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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.


What makes your voice yours? Researchers take steps to characterize and quantify voice quality

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:16:36 EST

What are the characteristics of the way you say, "hello," (or anything else for that matter) that makes you recognizable over the phone? Despite the increasing amount of literature on personal voice quality, very little is actually known about how to characterize the sound of an individual speaker.

High-precision magnetic field sensing

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:29:38 EST

Scientists have developed a highly sensitive sensor to detect tiny changes in strong magnetic fields. The sensor may find widespread use in medicine and other areas.

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 09:24:38 EST

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what you're looking at. Some photons reflect off, reaching your eyes. Others get absorbed. The main decider of which happens is the photon's energy – its colour.

Discovery of bismuth superconductivity at extremely low temperature jeopardizes theory

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 08:40:01 EST

(—A team of researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India has found that cooling a sample of bismuth to 0.00053 Kelvin caused the material to become a superconductor, putting at risk a decades-old theory regarding how superconductivity works. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their cooling and testing approach and why they believe what they found will require physicists to rethink theoretical work that describes the conditions under which a metal can become superconductive.

A friend of a friend is... a dense network

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 13:10:26 EST

It's a familiar request in the digital age: one of your friends on social media has a friend who wants to be your friend. Frequent linking among friends of friends can cause a rapid increase in social network connectivity.

Quantum friction—beyond the local equilibrium approximation

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:50:02 EST

Systems out of thermodynamic equilibrium are very common in nature. In recent years they have attracted constantly growing attention because of their relevance for fundamental physics as well as for modern nanotechnology. In a collaborative effort, the Theoretical Optics and Photonics group at the Max-Born-Institut and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin together with colleagues from the Universität Potsdam, Yale University and the Los Alamos National Laboratory now report on detailed new physical insights of non-equilibrium atom-surface quantum friction.

Researchers take first look into the 'eye' of majoranas

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:38:16 EST

Majorana fermions are particles that could potentially be used as information units for a quantum computer. An experiment by physicists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel's Department of Physics has confirmed their theory that Majorana fermions can be generated and measured on a superconductor at the end of wires made from single iron atoms. The researchers also succeeded in observing the wave properties of Majoranas and, therefore, in making the interior of a Majorana visible for the first time. The results were published in the journal npj Quantum Information.

Physicists' work may help change future of transistors

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 09:02:39 EST

UT Dallas physicists have published new findings examining the electrical properties of materials that could be harnessed for next-generation transistors and electronics.

LIGO back online, ready for more discoveries

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:34:11 EST

Today (November 30), scientists restarted the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, after making several improvements to the system. Over the last year, they have made enhancements to LIGO's lasers, electronics, and optics that have increased the observatory's sensitivity by 10 to 25 percent. The detectors, scientists hope, will now be able to tune in to gravitational waves—and the extreme events from which they arise—that emanate from farther out in the universe.

Image: Optical stabilising reference cavity

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 07:32:50 EST

What looks like an abstract sculpture is actually the laser equivalent of a tuning fork – to serve a new generation of space instruments.

Researchers demonstrate 'ghost imaging' with atoms

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 06:30:08 EST

A team of physicists at ANU have used a technique known as 'ghost imaging' to create an image of an object from atoms that never interact with it.

New ultra-high density optical storage technology

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 06:25:33 EST

According to current estimates, dozens of zettabytes of information will be stored electronically by 2020, which will rely on physical principles that facilitate the use of single atoms or molecules as basic memory cells. This can be done using lasers. However, existing methods of optical storage are limited to the diffraction limit (~500 nm), so the respective recording density is roughly ~1 Gb per square decimeter.

Periodic table expands with elements named after Japan, Moscow, Tennessee

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 06:21:02 EST

The periodic table got larger Wednesday after four new elements were officially named and added to the chart, including 'nihonium'—the first ever to be discovered by Japanese scientists.

'Tennessine': Element 117 officially named

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:43:19 EST

The recently discovered element 117 has been officially named "tennessine" in recognition of Tennessee's contributions to its discovery, including the efforts of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its Tennessee collaborators at Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee.

Cold plasma freshens up French fries

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 09:42:09 EST

Bad smells from deep-fat frying in restaurants and take-away food venues could soon be eradicated thanks to experiments funded by ESA on the International Space Station.

Fusion energy—a time of transition and potential

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 09:10:01 EST

For centuries, humans have dreamed of harnessing the power of the sun to energize our lives here on Earth. But we want to go beyond collecting solar energy, and one day generate our own from a mini-sun. If we're able to solve an extremely complex set of scientific and engineering problems, fusion energy promises a green, safe, unlimited source of energy. From just one kilogram of deuterium extracted from water per day could come enough electricity to power hundreds of thousands of homes.

Combining silicon with an optically active material enables tiny lasers for industry

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 08:20:01 EST

Combining silicon with a light-producing semiconductor may help develop micrometer-scale lasers, shows Doris Keh-Ting Ng and her colleagues from the A*STAR Data Storage Institute.

Synchronized swimming: How startled fish shoals effectively evade danger

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 07:59:45 EST

As panic spreads, an entire shoal (collective) of fish responds to an incoming threat in a matter of seconds, seemingly as a single body, to change course and evade a threatening predator. Within those few seconds, the panic-infused information – more technically known as the startle response – spreads through the collective, warning fish within the group that would otherwise have no way to detect such a threat. The ways in which this information spreads and the role played by position dynamics may help us better plan for emergencies.

Engineering researchers develop a process that could make big data and cloud storage more energy efficient

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 07:14:27 EST

As big data and cloud applications flourish, one of the grand challenges for future computing is finding energy-efficient methods for data storage.

Cat tongues are even 'handier' than you imagined

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 06:39:34 EST

Have you ever taken a good look at a cat's tongue? If so, you may have noticed the tiny, sharp "spines" on its surface.

New neutron spectrometer design being tested for manned spaceflight

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 06:31:36 EST

The detector and electronics in a new neutron spectrometer that's being tested in space to monitor radiation for future manned NASA space missions were built and tested at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 05:30:39 EST

Researchers from Brown University have demonstrated an unusual method of putting the brakes on superconductivity, the ability of a material to conduct an electrical current with zero resistance.

'Listening' to signals traveling through bridges for diagnosing damage

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:28:43 EST

A group of Clarkson University mathematicians and a civil engineer developed a passive and noninvasive approach to "listen" to a collection of relevant signals from bridges and other mechanical structures to diagnose changes or damage.

First 'water-wave' laser created

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:05:37 EST

Technion researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that laser emissions can be created through the interaction of light and water waves. This "water-wave laser" could someday be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves, or as a feature on microfluidic "lab-on-a-chip" devices used to study cell biology and to test new drug therapies.

Understanding the way liquid spreads through paper

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 16:05:58 EST

Molecules move randomly, colliding with each other in continual motion. You can even smell this process at times; it's how perfume spreads across a room when the air is still. The process is termed diffusion and the theory of diffusion can be applied to liquid spreading through paper, too - a process at work in a range of everyday products, from ink pens to paper sampling patches for medical tests.

Creating new physical properties in materials

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 14:51:25 EST

A collaborative effort between research groups at the Technical University of Freiberg and the University of Siegen in Germany demonstrates that the physical properties of SrTiO3, or strontium titanate, in its single crystal form can be changed by a relatively simple electrical treatment. SrTi03 is a mineral often studied for its superconducting properties.

Ultrafast imaging reveals existence of 'polarons'

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 13:01:16 EST

Many people picture electrical conductivity as the flow of charged particles (mainly electrons) without really thinking about the atomic structure of the material through which those charges are moving. But scientists who study "strongly correlated electron" materials such as high-temperature superconductors and those with strong responses to magnetism know that picture is far too simplistic. They know that the atoms play a crucial role in determining a material's properties.

New tool enables viewing spectrum from specific structures within samples

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 13:00:31 EST

Fluorescence is an incredibly useful tool for experimental biology and it just got easier to tap into, thanks to the work of a group of University of Chicago researchers.

Squeezed states of light can improve feedback cooling significantly

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 12:51:28 EST

How does the tightrope walker manage to maintain her balance and avoid that fatal drop from the sky? She carefully senses the motion of her body and vibrations of the rope and accordingly compensates any deviation from equilibrium by shifting her center of gravity. In a thermally excited system, the amplitude of the mechanical vibrations are directly linked to the system's temperature. Thus, by eliminating vibrations the system is cooled to a lower effective temperature.

A new record at BESSY II: 10 million ions cooled for the first time to 7.4 K

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 09:52:36 EST

An international team from Sweden, Japan, and Germany has set a new temperature record for what are known as quadrupole ion traps that capture electrically charged molecular ions. They succeeded in cooling about ten million ions down to 7.4 K (approx. -265.8 degrees Celsius) using a buffer gas. That is a new record.