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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

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.
Fundamentals of physics confirmed: Experiments testing Einstein's time dilation and quantum electrodynamics
by on Tue, 07 Oct 2014 09:22:48 EDT:
The special theory of relativity and quantum electrodynamics are two important fundamentals of modern physics. They have been experimentally verified many times already and both have passed all the tests so far. In recent experiments, researchers in Germany accelerated ions to velocities near the speed of light and illuminated them with a laser. The results confirm the time dilation predicted for high velocities in the theory of relativity with an accuracy that has never before been achieved.
A quick look at electron-boson coupling: Researchers use ultrafast spectroscopy on many body effects
by on Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:20:53 EDT:
Using an ultrafast spectroscopy technique called time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, researchers demonstrated a link between electron-boson coupling and high-temperature superconductivity in a high-Tc cuprate.
Aircraft safety: New imaging technique could detect acoustically 'invisible' cracks
by on Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:40:55 EDT:
The next generation of aircraft could be thinner and lighter thanks to the development of a new imaging technique that could detect damage previously invisible to acoustic imaging systems.
Pressing the accelerator on quantum robotics
by on Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:51:24 EDT:
Quantum computing will allow for the creation of powerful computers, but also much smarter and more creative robots than conventional ones. Scientists have now confirmed that quantum tools help robots learn and respond much faster to the stimuli around them. Quantum mechanics promises to revolutionize the world of communications and computers by introducing algorithms which are much quicker and more secure in transferring information.
Atmospheric chemistry hinges on better physics model
by on Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:51:20 EDT:
Theoretical physics models could help us better grasp the atmospheric chemistry of ozone depletion. Indeed, understanding photoabsorption of nitrous oxide -- a process which involves the transfer of the energy of a photon to the molecule -- matters because a small fraction of nitrous oxide reacts with oxygen atoms in the stratosphere to produce among others nitric oxide (NO). The latter participates in the catalytic destruction of ozone. Now, new theoretical work unveils the actual dynamic of the photoabsorption of nitrous oxide molecules.
Demanding ITER operation successful: Fusion reactor cassette collecting impurities replaced via remote control method
by on Mon, 06 Oct 2014 08:49:06 EDT:
Engineers have reached an important objective in the development of ITER fusion reactor remote control, when the divertor cassette was replaced for the first time using remote control in the research facility for remote controlled maintenance. This operation is one of the most demanding measures in the forthcoming ITER fusion reactor, the construction of which is proceeding rapidly in Gadarache, Southern France.
Nanotechnology: Fullerene spheres can be used to slide in the nanoworld
by on Fri, 03 Oct 2014 09:21:52 EDT:
“Nano–machines” (around one billionth of a meter in size) of the future will need tiny devices to reduce friction and make movement possible. The C60 molecule, also known as fullerene or buckyball, seemed to many an excellent candidate for nano-bearings. Unfortunately, the results so far have been conflicting, calling for further studies, like the one just carried out by a theoretical team. Through a series of computer simulations the scientists uncovered the reason for the experimental discrepancies and shed light on the true potential of this material.
Physicist turns smartphones into pocket cosmic ray detectors
by on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 16:26:57 EDT:
A new smartphone app can essentially turn Android phones into pocket cosmic ray detectors. The app, DECO, uses the phone's camera to capture energetic subatomic light particles and log data.
Quantum environmentalism: Putting a qubit's surroundings to good use
by on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 14:19:00 EDT:
A qubit's environment, usually viewed as a threat to coherence, here serves as an aid to manipulating and interrogating the qubit.
Exotic matter: A closer look at the perfect fluid sheds light on what happened microseconds after the Big Bang
by on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 14:18:58 EDT:
By combining data from two high-energy accelerators, nuclear scientists have refined the measurement of a remarkable property of exotic matter known as quark-gluon plasma. The findings reveal new aspects of the ultra-hot, 'perfect fluid' that give clues to the state of the young universe just microseconds after the Big Bang.
Elusive particle that is its own antiparticle observed
by on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 14:17:57 EDT:
Scientists have observed an exotic particle that behaves simultaneously like matter and antimatter, a feat of math and engineering that could yield powerful computers based on quantum mechanics.
New approach to on-chip quantum computing
by on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 10:11:24 EDT:
An international team of researchers is introducing a new method to achieve a different type of photon pair source that fits into the tiny space of a computer chip.
Fine-tuning nanoparticles for the medical industry
by on Thu, 02 Oct 2014 08:41:23 EDT:
Nanoparticles have the potential to revolutionize the medical industry, but they must possess a few critical properties. First, they need to target a specific region, so that they do not scatter throughout the body. They also require some sort of sensing method, so that doctors and researchers can track the particles. Finally, they need to perform their function at the right moment, ideally in response to a stimulus. Scientists are trying to develop new particles with unprecedented properties that still meet these requirements.
Hide and seek: Sterile neutrinos remain elusive
by on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 13:31:23 EDT:
Scientists studying the subtle transformations of subatomic particles called neutrinos, is publishing its first results on the search for a so-called sterile neutrino, a possible new type of neutrino beyond the three known neutrino 'flavors,' or types. The existence of this elusive particle, if proven, would have a profound impact on our understanding of the universe, and could impact the design of future neutrino experiments.
Platinum meets its match in quantum dots from coal: New catalyst for fuel cells outperforms platinum
by on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:03:34 EDT:
Scientists combined graphene quantum dots drawn from common coal with graphene oxide, nitrogen and boron into a catalyst for fuel cells that outperforms platinum. Graphene quantum dots grab onto graphene platelets like barnacles attach themselves to the hull of a boat. But these dots enhance the properties of the mothership, making them better than platinum catalysts for certain reactions within fuel cells.
Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom
by on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:01:32 EDT:
Having the possibility to measure magnetic properties of materials at atomic precision is one of the important goals of today's experimental physics. Such measurement technique would give engineers and physicists an ultimate handle over magnetic properties of nano-structures for future applications. Researchers now propose a new method, utilizing properties of the quantum world – the phase of the electron beam – to detect magnetism with atom-by-atom precision.
Sensor network tracks down illegal bomb-making
by on Wed, 01 Oct 2014 09:01:07 EDT:
Terrorists can manufacture bombs with relative ease, few aids and easily accessible materials such as synthetic fertilizer. Not always do security forces succeed in preventing the attacks and tracking down illegal workshops in time. But bomb manufacturing leaves its traces: Remains of the synthetic fertilizer stick to stairs and doorknobs, waste from the manufacturing process gets into the sewerage and is deposited in air ducts.
Cold Atom Laboratory chills atoms to new lows
by on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 19:45:05 EDT:
NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) mission has succeeded in producing a state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, a key breakthrough for the instrument leading up to its debut on the International Space Station in late 2016.
Ultrafast remote switching of light emission
by on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:07:15 EDT:
Researchers can now for the first time remotely control a miniature light source at timescales of 200 trillionth of a second. Physicists have developed a way of remotely controlling the nanoscale light sources at an extremely short timescale. These light sources are needed to be able to transmit quantum information.
Revisiting Stokes drift: Waves of the future
by on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:25:04 EDT:
The 19th-century 'Stokes drift' concept that a tiny sphere on a small wave would trace a spiral, not a closed circle, was assumed to be unlikely to occur in nature. But using 21st-century technologies, scientists found that not only do the particles move, they move predictably, and can even be planned.
Entanglement made tangible
by on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 11:31:11 EDT:
Scientists have designed a first-ever experiment for demonstrating quantum entanglement in the macroscopic realm. Unlike other such proposals, the experiment is relatively easy to set up and run with existing semiconductor devices.
Deceptive-looking vortex line in superfluid led to twice-mistaken identity
by on Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:01:39 EDT:
Researchers have shown that a group of scientists were incorrect when they concluded that a mysterious effect found in superfluids indicated the presence of solitons -- exotic, solitary waves. Instead, they explain, the result was due to more pedestrian, whirlpool-like structures in the fluid. Mysterious effect found in superfluids were pedestrian whirlpool-like structures, not exotic solitons.
New transparent nanoscintillators for radiation detection developed
by on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:05:27 EDT:
Radiation detection properties have been identified in a light-emitting nanostructure made in a new way from two of the least expensive rare earth elements. The new material is made from two of the least expensive rare earth elements, so it is cost-effective. And it could open doors for homeland security and medical advances.
At the interface of math and science: Using mathematics to advance problems in the sciences
by on Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:03:14 EDT:
In popular culture, mathematics is often deemed inaccessible or esoteric. Yet in the modern world, it plays an ever more important role in our daily lives and a decisive role in the discovery and development of new ideas -- often behind the scenes. In new research, scientists have developed new mathematical approaches to gain insights into how proteins move around within lipid bilayer membranes.