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Nature Physics offers a unique mix of news and reviews alongside top-quality research papers. Published monthly, in print and online, the journal reflects the entire spectrum of physics, pure and applied.



 



Photoemission delay: The White Rabbit's clock

2016-11-21

Without a very precise timer one can never catch up with the electron released in photoemission. Attosecond streaking spectroscopy allows such a chronometer clock to be set to zero and reveals the role of electron correlations.



Star formation: Cosmic feast

2016-11-14

Low-mass stars form through a process known as disk accretion, eating up material that orbits in a disk around them. It turns out that the same mechanism also describes the formation of more massive stars.



Spin-Orbit torques: Going in the right direction

2016-11-07

A connection between low crystalline symmetry and the allowed symmetries of the current-induced torques generated through the spin–orbit interaction opens up their use in devices with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy.



Quantum optics: Photons taught new tricks

2016-10-31

Experiments of the Aharonov–Bohm type typically involve particles that are charged and interact with a magnetic flux. Photons aren't the former and don't do the latter. Yet, an Aharonov–Bohm ring for photons has just been realized experimentally.



Valleytronics: Stark control

2016-10-24

By exploiting the optical Stark effect, the valley degree of freedom in monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides can be selectively manipulated and detected using all-optical methods.



Organic semiconductors: Dynamic duos

2016-10-17

The discovery of intermediate high-spin multiexciton states with surprisingly long lifetimes provides new opportunities for engineering singlet fission, which may also provide an intriguing route to quantum information and spintronic applications.



Cold molecular collisions: Same object, different symmetry

2016-10-17

Cold collisions between hydrogen molecules and helium atoms reveal how the change from spherical to non-spherical symmetry creates a quantum scattering resonance.



Superconductivity: Picky about orientation

2016-10-10

Not in all superconductors do Cooper pairs respect the lattice symmetry of the crystal in which they move. Now, work finds such 'picky' Cooper pairs in the presence of strong electron–spin interaction — and gives rise to an entire host of new questions.



Cavity quantum electrodynamics: Beyond strong

2016-10-10

When light and matter are strongly coupled, they lose their distinct character and merge into a hybrid state. Three experiments explore this exotic regime using artificial atoms, with promise for quantum technologies.



Collective motion: Disorder in the wild

2016-10-03

Simple models have given us surprising insight into how animals flock, but most assume they do so through a homogeneous landscape. Colloidal experiments now suggest that a little disorder can have unexpected — and spectacular — effects.



Cell biophysics: How to eat on the go

2016-08-08

Dendritic cells use components of their cytoskeleton to both move and ingest pieces of infected cells. This competition for protein resources can give rise to a complex set of states that may be understood with an advection–diffusion model.



Quantum measurement: Coping with pressure

2016-04-25

Radiation pressure noise from squeezed light constrains the precision of sensing devices such as improved gravitational wave interferometers.



Magnetic adatoms: When Ising meets Majorana

2016-04-18

The topological degeneracy associated with Majorana edge states has been measured in a spin-1/2 chain of cobalt atoms, thereby opening new avenues in low-dimensional quantum magnetism.



High-energy neutrino astrophysics

2016-07-04

Neutrinos from deep space can be used as astronomical messengers providing clues about the origin of cosmic rays or dark matter. The IceCube experiment is leading the way in neutrino astronomy.



Topological mosaics in moiré superlattices of van der Waals heterobilayers

2016-11-28

Engineering moiré superlattices by stacking two-dimensional crystals could enable lateral superstructures to be formed where the local topological phase is periodically modulated, creating topological mosaics that are electrically switchable.



Accelerated quantum control using superadiabatic dynamics in a solid-state lambda system

2016-11-28

Adiabatic processes are useful in quantum control, but they are slow. A way around this is to exploit shortcuts to adiabaticity, which can speed things up — for instance, by boosting stimulated Raman adiabatic passage.



Propagating compaction bands in confined compression of snow

2016-11-21

When deforming snow slowly, it resists. But when applying a deformation rapidly, it gives in more easily. Experiments now reveal propagating deformation bands and the localization of strain in compressed snow — both natural and artificial.



Anisotropic high-harmonic generation in bulk crystals

2016-11-21

High-harmonic generation in a solid turns out to be sensitive to the interatomic bonding — a very useful feature that could enable the all-optical imaging of the interatomic potential.



A global inversion-symmetry-broken phase inside the pseudogap region of YBa2Cu3Oy

2016-11-21

A spectroscopic study of the canonical cuprate materials YBCO reveals the point group symmetry of this system inside its pseudogap phase.



Disk-mediated accretion burst in a high-mass young stellar object

2016-11-14

Observations show that, like light solar-mass stars, heavy stars also form through episodic disk-accretion; but faster, more energetic and emitting more light.



Cooperatively enhanced dipole forces from artificial atoms in trapped nanodiamonds

2016-11-14

The strength of optical trapping of a nanodiamond can be increased by cooperative effects between its numerous colour centres — or artificial atoms: an observation that brings together ideas from atom and nanoparticle trapping.



High-harmonic generation from an atomically thin semiconductor

2016-11-14

Observations of high-harmonic generation from a single layer of a transition metal dichalcogenide opens the door to studying strong-field and attosecond phenomena in two-dimensional materials.



Real-time confinement following a quantum quench to a non-integrable model

2016-11-07

Confinement plays an important role in many-body physics from high energy to condensed matter. New results show that it strongly affects the non-equilibrium dynamics after a quantum quench with possible implications from ultracold atoms to QCD.



Schistosoma mansoni cercariae swim efficiently by exploiting an elastohydrodynamic coupling

2016-10-31

The success with which the parasite Schistosoma mansoni infects humans is due largely to its efficient motility. Experiments, modelling and robotics suggest that it swims via an elastohydrodynamic mechanism, rather than using active muscle control.



Fermi polaron-polaritons in charge-tunable atomically thin semiconductors

2016-10-31

Cavity spectroscopy measurements elucidate the Fermi polaron nature of the optical excitations in monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides.



Interlayer electron–phonon coupling in WSe2/hBN heterostructures

2016-10-24

The emergence of optically silent phonons show that strong interlayer electron–phonon coupling can arise in van der Waals heterostructures, with the vibrational modes in one layer coupling to the electronic states in a neighbouring layer.



An effective magnetic field from optically driven phonons

2016-10-24

Light can be used to directly excite phonon modes in condensed matter. Simultaneously exciting several modes in an antiferromagnetic rare-earth orthoferrite drives behaviour that mimics the application of a magnetic field.



Critical slowing down in purely elastic ‘snap-through’ instabilities

2016-10-17

Critical phenomena are well understood in a wide range of physical systems. The dynamics of snap-through instabilities, a widespread phenomenon in their own right, are now shown to display critical scaling properties.



Directly probing anisotropy in atom–molecule collisions through quantum scattering resonances

2016-10-17

Atom–molecule interactions are orientation-dependent. Now the anisotropy of He–H2 interactions has been probed by measuring how the associated quantum scattering resonances respond to tuning of the H2 rotational state.



Ultrastrong coupling of a single artificial atom to an electromagnetic continuum in the nonperturbative regime

2016-10-10

A superconducting artificial atom coupled to a 1D waveguide tests the limits of light–matter interaction in an unexplored coupling regime, which may enable new perspectives for quantum technologies.



Nonergodic diffusion of single atoms in a periodic potential

2016-10-10

Drawing microscopic information out of the diffusive dynamics of complex processes often requires an assumption of ergodicity. Precision experiments on a single atom in a periodic potential suggest that this may be too simplistic in many cases.



Thermodynamic evidence for nematic superconductivity in CuxBi2Se3

2016-10-10

In a nematic liquid crystal, electron orbitals align themselves along one axis, as rods. Thermodynamic observations of such rod-like alignments in CuxBi2Se3 provide evidence for a nematic superconductor.



Superconducting qubit–oscillator circuit beyond the ultrastrong-coupling regime

2016-10-10

A circuit that pairs a flux qubit with an LC oscillator via Josephson junctions pushes the coupling between light to matter to uncharted territory, with the potential for new applications in quantum technologies.



Distortion and destruction of colloidal flocks in disordered environments

2016-10-03

Our understanding of collective animal behaviour generally assumes that flocks and herds move through homogeneous environments. Colloidal experiments suggest that flocking can be distorted or even suppressed by the introduction of disorder.



One-dimensional spinon spin currents

2016-09-26

Spin currents can be carried by electrons and by magnons. Experiments now show that, in one-dimensional spin chains, spin currents can also be carried by particle-like excitations known as spinons.



Universality of pseudogap and emergent order in lightly doped Mott insulators

2016-09-19

Surprising observations in the evolution of electronic states in electron-doped iridates provide fresh insight into the melting of the Mott state and might lead to a fuller understanding of corresponding processes in copper-oxide superconductors.



Optical manipulation of valley pseudospin

2016-09-19

Valleys in momentum space provide a degree of freedom that could be exploited for applications. A demonstration of valley pseudospin control now completes the generation–manipulation–detection paradigm, paving the way for valleytronic devices.



Topological defects in confined populations of spindle-shaped cells

2016-09-12

Spindle-shaped cells readily form nematic structures marked by topological defects. When confined, the defect distribution is independent of the domain size, activity and type of cell, lending a stability not found in non-cellular active nematics.



Experimental observation of topological Fermi arcs in type-II Weyl semimetal MoTe2

2016-09-05

Observations of topological surface states provide strong evidence that MoTe2 is a type-II Weyl semimetal, hosting Weyl fermions that have no counterpart in high-energy physics.



Stokes solitons in optical microcavities

2016-09-05

Solitonic modes that are redshifted due to a Raman-related effect are reported in optical microcavities, and termed Stokes solitons.



Acoustic topological insulator and robust one-way sound transport

2016-08-29

The acoustic analogue of a topological insulator is shown: a metamaterial exhibiting one-way sound transport along its edge. The system—a graphene-like array of stainless-steel rods—is a promising new platform for exploring topological phenomena.



A micrometre-sized heat engine operating between bacterial reservoirs

2016-08-29

A colloidal particle connected to suspensions of motile bacteria forms a model system for studying microscale engines in contact with active baths. The engine outperforms its passive counterparts due to the presence of non-Gaussian fluctuations.



Gaps induced by inversion symmetry breaking and second-generation Dirac cones in graphene/hexagonal boron nitride

2016-08-22

Images of the second-generation Dirac cones that form when graphene is placed on hexagonal boron nitride show the potential of using superlattices to engineer the electronic band structure of van der Waals heterostructures.



Breakdown of elasticity in amorphous solids

2016-08-08

The response of amorphous solids to external stress is not very well understood. A study now shows that certain glasses, upon decreasing temperature, undergo a phase transition characterized by diverging nonlinear elastic moduli.



Dirac fermions in an antiferromagnetic semimetal

2016-08-08

The prediction of an antiferromagnetic semimetal that breaks both time-reversal and inversion symmetry but respects their combination could provide a platform for studying the interplay between Dirac fermions and magnetism.



Quantum electrodynamics near a photonic bandgap

2016-08-01

Using a superconducting transmon qubit coupled to a microwave photonic crystal one can study intriguing strong-coupling effects such as the emergence of localized cavity modes within the photonic bandgap.



Many-body interferometry of a Rydberg-dressed spin lattice

2016-08-01

The control of long-range interactions is an essential ingredient for the study of exotic phases of matter using atoms in optical lattices. Such control is demonstrated using Rydberg dressing: the coupling of ground state atoms to Rydberg states.



Contribution of quasar-driven outflows to the extragalactic gamma-ray background

2016-07-25

The interaction between the outflow of gas from a quasar and the interstellar medium can boost protons to relativistic energies. Collisions between such protons can explain a significant fraction of the unexplained extragalactic gamma-ray background.



Large anomalous Hall effect in a half-Heusler antiferromagnet

2016-07-18

The anomalous Hall effect is usually associated with ferromagnets but a large anomalous Hall response can be found in topologically non-trivial half-Heusler antiferromagnets thanks to Berry phase effects associated with symmetry breaking.



Control of the millisecond spin lifetime of an electrically probed atom

2016-11-28

Single atoms on a surface can be useful in spintronics applications, but their spin lifetime is limited by relaxation. By cleverly employing an STM tip, one can probe the spin dynamics and disentangle different effects leading to relaxation.



Long-range mutual synchronization of spin Hall nano-oscillators

2016-11-14

The synchronization of nine nanoconstriction spin Hall nano-oscillators brings spin-based oscillators closer to the power and noise requirements needed for practical applications.



High-resolution studies of the Majorana atomic chain platform

2016-11-07

High-resolution scanning tunnelling microscopy measurements show that chains of magnetic atoms on the surface of a superconductor provide a promising platform for realizing and manipulating Majorana fermion quasiparticles.



Control of spin–orbit torques through crystal symmetry in WTe2/ferromagnet bilayers

2016-11-07

A link between crystalline symmetry and the allowed symmetries of spin–orbit torques provides a route for manipulating magnetic devices with perpendicular anisotropy.



Attosecond correlation dynamics

2016-11-07

Photoemission is not a simple process and it is not instantaneous. Delays of a few attoseconds have now been measured in helium and it seems that they are partly due to electronic correlations.



Light-controlled flows in active fluids

2016-10-31

The ability of phototactic microorganisms to move towards optimal light intensities is exploited to generate fluid flows on scales several orders larger than the swimmers themselves. These flows are shown to function as hydrodynamic tweezers.



Chiral ground-state currents of interacting photons in a synthetic magnetic field

2016-10-31

Superconducting circuits, coupled to form a ring in which a photonic excitation can circulate between sites, are established as a versatile platform for studying the interplay of strong particle interactions and external fields.



Spiral spin-liquid and the emergence of a vortex-like state in MnSc2S4

2016-10-24

A detailed and systematic neutron scattering study uncovers a spiral spin-liquid state in the quantum magnet MnSc2S4.



A proton density bubble in the doubly magic 34Si nucleus

2016-10-24

The central densities of protons and neutrons in stable atomic nuclei are saturated. More exotic nuclei—with imbalanced proton and neutron numbers—may have depleted central densities. Experiments now suggest such depletion for the 34Si nucleus.



Quintet multiexciton dynamics in singlet fission

2016-10-17

Experiments show how molecular structure affects the interaction and dynamics of the triplet exciton pairs produced when an excited singlet exciton decays via singlet fission—a process that could be harnessed for optoelectronic applications.



Strongly exchange-coupled triplet pairs in an organic semiconductor

2016-10-17

Experiments show how molecular structure affects the interaction and dynamics of the triplet exciton pairs produced when an excited singlet exciton decays via singlet fission—a process that could be harnessed for optoelectronic applications.



Electric-field-induced spin disorder-to-order transition near a multiferroic triple phase point

2016-10-03

The triple point is a well-known feature on pressure–temperature phase diagrams. A multiferroic triple point is now reported for La-doped BiFeO3; La concentration and temperature are the phase variables and the phases display different spin (dis)order.



Superfluid Brillouin optomechanics

2016-10-03

An optomechanical system made of an optical cavity filled with superfluid liquid helium provides the means to study phenomena involving different degrees of freedom than those in traditional solid-state resonators.



Dynamical observations of self-stabilizing stationary light

2016-09-26

Light propagating through a cloud of cold atoms can be slowed down by exciting a certain type of spin wave in the atomic ensemble. This stationary light could find applications in quantum technologies.



Universal dynamics and deterministic switching of dissipative Kerr solitons in optical microresonators

2016-09-26

A study of the dynamics of so-called Kerr solitons in optical microresonators reports the discovery of a simple mechanism that permits the step-wise reduction of soliton states, one by one.



Controlled finite momentum pairing and spatially varying order parameter in proximitized HgTe quantum wells

2016-09-19

The interplay between spin physics and superconductivity is examined in HgTe quantum wells, revealing a tunable momentum of the Cooper pairs that drives changes in their superconducting behaviour.



Direct observation of the skyrmion Hall effect

2016-09-19

Experiments show that when driven by electric currents, magnetic skyrmions experience transverse motion due to their topological charge—similar to the conventional Hall effect experienced by charged particles in a perpendicular magnetic field.



Nanotextured phase coexistence in the correlated insulator V2O3

2016-09-12

A near-field optical microscopy study provides nanoscale insight into an insulator-to-metal transition and the interplay with a neighbouring structural phase transition in a prototypical correlated electron material.



Magnetotail energy dissipation during an auroral substorm

2016-09-12

Substorms in the Earth’s magnetosphere lead to bright aurorae, releasing energy into the surrounding ionosphere. Ground- and space-based observations now reveal how that energy is dissipated and controlled by strong electric currents.



The age structure of the Milky Way’s halo

2016-09-05

A high-resolution age map of the Milky Way picks out structures that validate the most widely accepted cosmological theory, lambda cold dark matter. The chronographic data are also used to probe the chemodynamical formation history of our Galaxy.



Cross-scale energy transport in space plasmas

2016-09-05

Processes in (space) plasmas occur on different levels—fluid, ion and electron. Now, from satellite data and simulations, an energy-transfer mechanism between the fluid and ion scales is reported: fluid velocity shear is converted into ion heating.



Local equilibrium in bird flocks

2016-08-15

Animals moving in groups are expected to differ from their many-body counterparts in equilibrium. A method based on maximum entropy shows that the interactions in starling flocks rearrange slowly enough to permit an equilibrium description locally.



Anti-parity–time symmetry with flying atoms

2016-08-15

Parity–time symmetry in optics is studied in a warm atomic vapour, where its counterpart, anti-parity–time symmetry, as well as refractionless propagation, can also be observed.



Deterministic patterns in cell motility

2016-08-08

Cell motility is typically described as a random walk due to the presence of noise. But a dynamical model suggests that dendritic cells move deterministically, alternating between fast and slow motility, and exhibiting periodic polarity reversals.