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Description: Physics News and Research. Why is the universe more partial to matter than antimatter? How could fuel cells be more efficient? Read current science articles on physics.

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ScienceDaily: Physics News


Single-atom gold catalysts may offer path to low-cost production of fuel and chemicals
by on Thu, 27 Nov 2014 21:23:48 EST:
New catalysts designed and investigated by engineering researchers have potential to greatly reduce processing costs in future fuels like hydrogen. The catalysts are composed of a unique structure of single gold atoms bound by oxygen to sodium or potassium atoms, supported on non-reactive silica materials. They demonstrate comparable activity and stability with catalysts comprising precious metal nanoparticles on rare earth and other reducible oxide supports when used in producing highly purified hydrogen.
Heat-conducting plastic: 10 times better than conventional counterparts
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:16:20 EST:
The spaghetti-like internal structure of most plastics makes it hard for them to cast away heat, but a research team has made a plastic blend that does so 10 times better than its conventional counterparts.
High-tech mirror beams heat away from buildings into space
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:38:21 EST:
Engineers have invented a material designed to help cool buildings. The material reflects incoming sunlight, and it sends heat from inside the structure directly into space as infrared radiation.
Laser physicists 'see' how electrons make atomic and molecular transitions
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:44:13 EST:
By solving a six-dimensional equation that had previously stymied researchers, physicists have pinpointed the characteristics of a laser pulse that yields electron behavior they can predict and essentially control.
Engineers make sound loud enough to bend light on a computer chip: Device could improve wireless communications systems
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 12:44:09 EST:
Engineering researchers have developed a chip on which both sound wave and light wave are generated and confined together so that the sound can very efficiently control the light.
The mysterious 'action at a distance' between liquid containers
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 10:38:59 EST:
For several years, it has been known that superfluid helium housed in reservoirs located next to each other acts collectively, even when the channels connecting the reservoirs are too narrow and too long to allow for substantial flow. A new theoretical model reveals that the phenomenon of mysterious communication 'at a distance' between fluid reservoirs is much more common than previously thought.
Particles, waves and ants
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:42:44 EST:
Particles or waves traveling through disordered media are scattered at small impurities. Surprisingly, the density of these impurities does not affect the overall dwell time the particle -- or wave -- spends inside the medium. This remarkable finding applies not only to particles and waves, but also to crawling ants or drunken sailors hitting streetlamps.
Global quantum communications: No longer the stuff of fiction?
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:42:40 EST:
Neither quantum computers nor quantum cryptography will become prevalent technologies without memory systems able to manipulate quantum information easily and effectively. Scientists have recently made inroads into popularizing quantum information technologies by creating an atomic memory with outstanding parameters and an extremely simple construction.
It's particle-hunting season! Scientists launch Higgs Hunters Project
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 09:40:53 EST:
Scientists have launched the Higgs Hunters project, which will allow members of the general public to study images recorded at the Large Hadron Collider and to help search for previously unobserved particles.
Van der Waals force re-measured: Physicists verified nonlinear increase with growing molecular size
by on Wed, 26 Nov 2014 07:51:01 EST:
Van der Waals forces act like a sort of quantum glue on all types of matter. Using a new measuring technique, scientists experimentally determined for the first time all of the key details of how strongly the single molecules bind to a surface. With an atomic force microscope, they demonstrated that the forces do not just increase with molecular size, but that they even grow disproportionately fast.
Physicists bind single-atom sheets with the same force geckos use to climb walls
by on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:19:21 EST:
The approach is to design synergistic materials by combining two single-atom thick sheets, for example, that act as a photovoltaic cell as well as a light-emitting diode, converting energy between electricity and radiation.
Physicists predict fano resonance in lead-free relaxors: Discovery advances knowledge of poorly understood materials
by on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:48:00 EST:
Scientists predicts that a phenomenon known in physics as Fano resonance can exist in materials that are used in electronic devices. The discovery advances the fundamental understanding of ferroelectric relaxors, which were discovered in the early 1960s but whose properties are still poorly understood.
Physicists and chemists work to improve digital memory technology
by on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:36:06 EST:
Researchers are studying graphene and ammonia to develop high-speed, high-capacity random access memory. The team engineered and tested improvements in the performance of a memory structure known as a ferroelectric tunnel junction.
Ultra-short X-ray pulses explore the nano world
by on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:36:04 EST:
Ultra-short and extremely strong X-ray flashes, as produced by free-electron lasers, are opening the door to a hitherto unknown world. Scientists are using these flashes to take 'snapshots' of the geometry of tiniest structures, for example the arrangement of atoms in molecules. To improve not only spatial but also temporal resolution further requires knowledge about the precise duration and intensity of the X-ray flashes. An international team of scientists has now tackled this challenge.
Magnetic fields and lasers elicit graphene secret
by on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:53:43 EST:
Scientists have studied the dynamics of electrons from the 'wonder material' graphene in a magnetic field for the first time. This led to the discovery of a seemingly paradoxical phenomenon in the material. Its understanding could make a new type of laser possible in the future.
Cooling with the coldest matter in the world
by on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:18:21 EST:
Physicists have developed a new cooling technique for mechanical quantum systems. Using an ultracold atomic gas, the vibrations of a membrane were cooled down to less than 1 degree above absolute zero. This technique may enable novel studies of quantum physics and precision measurement devices.
Scientists do glass a solid, with new theory on how it transitions from a liquid
by on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:23:32 EST:
How does glass transition from a liquid to its familiar solid state? How does this common material transport heat and sound? And what microscopic changes occur when a glass gains rigidity as it cools? A team of researchers offers a theoretical explanation for these processes.
New terahertz device could strengthen security
by on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:12:32 EST:
We are all familiar with the security hassles that accompany air travel. Now a new type of security detection that uses terahertz radiation is looking to prove its promise. Researchers have developed a room temperature, compact, tunable terahertz source that could lead to advances in homeland security and space exploration. Able to detect explosives, chemical agents and dangerous biological substances from safe distances, devices using terahertz waves could make public spaces more secure than ever.
'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials
by on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:11:17 EST:
For the first time, researchers have grown a single atomic layer of tungsten diselenide on a one- atom-thick substrate of graphene with pristine interfaces between the two layers using an industrially scalable technique.
Improved nanomaterials: Understanding surface structure of quantum dots will aid design of new solar devices
by on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:39:48 EST:
A potential path to identify imperfections and improve the quality of nanomaterials for use in next-generation solar cells has just emerged.
Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites
by on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:34:24 EST:
Enzymes carry out fundamental biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration, with the help of clusters of metal atoms as 'active' sites. But scientists lack basic information about their function because the states thought to be critical to their chemical abilities cannot be experimentally observed. Now, researchers have reported the first direct observation of the electronic states of iron-sulfur clusters, common to many enzyme active sites.
Novel 2-in-1 biomarker, drug delivery system developed
by on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:35:09 EST:
A unique biomarker with two exceptional functions has been developed by researchers. First, it lights up when it detects tumour cells to allow scientists to take a better look. And it can also release anti-cancer drugs at the same time to the specific cells. This new biomarker, which has immense potential for drug development, is made from a nanophosphor particle, ten thousand times smaller than a grain of sand.
New technique allows ultrasound to penetrate bone, metal
by on Thu, 20 Nov 2014 11:34:49 EST:
Researchers have developed a technique that allows ultrasound to penetrate bone or metal, using customized structures that offset the distortion usually caused by these so-called 'aberrating layers.'
Physicists discover new subatomic particles
by on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:09:20 EST:
Physicists have discovered two never-before-seen baryonic particles. The finding is expected to have a major impact on the study of quark dynamics.
Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'
by on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:25:58 EST:
Physicists have discovered a new manganese compound that is produced by tension in the crystal structure of terbium manganese oxide. The technique they used to create this new material could open the way to new nanoscale circuits.
Field-emission plug-and-play solution for microwave electron guns
by on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 14:16:02 EST:
On a quest to design an alternative to the two complex approaches currently used to produce electrons within microwave electron guns, a team of researchers has demonstrated a plug-and-play solution capable of operating in this high-electric-field environment with a high-quality electron beam.
Physicists suggest new way to detect dark matter
by on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:56:26 EST:
For years physicists have been looking for the universe's elusive dark matter, but so far no one has seen any trace of it. Maybe we are looking in the wrong place? Now physicists propose a new technique to detect dark matter.
Fundamental constants are still constant: Atomic clocks prove stability of mass ratio of protons to electrons
by on Tue, 18 Nov 2014 07:27:44 EST:
Are the fundamental constants really constant? Recent investigations have shown that one essential fundamental constant -- namely the mass ratio of protons to electrons -- can have changed only by a maximum of one part in a million over the age of our solar system (i.e. extrapolated over approx. 5 billion years). Previously, scientists deemed the possible changes to be twice as high. To obtain this result, physicists from PTB compared caesium and ytterbium atomic clocks with each other for 7 years.
Method to measure residual stress in 3-D printed metal parts
by on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:47:24 EST:
Researchers have developed an efficient method to measure residual stress in metal parts produced by powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing.
Hiding in plain sight: Elusive dark matter may be detected with GPS satellites
by on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:47:22 EST:
The everyday use of a GPS device might be to find your way around town or even navigate a hiking trail, but for two physicists, the Global Positioning System might be a tool in directly detecting and measuring dark matter, so far an elusive but ubiquitous form of matter responsible for the formation of galaxies.
Scientists X-ray tiny cell organelles responsible for carbon fixation
by on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:07:29 EST:
Scientists have developed a high-throughput method of imaging biological particles using an X-ray laser. The images show projections of the carboxysome particle, a delicate and tiny cell compartment in photosynthetic bacteria.
Researchers create and control spin waves, lifting prospects for enhanced information processing
by on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:06:54 EST:
Physicists have developed a method to control the movements occurring within magnetic materials, which are used to store and carry information. The breakthrough could simultaneously bolster information processing while reducing the energy necessary to do so.
Spiral laser beam creates quantum whirlpool
by on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:33:36 EST:
Physicists have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons, hybrid particles that have properties of both matter and light and could link electronics with photonics.
Researchers discern the shapes of high-order Brownian motions
by on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:47:49 EST:
For the first time, scientists have vividly mapped the shapes and textures of high-order modes of Brownian motions -- in this case, the collective macroscopic movement of molecules in microdisk resonators.Engineers used a record-setting scanning optical interferometry technique.
'Topological insulators' promising for spintronics, quantum computers
by on Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:51:56 EST:
Researches have uncovered 'smoking-gun' evidence to confirm the workings of an emerging class of materials that could make possible 'spintronic' devices and practical quantum computers far more powerful than today's technologies.
Atomic timekeeping, on the go: New approach may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks
by on Wed, 12 Nov 2014 20:33:49 EST:
What time is it? The answer, no matter what your initial reference may be -- a wristwatch, a smartphone, or an alarm clock -- will always trace back to the atomic clock. Now researchers have come up with a new approach to atomic timekeeping that may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks, potentially the size of a Rubik's cube.
A piece of the quantum puzzle
by on Wed, 12 Nov 2014 14:48:37 EST:
Scientists have been exploring qubits (quantum bits) for quantum simulation. In this work, researchers have demonstrated a quantum version of Gauss's law. The novelty of the experiment is how the curvature was measured.
Shaking the topological cocktail of success: New class of materials
by on Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:21:01 EST:
Take ultracold potassium atoms, place a honeycomb lattice of laser beams on top of them and shake everything in a circular motion: this recipe enabled researchers to implement an idea for a new class of materials first proposed in 1988 in their laboratory.
All 'quantum weirdness' may be caused by interacting parallel worlds, physicist theorizes
by on Wed, 12 Nov 2014 13:19:27 EST:
A new theory of quantum mechanics was developed by Bill Poirier, a chemical physicist. The theory discusses parallel worlds' existence and the quantum effects observed in nature.
Twisted light waves sent across Vienna
by on Tue, 11 Nov 2014 19:22:33 EST:
A group of researchers from Austria have sent twisted beams of light across the rooftops of Vienna. It is the first time that twisted light has been transmitted over a large distance outdoors, and could enable researchers to take advantage of the significant data-carrying capacity of light in both classical and quantum communications.
Network physicists create model to predict traffic patterns
by on Tue, 11 Nov 2014 17:02:28 EST:
Researchers have designed a simple, yet highly accurate traffic prediction model for roadway transportation networks. The team's model is built on principles from physics similar to those that describe the current flows in circuits.
Creating bright X-ray pulses in the laser lab
by on Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:52:02 EST:
To create X-rays -- short wave radiation -- scientists have started out with very long wavelengths -- infrared laser. Long wavelength laser pulses rip atoms out of metal and accelerate them, which leads to emission of X-rays.
New electron spin secrets revealed
by on Mon, 10 Nov 2014 12:40:09 EST:
Researchers have demonstrated that it is possible to directly generate an electric current in a magnetic material by rotating its magnetization. The findings reveal a novel link between magnetism and electricity, and may have applications in electronics. The electric current generation demonstrated by the researchers is called charge pumping.
Noise in a microwave amplifier is limited by quantum particles of heat
by on Mon, 10 Nov 2014 12:40:07 EST:
Scientists have demonstrated how noise in a microwave amplifier is limited by self-heating at very low temperatures. The findings can be of importance for future discoveries in many areas of science such as quantum computers and radio astronomy. Many significant discoveries in physics and astronomy are dependent upon registering a barely detectable electrical signal in the microwave regime.
Good vibrations give electrons excitations that rock an insulator to go metallic
by on Mon, 10 Nov 2014 12:35:01 EST:
Scientists have made an important advancement in understanding a classic transition-metal oxide, vanadium dioxide, by quantifying the thermodynamic forces driving the transformation.
On-demand conductivity for graphene nanoribbons
by on Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:02:51 EST:
Physicists have devised a theoretical model to tune the conductivity of graphene zigzag nanoribbons using ultra-short pulses. Physicists have, for the first time, explored in detail the time evolution of the conductivity, as well as other quantum-level electron transport characteristics, of a graphene device subjected to periodic ultra-short pulses. To date, the majority of graphene studies have considered the dependency of transport properties on the characteristics of the external pulses, such as field strength, period or frequency.
On the Trail of Proteins: Scientists electrochemically detect protein binding on semiconductors
by on Fri, 07 Nov 2014 13:17:24 EST:
Scientists have succeeded in electrochemically detecting protein binding on semiconductor materials for the first time, thanks to a newly developed investigative method based on differences in electrical charge. Now the physicists are working on an optical process to detect and localize protein binding directly under a microscope, for example, a method that could launch new applications in medical research and diagnostics.
Maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle after all
by on Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:10:27 EST:
Last year CERN announced the finding of a new elementary particle, the Higgs particle. But maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle, maybe it just looks like it. And maybe it is not alone.
Thermomagnetic processing method provides path to new materials
by on Thu, 06 Nov 2014 15:23:35 EST:
For much the same reason LCD televisions offer eye-popping performance, a thermomagnetic processing method can advance the performance of polymers.
How to make mobile batteries last longer by controlling energy flows at nano-level
by on Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:26:26 EST:
Electronic devices waste a lot of energy by producing useless heat. This is one of the main reasons our mobiles use up battery power so quickly. Researchers have now made a leap forward in understanding how this happens and how this waste could be reduced by controlling energy flows at a molecular level. This would make our technology cheaper to run and more durable.
'Direct writing' of diamond patterns from graphite a potential technological leap
by on Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:35:49 EST:
What began as research into a method to strengthen metals has led to the discovery of a new technique that uses a pulsing laser to create synthetic nanodiamond films and patterns from graphite, with potential applications from biosensors to computer chips.
Milestone in accelerating particles with plasma: Technique is powerful, efficient enough to drive future particle accelerators
by on Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:19:43 EST:
Scientists have shown that a promising technique for accelerating electrons on waves of plasma is efficient enough to power a new generation of shorter, more economical accelerators. This could greatly expand their use in areas such as medicine, national security, industry and high-energy physics research.
Measuring nano-vibrations
by on Wed, 05 Nov 2014 11:26:22 EST:
Researchers have fabricated carbon nanotube mechanical resonators capable of exhibiting the highest quality factors to date.
The Peres conjecture is false, experts say
by on Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:34:58 EST:
Since 1999, the conjecture by Asher Peres, who invented quantum teleportation, has piqued the interest of many scientists in the field. According to his hypothesis, the weakest form of quantum entanglement can never result in the strongest manifestation of the phenomenon. Today, scientists have proven this conjecture to be false, thus solving one of the most famous problems in quantum information physics.
Dark matter may be massive: Theorists suggest the standard model may account for the stuff
by on Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:16:29 EST:
Instead of WIMPS or axions, dark matter may be made of macroscopic objects as small as a few ounces up to the size of a good asteroid, and probably as dense as a neutron star or the nucleus of an atom, researchers suggest.
Physicists narrow search for solution to proton spin puzzle
by on Tue, 04 Nov 2014 11:11:50 EST:
Results from recent experiments reveal new insights about how quarks and gluons, the subatomic building blocks of matter, contribute to proton “spin.”
String field theory could be the foundation of quantum mechanics: Connection could be huge boost to string theory
by on Mon, 03 Nov 2014 14:23:26 EST:
Scientists propose a link between string field theory and quantum mechanics that could open the door to using string field theory as the basis of all physics. Their calculations "could solve the mystery of where quantum mechanics comes from," said a co-author.
Plasma: Casimir and Yukawa mesons
by on Mon, 03 Nov 2014 08:25:20 EST:
The Casimir electromagnetic fluctuation forces across plasmas are analogous to so-called weak nuclear interaction forces according to new research. A new theoretical work has established a long-sought-after connection between nuclear particles and electromagnetic theories. Its findings suggest that there is an equivalence between generalized Casimir forces and those that are referred to as weak nuclear interactions between protons and neutrons.
Ultracold disappearing act: 'Matter waves' move through one another but never share space
by on Sun, 02 Nov 2014 16:01:09 EST:
How can two clumps of matter pass through each other without sharing space? Physicists have documented a strange disappearing act by colliding Bose Einstein condensates that appear to keep their distance even as they pass through one another.
Step toward quantum computers: Two photons strongly coupled by glass fiber
by on Sun, 02 Nov 2014 16:01:05 EST:
Usually, light waves do not interact with each other. Coupling of photons with other photons is only possible with the help of special materials and very intense light. Scientists have now created the strongest possible coupling of only two photons -- an important achievement for quantum optics.