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Physorg.com provides the latest news on physics, materials, nanotech, science and technology. Updated Daily.



 



Superconducting X-ray laser takes shape in Silicon Valley

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:54:19 EST

An area known for high-tech gadgets and innovation will soon be home to an advanced superconducting X-ray laser that stretches 3 miles in length, built by a collaboration of national laboratories. On January 19, the first section of the machine's new accelerator arrived by truck at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park after a cross-country journey that began in Batavia, Illinois, at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.



Team takes a deep look at memristors

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:52:39 EST

In the race to build a computer that mimics the massive computational power of the human brain, researchers are increasingly turning to memristors, which can vary their electrical resistance based on the memory of past activity. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have now unveiled the long-mysterious inner workings of these semiconductor elements, which can act like the short-term memory of nerve cells.



Charge order and electron localization in a molecule-based solid

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:00:01 EST

Charge ordering in mixed-valence compounds, which usually contain positively charged cations in more than one formal charge state, is of crucial importance for materials science. Many functional properties of materials like magnetism, magnetoresistance, ionic conductivity and superconductivity are found in mixed valence compounds.



A stopwatch for nanofluids: NIST files provisional patent for microflowmeter

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 11:02:40 EST

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has filed a provisional patent application for a microflow measurement system, about the size of a nickel, that can track the movement of extremely tiny amounts of liquids—as small as nanoliters (nL, billionth of a liter) per minute. If water were flowing at that rate from a 1-liter bottle of water, it would take about 200 years to drain.



Real-world intercontinental quantum communications enabled by the Micius satellite

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 10:30:01 EST

A joint China-Austria team has performed quantum key distribution between the quantum-science satellite Micius and multiple ground stations located in Xinglong (near Beijing), Nanshan (near Urumqi), and Graz (near Vienna). Such experiments demonstrate the secure satellite-to-ground exchange of cryptographic keys during the passage of the satellite Micius over a ground station. Using Micius as a trusted relay, a secret key was created between China and Europe at locations separated up to 7,600 km on the Earth.



Information engine operates with nearly perfect efficiency

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:30:01 EST

Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine's efficiency is bounded by a recently proposed generalized second law of thermodynamics, and it is the first information engine to approach this new bound.



Using electric fields to manipulate droplets on a surface could enable high-volume, low-cost biology experiments

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:12:22 EST

MIT researchers have developed hardware that uses electric fields to move droplets of chemical or biological solutions around a surface, mixing them in ways that could be used to test thousands of reactions in parallel.



Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:45:58 EST

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.



Diamonds' flaws hold promise for new technologies

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 08:33:08 EST

Despite their charm and allure, diamonds are rarely perfect. They have tiny defects that, to assistant professor Nathalie de Leon, make them ever so appealing. These atom-sized mistakes have enormous potential in technologies for high-resolution imaging and secure communication lines.



Smartphones come in handy for the rare cosmic particles search

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 06:01:05 EST

Researchers from the Laboratory of Methods for Big Data Analysis (LAMBDA) at the Higher School of Economics have improved their method of analyzing ultra-high energy cosmic rays (UHECR) with the use of mobile phones. The work has been carried out as part of the CRAYFIS experiment and the results were presented at the 22nd International Conference on Computing in High Energy and Nuclear Physics.



Mobility patterns influence the spread and containment of an epidemic

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 05:59:38 EST

Contrary to expectations, recurring mobility between different cities or districts of a large city (for example, work-home commutes) can minimise the spread of an epidemic. This is the finding of research carried out by researchers from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Àlex Arenas) and the University of Zaragoza (Jesús Gómez and David Soriano) and which has just been published in the journal Nature Physics.



Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility delivers beam to all four of its experimental areas simultaneously

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 02:28:40 EST

Just months after completing a nine-year construction project to upgrade its research capabilities, the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has delivered its next technological success: For the first time, the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) has delivered electron beams simultaneously to all four experimental halls. This achievement maximizes the amount of research that can be accomplished during run times and paves the way for the next era of ground-breaking experiments at the lab.



New instrument lets doctors view the entire eye with unprecedented level of detail

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:00:01 EST

Researchers have developed the first instrument that can provide a detailed image of the entire eye. By incorporating a lens that changes optical parameters in response to an electric current, the innovative technology can produce higher quality images than currently available and could make eye examinations faster and more comfortable for patients by avoiding the need to undergo imaging with multiple instruments to look at different areas of the eye.



Researchers at Sandia work on new way to image brain

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:55:31 EST

Sandia National Laboratories researchers want to use small magnetic sensors to image the brain in a way that's simpler and less expensive than the magnetoencephalography system now used.



Long-lived physics

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:51:43 EST

New particles produced in the LHC's high-energy proton-proton collisions don't hang around for long. A Higgs boson exists for less than a thousandth of a billionth of a billionth of a second before decaying into lighter particles, which can then be tracked or stopped in our detectors. Nothing rules out the existence of much longer-lived particles though, and certain theoretical scenarios predict that such extraordinary objects could get trapped in the LHC detectors, sitting there quietly for days.



Physicists find clues to the origins of high-temperature superconductivity

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:30:02 EST

Ever since cuprate (copper-containing) superconductors were first discovered in 1986, they have greatly puzzled researchers. Cuprate superconductors have critical superconducting temperatures—the point at which their electrical resistance drops to zero—of up to 138 K at ambient pressure, which far exceeds the critical temperatures of other superconductors and is even higher than what is thought possible based on theory.



Physicists create quantum state detector

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:56:41 EST

Physicists from MIPT have teamed up with their colleagues in Russia and Great Britain and developed a superconducting quantum state detector. The new device can detect magnetic fields at low temperatures and is useful to both researchers and quantum computer engineers.



Drastic phase changes in topologically engineered planar absorbers improve sensitivity of optical sensors

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 08:45:41 EST

Non-invasive optical temperature sensing is essential for remote monitoring of fabrication processes, in situations where the sample needs to be insulated from the environment, at extreme or rapidly changing temperatures, and in the presence of strong and varying magnetic fields. Optical temperature sensors measure frequency shifts of optical resonances and often require long optical paths to compensate for very small thermo-optical coefficients of materials.



Scientists study the powers of tiny crystals

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 07:07:38 EST

When it comes to the way scientists react to their discoveries, "That's interesting" falls somewhere between "Eureka!" and "Uh-oh."



The world's first all-silicon laser

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 05:33:40 EST

Integrated silicon photonics incorporates microelectronics and optoelectronics, a combination expected to revolutionize a variety of fields such as communication, sensing, lighting, displays, imaging and detection. Silicon lasers are the key to achieve integrated silicon photonics. However, the optical gains of silicon are lower than those of III-V compound semiconductors by one order of magnitude or two, due to its indirect bandgap feature. Although the fabrication of matured III-V compound lasers on silicon substrates has been proposed to circumvent this problem, the development of all-silicon laser is desired for integrated silicon photonics due to better compatibility with modern silicon techniques.



Political corruption scandals may be predicted by network science

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:30:02 EST

According to the World Bank, corruption scandals siphon more than $2 trillion per year from the global economy, making corruption one of the major causes of slow economic growth and socioeconomic inequality. Now in a new study, researchers have demonstrated that it may be possible to predict who will play a role in future scandals by modeling current scandals using networks. The results may provide a tool for detecting corruptive practices and reducing the high cost of corruption to society.



Using electricity to switch magnetism

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:20:03 EST

At TU Wien, researchers have taken a major step toward linking electrical and magnetic material properties, which is crucial for possible applications in electronics.



Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:15:45 EST

For the first time, researchers have shown that an optical fiber as thin as a human hair can be used to create microscopic structures with laser-based 3D printing. The innovative approach might one day be used with an endoscope to fabricate tiny biocompatible structures directly into tissue inside the body. This capability could enable new ways to repair tissue damage.



Superconducting tokamaks are standing tall

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:40:02 EST

A persistent problem has dogged the largest fusion device in South Korea. The Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) device has run successfully since 2008. However, controlling the vertical position of the ultra-hot plasma has proven difficult. Stable control of the vertical position allows precise shaping and positioning of the plasma boundary, vital to a reactor's performance. Now, a team led by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has sharply improved the ability to control the vertical position. The result? The new control algorithm stabilizes the plasma position for record tall plasmas in KSTAR that exceed even the KSTAR design specifications.



Future electronics may ride on new three-in-one particle

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:37:24 EST

"Trion" may sound like the name of one of the theoretical particles blamed for mucking up operations aboard the Starship Enterprise.



Timing neutrinos with White Rabbit

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:34:11 EST

Being on time is important – just ask Lewis Carroll's leporine friend – and one group who knows this more than most are particle physicists, whose work revolves around keeping track of near-light speed blips of matter.



A material that superconducts continuously up to extreme pressures

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 09:30:01 EST

Researchers have discovered a metal alloy that can conduct electricity with zero resistance, or superconduct, from ambient pressure up to pressures similar to those that exist near the center of the Earth. The material, which is likely the first to show this kind of robust superconductivity, is described in a paper in the December 12, 2017, edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



Crumpling reduces rigidity in an otherwise stiff material, making it less prone to catastrophic failure

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:38:27 EST

Gas pressure was applied to a crumpled graphene membrane to cause it to bulge and stiffen. The result? The gas pressure revealed that this atomically thin carbon material—universally assumed to be strong and stiff—has a "softer side." The greater than expected reduction of rigidity with increased crumpling caused researchers to refine their understanding of the material's mechanics.



Study finds topological materials could boost the efficiency of thermoelectric devices

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 08:01:08 EST

What if you could run your air conditioner not on conventional electricity, but on the sun's heat during a warm summer's day? With advancements in thermoelectric technology, this sustainable solution might one day become a reality.



International study identifies the process of rock formation by meteor strikes or nuclear blasts

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 06:47:52 EST

Coesite is a polymorph of silica that only forms under extremely high pressure—10,000 times more, on average, than normal atmospheric pressure. The presence of coesite indicates either that material has pushed up through Earth's crust from the mantle, or that a comet, meteor or meteorite struck the site. Coesite can also be created in nuclear explosions.