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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.


Special X-ray technique allows scientists to see 3-D deformations

Tue, 23 May 2017 13:58:38 EDT

While doctors use X-rays to see the broken bones inside our bodies, scientists have developed a new X-ray technique to see inside continuously packed nanoparticles, also known as grains, to examine deformations and dislocations that affect their properties.

Atomic structure of irradiated materials is more akin to liquid than glass

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:32:48 EDT

Materials exposed to neutron radiation tend to experience significant damage, leading to the containment challenges involved in immobilizing nuclear waste or nuclear plant confinements. At the nanoscale, these incident neutrons collide with a material's atoms that, in turn, then collide with each other somewhat akin to billiards. The resulting disordered atomic network and its physical properties resemble those seen in some glassy materials, which has led many in the field to use them in nuclear research.

Understanding stars: How tornado-shaped flow in a dynamo strengthens the magnetic field

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:30:58 EDT

The massive, churning core of conducting liquids in stars and some planets creates a dynamo that generates the planetary body's magnetic field. Researchers aim to better understand these dynamos through computer simulations and by recreating them in the laboratory using canisters of rapidly spinning, liquid sodium.

Neptune: Neutralizer-free plasma propulsion

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:30:38 EDT

Plasma propulsion is an important and efficient technology used to control spacecraft for Earth observation, communications and fundamental exploration of outer space.

Collecting real-time data for material microstructural evolution during radiation exposure

Tue, 23 May 2017 12:30:13 EDT

It may be surprising to learn that much remains unknown about radiation's effects on materials. To find answers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are developing techniques to explore the microstructural evolution and degradation of materials exposed to radiation.

New blackbody force depends on spacetime geometry and topology

Tue, 23 May 2017 09:30:01 EDT

(—In 2013, a group of physicists from Austria proposed the existence of a new and unusual force called the "blackbody force." Blackbodies—objects that absorb all incoming light and therefore appear black at room temperature—have long been known to emit blackbody radiation, which repels small nearby objects such as atoms and molecules. But the physicists showed that blackbodies theoretically also exert an attractive force on these objects. They called this force the "blackbody force," and showed that it can be stronger than blackbody radiation, and—for very small particles—even stronger than gravity.

High voltage for tomorrow's particle accelerator

Tue, 23 May 2017 08:09:12 EDT

On behalf of CERN, researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a high-tech device for the production of extremely precise, high voltage pulses that could be used in the next generation of particle accelerators.

Husker engineers craft microscopic heater-thermometer

Tue, 23 May 2017 08:00:29 EDT

"It's like a tiny furnace."

Astronomers use bubbles to look for WIMPs

Tue, 23 May 2017 07:30:02 EDT

Invisible, imperceptible and yet far more common than ordinary matter, dark matter makes up an astounding 85 percent of the universe's mass. Physicists are slowly but steadily tracking down the nature of this unidentified substance. The latest result from the PICO experiment places some of the best limits yet on the properties of certain types of dark matter.

Researchers find first compelling evidence of new property known as 'ferroelasticity' in perovskites

Tue, 23 May 2017 07:20:43 EDT

Crystalline materials known as perovskites could become the next superstars of solar cells. Over the past few years, researchers have demonstrated that a special class of perovskites—those consisting of a hybrid of organic and inorganic components—convert sunlight into electricity with an efficiency above 20 percent and are easier to fabricate and more impervious to defects than the standard solar cell made of crystalline silicon. As fabricated today, however, these organic/inorganic perovskites (OIPs) deteriorate well before the typical 30-year lifetime for silicon cells, which prevents their widespread use in harnessing solar power.

Weyl fermions exhibit paradoxical behavior

Tue, 23 May 2017 06:37:32 EDT

Theoretical physicists have found Weyl fermions to exhibit paradoxical behavior in contradiction to a 30-year-old fundamental theory of electromagnetism. The discovery has possible applications in spintronics. The study has been published in Physical Review Letters.

Turmoil in sluggish electrons' existence

Mon, 22 May 2017 12:13:57 EDT

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behavior of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

Researchers uncover new gravitational wave characteristics

Mon, 22 May 2017 10:38:50 EDT

Monash researchers have identified a new concept - 'orphan memory' - which changes the current thinking around gravitational waves.

Classical synchronization indicates persistent entanglement in isolated quantum systems

Mon, 22 May 2017 06:56:28 EDT

As if by magic, seemingly independent pendulum clocks can come together to tick simultaneously and in synchrony. The phenomenon of "self-organized synchronization" frequently occurs in nature and engineering and is one of the key research fields of Marc Timme's team at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization. The physicists in Göttingen are part of a German-Italian collaboration which has now published an amazing discovery in Nature Communications: even quantum systems can synchronize through self-organization, without any external control. This synchronization manifests itself in the strangest property of the quantum world – entanglement.

'Saddle-shaped' universe could undermine general relativity

Mon, 22 May 2017 06:51:24 EDT

Researchers have shown how singularities – which are normally only found at the centre of black holes and hidden from view – could exist in highly curved three-dimensional space.

Plasmonics enhances the sensitivity of smartphone microscopy

Mon, 22 May 2017 06:47:41 EDT

An international team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and the Braunschweig University of Technology in Germany has developed an approach to enhance the sensitivity of smartphone-based fluorescence microscopes by ten-fold compared to previously reported mobile phone-based handheld microscopes. This is an important development toward the use of mobile phones for advanced microscopic investigation of samples, sensing of disease biomarkers, tracking of chronic conditions, and molecular diagnostics and testing in general.

Magnetic order in a two-dimensional molecular chessboard

Mon, 22 May 2017 05:00:01 EDT

Achieving magnetic order in low-dimensional systems consisting of only one or two dimensions has been a research goal for some time. In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, Uppsala researchers show that magnetic order can be created in a two-dimensional chessboard lattice consisting of organometallic molecules that are only one atomic layer thick.

Physicists discover that lithium oxide on tokamak walls can improve plasma performance

Fri, 19 May 2017 15:56:30 EDT

Lithium compounds improve plasma performance in fusion devices just as well as pure lithium does, a team of physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has found.

A 'wearable' brain scanner for studies of human interaction, dementia, movement disorders, and more

Fri, 19 May 2017 08:20:02 EDT

Patients undergoing a positron emission tomography (PET) scan in today's bulky, donut-shaped machines must lie completely still. Because of this, scientists cannot use the scanners to unearth links between movement and brain activity. What goes on up there when we nod in agreement or shake hands? How are the brains of people struggling to walk after a stroke different from those who can?

In a neutron-rich tin nucleus, electromagnetism can win over the strong force

Fri, 19 May 2017 07:38:32 EDT

The atomic nucleus offers a unique opportunity to study the competition between three of the four fundamental forces known to exist in nature, the strong nuclear interaction, the electromagnetic interaction and the weak nuclear interaction. Only the much weaker gravitational force is irrelevant for the description of nuclear properties. Although in general the decay of an excited nuclear state follows the hierarchy of these forces, there are sometimes exceptions.

XENON1T, the most sensitive detector on Earth searching for WIMP dark matter, releases its first result

Fri, 19 May 2017 05:45:15 EDT

"The best result on dark matter so far—and we just got started." This is how scientists behind XENON1T, now the most sensitive dark matter experiment world-wide, commented on their first result from a short 30-day run presented today to the scientific community.

Deconstructing osmosis provides insight for medical and industrial use

Thu, 18 May 2017 15:27:32 EDT

Osmosis, the fluid phenomenon responsible for countless slug deaths at the hands of mischievous children, is fundamentally important not only to much of biology, but also to engineering and industry. Most simply put, osmosis refers to the flow of fluid across a membrane driven by a (solute) concentration difference—like water from a salted slug's cells or absorbed by the roots of plants.

Scientists perform first-principles simulation of transition of plasma edge to H-mode

Thu, 18 May 2017 15:23:38 EDT

Physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have simulated the spontaneous transition of turbulence at the edge of a fusion plasma to the high-confinement mode (H-mode) that sustains fusion reactions. The detailed simulation is the first basic physics, or first-principles-based, modeling with few simplifying assumptions.

ATLAS releases new results in search for weakly-interacting supersymmetric particles

Thu, 18 May 2017 11:05:22 EDT

Supersymmetry is an extension to the Standard Model that may explain the origin of dark matter and pave the way to a grand unified theory of nature. For each particle of the Standard Model, supersymmetry introduces an exotic new "super-partner," which may be produced in proton-proton collisions. Searching for these particles is currently one of the top priorities of the LHC physics program. A discovery would transform our understanding of the building blocks of matter and the fundamental forces, leading to a paradigm shift in physics similar to when Einstein's relativity superseded classical Newtonian physics in the early 20th century.

Group develops technique to shape pulses of intense infrared light

Thu, 18 May 2017 07:24:40 EDT

To capture fast-moving action in a dimly lit environment, a photographer will use the combination of a fast shutter speed and a quick burst of light.

Researchers create ultrafast tunable semiconductor metamaterial

Thu, 18 May 2017 06:30:01 EDT

An international team of researchers from Moscow State University (Russia), Sandia National Laboratories (U.S.), and Friedrich-Schiller University (Germany) have devised an ultrafast tunable metamaterial based on gallium arsenide nanoparticles. Their study was published in Nature Communications. The new optical metamaterial paves the way to ultrafast information transfer on the nanoscale.

World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Thu, 18 May 2017 05:00:03 EDT

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday electronics like smart phones, computers and TVs.

Destruction of a quantum monopole observed

Wed, 17 May 2017 13:45:06 EDT

Scientists at Amherst College (USA) and Aalto University (Finland) have made the first experimental observations of the dynamics of isolated monopoles in quantum matter.

Testing quantum field theory in a quantum simulator

Wed, 17 May 2017 13:00:04 EDT

Quantum field theories are often hard to verify in experiments. Now, there is a new way of putting them to the test. Scientists have created a quantum system consisting of thousands of ultra cold atoms. By keeping them in a magnetic trap on an atom chip, this atom cloud can be used as a 'quantum simulator', which yields new insights into some of the most fundamental questions of physics.

Two studies show possibility of some cosmic rays existing due to dark matter collisions

Wed, 17 May 2017 08:40:01 EDT

(—Two teams working independently have conducted studies with similar results suggesting the possibility that some of the cosmic rays striking the Earth arise from dark matter particles colliding with one another. One group, a trio of researchers with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, created models simulating conditions both with and without dark matter-produced particles. The other group, a team with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, conducted a study involving the boron-to-carbon ratio in cosmic particles. Both teams have published their results in Physical Review Letters.