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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

Universe may face a darker future: Is dark matter swallowing up dark energy?
by on Fri, 31 Oct 2014 08:20:21 EDT:
New research offers a novel insight into the nature of dark matter and dark energy and what the future of our Universe might be. Scientists have found hints that dark matter, the cosmic scaffolding on which our Universe is built, is being slowly erased, swallowed up by dark energy.
Lord of the microrings: Breakthrough in microring laser cavities reported
by on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:08:58 EDT:
Researchers report a significant breakthrough in laser technology with the development of a unique microring laser cavity that can produce single-mode lasing on demand. This advance holds ramifications for a wide range of optoelectronic applications including metrology and interferometry, data storage and communications, and high-resolution spectroscopy.
Scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds: Many Interacting Worlds theory challenges foundations of quantum science
by on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:16:54 EDT:
Academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory on parallel universes. Scientists now propose that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics.
Physicists pave the way for quantum interfaces
by on Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:12:20 EDT:
Researchers have controlled interplay of light and matter at the level of individual photons emitted by rubidium.
Can the wave function of an electron be divided and trapped?
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 21:41:29 EDT:
Electrons are elementary particles -- indivisible, unbreakable. But new research suggests the electron's quantum state -- the electron wave function -- can be separated into many parts. That has some strange implications for the theory of quantum mechanics.
Postcards from the plasma edge: How lithium conditions the volatile edge of fusion plasmas
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:26:12 EDT:
For magnetic fusion energy to fuel future power plants, scientists must find ways to control the interactions that take place between the volatile edge of the plasma and the walls that surround it in fusion facilities. Such interactions can profoundly affect conditions at the superhot core of the plasma in ways that include kicking up impurities that cool down the core and halt fusion reactions.
Laser experiments mimic cosmic explosions and planetary cores
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:26:10 EDT:
Researchers are finding ways to understand some of the mysteries of space without leaving earth. Using high-intensity lasers focused on targets smaller than a pencil's eraser, they conducted experiments to create colliding jets of plasma knotted by plasma filaments and self-generated magnetic fields, reaching pressures a billion times higher than seen on earth.
Helping upgrade the U.S. power grid: Advanced power-conversion switch
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:26:08 EDT:
When researchers at General Electric Co. sought help in designing a plasma-based power switch, they turned to the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The proposed switch could contribute to a more advanced and reliable electric grid and help to lower utility bills.
Using radio waves to control the density in a fusion plasma
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:26:06 EDT:
Experiments show how heating the electrons in the center of a hot fusion plasma with high power microwaves can increase turbulence, reducing the density in the inner core.
Lithium injections show promise for optimizing the performance of fusion plasmas
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:48:28 EDT:
Experiments have now demonstrated the ability of lithium injections to transiently double the temperature and pressure at the edge of the plasma and delay the onset of instabilities and other transients.
'Reverse engineering' materials for more efficient heating and cooling
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:47:16 EDT:
If you’ve gone for a spin in a luxury car and felt your back being warmed or cooled by a seat-based climate control system, then you’ve likely experienced the benefits of a class of materials called thermoelectrics. Thermoelectric materials convert heat into electricity, and vice versa, and have many advantages over traditional heating and cooling systems. Recently, researchers have observed that the performance of some thermoelectric materials can be improved by combining different solid phases.
Physicists' simple solution for quantum technology challenge
by on Tue, 28 Oct 2014 10:48:08 EDT:
A solution to one of the key challenges in the development of quantum technologies has been proposed by physicists. Scientists show how to make a new type of flexibly-designed microscopic trap for atoms.
Ultrafast electron diffraction experiments open a new window on the microscopic world
by on Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:22:25 EDT:
Researchers have succeeded in simultaneously observing the reorganizations of atomic positions and electron distribution during the transformation of the “smart material” vanadium dioxide from a semiconductor into a metal – in a timeframe a trillion times faster than the blink of an eye.
Turning loss to gain: Cutting power could dramatically boost laser output
by on Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:53:28 EDT:
Re-examining longstanding beliefs about the physics of lasers, engineers have shown that carefully restricting the delivery of power to certain areas within a laser could boost its output by many orders of magnitude.
New evidence for an exotic, predicted superconducting state
by on Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:53:26 EDT:
Physicist have produced new evidence for an exotic superconducting state, first predicted a half-century ago, that can arise when a superconductor is exposed to a strong magnetic field.
Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist
by on Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:19:17 EDT:
Physics researchers have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries -- commonly found in consumer electronic devices -- are superhalogens, and that the vast majority of these electrolytes contain toxic halogens.
Molecular structure of water at gold electrodes revealed
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:23:08 EDT:
Researchers have recorded the first observations of the molecular structure of liquid water at a gold electrode under different battery charging conditions.
National Synchrotron Light Source II achieves 'first light'
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:20:51 EDT:
The National Synchrotron Light Source II detects its first photons, beginning a new phase of the facility’s operations. Scientific experiments at NSLS-II are expected to begin before the end of the year.
New compounds for tunable OLED devices manufacturing
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:10:01 EDT:
New organic compounds characterized by a higher modularity, stability and efficiency, have been developed by researchers. These compounds could be applicable in the semiconductors industry for using them in electronics or lighting.
Acousto-optic tunable filter technology for balloon-borne platforms
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:07:33 EDT:
A balloon-borne acousto-optic tunable filter hyperspectral imager is ideally suited to address numerous outstanding questions in planetary science. Their spectral agility, narrowband wavelength selection, tolerance to the near-space environment, and spectral coverage would enable investigations not feasible from the ground. Example use cases include synoptic observations of clouds on Venus and the giant planets, studies of molecular emissions from cometary comae, the mapping of surface ices on small bodies, and polarimetry.
New experiment provides route to macroscopic high-mass superpositions
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:18:21 EDT:
Scientists have designed a new experiment to test the foundations of quantum mechanics at the large scale. Standard quantum theory places no limit on particle size and current experiments use larger and larger particles, which exhibit wave-like behavior. However, at these masses experiments begin to probe extensions to standard quantum mechanics, which describe the apparent quantum-to-classical transition. Now researchers have designed a new type of experiment which will advance the current state-of-the-art experiments by a factor of 100, from 10,000 atomic mass units (amu), roughly equal to the mass of a single proton, to one million amu.
Moving in the quantum world
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:18:17 EDT:
Simulating the behavior of a single particle can be quite a challenging task in physics; after all, it is microscopic and we usually cannot watch in real time. It becomes even more complicated when you realize that the particle has to follow the laws of quantum physics, which allow it be in two or more places at the same time through a phenomenon called superposition. Understanding how a quantum particle behaves is necessary to enhance our fundamental understanding of the laws of physics.
Quantum effects bridge the gap
by on Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:07:38 EDT:
Quantum effects in nanometer-scale metallic structures provide a platform for combining molecular electronics and plasmonics.
Electronics industry offered two ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules
by on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:40:45 EDT:
The idea of a practical manufacturing process based on getting molecules to organize themselves in useful nanoscale shapes once seemed a little fantastic. Now the day isn't far off when your cell phone may depend on it. Two recent articles demonstrate complementary approaches to 3-D imaging of nanoscale polymer patterns for use in semiconductor lithography.
A 'Star Wars' laser bullet -- this is what it really looks like
by on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:35:56 EDT:
Action-packed science-fiction movies often feature colourful laser bolts. But what would a real laser missile look like during flight, if we could only make it out? How would it illuminate its surroundings?
New devices based on metamaterials
by on Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:33:52 EDT:
Researchers have designed and manufactured new devices based on metamaterials (artificial materials with properties not found in nature). They achieved the first experimental demonstration ever with epsilon-near-zero metamaterials. “These materials have surprising characteristics, such as the fact that a wave traveling within them can do so at almost infinite speed and, thus, can be transmitted from one place to another without hardly any loss of energy, no matter how unusual or complicated the shape of the material," according to a researcher.
Special microscope captures defects in nanotubes
by on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:22:51 EDT:
Chemists have devised a way to see the internal structures of electronic waves trapped in carbon nanotubes by external electrostatic charges. Carbon nanotubes have been touted as exceptional materials with unique properties that allow for extremely efficient charge and energy transport, with the potential to open the way for new, more efficient types of electronic and photovoltaic devices. However, these traps, or defects, in ultra-thin nanotubes can compromise their effectiveness.
Scientists disprove theory that reconstructed boron surface is metallic
by on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:53:18 EDT:
Scientific inquiry is a hit and miss proposition, subject to constant checking and rechecking. Recently, a new class of materials was discovered called topological insulators—nonmetallic materials with a metallic surface capable of conducting electrons. The effect, based on relativity theory, exists only in special materials -— those with heavy elements —- and has the potential to revolutionize electronics.
Extremely high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging
by on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:14:01 EDT:
For the first time, researchers have succeeded to detect a single hydrogen atom using magnetic resonance imaging, which signifies a huge increase in the technology's spatial resolution. In the future, single-atom MRI could be used to shed new light on protein structures.
POLARBEAR detects B-modes in the cosmic microwave background: Mapping cosmic structure, finding neutrino masses
by on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:11:42 EDT:
The POLARBEAR experiment has made the most sensitive and precise measurements yet of the polarization of the cosmic microwave background and found telling twists called B-modes in the patterns, signs that this cosmic backlight has been warped by intervening structures in the universe.
Quantum holograms as atomic scale memory keepsake
by on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:10:40 EDT:
A new study demonstrates that quantum holograms could be a candidate for becoming quantum information memory. Scientists have developed a theoretical model of quantum memory for light, adapting the concept of a hologram to a quantum system.
How radiotherapy kills cancer cells
by on Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:55:26 EDT:
A new discovery in experimental physics has implications for understanding how radiotherapy kills cancer cells, among other things.
Wild molecular interactions in a new hydrogen mixture
by on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:55:18 EDT:
Hydrogen responds to pressure and temperature extremes differently. Under ambient conditions hydrogen is a gaseous two-atom molecule. As confinement pressure increases, the molecules adopt different states of matter -- like when water ice melts to liquid. Scientists have now combined hydrogen with its heavier sibling deuterium and created a novel, disordered, 'Phase IV'-material. The molecules interact differently than have been observed before, which could be valuable for controlling superconducting and thermoelectric properties of new materials.
Crystallography: Towards controlled dislocations
by on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:53:31 EDT:
Scientists have used atomic-resolution Z-contrast imaging and X-ray spectroscopy in a scanning transmission electron microscope to explore dislocations in the binary II-VI semiconductor CdTe, commercially used in thin-film photovoltaics. The results may lead to eventual improvement in the conversion efficiency of CdTe solar cells. These novel insights into atomically resolved chemical structure of dislocations have potential for understanding many more defect-based phenomena.
Physicists build reversible laser tractor beam
by on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:50:43 EDT:
Physicists have built a tractor beam that can repel and attract objects, using a hollow laser beam, bright around the edges and dark in its center. It is the first long-distance optical tractor beam, 100 times larger than previous ones.
1980s American aircraft helps quantum technology take flight
by on Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:50:41 EDT:
The X-29, an American experimental aircraft has inspired quantum computing researchers in a development which will bring the technology out of the lab.
New circuit design could unlock the power of experimental superconducting computer chips
by on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:11:25 EDT:
Computer chips with superconducting circuits -- circuits with zero electrical resistance -- would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips, an attractive trait given the increasing power consumption of the massive data centers that power the Internet's most popular sites.
Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms
by on Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:10:04 EDT:
A new study has cracked one mystery of glass to shed light on the mechanism that triggers its deformation before shattering. Glass hangs in a metastable state in which the energy of the system is higher than the lowest-energy state the system could assume, a crystalline state. But its state is stable enough at room temperature to last a human lifetime.
Protons hog the momentum in neutron-rich nuclei
by on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:37:04 EDT:
Protons and neutrons that have briefly paired up in the nucleus have higher-average momentum, leaving less for non-paired nucleons. Researchers have now shown for the first time that this phenomenon exists in nuclei heavier than carbon, including aluminum, iron and lead and also surprisingly allows a greater fraction of protons than neutrons to have high momentum in these neutron-rich nuclei, contrary to long-accepted theories and with implications for ultra-cold atomic gas systems and neutron stars.
Engineers find a way to win in laser performance by losing
by on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:08:45 EDT:
Engineers have shown a new way to reverse or eliminate loss by, ironically, adding loss to a laser system to actually reap energy gains. To help laser systems overcome loss, operators often pump the system with an overabundance of photons, or light packets, to achieve optical gain. But now engineers have shown a new way to reverse or eliminate such loss by, ironically, adding loss to a laser system to actually reap energy gains. In other words, they've invented a way to win by losing.
Light bending material facilitates the search for new particles
by on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:33:17 EDT:
Particle physicists have a hard time identifying all the elementary particles created in their particle accelerators. But now researchers have designed a material that makes it much easier to distinguish the particles.
Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways
by on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:03:11 EDT:
Scientists have demonstrated, for the first time, a new type of mirror that forgoes a familiar shiny metallic surface and instead reflects infrared light by using an unusual magnetic property of a non-metallic metamaterial. Using nanoscale antennas, researchers are able to capture and harness electromagnetic radiation in ways that have tantalizing potential in new classes of chemical sensors, solar cells, lasers, and other optoelectronic devices.
Inexplicable signal from unseen universe provides tantalizing clue about one of astronomy's greatest secrets -- dark matter
by on Thu, 16 Oct 2014 08:54:10 EDT:
The first potential indication of direct detection of dark matter -- something that has been a mystery in physics for over 30 years -- has been attained. Astronomers found what appears to be a signature of 'axions', predicted 'dark matter' particle candidates.
Researchers develop world's thinnest electric generator
by on Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:28:31 EDT:
Researchers have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide, resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable.
Precision printing: Unique capabilities of 3-D printing revealed
by on Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:06:41 EDT:
Researchers have demonstrated an additive manufacturing method to control the structure and properties of metal components with precision unmatched by conventional manufacturing processes.
Power of thorium for improved nuclear design explored by scientists
by on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:50:23 EDT:
The development of a radical new type of nuclear power station that is safer, more cost-effective, compact, quicker and less disruptive to build than any previously constructed is underway.
Unique catalysts for hydrogen fuel cells synthesized in ordinary kitchen microwave oven
by on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 08:35:49 EDT:
Researchers have shown how a unique nano-alloy composed of palladium nano-islands embedded in tungsten nanoparticles creates a new type of catalysts for highly efficient oxygen reduction, the most important reaction in hydrogen fuel cells.
First observation of atomic diffusion inside bulk material
by on Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:23:18 EDT:
Researchers have obtained the first direct observations of atomic diffusion inside a bulk material. The research could be used to give unprecedented insight into the lifespan and properties of new materials.
Tailored flexible illusion coatings hide objects from detection
by on Mon, 13 Oct 2014 09:06:03 EDT:
Developing the cloak of invisibility would be wonderful, but sometimes simply making an object appear to be something else will do the trick, according to electrical engineers.
New records set for silicon quantum computing
by on Sun, 12 Oct 2014 13:48:51 EDT:
Two research teams working in the same laboratories have found distinct solutions to a critical challenge that has held back the realization of super powerful quantum computers. The teams created two types of quantum bits, or "qubits" -- the building blocks for quantum computers -- that each process quantum data with an accuracy above 99%.
Revving up fluorescence for superfast LEDs
by on Sun, 12 Oct 2014 13:48:43 EDT:
Engineering researchers have made fluorescent molecules emit photons 1,000 times faster than normal -- a record in the field and an important step toward superfast light emitting diodes and quantum cryptography.
A novel platform for future spintronic technologies
by on Sun, 12 Oct 2014 13:48:34 EDT:
Spintronics is a new field of electronics, using electron spin rather than charge. Scientists have now shown that a conventional electrical insulator can be used as an optimal spintronic device.
Getting sharp images from dull detectors
by on Fri, 10 Oct 2014 15:52:22 EDT:
Observing the quantum behavior of light is a big part of Alan Migdall's research at the Joint Quantum Institute. Many of his experiments depend on observing light in the form of photons -- the particle complement of light waves -- and sometimes only one photon at a time, using "smart" detectors that can count the number of individual photons in a pulse. Furthermore, to observe quantum effects, it is normally necessary to use a beam of coherent light, light for which knowing the phase or intensity for one part of the beam allows you to know things about distant parts of the same beam.
Rare 'baby rattle' molecules reveal new quantum properties of H2O and H2
by on Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:09:57 EDT:
Neutron scattering experiments have revealed the existence of quantum selection rules in molecules, the first experimental confirmation of its kind. Small molecules such as water and hydrogen were inserted into C-60 buckyballs to form rare compounds ideal for testing the predictions of quantum theory. Similar confinement techniques could open the door to new insights about the quantum properties of molecules by providing a unique testing ground for quantum theory.
Discovery of new subatomic particle, type of meson, to 'transform' understanding of fundamental force of nature
by on Thu, 09 Oct 2014 11:26:44 EDT:
The discovery of a new particle will "transform our understanding" of the fundamental force of nature that binds the nuclei of atoms, researchers argue. The discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom's nucleus.
Fusion reactor concept could be cheaper than coal
by on Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:11:56 EDT:
Engineers have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output.
'T-rays' to shed light on nuclear fusion
by on Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:14:02 EDT:
In the race to secure clean energy in the future, engineers are reinventing a piece of technology which so far has only been used in labs to diagnose cancer, detect explosives, and even analyze grand artistic masterpieces.
Smallest world record has ‘endless possibilities’ for bio-nanotechnology
by on Wed, 08 Oct 2014 08:35:20 EDT:
Scientists have taken a crucial step forward in bio-nanotechnology, a field that uses biology to develop new tools for science, technology and medicine. The new study demonstrates how stable 'lipid membranes' -- the thin 'skin' that surrounds all biological cells -- can be applied to synthetic surfaces. Importantly, the new technique can use these lipid membranes to 'draw' -- akin to using them like a biological ink -- with a resolution of 6 nanometres (6 billionths of a meter), which is much smaller than scientists had previously thought was possible.
Quantum probe enhances electric field measurements
by on Tue, 07 Oct 2014 18:42:24 EDT:
Scientists have demonstrated a technique based on the quantum properties of atoms that directly links measurements of electric field strength to the International System of Units. The new method could improve the sensitivity, precision and ease of tests and calibrations of antennas, sensors, and biomedical and nano-electronic systems and facilitate the design of novel devices.
A warm dark matter search using XMASS
by on Tue, 07 Oct 2014 09:24:55 EDT:
The XMASS collaboration has reported its latest results on the search for warm dark matter. Their results rule out the possibility that super-weakly interacting massive bosonic particles constitute all dark matter in the universe.