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Physics News - Physics News, Material Sciences, Science News, Physics provides the latest news on physics, materials, nanotech, science and technology. Updated Daily.


Quantum internet goes hybrid

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:00:09 EST

In a recent study published in Nature, ICFO researchers led by ICREA Prof. Hugues de Riedmatten report an elementary "hybrid" quantum network link and demonstrate photonic quantum communication between two distinct quantum nodes placed in different laboratories, using a single photon as information carrier.

Lightning, with a chance of antimatter

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:00:09 EST

A storm system approaches: the sky darkens, and the low rumble of thunder echoes from the horizon. Then without warning... Flash! Crash!—lightning has struck.

How the Earth stops high-energy neutrinos in their tracks

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 13:00:07 EST

Neutrinos are abundant subatomic particles that are famous for passing through anything and everything, only very rarely interacting with matter. About 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second. Now, scientists have demonstrated that the Earth stops energetic neutrinos—they do not go through everything. These high-energy neutrino interactions were seen by the IceCube detector, an array of 5,160 basketball-sized optical sensors deeply encased within a cubic kilometer of very clear Antarctic ice near the South Pole.

ID microstructure of stock useful in financial crisis

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:01:43 EST

Every day, thousands of orders for selling or buying stocks are registered and processed within milliseconds. Electronic stock exchanges, such as NASDAQ, use what is referred to as microscopic modelling of the order flow - reflecting the dynamics of order bookings - to facilitate trading. The study of such market microstructures is a relatively new research field focusing on the trading interactions that determine the stock price.

Droplet explosion by shock waves, relevant to nuclear medicine

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 10:07:42 EST

An arrow shooting through an apple, makes for a spectacular explosive sight in slow motion. Similarly, energetic ions passing through liquid droplets induce shock waves, which can fragment the droplets.

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:52:29 EST

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Physicists open the door to the first direct measurement of Berry curvature in solid matter

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:33:15 EST

Berry curvature may not be the most well-known scientific concept, but to many physicists, its direct measurement is something akin to a holy grail.

New step towards future complex oxide electronics

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:17:14 EST

Researchers from TU Delft, Cornell University and the University of Cagliari report an interesting method for turning a highly insulating material into a highly conducting system. The process involves combining three different metal oxides in a sharp interface. They have recently published their findings in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Quantum optics offers alternative to expensive lasers in spectroscopy

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 06:02:56 EST

An international research group, together with scientists from the MSU, have developed a time-resolved spectroscopy method that allows studying fast processes in samples. The new method works by analyzing quantized light transmitted through a sample without the use of femtosecond lasers and complex detection systems. This design is much cheaper than the one used currently, and allows researchers to study a sample without destroying it. The research has been published in Scientific Reports.

Study shows how to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 14:25:22 EST

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT have found that in some situations, melting can actually inhibit metal bonding rather than promote it.

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:19:45 EST

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have built and delivered a high-resolution X-ray spectrometer for the largest and most powerful laser facility in the world. The diagnostic, installed on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will analyze and record data from high-energy density experiments created by firing NIF's 192 lasers at tiny pellets of fuel. Such experiments are relevant to projects that include the U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program, which maintains the U.S. nuclear deterrent without full-scale testing, and to inertial confinement fusion, an alternative to the magnetic confinement fusion that PPPL studies.

Imaging technique unlocks the secrets of 17th century artists

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:22:26 EST

The secrets of 17th century artists can now be revealed, thanks to 21st century signal processing. Using modern high-speed scanners and the advanced signal processing techniques, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are peering through layers of pigment to see how painters prepared their canvasses, applied undercoats, and built up layer upon layer of paint to produce their masterpieces.

'Brazil nut effect' helps explain how rivers resist erosion, team finds

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:58:45 EST

Pop the top off a can of mixed nuts and, chances are, Brazil nuts will be at the top. This phenomenon, of large particles tending to rise to the top of mixtures while small particles tend to sink down, is popularly known as the "Brazil nut effect" and more technically as granular segregation.

How disposable diapers can improve measurements of tumor growth

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:06:41 EST

Catching cancer early can make all the difference for successful treatment. A common screening practice measures tumor growth with X-ray computed tomography (CT), which takes a series of cross-section images of the body.

Topological insulators—one glimpse is enough

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 07:56:12 EST

The Nobel Prize for physics in 2016 was awarded for the theory of topological matter. Topological insulators are new materials with special electronic properties and are of great fundamental and applications-oriented interest. Nevertheless, physicists have wrestled with a ten-year-old puzzle in which the results from the two best methods to probe their electronic states disagree. Researchers from Amsterdam, including two FOM-funded PhD candidates, with collaborators in France, Switzerland and Germany now know exactly why.

Novel hybrid material may inspire highly efficient next-gen displays

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 07:00:45 EST

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have created a novel hybrid of graphene and quantum dots, a breakthrough that may inspire highly efficient and controllable next-generation displays and LEDs.

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:50:02 EST

A form of machine learning called deep learning is one of the key technologies behind recent advances in applications like real-time speech recognition and automated image and video labeling.

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:41:15 EST

At any given moment, the Earth's atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic rays collide with the Earth's atmosphere, they decay into muons—charged particles that are slightly heavier than an electron.

A curious quirk brings organic diode lasers one step closer

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:52:43 EST

Since their invention in 1962, semiconductor diode lasers have revolutionized communications and made possible information storage and retrieval in CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray devices. These diode lasers use inorganic semiconductors grown in elaborate high vacuum systems. Now, a team of researchers from Penn State and Princeton University have taken a big step toward creating a diode laser from a hybrid organic-inorganic material that can be deposited from solution on a laboratory benchtop.

Physicists unify quantum coherence with nonclassicality of light

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:30:02 EST

(—Physicists have demonstrated that two independently developed concepts—quantum coherence and the nonclassicality of light—both arise from the same underlying resources. The ability to explain seemingly distinct phenomena within a single framework has long been a fulfilling aspiration in physics, and here it may also have potential applications for quantum information technologies.

Reusing waste energy with 2-D electron gas

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:20:01 EST

More than 60 percent of the energy produced by fossil fuels is lost as heat. Thermoelectric energy conversion has attracted much attention as a way to convert waste heat from power plants, factories and cars into electricity. However, currently available technologies need improvement to become viable on industrial scales.

Spin current from heat—new material increases efficiency

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:19:27 EST

Electronic devices such as computers generate heat that mostly goes to waste. Physicists at Bielefeld University have found a way to use this energy: They apply the heat to generate magnetic signals known as 'spin currents." In future, these signals could replace some of the electrical current in electronic components. In a new study, the physicists tested which materials can generate this spin current most effectively from heat. The research was carried out in cooperation with colleagues from the University of Greifswald, Gießen University, and the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden. Their findings are being published today (20.11.2017) in the research journal Nature Communications.

Physics forecasts for fracking and fuels

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 09:10:02 EST

Society's demand for energy relies mainly on oil and gas, which are finite resources. Future technologies could reduce the consumption of energy, but until then, existing resources must be carefully managed. Director of the Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center at KAUST Tadeusz Patzek is using physics to tackle this challenge by modeling the production of gas from fracking.

Scientists make first observations of how a meteor-like shock turns silica into glass

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 08:58:51 EST

Studies at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first real-time observations of how silica –  an abundant material in the Earth's crust – easily transforms into a dense glass when hit with a massive shock wave like one generated from a meteor impact.

Separate experiments show no evidence of violation of Lorentz invariance

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 08:50:03 EST

(—Two teams of researchers working independently of one another have conducted experiments designed to test Lorentz invariance; both report no violations. One of the teams used decades of data from lunar lasing experiments, the other data from experiments conducted over several years using superconducting gravimeters. Both teams have published papers in the journal Physical Review Letters describing their work and their findings.

Glass microparticles enhance solar cells efficiency

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 06:27:30 EST

Scientists from ITMO University have suggested a new solar cell coating that combines features of an electrode and those of a light-trapping structure. The coating enabled researchers to cut down on reflected light and avoid solar cell overheating, thus increasing its overall efficiency by 20 percent. Moreover, the suggested method may be attractive for industrial applications due to its relatively low cost and simplicity. The results of the research were published in Optics Letters.

'Explosive' hot oil droplets from cooking may lead to air pollution risks

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 06:01:03 EST

Cooking in a frying pan with oil can quickly become dangerous if "explosive" hot oil droplets jump out of the pan, leading to painful burns. But these droplets may be doing something even more damaging: contributing to indoor air pollution.

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 12:37:56 EST

Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

Strain-free epitaxy of germanium film on mica

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:21:34 EST

Germanium, an elemental semiconductor, was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, before it was largely replaced by silicon. But due to its high charge carrier mobility—higher than silicon by threefold—the semiconductor is making a comeback.

Researchers reveal jamming in cellular motor protein traffic

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:17:01 EST

To keep a cell alive, molecular motor proteins constantly transport building blocks and waste across the cell, along its biopolymer network. Because of the high density of these proteins, jamming effects are believed to affect this transport, just like traffic jams affect street traffic. However, not much is known about such crowding effects in cellular traffic. Researchers in the groups of Erwin Peterman and Peter Schall at the LaserLaB (VU) and the Institute of Physics (UvA) have now found a way to directly visualize and measure these jamming effects in cellular traffic. Their results, which have been published in Physical Review X this week, yield new insight into motor interactions in the crowded molecular motor transport. This project is receiving funding from NWO's Complexity programme.