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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.


Prevention is better than cure: Targeted vaccination to halt epidemics

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 12:49:48 EST

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.

Walking crystals may lead to new field of crystal robotics

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:30:01 EST

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.

Seeing nanoscale details in mammalian cells

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:15:28 EST

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.

Researchers validate several fluctuation theorems for first time

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 08:04:02 EST

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.

Giant intrinsic chirality from planar dielectric nanostructures

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:20:28 EST

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.

Recurrences in an isolated quantum many-body system

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:19:37 EST

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.

Developing reliable quantum computers

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:18:44 EST

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.

Researchers turn light upside down

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 07:03:19 EST

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.

Good vibrations feel the Force

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:59:04 EST

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.

Understanding the wetting of micro-textured surfaces can help give them new functionalities

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:55:26 EST

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.

IBM reveals novel energy-saving optical receiver with a new record of rapid power-on/off time

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:55:08 EST

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.

Urban heat island effects depend on a city's layout

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:12:10 EST

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.

Hauling antiprotons around in a van

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 12:11:55 EST

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.

New quantum memory stores information for hours

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:24:08 EST

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.

Neutrino experiments look to reveal big answers about how these fundamental particles interact with matter

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 10:00:01 EST

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.

Collimators—the LHC's bodyguards

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 09:46:29 EST

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.

Noninvasive optical sensors provide real-time brain monitoring after stroke

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:43:08 EST

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.

Physicists contribute to dark matter detector success

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 10:28:38 EST

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.

Unprecedented single-digit-nanometer magnetic tunnel junction demonstrated

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:32:00 EST

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.

Observing and controlling ultrafast processes with attosecond resolution

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 06:03:58 EST

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.

Some black holes erase your past

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 04:12:18 EST

In the real world, your past uniquely determines your future. If a physicist knows how the universe starts out, she can calculate its future for all time and all space.

Reaching new heights in laser-accelerated ion energy

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:00:05 EST

A laser-driven ion acceleration scheme, developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde, could lead to compact ion sources for established and innovative applications in science, medicine and industry.

Using a laser to wirelessly charge a smartphone safely across a room

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:17:36 EST

Although mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones let us communicate, work and access information wirelessly, their batteries must still be charged by plugging them in to an outlet. But engineers at the University of Washington have for the first time developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser.

MEMS chips get metatlenses

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:10:29 EST

Lens technologies have advanced across all scales, from digital cameras and high bandwidth in fiber optics to the LIGO lab instruments. Now, a new lens technology that could be produced using standard computer-chip technology is emerging and could replace the bulky layers and complex geometries of traditional curved lenses.

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:07:04 EST

Lead magnesium niobate (PMN) is a prototypical "relaxor" material, used in a wide variety of applications, from ultrasound to sonar. Researchers have now used state-of-the-art microscopy techniques to see exactly how atoms are arranged in PMN - and it's not what anyone expected.

Laser-ranged satellite measurement now accurately reflects Earth's tidal perturbations

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:12:16 EST

Tides on Earth have a far-reaching influence, including disturbing satellites' measurements by affecting their motion. This disturbance can be studied using a model for the gravitational potential of the Earth, taking into account the fact that Earth's shape is not spherical. The LAser RElativity Satellite (LARES), is the best ever relevant test particle to move in the Earth's gravitational field. In a new study published in EPJ Plus, LARES proves its efficiency for high-precision probing of General Relativity and fundamental physics. By studying the Earth's tidal perturbations acting on the LARES, Vahe Gurzadyan from the Center for Cosmology and Astrophysics at Yerevan State University, Armenia, and colleagues demonstrate the value of laser-range satellites for high-precision measurements.

Approximate quantum cloning: The new way of eavesdropping in quantum cryptography

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:11:47 EST

Cloning of quantum states is used for eavesdropping in quantum cryptography. It also has applications in quantum computation based on quantum information distribution. Uncertainty at the quantum scale makes exact cloning of quantum states impossible. Yet, they may be copied in an approximate way—with a certain level of probability—using a method called probabilistic quantum cloning, or PQC. In a new study published in EPJ D, Pinshu Rui from Anhui Xinhua and Anhui Universities, in the Hefei province of China, and colleagues demonstrate that partial PQC of a given quantum state secretly chosen from a certain set of states, which can be expressed as the superposition of the other states, is possible.

Shedding high-power laser light on the plasma density limit

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:48:50 EST

The interaction of high-power laser light sources with matter has given rise to numerous applications including; fast ion acceleration; intense X-ray, gamma-ray, positron and neutron generation; and fast-ignition-based laser fusion. These applications require an understanding of energy absorption and momentum transfer from the high-intensity lasers to plasma particles.

New method to determine molecule chirality

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:44:48 EST

Identifying right-handed and left-handed molecules is a crucial step for many applications in chemistry and pharmaceutics. An international research team (CELIA-CNRS/INRS/Berlin Max Born Institute/SOLEIL) has now presented a new original and very sensitive method. The researchers use laser pulses of extremely short duration to excite electrons in molecules into twisting motion, the direction of which reveals the molecules' handedness. The research results appear in Nature Physics.

Using organoids to understand how the brain wrinkles

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:30:02 EST

A team of researchers working at the Weizmann Institute of Science has found that organoids can be used to better understand how the human brain wrinkles as it develops. In their paper published in the journal Nature Physics, the team describes how they used a modified form of organoid development to study the development of brain wrinkles. Larry Taber with Washington University offers a News & Views piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.