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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.


Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:18:09 EDT

Researchers from Caltech and the University of Southern California (USC) report the first application of quantum computing to a physics problem. By employing quantum-compatible machine learning techniques, they developed a method of extracting a rare Higgs boson signal from copious noise data. Higgs is the particle that was predicted to imbue elementary particles with mass and was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider in 2012. The new quantum machine learning method is found to perform well even with small datasets, unlike the standard counterparts.

Research demonstrates method to alter coherence of light

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:00:07 EDT

Brown University researchers have demonstrated for the first time a method of substantially changing the spatial coherence of light.

Riddle of matter remains unsolved: Proton and antiproton share fundamental properties

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 13:00:06 EDT

The search goes on. No difference in protons and antiprotons have yet been found which would help to potentially explain the existence of matter in our universe. However, physicists in the BASE collaboration at the CERN research center have been able to measure the magnetic force of antiprotons with almost unbelievable precision. Nevertheless, the data do not provide any information about how matter formed in the early universe as particles and antiparticles would have had to completely destroy one another. The most recent BASE measurements revealed instead a large overlap between protons and antiprotons, thus confirming the Standard Model of particle physics. Around the world, scientists are using a variety of methods to find some difference, regardless of how small. The matter-antimatter imbalance in the universe is one of the hot topics of modern physics.

This nanoelectronics breakthrough could lead to more efficient quantum devices

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 11:08:55 EDT

Researchers from Concordia have made a breakthrough that could help your electronic devices get even smarter.

Scientists reach milestone in 3-D laser writing in bulk silicon

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 09:30:01 EDT

(—It has taken more than 20 years, but researchers have demonstrated for the first time that femtosecond lasers can be used to structurally manipulate bulk silicon for high-precision applications. Since the late '90s, researchers have been using the ultrashort pulses of femtosecond lasers to write into bulk materials with wide band gaps, which are typically insulators. But until now, precise ultrafast laser writing has not been possible for materials with narrow band gaps, such as silicon and other semiconductors.

Quantum computing—breaking through the 49 qubit simulation barrier

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:10:03 EDT

Quantum computing is at the threshold of tackling important problems that cannot be efficiently or practically computed by other, more classical means. Getting past this threshold will require us to build, test and operate reliable quantum computers with 50 or more qubits.

New type of electron lens for next-generation colliders

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:08:59 EDT

Sending bunches of protons speeding around a circular particle collider to meet at one specific point is no easy feat. Many different collider components work keep proton beams on course—and to keep them from becoming unruly.

New 3-D imaging technique for future precision medicine toolbox

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:40:05 EDT

For an illness like cancer, doctors often turn to computed tomography (CT) scans for a more definitive diagnosis, based on reconstructing a 3-D organ from multiple 2-D image slices. At the molecular level, such 3-D scans could become an important part of precision medicine: a future of tailoring treatment decisions to each patient's unique cellular features.

A mission to Mars could make its own oxygen via plasma technology

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 07:34:42 EDT

Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found.

Missing link between new topological phases of matter discovered

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:56:49 EDT

Physicists at BESSY II have investigated a class of materials that exhibit characteristics of topological insulators. During these studies, they discovered a transition between two different topological phases, one of which is ferroelectric, meaning a phase in the material that exhibits spontaneous electric polarisation and can be reversed by an external electric field. This could also lead to new applications such as switching between differing conductivities.

Nice ice, maybe: Study finds water-repelling surfaces ease ice removal

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 02:37:56 EDT

Water-repellent surfaces and coatings could make ice removal a literal breeze by forcing ice to grow up rather than just skate by, says a new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and several Chinese institutions.

Loops of liquid metal can improve future fusion power plants, scientists say

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:19:26 EDT

Researchers led by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have proposed an innovative design to improve the ability of future fusion power plants to generate safe, clean and abundant energy in a steady state, or constant, manner. The design uses loops of liquid lithium to clean and recycle the tritium, the radioactive hydrogen isotope that fuels fusion reactions, and to protect the divertor plates from intense exhaust heat from the tokamak that contains the reactions.

New imaging approach maps whole-brain changes from Alzheimer's disease in mice

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:03:49 EDT

An estimated 5.5 million Americans live with Alzheimer's disease, a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Although treatments can slow the worsening of symptoms, scientists are still working to better understand the neurodegenerative disease so that curative and preventative medicines can be developed. A new imaging system could help speed new drug development by offering a better way to monitor the brain changes indicative of Alzheimer's in mouse models of the disease.

Researchers turn atomic force microscope measurements into color images

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:49:30 EDT

A French and Japanese research group has developed a new way of visualizing the atomic world by turning data scanned by an atomic force microscope into clear color images. The newly developed method, which enables observation of materials and substances like alloys, semiconductors, and chemical compounds in a relatively short time, holds promise of becoming widely used in the research and development of surfaces and devices.

Discovery of new water droplet behavior could create more energy-efficient spray drying of products

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:00:07 EDT

Even in ancient Greece, philosopher Aristotle tried to sum up all the ways that water can behave. Now, about 2,400 years later, two Imperial College London scientists, using laser-flash photography of microscopic droplet-particle collisions, have discovered that water droplets still have liquid tricks to reveal.

Origami lattice paves the way for new noise-dampening barriers on the road

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 11:00:05 EDT

Managing traffic noise pollution has vexed researchers in large part because of the broad range of frequencies we encounter on the road. Currently, only heavy, wall-like barriers can effectively dampen all of these various sounds.

Spider-web 'labyrinths' may help reduce noise pollution

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:30:12 EDT

(—Researchers have demonstrated that the geometry of a natural spider web can be used to design new structures that address one of the biggest challenges in sound control: reducing low-frequency noise, which is the second most widespread environmental problem in Europe after air pollution.

Researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:25:07 EDT

The convenience of non-stick, Teflon-coated cookware is appreciated in kitchens worldwide, particularly by anyone doing the washing up. The chemical making up Teflon, polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, is one of the slipperiest materials known. Outside the kitchen, the low-friction surfaces and high chemical resistance of PTFE are essential to many applications across a range of industries. However, despite its usefulness, PTFE is difficult to work with. Making PTFE adhere to other types of materials requires harsh chemicals.

Revealing quantum statistics with a pair of distant atoms

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:59:03 EDT

An international team of researchers has proposed a new way to make atoms or ions indistinguishable by swapping their positions. These particles are then expected to exhibit exotic properties. The study involved physicists from the University of Bonn, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the University of California. The work has now been published in Physical Review Letters.

Optical frequency comb offers a convenient way to generate elusive terahertz frequencies 

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:39:33 EDT

Optical frequency combs are widely-used, high-precision tools for measuring and detecting different frequencies—a.k.a. colors—of light. Unlike conventional lasers, which emit a single frequency, these lasers emit multiple frequencies simultaneously. The equally spaced frequencies resemble the teeth of a comb. Optical frequency combs are used for everything from measuring the fingerprints of specific molecules to detecting distant exoplanets.

Quantum physics paves the way for new chemical products

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:37:44 EDT

Research by an OU molecular physicist has discovered that electrons can control chemical reactions in experiments leading to purer, cheaper chemical products.

Scientists revisit optical constants of ultrathin gold films

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:14:34 EDT

Researchers at MIPT have conducted highly precise measurements of the optical constants of ultrathin gold films with thicknesses ranging from 20 to 200 billionths of a meter in the optical part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thin gold films are key components of modern micro- and nanoscale optical and optoelectronic devices. The research findings will be in demand among researchers in the field. The paper was published in the journal Optics Express.

A miniature laser-like device for surface plasmons

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:39:30 EDT

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a miniature device capable of producing laser-like beams of a particular kind of electromagnetic wave called a surface plasmon. Surface plasmons can be focused much more tightly than light waves, making them useful for applications such as sensing.

Doubling the power of the world's most intense laser

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:36:00 EDT

The most intense laser in the world is about to get a power upgrade with $2 million from the National Science Foundation.

Plasma optic combines lasers into superbeam

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:45:11 EDT

Since its introduction in the 1977 film "Star Wars," the Death Star has remained one of science fiction's most iconic figures. The image of Alderaan's destruction at the hands of the Death Star's superlaser is burned into the memory of millions of fans.

Researchers take a step toward quantum mechanical analysis of plant metabolism

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:22:19 EDT

Hurricanes, traffic jams, demographic development – to predict the effect of such events, computer simulations are required. Many processes in nature, however, are so complicated that conventional computers fail. Quantum simulators may solve this problem. One of the basic phenomena in nature is the interaction between light and matter in photosynthesis. Physicists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now made a big step towards quantum mechanics understanding of plant metabolism. This is reported in the Nature Communications journal.

Researchers develop mathematical techniques for designing shape-shifting shells

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 03:00:17 EDT

Nature has a way of making complex shapes from a set of simple growth rules. The curve of a petal, the swoop of a branch, even the contours of our face are shaped by these processes. What if we could unlock those rules and reverse engineer nature's ability to grow an infinitely diverse array of shapes?

Team uses magnetic beads to model microscopic proteins, polymers

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 02:53:10 EDT

An engineered string of micronwide beads may take up the slack where computer modeling fails researchers who study the bending, folding and other movements of polymers or biomolecules like actin and DNA.

Liquid metal brings soft robotics a step closer

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:00:04 EDT

Scientists have invented a way to morph liquid metal into physical shapes.

Scientists log newfound understanding of water's responses to changing temperatures

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:00:06 EDT

A team of chemists has uncovered new ways in which frozen water responds to changes in temperature to produce novel formations. Its findings have implications for climate research as well as other processes that involve ice formation—from food preservation to agriculture.