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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.


Neutrons help demystify multiferroic materials

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 15:45:05 EDT

Materials used in electronic devices are typically chosen because they possess either special magnetic or special electrical properties. However, an international team of researchers using neutron scattering recently identified a rare material that has both.

Physicists bring order to liquid droplets, offering promise for pharmaceutical development

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 15:00:02 EDT

A team of physicists has developed a method to generate and self-organize liquids into well-defined patterns, a breakthrough that offers potential new pathways for the development of more sophisticated pharmaceuticals and other consumer products.

New optical modules could improve thyroid cancer screening

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:39:50 EDT

Early diagnosis in thyroid cancer can improve a patient's likelihood of recovery, but current screening methods use instruments with poor sensitivity and can yield inaccurate results. Consequently, doctors often have to rely on incomplete information to make diagnostic decisions and recommend treatments, and this can lead to patients receiving unnecessary surgeries or experiencing a reduced quality of life.

A future colorfully lit by mystifying physics of paint-on semiconductors

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:38:11 EDT

Some novel materials that sound too good to be true turn out to be true and good. An emergent class of semiconductors, which could affordably light up our future with nuanced colors emanating from lasers, lamps, and even window glass, could be the latest example.

Designing diamonds for medical imaging technologies

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:36:56 EDT

Japanese researchers have optimized the design of laboratory-grown, synthetic diamonds. This brings the new technology one step closer to enhancing biosensing applications, such as magnetic brain imaging. The advantages of this layered, sandwichlike, diamond structure are described in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.

'Kagome metal': Physicists discover new quantum electronic material

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 12:00:13 EDT

A motif of Japanese basketweaving known as the kagome pattern has preoccupied physicists for decades. Kagome baskets are typically made from strips of bamboo woven into a highly symmetrical pattern of interlaced, corner-sharing triangles.

Scientists create microscopic 'swimmers' controlled by a magnetic field

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 09:52:19 EDT

Rice University scientists have discovered what may be the simplest form of locomotion in the travels of micron-scale particles linked and driven by a magnetic field.

Scientists invented method of catching bacteria with 'photonic hook'

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 09:49:26 EDT

An international research team has discovered a new type of curved light beam called a "photonic hook." Photonic hooks are unique, as their radius of curvature is two times smaller than their wavelength. This is the smallest curvature radius of electromagnetic waves ever recorded. Photonic hooks can improve the resolution of optical systems and control the movement of nanoparticles, individual cells, viruses or bacteria. Results of this research were published in Optics Letters and Scientific Reports.

Taking MRI technology down to micrometer scales

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 08:25:58 EDT

Millions of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are performed each year to diagnose health conditions and perform biomedical research. The different tissues in our bodies react to magnetic fields in varied ways, allowing images of our anatomy to be generated. But there are limits to the resolution of these images—generally, doctors can see details of organs as small as a half millimeter in size but not much smaller. Based on what the doctors see, they try to infer what is happening to cells in the tissue.

Liquid-to-glass transition process gains clarity

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 06:00:04 EDT

For millennia, people have used molten sand and other ingredients to create glass and fashion beads, vessels, lenses and windows.

Piezomagnetic material changes magnetic properties when stretched

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 17:27:30 EDT

Piezoelectric materials, which generate an electric current when compressed or stretched, are familiar and widely used: think of lighters that spark when you press a switch, but also microphones, sensors, motors and all kinds of other devices. Now a group of physicists has found a material with a similar property, but for magnetism. This "piezomagnetic" material changes its magnetic properties when put under mechanical strain.

Chirping is welcome in birds but not in fusion devices—scientists show that weak turbulence makes chirping more likely

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 13:16:25 EDT

Birds do it and so do doughnut-shaped fusion facilities called "tokamaks." But tokamak chirping— a rapidly changing frequency wave that can be far above what the human ear can detect—is hardly welcome to researchers who seek to bring the fusion that powers the sun and stars to Earth. Such chirping signals a loss of heat that can slow fusion reactions, a loss that has long puzzled scientists.

Sensing scheme improves accuracy when reading data from spin-based memory storage

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:00:04 EDT

A voltage sensing scheme developed by researchers from Singapore could improve the accuracy of reading data from spin-based memory systems with only minimal modifications. The scheme responds dynamically to voltage changes in the system, so that it can better discern whether it is reading a binary on (1) or off (0) state.

Stephen Hawking had pinned his hopes on 'M-theory' to fully explain the universe—here's what it is

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:00:02 EDT

Rumour has it that Albert Einstein spent his last few hours on Earth scribbling something on a piece of paper in a last attempt to formulate a theory of everything. Some 60 years later, another legendary figure in theoretical physics, Stephen Hawking, may have passed away with similar thoughts. We know Hawking thought something called "M-theory" is our best bet for a complete theory of the universe. But what is it?

Scientists create diodes made of light

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:00:01 EDT

Photonics researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have achieved the extra-ordinary by creating a diode consisting of light that can be used, for the first time, in miniaturised photonic circuits, as published in Optica.

Supercomputer simulation opens prospects for obtaining ultra-dense electron-positron plasmas

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 09:10:34 EDT

Physicists from the Institute of Applied Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology and computer scientists from Lobachevsky University have developed a new software tool called PICADOR for numerical modeling of laser plasmas on modern supercomputers.

World's first observation of spin arrangements using neutron transmission

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 09:07:53 EDT

For the first time in the world, NIMS, JAEA and J-PARC jointly succeeded in observing electron spin arrangements in sample materials by applying a neutron beam to a sample and quantifying the neutrons transmitted through it. Conventional methods measuring neutrons scattered by the spins at various angles are principally incompatible with sample environment equipment that blocks the scattered neutrons. The newly developed method measures the linear transmission of neutrons through a sample material from a neutron beam source, minimizing this difficulty. Thus, the new transmission spectroscopy is a promising tool for measurements of spin arrangements under various extreme conditions.

Compact fiber optic sensor offers sensitive analysis in narrow spaces

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 14:39:34 EDT

Researchers have developed a new flexible sensor with high sensitivity that is designed to perform variety of chemical and biological analyses in very small spaces. The sensor's small size means that it could potentially be used inside blood vessels. With additional development, the sensor might be used to detect specific chemicals, DNA molecules or viruses.

Scientists investigating mysterious dark matter

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:46:22 EDT

University of Houston scientists are helping to develop a technology that could hold the key to unraveling one of the great mysteries of science: what constitutes dark matter? Scientists believe dark matter makes up 85 percent of the matter in the universe, but nobody actually knows what dark matter is.

Powerful new device for studying puzzling process

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:45:37 EDT

A millisecond burst of light on a computer monitor signaled production of the first plasma in a powerful new device for advancing research into magnetic reconnection—a critical but little understood process that occurs throughout the universe. The first plasma, a milestone event signaling the beginning of research capabilities, was captured on camera on Sunday, March 5, at 8:13 p.m. at Jadwin Hall at Princeton University, and marked completion of the four-year construction of the device, the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiment (FLARE).

The complex journey of red bloods cells through microvascular networks

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:39:50 EDT

If you think of the human body, microvascular networks comprised of the smallest blood vessels are a central part of the body's function. They facilitate the exchange of essential nutrients and gasses between the blood stream and surrounding tissues, as well as regulate blood flow in individual organs.

The view from inside supersonic combustion

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:37:58 EDT

In a jet engine, the flow of air is slowed down to increase the temperature and pressure for combustion—burning fuel with the right ratio of fuel and air to conquer drag allows for acceleration.

Measuring electrical conductance across a single molecule

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:18:11 EDT

When noble metals, like gold, are treated with an aliphatic thiol, like alkanethiol, a uniform monolayer—a layer only one molecule deep—self-assembles on the surface. Each individual molecule can conduct electrons. This phenomenon is interesting because the conducting molecules produce unique quantum properties that could potentially be useful in electronics such as transistors, superconducting switches and gas sensors.

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 11:59:13 EDT

Chemical compounds all carry distinctive absorption "fingerprints" within the mid-infrared spectral region of 2 to 12 microns. This offers an opportunity to measure and study chemicals at extremely sensitive levels but researchers lack the tools, like lasers and detectors, needed to operate within the mid-infrared. Recently, there's been a push to develop new tools to help see and measure these chemical compounds in greater detail.

Thermally driven spin current in DNA

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 11:56:03 EDT

An emerging field that has generated a wide range of interest, spin caloritronics, is an offshoot of spintronics that explores how heat currents transport electron spin. Spin caloritronics researchers are particularly interested in how waste heat could be used to power next-generation spintronic devices. Some of these potential devices range from ultrafast computers that need next to no power, to magnetic nanoparticles that deliver drugs to cells.

The frustrating and fascinating world of dark matter research

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 10:10:01 EDT

Most people who are paid a salary can be quite confident that the subject of their work actually exists. Physicists studying dark matter differ from most people in this respect. Regardless, talented young scientists continue to devote their careers to the subject. Why?

Quantum speed limits are not actually quantum

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 09:30:02 EDT

Quantum mechanics has fundamental speed limits—upper bounds on the rate at which quantum systems can evolve. However, two groups working independently have published papers showing for the first time that quantum speed limits have a classical counterpart: classical speed limits. The results are surprising, as previous research has suggested that quantum speed limits are purely quantum in nature and vanish for classical systems.

Predicting a new phase of superionic ice

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 08:19:32 EDT

Scientists predicted a new phase of superionic ice, a special form of ice that could exist on Uranus, Neptune, and exoplanets. This new type of ice, called P21/c-SI phase, occurs at pressures greater than those found inside the giant ice planets of our solar system. The Princeton University team made this discovery using resources at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

Theoretical quantum spin liquid prepared for the first time

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 08:13:36 EDT

In 1987, Paul W. Anderson, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, proposed that high-temperature superconductivity, or loss of electrical resistance, is related to an exotic quantum state now known as quantum spin liquid. Magnetic materials are made up of very tiny magnets, which can be as small as individual electrons. The strength and direction of these are described by the magnetic moment. In quantum spin liquids, magnetic moments behave like a liquid and do not freeze or order even at absolute zero. These quantum states are being studied as promising materials for new, so-called topological quantum computers, in which operations are based on particle-like excited states found in quantum spin liquids. In addition to large computational power, a topological quantum computer is characterised by high fault tolerance, which makes it possible to increase the size of the computer. However, only a few quantum spin liquids suitable for topological quantum computers have been identified so far.

Magnon spin currents can be controlled via spin valve structure

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 06:34:10 EDT

In the emerging field of magnon spintronics, researchers seek to transport and process information by means of so-called magnon spin currents. In contrast to electrical currents, on which todays information technology is based, magnon spin currents conduct magnetic momenta. These are mediated by magnetic waves, or magnons, which propagate through magnetic materials. One fundamental building block of magnon spintronics is magnon logic, by which logic operations are processed by the superposition of spin currents.