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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.


Piling on pressure solves enduring mystery about metal's makeup

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:00:12 EDT

Scientists have solved a decades-old puzzle about a widely used metal, thanks to extreme pressure experiments and powerful supercomputing.

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:00:10 EDT

In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them. Able to operate in ordinary, room-temperature environments, yet exploiting some of the deepest principles of quantum physics, these optomechanical systems can act as inherently accurate thermometers, or conversely, as a type of optical shield that diverts heat. The research was performed by a team led by the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a research collaboration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland.

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 14:00:02 EDT

At EPFL, researchers challenge a fundamental law and discover that more electromagnetic energy can be stored in wave-guiding systems than previously thought. The discovery has implications in telecommunications. Working around the fundamental law, they conceived resonant and wave-guiding systems capable of storing energy over a prolonged period while keeping a broad bandwidth. Their trick was to create asymmetric resonant or wave-guiding systems using magnetic fields.

New screen coating makes reading in sunlight a lot easier—the secret? Moth eyes

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:36:33 EDT

Screens on even the newest phones and tablets can be hard to read outside in bright sunlight. Inspired by the nanostructures found on moth eyes, researchers have developed a new antireflection film that could keep people from having to run to the shade to look at their mobile devices.

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:16:24 EDT

Assistant Professor Taichi Goto at Toyohashi University of Technology elucidated the noise generation mechanism of the spin wave (SW), the wave of a magnetic moment transmitted through magnetic oxide, and established a way to suppress it. The large noise generated by SWs traveling through magnetic oxides has presented a significant obstacle to its applications. However, it became clear that noise can be suppressed by installing a thin gold film in the appropriate places. This method is expected to be applied to SW devices such as multi-input and multi-output phase interference devices for SWs. The research results were reported in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics on June 15, 2017.

3-D virus cam catches germs red-handed

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:10:18 EDT

Before germs like viruses can make you sick, they first have to make a landing on one of your cells—Mars Rover style—and then punch their way inside.

Injector 2—a pre-accelerator for protons

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:40:01 EDT

As fundamental building blocks of matter, protons are a part of all things that surround us. At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, however, they step out of their usual role and are deployed to generate other particles, namely neutrons and muons, which are subsequently used to study materials. With this aim, the protons have first to be accelerated. An important role in this is played by a three-stage accelerator facility, in the middle of which stands the accelerator known as Injector 2.

Ultra-thin camera creates images without lenses

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:18:33 EDT

Traditional cameras—even those on the thinnest of cell phones—cannot be truly flat due to their optics: lenses that require a certain shape and size in order to function. At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image.

Camera captures microscopic holograms at femtosecond speeds

Thu, 22 Jun 2017 06:40:21 EDT

Researchers from ITMO University have built a setup for recording holograms of tiny objects like living cells at femtosecond speeds. The new method reconstructs the phase topography of a sample according to deformations that emerge in a laser pulse when it passes through the specimen. In comparison to electron microscopes, the device can visualize transparent biological structures without introducing contrast agents. The paper was published in Applied Physics Letters.

Self-assembling reagents with tunable colors and brightness enable highly multiplexed tagging, microscopic imaging

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 14:00:11 EDT

Biomedical researchers are understanding the functions of molecules within the body's cells in ever greater detail by increasing the resolution of their microscopes. However, what's lagging behind is their ability to simultaneously visualize the many different molecules that mediate complex molecular processes in a single snap-shot.

New 3-D display takes the eye fatigue out of virtual reality

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:50:28 EDT

There is a great deal of excitement around virtual reality (VR) headsets that display a computer-simulated world and augmented reality (AR) glasses that overlay computer-generated elements with the real world. Although AR and VR devices are starting to hit the market, they remain mostly a novelty because eye fatigue makes them uncomfortable to use for extended periods. A new type of 3D display could solve this long-standing problem by greatly improving the viewing comfort of these wearable devices.

Experiment shows non-classical growth of crystals

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:45:59 EDT

This might considerably speed up crystal growth that is of major importance in a number of materials and applications. The liquid state of the building blocks in the preliminary stage might also accelerate the effectiveness of medicines. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal Nature Communications on 21 June 2017.

Problem of wheeled suitcases wobbling explained

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:20:03 EDT

(—A team of researchers at Universite Paris-Diderot has uncovered the reason for wobbling of wheeled suitcases. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, the group explains the physics behind suitcase wobbling and offer some suggestions to overcome the problem.

New prototypes for superconducting undulators show promise for more powerful, versatile X-ray beams

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 07:45:37 EDT

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Argonne National Laboratory have collaborated to design, build and test two devices that utilize different superconducting materials and could make X-ray lasers more powerful, versatile, compact and durable.

Neutron scattering clarifies the arrangement of skyrmions in material

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:57:00 EDT

Measurements at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering have helped clarify the arrangement of magnetic vortices, known as skyrmions, in manganese silicide (MnSi).

Deceleration of runaway electrons paves the way for fusion power

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 03:53:24 EDT

Fusion power has the potential to provide clean and safe energy that is free from carbon dioxide emissions. However, imitating the solar energy process is a difficult task to achieve. Two young plasma physicists at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a technology model that could lead to better methods for decelerating runaway electrons that could destroy a future reactor without warning.

Einstein letters on God, Israel and physics fetch $210,000

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 15:55:49 EDT

Letters written by Albert Einstein about God, Israel and physics fetched nearly $210,000 at a Jerusalem auction Tuesday, with the highest bid going to a missive about God's creation of the world.

Making waves with the hot electrons within Earth's radiation belts

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:55:55 EDT

Encircling the Earth, within its magnetosphere, are two concentric, doughnut-shaped radiation belts known as the Van Allen belts. The Van Allen belts swell and recede in response to incoming energy from the sun, sometimes billowing far enough to expose orbiting satellites and other spacecraft to damaging radiation that can disrupt electronic communications and navigation signals, as well as electric grids. These radiation belt electrons travel near the speed of light and emit and absorb waves that are used by scientists to understand space weather.

Scientists turbocharge high-resolution, 3-D imaging

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:52:34 EDT

You may not have heard of optical coherence tomography, or OCT. But if you've visited an ophthalmologist recently, chances are your eye came within an inch or two of a scanning device employing the technology. Tens of thousands of these devices are in place in doctors' offices, where they're widely used to check for eye diseases.

Scientists develop innovative, atomic resonance-based method to measure electric fields

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:29:35 EDT

In the last decades, mobile phones and other wireless devices have become central features of life around the globe. These devices radiate varied amounts of electromagnetic energy and thus project electric fields into the surrounding space. It is crucial to the design and deployment of these devices that they have accurate and traceable measurements for electric fields and radiated power. Until recently, however, it was not possible to build self-calibrating probes that could generate independent and absolute measurements of these electric field values.

Wave beams mix and stir the ocean to create climate

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:26:25 EDT

Ocean circulation patterns have a profound effect on global climate. Waves deep within the ocean play an important role in establishing this circulation, arising when tidal currents oscillate over an uneven ocean bottom. The internal waves that are generated by this process stir and mix the ocean, bringing cold, deep water to the surface to be warmed by the sun.

Cow herd behavior is fodder for complex systems analysis

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:25:55 EDT

The image of grazing cows in a field has long conjured up a romantic nostalgia about a relaxed pace of rural life. With closer inspection, however, researchers have recognized that what appears to be a randomly dispersed herd peacefully eating grass is in fact a complex system of individuals in a group facing differing tensions. A team of mathematicians and a biologist has now built a mathematical model that incorporates a cost function to behavior in such a herd to understand the dynamics of such systems.

Illuminating a better way to calculate excitation energy

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:25:05 EDT

Glow sticks, like those brandished by trick-or-treaters and partygoers, light up due to excited electrons of the molecules in the contained fluorescent dye. Electrons accept the exciting energy from a chemical reaction that results when an inner tube in the glow stick is cracked and two fluids come into contact. After exciting to a higher energy level, they relax back to a lower energy by releasing light that can guide young candy hunters in costumes.

Researchers experiment with geometric factors to maximize plasma jet length

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:20:59 EDT

Bursts of plasma, called plasma jets, have numerous uses ranging from the development of more efficient engines, which could one day send spacecraft to Mars, to industrial uses like spraying nanomaterial coatings on 3-D objects.

Electron caught in the act

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:28:43 EDT

Australia's fastest camera has revealed the time it takes for molecules to break apart.

New laser technique identifies the makeup of space debris, from painted shards to Teflon

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:45:47 EDT

Hundreds of millions of pieces of space junk orbit the Earth daily, from chips of old rocket paint, to shards of solar panels, and entire dead satellites. This cloud of high-tech detritus whirls around the planet at about 17,500 miles per hour. At these speeds, even trash as small as a pebble can torpedo a passing spacecraft.

Soliton molecules caused to vibrate like real molecules

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:37:14 EDT

(—A team of researchers with the University of Burgundy in France has shown that solitons can vibrate like real molecules when paired. They have published a paper describing their technique and findings in the Physical Review Letters journal.

Researchers developing a new balance for the new kilogram

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:26:04 EDT

Technische Universität Ilmenau and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (the National Metrology Institute of Germany) are developing a balance which is required for measuring the redefined kilogram that will be introduced in 2018. Called the Planck balance, this highly precise electronic weighing balance is not based on weights, but refers to the fundamental physical constant called Planck's constant. The balance will be used worldwide for calibrating other scales or balances so that they correspond to the system with this new method. The new balance will also be used in industry for measuring weights.

Tiny bubbles provide tremendous propulsion in new microparticles research

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 04:01:41 EDT

An innovative technique using light and tiny bubbles to propel microparticles at forces many times greater than previously achieved has been developed by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers.

Sound waves direct particles to self-assemble, self-heal

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:00:05 EDT

An elegantly simple experiment with floating particles self-assembling in response to sound waves has provided a new framework for studying how seemingly lifelike behaviors emerge in response to external forces.