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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.


Discovery could reduce cost, energy for high-speed Internet connections

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:13:05 EST

Breakthrough research from The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Vermont could lead to a dramatic reduction in the cost and energy consumption of high-speed internet connections.

Single-photon detector can count to four

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 15:12:33 EST

Engineers have shown that a widely used method of detecting single photons can also count the presence of at least four photons at a time. The researchers say this discovery will unlock new capabilities in physics labs working in quantum information science around the world, while providing easier paths to developing quantum-based technologies.

Error-free into the quantum computer age

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:22:06 EST

A study led by physicists at Swansea University in Wales, carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

A shoe-box-sized chemical detector

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 12:10:20 EST

A chemical sensor prototype developed at the University of Michigan will be able to detect "single-fingerprint quantities" of substances from a distance of more than 100 feet away, and its developers are working to shrink it to the size of a shoebox.

Real-time observation of collective quantum modes

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 10:17:44 EST

A cylindrical rod is rotationally symmetric - after any arbitrary rotation around its axis it always looks the same. If an increasingly large force is applied to it in the longitudinal direction, however, it will eventually buckle and lose its rotational symmetry. Such processes, known as "spontaneous symmetry breaking", also occur in subtle ways in the microscopic quantum world, where they are responsible for a number of fundamental phenomena such as magnetism and superconductivity. A team of researchers led by ETH professor Tilman Esslinger and Senior Scientist Tobias Donner at the Institute for Quantum Electronics has now studied the consequences of spontaneous symmetry breaking in detail using a quantum simulator. The results of their research have recently been published in the scientific journal Science.

Superradiance of an ensemble of nuclei excited by a free electron laser

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:20:47 EST

A collaboration of scientists from five of the world's most advanced x-ray sources in Europe, Japan and the US, has succeeded in verifying a basic prediction of the quantum-mechanical behavior of resonant systems. In the study published in Nature Physics, they were able to carefully follow, one x-ray at a time, the decay of nuclei in a perfect crystal after excitation with a flash of x-rays from the world's strongest pulsed source, the SACLA x-ray free electron laser in Harima, Japan. They observed a dramatic reduction of the time taken to emit the first x-ray as the number of x-rays increased. This behavior is in good agreement with one limit of a superradiant system, as predicted by Robert H. Dicke in 1954.

Researchers study thermodynamic processes in an ultra-high temperature molten oxide

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:15:56 EST

The thermodynamic properties of compounds such as aluminum oxide, which are known as refractory materials because they melt at temperatures above 2,000 degrees Celsius (3,632 Fahrenheit), have been difficult to study because few vessels can withstand the heat to contain them, and those that do often react with the melt and contaminate it.

Unusual thermal convection in a well-mixed fluid

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:04:50 EST

Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University, have recently discovered unusual thermal convection in a uniform mixture of high- and low-viscosity liquids. Kobayashi and Kurita found that concentration fluctuations are enhanced by thermal convection when the two liquids have a large viscosity difference. Such mixtures are ubiquitously observed in nature, daily life, and manufacturing processes e.g. mantle convection, syrup, polymer products. These results promise further insight into non-equilibrium phenomena in fluid mixtures with contrasting "thickness."

GAMBIT project suggests theoretical particles are too massive for LHC detection

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 07:03:28 EST

The elementary particles of new theoretical physics must be so massive that their detection in the LHC, the largest modern accelerator, will not be possible. This is the pessimistic conclusion of the most comprehensive review of observational data from many scientific experiments and their confrontation with several popular varieties of supersymmetry theory. The complicated, extremely computationally demanding analysis, carried out by the international GAMBIT Collaboration, leaves a shadow of hope for researchers.

Complete design of a silicon quantum computer chip unveiled

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:00:02 EST

Research teams all over the world are exploring different ways to design a working computing chip that can integrate quantum interactions. Now, UNSW engineers believe they have cracked the problem, reimagining the silicon microprocessors we know to create a complete design for a quantum computer chip that can be manufactured using mostly standard industry processes and components.

National MagLab's latest magnet snags world record, marks new era of scientific discovery

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:31:36 EST

The Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory has shattered another world record with the testing of a 32-tesla magnet—33 percent stronger than what had previously been the world's strongest superconducting magnet used for research and more than 3,000 times stronger than a small refrigerator magnet.

Artificial intelligence helps accelerate progress toward efficient fusion reactions

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 15:11:13 EST

Before scientists can effectively capture and deploy fusion energy, they must learn to predict major disruptions that can halt fusion reactions and damage the walls of doughnut-shaped fusion devices called tokamaks. Timely prediction of disruptions, the sudden loss of control of the hot, charged plasma that fuels the reactions, will be vital to triggering steps to avoid or mitigate such large-scale events.

An ultradilute quantum liquid made from ultra-cold atoms

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:00:02 EST

ICFO researchers created a novel type of liquid 100 million times more dilute than water and 1 million times thinner than air. The experiments, published in Science, exploit a fascinating quantum effect to produce droplets of this exotic phase of matter.

Researchers taking optical device out of the lab and into the clinic to detect cancer at its earliest stages

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:27:21 EST

In a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, a team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has demonstrated how a device that uses beams of light to grip and manipulate tiny objects, including individual cells, can be miniaturized, opening the door to creating portable devices small enough to be inserted into the bloodstream to trap individual cancer cells and diagnose cancer in its earliest stages.

Scientists solve speed surprise in stratospheric stunt

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:03:36 EST

Scientists say they've figured out why an Austrian who became the first skydiver to break the speed of sound fell faster than the drag of his body should have allowed.

Solid start in the quest for an elusive particle

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 09:58:18 EST

A collaboration of Belgian, French and British scientists, including researchers from Imperial College London, have developed a technology to detect a new kind of elementary particle: the sterile neutrino. The new detector has been successfully installed and has started taking data.

Scientists combine high-pressure research with NMR spectroscopy

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:47:57 EST

For the first time, researchers at the University of Bayreuth and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have succeeded in applying nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in experiments analysing material samples under very high pressure that is similar to the pressure in Earth's lower mantle. The process presented in Science Advances is expected to improve our understanding of elementary particles, which often behave differently under high pressure than they do under normal conditions. It is predicted to encourage technological innovations and also to enable new insights into the earth's interior and the history of the earth, in particular, the conditions for the origins of life.

Breaking data records bit by bit

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:05:52 EST

This year CERN's data centre broke its own record, when it collected more data than ever before.

Doing without dark energy: Mathematicians propose alternative explanation for cosmic acceleration

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 07:21:18 EST

Three mathematicians have a different explanation for the accelerating expansion of the universe that does without theories of "dark energy." Einstein's original equations for General Relativity actually predict cosmic acceleration due to an "instability," they argue in paper published recently in Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Scientist describes fundamental process when ice is compressed

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 06:12:00 EST

Almost three-quarters of the earth's surface is covered by water. Almost two-thirds of the human body is made up of it. We drink it. We use it in our homes and in industry. As a solid, it's ice. As a gas, it's steam.

Layering in cafe lattes yields insights for engineering, medicine and environment

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:32:55 EST

For anyone who has marveled at the richly colored layers in a cafe latte, you're not alone. Princeton researchers, likewise intrigued, have now revealed how this tiered structure develops when espresso is poured into hot milk.

Advance in light filtering technology has implications for LCD screens, lasers and beyond

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:29:27 EST

Vector polarizers are a light filtering technology hidden behind the operation of many optical systems. They can be found, for instance, in sunglasses, LCD screens, microscopes, microprocessors, laser machining and more. Optical physicists from Nanjing and Nankai University, China, and the University of Central Florida, U.S., published details of their new vector polarizer design this week in APL Photonics. The newly proposed design is a major advance in polarization technology because it enables flexible filtering of a wide range of light sources and generation of new light states.

New ultra-thin diamond membrane is a radiobiologist's best friend

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:36:08 EST

Depending on the dose and the target, radiation can cause incredible damage to healthy cells or it can be used to treat cancer and other diseases. To understand how cells respond to different doses of radiation, scientists need to direct precise amounts of energy to specific areas of the cell. Measuring dosage can be challenging, however, especially when working with low-energy protons.

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:21:03 EST

Researchers have demonstrated prototype windows that switch from reflective to clear with the simple addition of a liquid. The new switchable windows are easy to manufacture and could one day keep parked cars cool in the sun or make office buildings more energy efficient. The technology can also be used to make roof panels that keep houses cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Creating surfaces that repel water and control its flow

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:15:59 EST

To prevent water and ice from making our shoes soggy, frosting our car windows and weighing down power lines with icicles, scientists have been exploring new coatings that can repel water. Now one team has developed a way to direct where the water goes when it's pushed away. Their report appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Laser-driven technique for creating fusion is now within reach, say researchers

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 10:26:21 EST

A laser-driven technique for creating fusion that dispenses with the need for radioactive fuel elements and leaves no toxic radioactive waste is now within reach, say researchers.

Physicists show feasibility of building a trapped Rydberg ion quantum computer

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:30:01 EST

(—Physicists have built one of the first basic elements of a trapped Rydberg ion quantum computer: a single-qubit Rydberg gate. The achievement illustrates the feasibility of building this new type of quantum computer, which has the potential to overcome the scalability problems facing current approaches to quantum computing.

ILL D20's neutron beam yields important clues to the unconventional origins of superconductivity

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:17:35 EST

Iron-based superconductors contain layers of iron and a pnictogen – such as arsenic or phosphorus – or a chalcogen, like oxygen or selenium. Previously dismissed eas weak candidates for superconductivity, iron-based superconductors took the science community by surprise when it was discovered that the new iron arsenide family had very high transition temperatures. Since then these high-temperature superconductors have become a hot topic of research, with neutrons and muons playing an essential role in investigating their unusual properties, in order to help quantum physics develop a theory behind high-temperature superconductive materials.

Is there structure in glass disorder?

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 08:10:01 EST

Stronger than steel yet easily fabricated, bulk metallic glasses are metals that lack an ordered atomic crystalline structure. The mystery of how the atoms are packed in these glasses has been studied for decades. Now, recent computer experiments have resolved a debate about atomic packing over a range of length scales. The simulations revealed the structure at various length scales is not similar.

Chemical 'pressure' tuning magnetic properties

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 08:06:04 EST

Unusual, tiny vortexes spinning on the surface of certain magnets could offer a way to reduce the energy demands of computers. Controlling the vortexes is key. Scientists found that chemical substitution in a well-studied magnet acted as an effective knob in tuning the magnetic properties. Adding just a few slightly larger atoms to the magnet expanded the crystal lattice, or atomic arrangement. The expansion applied a "negative chemical" pressure on the system. The pressure changed the character of the magnetism and stabilized an exotic vortex phase called the skyrmion lattice.