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Nature Physics - AOP - science feeds

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.


Crystallization: Brought to the surface


There is growing evidence for the kinetics of homogeneous nucleation being a multi-step process. Colloid experiments and simulations now suggest that heterogeneous nucleation is no exception.

Supernovae: Memories of a dying star


The spectroscopic observations of the very early stages of a supernova provide a glimpse into its environment prior to the explosion.

Machine learning: New tool in the box


A recent burst of activity in applying machine learning to tackle fundamental questions in physics suggests that associated techniques may soon become as common in physics as numerical simulations or calculus.

Hydrodynamics: Modus vivendi


Striking visualization of the flows generated by starfish larvae in their fluid environment offers unique insight into how these organisms live. The beautiful vortices they create betray a dynamic mechanism for trading swimming off against feeding.

Origin of life: Division for multiplication


Early forms of life could have started by molecular compounds coming together under conditions dense enough to promote reactions. But how might these droplets have undergone what we now know as cell division? The answer may be simpler than we think.

Colloids: A microscopic army


Ensembles of magnetic colloids can undergo an instability triggering the formation of clusters that move faster than the particles themselves. The many-body process relies on hydrodynamics alone and may prove useful for load delivery in fluidics.

Cold molecular collisions: Same object, different symmetry


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

Quantum measurement: Coping with pressure


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

Magnetic adatoms: When Ising meets Majorana


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.

Signatures of interaction-induced helical gaps in nanowire quantum point contacts


Signatures of spin–momentum-locked gap states in nanowire quantum point contacts that have all-electrical origin could provide the conditions for the quasiparticle excitations required for topological quantum computing.

Waveform measurement of charge- and spin-density wavepackets in a chiral Tomonaga–Luttinger liquid


The spatial separation of charge and spin densities in one-dimensional electron systems is the hallmark of Tomonaga–Luttinger physics. Waveform measurements now provide direct evidence for spin–charge separation.

Entanglement area law in superfluid 4He


When the entropy of a system scales as a function of its surface area, rather than its volume, it is said to obey an entropy area law. Now, an area law is shown to exist numerically in the entanglement entropy of superfluid helium.

Experimental quantum Hamiltonian learning


With the help of a quantum simulator and Bayesian inference it is possible to determine the unknown Hamiltonian of a quantum system. An experiment demonstrates this using a photonic quantum simulator and a solid-state system.

Contactless nonlinear optics mediated by long-range Rydberg interactions


Single photons stored in the collective Rydberg excitations of two atomic ensembles can interact with each other despite being micrometres apart.

Bulk rectification effect in a polar semiconductor


Electrical rectification is usually achieved by layering p-type and n-type materials, but experiments now demonstrate rectification in a bulk polar semiconductor that has inversion-symmetry breaking and strong Rashba spin–orbit coupling.

Signatures of two-photon pulses from a quantum two-level system


An excited two-level system emits a single photon, but in special circumstances it can emit two. The reason for this unexpected two-photon emission lies with modified Rabi oscillations.

Weak-value amplification of the nonlinear effect of a single photon


Using two entangled optical beams and post-selection, a single photon can have the same effect as eight photons in terms of the induced phase shift. This example illustrates the power of the so-called weak-value amplification.

Experimental measurement of the Berry curvature from anomalous transport


The Berry curvature is essential to the study of the topological properties of a system, be it solid-state, atomic or photonic. In 1D photonic lattices there is a new clever way of measuring the Berry curvature.

Collisionless momentum transfer in space and astrophysical explosions


Larmor coupling is a collisionless momentum exchange mechanism believed to occur in various astrophysical and space-plasma environments. The phenomenon is now observed in a laboratory experiment.

Machine learning phases of matter


The success of machine learning techniques in handling big data sets proves ideal for classifying condensed-matter phases and phase transitions. The technique is even amenable to detecting non-trivial states lacking in conventional order.

Learning phase transitions by confusion


A neural-network technique can exploit the power of machine learning to mine the exponentially large data sets characterizing the state space of condensed-matter systems. Topological transitions and many-body localization are first on the list.

Switching chiral solitons for algebraic operation of topological quaternary digits


A demonstration of switching between solitons of different chirality in a one-dimensional electronic system shows how topological excitations can be used to realize non-trivial algebraic operations.

Intertwined superfluid and density wave order in two-dimensional 4He


A detailed analysis of low-temperature torsional oscillation measurements on two-dimensional 4He reveals evidence for intertwined superfluid and density wave order in this system.

Magnetic domain wall depinning assisted by spin wave bursts


Experiments show how domain walls can act as reservoirs of exchange energy that can be used to controllably launch or detect spin waves in ferromagnetic nanowires.

A laboratory model for deep-seated jets on the gas giants


A laboratory study of turbulent flows reproduces the properties of jets in the atmospheres of gas giants, providing a better understanding of how these jets could extend deep into the planetary atmosphere.

Plasma holograms for ultrahigh-intensity optics


Plasma optics enables the manipulation of highly intense laser beams. Now, plasma holograms, involving the creation of a modulated plasma surface on a solid target, are reported—for example, plasma hologram fork gratings produce optical vortices.

Intrinsic photonic wave localization in a three-dimensional icosahedral quasicrystal


Unlike the usual picture of Anderson localization, in three-dimensional quasicrystals light waves can localize without disorder, thanks to their short mean free path.

Observation of topological valley transport of sound in sonic crystals


Valleytronics — exploiting a system’s pseudospin degree of freedom — is being increasingly explored in sonic crystals. Now, valley transport of sound is reported for a macroscopic triangular-lattice array of rod-like scatterers in a 2D air waveguide.

Vortex arrays and ciliary tangles underlie the feeding–swimming trade-off in starfish larvae


Larval starfish use an outer layer of cilia to generate vortices in the fluid around their bodies. Spectacular imaging and mathematical modelling are combined to reveal that these dynamics are alternately optimized for swimming and feeding.

Optical-field-controlled photoemission from plasmonic nanoparticles


Photoemission is usually driven by the energy of the illuminating laser pulses, but in the strong-field regime, the photoemission from an array of plasmonic nanoparticles is shown to be controlled by the light’s electric field.

Sharp tunnelling resonance from the vibrations of an electronic Wigner crystal


Resonances in the tunnelling spectra of a two-dimensional electron system provide strong evidence that the electrons arrange themselves into a Wigner crystal lattice with long-range ordering.

Unstable fronts and motile structures formed by microrollers


Collections of rolling colloids are shown to pinch off into motile clusters resembling droplets sliding down a windshield. These stable dynamic structures are formed through a fingering instability that relies on hydrodynamic interactions alone.

Giant anisotropic nonlinear optical response in transition metal monopnictide Weyl semimetals


An optical second-harmonic generation study of a series of transition metal monopnictide Weyl semimetals reveals a giant, anisotropic nonlinear optical response in these systems.

Topological mosaics in moiré superlattices of van der Waals heterobilayers


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


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.

Anisotropic high-harmonic generation in bulk crystals


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.

Electron–hole exchange blockade and memory-less recombination in photoexcited films of colloidal quantum dots


Understanding the recombination dynamics in quantum dots is crucial for their use in optoelectronic devices. A photocurrent spectroscopy study shows how two distinct relaxation mechanisms are at play over different timescales.

Experimental observation of optical Weyl points and Fermi arc-like surface states


Three-dimensional laser-written waveguide arrays are used to demonstrate type-II Weyl points, along with Fermi arc-like surface states, for light at optical wavelengths.

Orthogonal magnetization and symmetry breaking in pyrochlore iridate Eu2Ir2O7


A torque magnetometry study of the pyrochlore iridate Eu2Ir2O7 reveals an unusual symmetry-breaking effect that persists above the Néel temperature of this antiferromagnet.

Surface-assisted single-crystal formation of charged colloids


Controlled crystal growth can be achieved by initiating nucleation on a substrate — but the mechanisms at play are still poorly understood. Experiments and simulations now reveal conditions for the growth of defect-free crystals of charged colloids.

Ultrafast terahertz control of extreme tunnel currents through single atoms on a silicon surface


Controlling electric currents on the atomic scale requires being able to handle the ultrafast timescales involved. Now, experiments have demonstrated the feasibility of terahertz scanning tunnelling microscopy as a method for doing just that.

Correlation-enhanced control of wave focusing in disordered media


Controlled wave propagation in disordered media is a challenge because of scattering processes. Now it is shown that for speckled targets much larger than the wavelength, long-range correlations between the speckles enhance wave propagation control.

Confined dense circumstellar material surrounding a regular type II supernova


Type II supernova explosions are common, but our understanding of such events is not complete. Such an event was observed just three hours after the explosion started, providing important information about the early stages.

Emergent Dirac fermions and broken symmetries in confined and deconfined phases of Z2 gauge theories


Lattice gauge theories are notoriously hard to analyse at finite fermion density, due to the so-called fermion sign problem. A study now shows this can be circumvented for the case of Ising gauge theories.

State-resolved attosecond reversible and irreversible dynamics in strong optical fields


An experimental and theoretical study of the real-time dynamics in strong-field ionization of xenon atoms reveals the previously unknown role of transient ground-state polarization.

Measurement of matter–antimatter differences in beauty baryon decays


CP violation has deep implications for particle physics and cosmology. Previously observed only in meson decays, signs of CP violation have now been spotted in baryon decays by analysing the proton–proton collision data from the LHCb detector.

Periodically driving a many-body localized quantum system


Many-body localization, which exhibits a fascinating interplay between disorder and interactions, can be studied using ultracold atoms in a quasiperiodic chain. Adding periodic driving makes things even more interesting.

Transient superconductivity from electronic squeezing of optically pumped phonons


Recent developments in advanced light sources have made it possible to transiently alter the electronic properties of materials by exciting specific atomic vibrations in solids. This study provides a theoretical framework for these experiments.

Characterizing quantum channels with non-separable states of classical light


Classical light is as good as quantum light to characterize a quantum channel. This unexpected result has practical consequences that make an experimentalist’s life easier in some situations.

Edge reconstruction in fractional quantum Hall states


Two challenging questions related to the quantum Hall effect (QHE) are how edge reconstruction works and where the current flows. A new model now gives the answer for two types of QHE states — two separate downstream chiral edge channels are involved.

Generalized non-reciprocity in an optomechanical circuit via synthetic magnetism and reservoir engineering


Combining synthetic magnetism and controlled dissipation, researchers created an optomechanical device in which photons and phonons are coupled, enabling non-reciprocal (asymmetric) photon transport and directional amplification.

Growth and division of active droplets provides a model for protocells


Droplets are an appealing picture for protocells in origin-of-life studies, but it’s unclear how they would have propagated by growth and division. Theory suggests that chemically active droplets spontaneously split into equal daughter droplets.

Control of the millisecond spin lifetime of an electrically probed atom


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.