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Storing data in DNA brings nature into the digital universe

Fri, 28 Jul 2017 06:47:35 EDT

Humanity is producing data at an unimaginable rate, to the point that storage technologies can't keep up. Every five years, the amount of data we're producing increases 10-fold, including photos and videos. Not all of it needs to be stored, but manufacturers of data storage aren't making hard drives and flash chips fast enough to hold what we do want to keep. Since we're not going to stop taking pictures and recording movies, we need to develop new ways to save them.

Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 15:53:06 EDT

Researchers have taken an important step toward the long-sought goal of a quantum computer, which in theory should be capable of vastly faster computations than conventional computers, for certain kinds of problems. The new work shows that collections of ultracold molecules can retain the information stored in them, for hundreds of times longer than researchers have previously achieved in these materials.

Reality check for topological insulators

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:36:20 EDT

Topological insulators, a class of materials which has been investigated for just over a decade, have been heralded as a new 'wonder material", as has graphene. But so far, topological insulators have not quite lived up to the expectations fueled by theoretical studies. University of Groningen physicists now have an idea about why. Their analysis was published on 27 July in the journal Physical Review B.

Experimental method measures robustness of quantum coherence

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:03:27 EDT

Researchers at the UAB have come up with a method to measure the strength of the superposition coherence in any given quantum state. The method, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, is based on the measurement of experimental parameters related to the visibility of the interference fringe patterns produced when the two states are superimposed.

Physicists design ultrafocused pulses

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:20:01 EDT

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Searching for invisible particles with the ATLAS Experiment

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:16:33 EDT

As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes protons at a centre-of-mass energy of 13 TeV, it creates a rich assortment of particles that are identified through the signature of their interactions with the ATLAS detector. But what if the collider produces particles that travel through ATLAS without interacting? These "invisible particles" may provide the answers to some of the greatest mysteries in physics.

Researcher looking to shed light deeper into the human brain

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 07:16:00 EDT

The inner workings of the human brain have always been a subject of great interest. Unfortunately, it is fairly difficult to view brain structures or intricate tissues due to the fact that the skull is not transparent by design. The reality is that light scattering is the major obstacle for deep penetration into tissue.

Physicists turn a crystal into an electrical circuit

Thu, 27 Jul 2017 05:00:01 EDT

Washington State University physicists have found a way to write an electrical circuit into a crystal, opening up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch A Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured.

Strange electrons break the crystal symmetry of high-temperature superconductors

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 13:00:02 EDT

The perfect performance of superconductors could revolutionize everything from grid-scale power infrastructure to consumer electronics, if only they could be coerced into operating above frigid temperatures. Even so-called high-temperature superconductors (HTS) must be chilled to hundreds of degrees Fahrenheit below zero.

Researchers develop new platform making next-generation electronic devices more advanced

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:05:41 EDT

Physicists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) developed a new hybrid integrated platform, promising to be a more advanced alternative to conventional integrated circuits. The researchers demonstrated their approach is mass manufacturable, making it possible to integrate the platform into everyday electronic equipment like smartphones. For end users this technical advance means it may lead to faster internet on their next-generation electronic devices.

Harddrive boost comes in layers of iron and cobalt

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:10:02 EDT

A*STAR researchers have created a promising new material from thin layers of iron and cobalt that could enable magnetic recording technologies such as hard drives to be boosted with microwaves.

Developing quantum algorithms for optimization problems

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:42:46 EDT

Quantum computers of the future hold promise for solving complex problems more quickly than ordinary computers. For example, they can factor large numbers exponentially faster than classical computers, which would allow them to break codes in the most commonly used cryptography system. There are other potential applications for quantum computers, too, such as solving complicated chemistry problems involving the mechanics of molecules. But exactly what types of applications will be best for quantum computers, which still may be a decade or more away from becoming a reality, is still an open question.

Physics discovery unlocks ingredients of 2-D 'sandwich'

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:34:09 EDT

Everything that exists in the digital world—photos, tweets, online courses, this article—is stored as 1's and 0's. At the software level, this information is written as computer code. At the hardware level, that code is brought to life by billions of transistors turning on (1) and off (0).

Protein crystals grown in microgravity could yield antidotes for nerve agents

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:33:33 EDT

On a balmy evening in early June, Space X launched the Falcon 9 rocket, which ferried the Dragon spacecraft toward the International Space Station (ISS). As the Dragon broke the tethers of Earth's gravity three small, black boxes were safely nestled in its cargo hold. These innocuous boxes house an experiment that may help researchers develop new antidotes for nerve agents used in conflict zones.

Rail-like waveguides simplify miniaturizing photonic components on silicon wafers

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:13:52 EDT

High-speed optical circuits and sensors generally require strict control over light polarization to minimize loss and cross-talk in photonic devices such as waveguides. An A*STAR team now predicts that noise resulting from imperfect polarizations can be eliminated using microstructures known as 'slot' waveguides.

ATLAS Experiment explores how the Higgs boson interacts with other bosons

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:58:17 EDT

Since resuming operation for Run 2, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been producing about 20,000 Higgs bosons per day in its 13 TeV proton–proton collisions. At the end of 2015, the data collected by the ATLAS and CMS collaborations were already sufficient for new observations of the Higgs boson at the new collision energy. Now, having recorded more than 36,000 trillion collisions between 2015 and 2016, the ATLAS experiment can perform ever more precise measurements of the properties of the Higgs boson.

Study sheds light on the role of the entropy in a quantum system

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 05:30:20 EDT

Any understanding of the irreversibility of the arrow of time should account the quantum nature of the world that surrounds us. The is the key result of the work carried out by Vincenzo Alba and Pasquale Calabrese of the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Fungal spores harness physics to launch themselves

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:00:03 EDT

Researchers from Duke University have uncovered the detailed mechanics of the way fungal spores have evolved to harness the power of merging water droplets to launch in a uniform manner.

Physicists master unexplored electron property

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:24:52 EDT

While the charge and spin properties of electrons are widely utilized in modern day technologies such as transistors and memories, another aspect of the subatomic particle has long remained uncharted. This is the "valley" property which has potential for realizing a new class of technology termed "valleytronics" - similar to electronics (charge) and spintronics (spin). This property arises from the fact that the electrons in the crystal occupy different positions that are quantum mechanically distinct.

KSU team contributes to DUNE, the world's biggest neutrino experiment

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:17:14 EDT

A large international team of researchers—including Kansas State University scientists—is turning to tiny particles to address big questions about dark matter, black holes and the origins of the universe.

Smart surface enables advanced manipulation of droplets

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:11:33 EDT

For many years, engineers have sought to create a special kind of surface: one that can both repel and absorb liquids, and whose ability to do so—its "wetting behaviour"—can be quickly and precisely controlled. The technology would have a wide range of potential applications, from water filtration and biomedical devices to liquid optical lenses and lab-on-a-chip systems.

Researchers demonstrate new way to produce high-density clusters of aligned quantum sensors in diamond

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:00:04 EDT

Imagine a sensor so sensitive it can detect changes in the proton concentration of a single protein, within a single cell. This level of insight would reveal elusive quantum-scale dynamics of that protein's function, potentially even in real time, but demands a sensor with controllable features at a similar scale.

A bar magnet creates chaos in plasma

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 11:00:03 EDT

Placing a magnet on your refrigerator might hold up your calendar, but researchers from India's Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics found that placing one outside a plasma chamber causes a localized, fireball-like structure. This work may help understand plasma dynamics under these north-south, or dipolar, magnetic fields. They present their results this week in the journal Physics of Plasmas.

Sophisticated medical imaging technique proves useful for automotive industry

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:53:01 EDT

Many of today's cars are coated with paint that exhibits a metallic or glittery shine. The exact sparkle and color you see is determined by the distribution and characteristics of tiny metal flakes used in the paint. A new approach based on the medical imaging technique optical coherence tomography (OCT) provides the car industry with a practical way to automatically analyze these metal flakes, which until now have been difficult to image, in order to improve the efficiency of the automotive finishing process.

Team develops new math equation to predict cavitation

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 10:10:28 EDT

A popular backyard science experiment led a team of fluid dynamics experts to a new math formula that more accurately predicts cavitation and its damaging effects.

Energy-harvesting bracelet could power wearable electronics

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 09:30:01 EDT

(—Researchers have designed a bracelet that harvests biomechanical energy from the wearer's wrist movements, which can then be converted into electricity and used to extend the battery lifetime of personal electronics or even fully power some of these devices.

New chromium-based superconductor has an unusual electronic state

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:44:29 EDT

When certain materials are cooled below a critical temperature they become superconductors, with zero electrical resistance. An international research team observed an unusual electronic state in new superconductor chromium arsenide. This finding could prove useful in future superconductor research and material design. The study was published on June 5 in Nature Communications.

'Tiny dancer' atoms could prove a hit with quantum computer scientists

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 08:36:05 EDT

Quantum computers could be a step closer to practical use thanks to the work of an international team led by University of Surrey scientists. The group, led by Dr Steve Chick and Professor of Physics Ben Murdin, has developed a way of making phosphorous atoms 'dance', which could be the next breakthrough in the quest to make quantum computers a viable reality.

New magnetic topological semimetal for more efficient electronics

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:48:18 EDT

A recent discovery by a team of researchers led by Tulane University advances fundamental knowledge that could one day lead to more energy-efficient computers, televisions, cellphones and other electronics.

Researchers uncover new avenues for finding unique class of insulators

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 05:43:37 EDT

For the last decade, scientists have sought topological insulators, materials that are insulating on the inside but conduct current on their surfaces. Although first predicted around 2005, very few real-world examples have been found to date. Topological insulators are expected to have wide-ranging applications, including energy-efficient electronics and quantum computing—their special properties allow the surface current to flow freely even in the presence of defects or disturbances.