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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

Elusive quantum transformations found near absolute zero
by on Mon, 15 Sep 2014 15:36:11 EDT:
To isolate quantum fluctuations that define the properties of a metallic material, scientists probed it at temperatures colder than interstellar space. The research provides new methods to identify and understand promising new materials, including superconductors.
Three's a charm: Detectors reveal entangled photon triplets
by on Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:07:53 EDT:
Researchers have directly entangled three photons in the most technologically useful state for the first time, thanks in part to superfast, super-efficient single-photon detectors.
New math and quantum mechanics: Fluid mechanics suggests alternative to quantum orthodoxy
by on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:06:34 EDT:
The central mystery of quantum mechanics is that small chunks of matter sometimes seem to behave like particles, sometimes like waves. For most of the past century, the prevailing explanation of this conundrum has been what's called the "Copenhagen interpretation" -- which holds that, in some sense, a single particle really is a wave, smeared out across the universe, that collapses into a determinate location only when observed. But some founders of quantum physics -- notably Louis de Broglie -- championed an alternative interpretation, known as "pilot-wave theory," which posits that quantum particles are borne along on some type of wave. According to pilot-wave theory, the particles have definite trajectories, but because of the pilot wave's influence, they still exhibit wavelike statistics. Now a professor of applied mathematics believes that pilot-wave theory deserves a second look.
Moving silicon atoms in graphene with atomic precision
by on Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:24:19 EDT:
In recent years, it has become possible to see directly individual atoms using electron microscopy -- especially in graphene, the one-atom-thick sheet of carbon. Scientists have now shown how an electron beam can move silicon atoms through the graphene lattice without causing damage. The research combines advanced electron microscopy with demanding computer simulations.
Scientists fabricate single-photon sources in solid matter
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:09:21 EDT:
A breakthrough in quantum information processing was achieved using state-of-the-art diamond growth technology. A research group has successfully fabricated for the first time in the world single-photon sources of SiV (silicon vacancy) centers – one of the color centers in diamond during the growth of thin film diamond, which have high purity and crystalline quality – by introducing them at extremely low concentrations.
Astrophysicists to probe how early universe made chemical elements
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:39:41 EDT:
In the beginning, all was hydrogen -- and helium, plus a bit of lithium. Three elements in all. Today's universe, however, has nearly a hundred naturally occurring elements, with thousands of variants (isotopes), and more likely to come. Figuring out how the universe got from its starting batch of three elements to the menagerie found today is the focus of a new research project.
High Flux Isotope Reactor Named Nuclear Historic Landmark
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:31:06 EDT:
The High Flux Isotope Reactor, or HFIR, has been designated a Nuclear Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society. The reactor was conceived in the late 1950s as a production reactor to meet anticipated demand for transuranic isotopes ("heavy" elements such as plutonium and curium). HFIR today is a DOE Office of Science User Facility and one of the world's sole sources of the radioisotope californium-252, used in industry and medicine.
New species of electrons can lead to better computing
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:54:46 EDT:
Electrons that break the rules and move perpendicular to the applied electric field could be the key to delivering next generation, low-energy computers.
'Talking' and 'listening' to atoms: Scientists make acoustic waves couple to an artificial atom
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:54:44 EDT:
Scientists have used sound to communicate with an artificial atom. They can thereby demonstrate phenomena from quantum physics with sound taking on the role of light.
The quantum revolution is a step closer: New way to run a quantum algorithm
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:30:26 EDT:
A new way to run a quantum algorithm using much simpler methods than previously thought has been discovered. These findings could dramatically bring forward the development of a 'quantum computer' capable of beating a conventional computer.
Excitonic dark states shed light on TMDC atomic layers: New promise for nanoelectronic and photonic applications
by on Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:47:51 EDT:
Researchers believe they have uncovered the secret behind the unusual optoelectronic properties of single atomic layers of TMDC materials, the two-dimensional semiconductors that hold great promise for nanoelectronic and photonic applications.
Electronics that need very little energy? Nanotechnology used to help cool electrons with no external sources
by on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:25:34 EDT:
A team of researchers has discovered a way to cool electrons to minus 228 degrees Celsius without external means and at room temperature, an advancement that could enable electronic devices to function with very little energy.
Advancing understanding of graphene's friction properties
by on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:05:33 EDT:
On the macroscale, adding fluorine atoms to carbon-based materials makes for water-repellant, non-stick surfaces, such as Teflon. However, on the nanoscale, adding fluorine to graphene had been reported to vastly increase the friction experienced when sliding against the material. Through a combination of physical experiments and atomistic simulations, scientists have discovered the mechanism behind this surprising finding, which could help researchers better design and control the surface properties of new materials.
Geomagnetic storm mystery solved: How magnetic energy turns into particle energy
by on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:38:34 EDT:
Magnetic reconnection can trigger geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and black out power grids. But how reconnection, in which the magnetic field lines in plasma snap apart and violently reconnect, transforms magnetic energy into explosive particle energy remains a major unsolved problem in plasma astrophysics.
Algorithm for accurate calculation of average distance traveled by low-speed electrons without energy loss
by on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:33:29 EDT:
Scientists have developed a theoretical algorithm to accurately calculate the average distance traveled by low-energy/low-speed electrons without energy loss that are sensitive to the surface structures of materials through which they travel while retaining their energy information.
New method to detect prize particle for future quantum computing
by on Wed, 10 Sep 2014 08:33:27 EDT:
Scientists have uncovered a new method to detect Majorana particles, a key element for a next-generation quantum computing platform. Quantum computing relies on the laws of quantum mechanics to process vast amounts of information and calculations simultaneously, with far more power than current computers. However, development of quantum computers has been limited as researchers have struggled to find a reliable way to increase the power of these systems, a power measured in Q-Bits.
Graphene gets a 'cousin' in the shape of germanene
by on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:21:28 EDT:
Scientists have successfully synthesized the 2-D material germanene. Dubbed a 'cousin of graphene', the material, which is made up of just a single layer of germanium atoms, is expected to exhibit impressive electrical and optical properties and could be widely integrated across the electronics industry in the future.
Two-dimensional electron liquids: Looking for novel forms of superconductivity
by on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:23:37 EDT:
Truly two-dimensional objects are rare. Even a thin piece of paper is trillions of atoms thick. When physicists do succeed in producing 2D systems, quantum interactions can lead to new phenomena and Nobel prizes. Two examples: graphene -- single-atom-thick sheets of carbon atoms -- has unique mechanical, electrical, and optical properties; and two-dimensional electron gases (2DEG) -- planar collections of electrons supported at the interface between certain semiconductors such as gallium arsenide -- allow the observation of such emergent behaviors as the quantum Hall effect and the spin Hall effect. Using an overlying bath of ionic liquid, a piece of superconductor -- divided by an insulating strip -- supports narrow tunnels which permit currents to flow between.
'Solid' light could compute previously unsolvable problems
by on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 13:08:10 EDT:
Researchers have begun crystallizing light as part of an effort to answer fundamental questions about the physics of matter. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together photons, the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.
Squeezed quantum communication: Flashes of light in quantum states transmitted through atmosphere
by on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:33:44 EDT:
Scientists have sent a pulse of bright light in a particularly sensitive quantum state through 1.6 kilometers of air. This quantum state, which they call squeezed, was maintained, which is something many physicists thought to be impossible. Eavesdropping on a message protected by quantum cryptography cannot be done without being noticed.
Phosphorus a promising semiconductor: Physicists find 2-D form pays no heed to defects
by on Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:36:21 EDT:
The two-dimensional form of phosphorus may be a useful, flaw-resistant semiconductor for electronics. Theory shows the material's electronic properties are not affected by point defects or grain boundaries.
Layered graphene sandwich for next generation electronics
by on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:36:55 EDT:
Sandwiching layers of graphene with white graphene could produce designer materials capable of creating high-frequency electronic devices, scientists have found.
Light detector to revolutionize night vision technology
by on Mon, 08 Sep 2014 09:36:47 EDT:
A light detector that could revolutionize chemical sensing and night vision technology has been developed by researchers. Based on graphene, the detector is capable of detecting light over an unusually broad range of wavelengths, included in this are terahertz waves -- between infrared and microwave radiation, where sensitive light detection is most difficult.
Seeing below the surface: Ultra-thin, high-speed detector captures unprecedented range of light waves
by on Sun, 07 Sep 2014 18:17:24 EDT:
Research could lead to light detectors that can see below the surface of bodies, walls, and other objects, with applications in emerging terahertz fields such as mobile communications, medical imaging, chemical sensing, night vision, and security.
Continuing Bragg legacy of structure determination
by on Sun, 07 Sep 2014 18:06:46 EDT:
Over 100 years since the Nobel Prize-winning father and son team Sir William and Sir Lawrence Bragg pioneered the use of X-rays to determine crystal structure, researchers have made significant new advances in the field.
Atomically thin material opens door for integrated nanophotonic circuits
by on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:12:43 EDT:
Researchers have described a new combination of materials that could be a step towards building computer chips capable of transporting digital information at the speed of light.
A new model for a cosmological enigma -- dark matter: Solving long-standing and troublesome puzzles
by on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 12:12:41 EDT:
Astrophysicists believe that about 80 percent of the substance of our universe is made up of mysterious "dark matter" that can't be perceived by human senses or scientific instruments.
Titania-based material holds promise as new insulator for superconductors
by on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 09:30:09 EDT:
Researchers show that a type of modified titania, or titanium dioxide, holds promise as an electrical insulator for superconducting magnets, allowing heat to dissipate while preserving the electrical paths along which current flows.
Nano-pea pod model widens electronics applications
by on Thu, 04 Sep 2014 09:27:12 EDT:
A new theoretical model explains how a nanostructure, such as the nano-pea pod, can exhibit localized electrons. Periodic chain-like nanostructures are widely used in nanoelectronics. Typically, chain elements include the likes of quantum rings, quantum dots, or quantum graphs. Such a structure enables electrons to move along the chain, in theory, indefinitely. The trouble is that some applications require localized electrons —- these are no longer in a continuous energy spectrum but in a discrete energy spectrum, instead.
A smart fluorescent antenna for Wi-Fi applications
by on Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:31:28 EDT:
A new invention uses ionized gas in fluorescent light tubes to transmit Internet wireless frequency signals throughout a building with the aid of already existing electrical wiring.
Ultracold atoms juggle spins with exceptional symmetry
by on Wed, 03 Sep 2014 09:19:47 EDT:
Scientists have succeeded in revealing a highly symmetric exchange of spins between ytterbium atoms in different electronic orbital states.
Cool calculations for cold atoms: New theory of universal three-body encounters
by on Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:13:06 EDT:
Chemical reactions drive the mechanisms of life as well as a million other natural processes on earth. These reactions occur at a wide spectrum of temperatures, from those prevailing at the chilly polar icecaps to those at work churning near earth's core. At nanokelvin temperatures, by contrast, nothing was supposed to happen. Chemistry was expected to freeze up. Experiments and theoretical work have now show that this is not true. Even at conditions close to absolute zero atoms can interact and manage to form chemical bonds. Now the first full theory that accounts for interactions at nano-kelvin temperatures -- in those situations where 3-atom states can form even while all 2-atom states are unstable has been developed.
New synthesis method may shape future of nanostructures, clean energy
by on Tue, 02 Sep 2014 15:12:14 EDT:
A team of physicists has published new nanoscience advances that they and other scientists say make possible new nanostructures and nanotechnologies with huge potential applications ranging from clean energy and quantum computing advances to new sensor development.
Quantum control of molecules for ultra-fast computers: Single laser stops molecular tumbling motion instantly
by on Tue, 02 Sep 2014 09:34:29 EDT:
In the quantum world, making the simple atom behave is one thing, but making the more complex molecule behave is another story. Now scientists have figured out an elegant way to stop a molecule from tumbling so that its potential for new applications, such as quantum computing, can be harnessed: shine a single laser on a trapped molecule and it instantly cools to the temperature of outer space, stopping the rotation of the molecule.
Engineers develop new sensor to detect tiny individual nanoparticles
by on Mon, 01 Sep 2014 21:14:13 EDT:
Scientists have developed a new sensor that can detect and count nanoparticles, at sizes as small as 10 nanometers, one at a time. The researchers say the sensor could potentially detect much smaller particles, viruses and small molecules.
Pioneer strategy for creating new materials
by on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:59:44 EDT:
Making something new is never easy. Scientists constantly theorize about new materials, but when the material is manufactured it doesn't always work as expected. To create a new strategy for designing materials, scientists combined two different approaches at two different facilities to synthesize new materials. This new strategy gives faster feedback on what growth schemes are best, thus shortening the timeframe to manufacture a new, stable material for energy transport and conversion applications.
Breakthrough in light sources for new quantum technology
by on Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:42:49 EDT:
One of the most promising technologies for future quantum circuits are photonic circuits, i.e. circuits based on light (photons) instead of electrons (electronic circuits). First, it is necessary to create a stream of single photons and control their direction. Researchers have now succeeded in creating a steady stream of photons emitted one at a time and in a particular direction.
Watching the structure of glass under pressure
by on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 14:28:07 EDT:
Glass has many applications that call for different properties, such as resistance to thermal shock or to chemically harsh environments. Glassmakers commonly use additives such as boron oxide to tweak these properties by changing the atomic structure of glass. Now researchers have for the first time captured atoms in borosilicate glass flipping from one structure to another as it is placed under high pressure.
A new, tunable device for spintronics
by on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:53:21 EDT:
An international team of scientists has developed a tunable spin-charge converter made of GaAs. Spin-charge converters are important devices in spintronics, an electronic which is not only based on the charge of electrons but also on their spin and the spin-related magnetism. Spin-charge converters enable the transformation of electric into magnetic signals and vice versa.
Quantum physics enables revolutionary imaging method
by on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:08:20 EDT:
Researchers have developed a fundamentally new quantum imaging technique with strikingly counter-intuitive features. For the first time, an image has been obtained without ever detecting the light that was used to illuminate the imaged object, while the light revealing the image never touches the imaged object.
Doing more with less: New technique uses fraction of measurements to efficiently find quantum wave functions
by on Thu, 28 Aug 2014 11:01:28 EDT:
Just two years ago, with the advent of a technique called direct measurement, scientists discovered they could reliably determine a system’s wave function by “weakly” measuring one of its variables (e.g. position) and “strongly” measuring a complementary variable (momentum). Researchers have now taken this method one step forward by combining direct measurement with an efficient computational technique.
Why some liquids are 'fragile' and others are 'strong'
by on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:34:47 EDT:
Only recently has it become possible to accurately 'see' the structure of a liquid. Using X-rays and a high-tech apparatus that holds liquids without a container, a physicist has compared the behavior of glass-forming liquids as they approach the glass transition. The results are the strongest demonstration yet that bulk properties like viscosity are linked to microscopic ones like structure.
Detecting neutrinos, physicists look into the heart of the sun
by on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:16:52 EDT:
Using one of the most sensitive neutrino detectors on the planet, physicists have directly detected neutrinos created by the 'keystone' proton-proton fusion process going on at the sun's core for the first time.
Materials other than silicon for next generation electronic devices
by on Wed, 27 Aug 2014 12:25:09 EDT:
Silicon has been the most successful material of the 20th century, with major global industries and even a valley named after it. But silicon may be running out of steam for high performance/low power electronics. As silicon strains against the physical limits of performance, could a material like InGaAs provide enough of an improvement over silicon that it would be worth the expense in new equipment lines and training to make the switch worthwhile?
Atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions crafted by scientists
by on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:53:38 EDT:
Two single-layer semiconductor materials can be connected in an atomically seamless fashion known as a heterojunction, researchers say. This result could be the basis for next-generation flexible and transparent computing, better light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, and solar technologies.
Competition for graphene: Researchers demonstrate ultrafast charge transfer in new family of 2-D semiconductors
by on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:25:37 EDT:
The first experimental observation of ultrafast charge transfer in photo-excited MX2 materials, the graphene-like two-dimensional semiconductors, has been conducted. Charge transfer time clocked in at under 50 femtoseconds, comparable to the fastest times recorded for organic photovoltaics.
Do we live in a 2-D hologram? Experiment will test the nature of the universe
by on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 12:10:52 EDT:
A unique experiment called the Holometer has started collecting data that will answer some mind-bending questions about our universe -- including whether we live in a hologram.
Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle
by on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:26:48 EDT:
Dynamic nanoparticles (NPs) have been developed that could provide an arsenal of applications to diagnose and treat cancer. Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles can be used as contrast agents to light up tumors for MRI and PET scans or deliver chemo and other therapies to destroy tumors. In addition, the particles are biocompatible and have shown no toxicity.
Laser pulse turns glass into a metal: New effect could be used for ultra-fast logical switches
by on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:08:08 EDT:
For tiny fractions of a second, quartz glass can take on metallic properties, when it is illuminated be a laser pulse. This has been shown by new calculations. The effect could be used to build logical switches which are much faster than today's microelectronics.
Duality principle is 'safe and sound'
by on Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:10:55 EDT:
Decades of experiments have verified the quirky laws of quantum theory again and again. So when scientists in Germany announced in 2012 an apparent violation of a fundamental law of quantum mechanics, physicists were determined to find an explanation.
Physics research removes outcome unpredictability of ultracold atomic reactions
by on Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:58:34 EDT:
A physics model helps scientists accurately predict the likely outcome of a chemical reaction as well as sheds new light on mysterious quantum states, including the Efimov effect.
Breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy
by on Fri, 22 Aug 2014 08:39:05 EDT:
Nanometer-scale gold particles are intensively investigated for application as catalysts, sensors, drug delivery devices, biological contrast agents and components in photonics and molecular electronics. Gaining knowledge of their atomic-scale structures, fundamental for understanding physical and chemical properties, has been challenging. Now, researchers at have demonstrated that high-resolution electron microscopy can be used to reveal a three-dimensional structure in which all gold atoms are observed.
Laser device may end pin pricks, improve quality of life for diabetics
by on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:16:10 EDT:
Researchers have developed a way to use a laser to measure people's blood sugar, and, with more work to shrink the laser system to a portable size, the technique could allow diabetics to check their condition without pricking themselves to draw blood. In a new article, the researchers describe how they measured blood sugar by directing their specialized laser at a person's palm.
X-ray laser probes tiny quantum tornadoes in superfluid droplets
by on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:15:44 EDT:
An experiment at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory revealed a well-organized 3-D grid of quantum 'tornadoes' inside microscopic droplets of supercooled liquid helium -- the first time this formation has been seen at such a tiny scale. The findings by an international research team provide new insight on the strange nanoscale traits of a so-called 'superfluid' state of liquid helium.
First direct evidence of 'spin symmetry' in atoms
by on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 14:14:36 EDT:
Physicists have observed the first direct evidence of symmetry in the magnetic properties -- or nuclear 'spins' -- of atoms. The advance could spin off practical benefits such as the ability to simulate and better understand exotic materials such as superconductors.
Physicists have chilled the world's coolest molecule
by on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:59:24 EDT:
Physicists have chilled the world's coolest molecules. The tiny titans in question are bits of strontium monofluoride, dropped to 2.5 thousandths of a degree above absolute zero through a laser cooling and isolating process called magneto-optical trapping. They are the coldest molecules ever achieved through direct cooling, and they represent a physics milestone likely to prompt new research in areas ranging from quantum chemistry to tests of the most basic theories in particle physics.
Water window imaging opportunity
by on Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:58:43 EDT:
Ever heard of the water window? It consists of radiations in the 3.3 to 4.4 nanometer range, which are not absorbed by the water in biological tissues. A new theoretical study identifies the physical mechanism needed to efficiently generate harmonic radiations at high laser intensities that occur beyond the saturation threshold of atoms and molecules. These findings are aimed at improving conventional methods of coherent radiation production to reach the water window.
Seeing a molecule breathe through scattering of light pulses
by on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:04:38 EDT:
For the first time, chemists have succeeded in measuring vibrational motion of a single molecule with a femtosecond time resolution. The study reveals how vibration of a single molecule differs from the behavior of larger molecular groups. Seeing a single organic bipyridylethylene (BPE) molecule vibrate as a function of time was possible through the scattering of the light pulses. The method is known as time-resolved coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (tr-CARS).
Testing the shelf-life of nuclear reactors
by on Wed, 20 Aug 2014 09:16:03 EDT:
Researchers have devised a quick way to test the structural materials used to build nuclear reactors.
Сalculations with nanoscale smart particles: Important step towards creating medical nanorobots
by on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:32:01 EDT:
Researchers in Russia have made an important step towards creating medical nanorobots, discovering a way of enabling them to produce logical calculations using a variety of biochemical reactions.