental theorems in thermodynamics, verifying the relationship between them and providing a better understanding of how nanoparticles behave under fluctuation.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:04:02 EST
  • Giant intrinsic chirality from planar dielectric nanostructures

    Harvard researchers have developed a metasurface comprising a single planar layer of nanostructures exhibiting strong optical chirality in transmission. This means it can let circularly polarized light of one polarization pass through almost unhindered, while light of the opposite helicity is completely diffracted away. Such capabilities are incredibly useful for a host of applications, including circular dichroism spectroscopy in the analysis of drug samples, and polarization filters in telecommunications.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:20:28 EST
  • Recurrences in an isolated quantum many-body system

    It is one of the most astonishing results of physics—when a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles, for example, chaotically swirling around in a container, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. The Poincaré Recurrence Theorem is the foundation of modern chaos theory. For decades, scientists have investigated how this theorem can be applied to the world of quantum physics. Now, researchers at TU Wien (Vienna) have successfully demonstrated a kind of Poincaré recurrence in a multi-particle quantum system. The results have been published in the journal Science.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:19:37 EST
  • Developing reliable quantum computers

    Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems that even the biggest supercomputers today can't manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to ensure it is working reliably? Depending on the algorithmic task, this could be an easy or a very difficult certification problem. An international team of researchers has taken an important step towards solving a difficult variation of this problem, using a statistical approach developed at the University of Freiburg. The results of their study are published in the latest edition of Nature Photonics.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:18:44 EST
  • Researchers turn light upside down

    Researchers from CIC nanoGUNE (San Sebastian, Spain) and collaborators have reported in Science the development of a so-called hyperbolic metasurface on which light propagates with completely reshaped wafefronts. This scientific achievement toward more precise control and monitoring of light is highly interesting for miniaturizing optical devices for sensing and signal processing.
    Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:03:19 EST
  • Good vibrations feel the Force

    A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal. By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are at large distances from the equilibrium arrangements. This promises new insights into the mechanical properties of matter and their instability near phase changes.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:59:04 EST
  • Understanding the wetting of micro-textured surfaces can help give them new functionalities

    The wetting and adhesion characteristics of solid surfaces critically depend on their fine structures. However, until now, our understanding of exactly how the sliding behaviour of liquid droplets depends on surface microstructures has been limited. Now, physicists Shasha Qiao, Qunyang Li and Xi-Qiao Feng from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China have conducted experimental and theoretical studies on the friction of liquid droplets on micro-structured surfaces.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:55:26 EST
  • IBM reveals novel energy-saving optical receiver with a new record of rapid power-on/off time

    With the increasing popularization of datacenters and other bandwidth hungry interconnect applications, today's bandwidth growth of short-distance optical networks demands data transmission speeds of more than 100 Gb/s, calling for the development of energy-efficient, multi-channel optical links with fast data transfer rates.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:55:08 EST
  • Urban heat island effects depend on a city's layout

    The arrangement of a city's streets and buildings plays a crucial role in the local urban heat island effect, which causes cities to be hotter than their surroundings, researchers have found. The new finding could provide city planners and officials with new ways to influence those effects.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:12:10 EST
  • Hauling antiprotons around in a van

    A team of researchers working on the antiProton Unstable Matter Annihilation (PUMA) project near CERN's particle laboratory, according to a report in Nature, plans to capture a billion antiprotons, put them in a shipping container and transfer them to a lab that is conducting experiments collectively called ISOLDE.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:11:55 EST
  • New quantum memory stores information for hours

    Storing information in a quantum memory system is a difficult challenge, as the data is usually quickly lost. At TU Wien, ultra-long storage times have now been achieved using tiny diamonds.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:24:08 EST
  • Neutrino experiments look to reveal big answers about how these fundamental particles interact with matter

    Except in horror movies, most scientific experiments don't start with scientists snooping around narrow, deserted hallways. But a tucked-away location in the recesses of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provided exactly what Yuri Efremenko was looking for.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:00:01 EST
  • Collimators—the LHC's bodyguards

    The performance of the LHC relies on accelerating and colliding beams made of tiny particles with unprecedented intensities. If even a small fraction of the circulating particles deviates from the precisely set trajectory, it can quench a super-conducting LHC magnet or even destroy parts of the accelerator. The energy in the two LHC beams is sufficient to melt almost one tonne of copper.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:46:29 EST
  • Noninvasive optical sensors provide real-time brain monitoring after stroke

    Each year, nearly 800,000 people in the U.S. experience a stroke, and almost 90 percent of those are ischemic strokes in which a clot cuts off blood flow to part of the brain. To prevent further injury, blood flow to the brain must be restored as quickly as possible. In a new study, researchers show that non-invasive optical sensors can provide clinicians with real-time feedback on whether clot busting treatments are restoring blood flow. The technique, which monitors blood flow and oxygen levels in the brain, could also reveal early warnings signs of neurological complications after a stroke.
    Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:43:08 EST
  • Physicists contribute to dark matter detector success

    In researchers' quest for evidence of dark matter, physicist Andrea Pocar of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his students have played an important role in designing and building a key part of the argon-based DarkSide-50 detector located underground in Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory.
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:28:38 EST
  • Unprecedented single-digit-nanometer magnetic tunnel junction demonstrated

    A research group from Tohoku University has revealed ultra-small magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) down to a single-digit-nanometer scale that have sufficient retention properties and yet can be switched by a current.
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:32:00 EST
  • Observing and controlling ultrafast processes with attosecond resolution

    Many chemical processes run so quickly that they are only roughly understood. To clarify these processes, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed a methodology with a resolution of quintillionths of a second. The new technology could enhance the understanding of processes like photosynthesis and contribute to the development of faster computer chips.
    Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:03:58 EST