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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

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.
First indirect evidence of so-far undetected strange baryons
by on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:30:54 EDT:
New supercomputing calculations provide the first evidence that particles predicted by the theory of quark-gluon interactions but never before observed are being produced in heavy-ion collisions at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.
Organic photovoltaic cells of the future: Using charge formation efficiency to screen materials for future devices
by on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:29:56 EDT:
Organic photovoltaic cells -- a type of solar cell that uses polymeric materials to capture sunlight -- show tremendous promise as energy conversion devices, thanks to key attributes such as flexibility and low-cost production, but have complex power conversion processes. To maneuver around this problem, researchers have developed a method to determine the absolute value of the charge formation efficiency. The secret of their method is the combination of two types of spectroscopy.
Using physics to design better drugs
by on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 11:28:08 EDT:
Researchers are working to develop drugs by considering the dynamics -- including specific atomic motions -- of the enzymes that those drugs target.
Scientists unveil new technology to better understand small clusters of atoms
by on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:32:47 EDT:
Physicists have developed new technology to study atomic vibration in small particles, revealing a more accurate picture of the structure of atomic clusters where surface atoms vibrate more intensively than internal atoms. Using new computer technology based on gaming machines, scientists were able to use a combination of molecular dynamics and quantum mechanics calculations to simulate the electron microscopy of gold particles.
Promising ferroelectric materials suffer from unexpected electric polarizations
by on Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:46:40 EDT:
Scientists discover surprising head-to-head charge polarizations that impede performance in next-gen materials that might revolutionize data-driven devices.
'Cavity protection effect' helps to conserve quantum information
by on Sun, 17 Aug 2014 22:00:25 EDT:
Two different quantum systems are being coupled by researchers to create a powerful hybrid quantum system. Using a strong coupling effect, the coherence time could now be considerably prolonged.
Laser makes microscopes way cooler, incredibly sensitive
by on Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:23:28 EDT:
Laser physicists have found a way to make atomic-force microscope probes 20 times more sensitive and capable of detecting forces as small as the weight of an individual virus. The technique hinges on using laser beams to cool a nanowire probe to -265 degrees Celsius. "The level of sensitivity achieved after cooling is accurate enough for us to sense the weight of a large virus that is 100 billion times lighter than a mosquito," said one researcher.
On the edge of graphene: Edges have different conductivity
by on Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:23:20 EDT:
The conductivity at the edges of graphene devices is different to that of the central material, researchers have discovered. Local scanning electrical techniques were used to examine the local nanoscale electronic properties of epitaxial graphene, in particular the differences between the edges and central parts of graphene Hall bar devices.
Possible extended symmetries of field theoretic systems
by on Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:22:33 EDT:
Many physical systems, from superfluids to pi mesons, are understood to be manifestations of spontaneous symmetry breaking, whereby the symmetries of a system are not realized by its lowest energy state. A consequence of spontaneous symmetry breaking is the existence of excitations known as Goldstone bosons, which account for the broken symmetries. Here the authors investigate systems with larger than usual amounts of broken symmetry.
Molecular engineers record an electron's quantum behavior
by on Thu, 14 Aug 2014 19:21:14 EDT:
Scientists have developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of an individual electron contained within a nanoscale defect in diamond. Their technique uses ultrafast pulses of laser light both to control the defect's entire quantum state and observe how that single electron state changes over time.
Inside the cell, an ocean of buffeting waves, contrary to conventional understanding
by on Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:38:35 EDT:
Conventional wisdom holds that the cytoplasm of mammalian cells is a viscous fluid, with organelles and proteins suspended within it, jiggling against one another and drifting at random. However, a new biophysical study challenges this model and reveals that those drifting objects are subject to a very different type of environment. The cytoplasm is actually an elastic gel, it turns out, so it puts up some resistance to simple diffusion, researchers report.
Diamonds in the crush: How nanoscale lubricating systems can ease friction between surfaces
by on Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:37:57 EDT:
Diamond-like-carbon (DLC) coatings are an innovative technology, exhibiting the twin properties of mechanical toughness and ultralow friction. These features, which are desirable in abrasive environments, have led to the widespread adoption of DLC films in microelectromechanical systems, such as hard disk drives. But because these coatings contain amorphous carbon atoms that produce rough, nanoscale textures, it is difficult to optimize their friction properties using classical theories designed for macroscopic objects.
Making eco-friendly 'pre-fab nanoparticles': Versatile, water-soluble nano-modules
by on Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:33:20 EDT:
Materials chemists, polymer scientists and device physicists have reported on a breakthrough technique for controlling assembly of nanoparticles over multiple length scales that may allow cheaper, ecologically friendly manufacture of organic photovoltaics and other electronic devices.
Neutrino detectors could help detect nuclear weapons
by on Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:16:44 EDT:
Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland and even in the fictional world of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" look to subatomic particles called neutrinos to answer the big questions about the universe. Scientists now believe neutrinos could be used to monitor nuclear power plants for signs of nuclear proliferation.
Therapy for ultraviolet laser beams: Hydrogen-treated fibers
by on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 15:16:36 EDT:
Scientists have known for years that hydrogen can alter the performance of optical fibers, which are often used to transmit or even generate laser light in optical devices. Now researchers have put this to practical use to make optical fibers that transmit stable, high-power ultraviolet laser light for hundreds of hours without damage.
Quantum simulators explained
by on Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:46:38 EDT:
Everything you ever wanted to know about quantum simulators summed up in a new review. A quantum simulator is a device that actively uses quantum effects to answer questions on model systems. This review outlines various approaches used in quantum simulators.
Water tractor beam: Complex waves generate flow patterns to manipulate floating objects
by on Sun, 10 Aug 2014 21:42:02 EDT:
Physicists have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach.
Water's reaction with metal oxides opens doors for researchers
by on Fri, 08 Aug 2014 16:33:44 EDT:
A long-unanswered question about how two of the world’s most common substances interact has been answered by researchers. In a new paper, chemical and biological engineers report fundamental discoveries about how water reacts with metal oxides.
Electrons moving in a magnetic field exhibit strange quantum behavior
by on Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:07:07 EDT:
Researchers have made the first direct observations of free-electron Landau states -— a form of quantized states that electrons adopt when moving through a magnetic field- — and found that the internal rotational dynamics of quantum electrons, or how they move through the field, is surprisingly different from the classical model, and in line with recent quantum-mechanical predictions.
Grass really is greener on TV, computer screens, thanks to quantum dots

by on Fri, 08 Aug 2014 11:00:28 EDT:
High-tech specks called quantum dots could bring brighter, more vibrant color to mass market TVs, tablets, phones and other displays. A new technology called 3M quantum dot enhancement film (QDEF) that efficiently makes liquid crystal display (LCD) screens more richly colored is described by an expert.
Diamonds are a quantum computer's best friend
by on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:52:25 EDT:
The quantum computer is not yet quite around the corner: calculations show that to implement a useful quantum algorithm, billions of quantum systems have to be used. The elements of a newly proposed quantum computer concept, nitrogen atoms trapped in diamonds, could in principle be miniaturized and mass produced. This system could be to quantum computing what the transistor was for microelectronics.
Synthesis of structurally pure carbon nanotubes using molecular seeds
by on Thu, 07 Aug 2014 10:43:05 EDT:
For the first time, researchers have succeeded in "growing" single-wall carbon nanotubes (CNT) with a single predefined structure -- and hence with identical electronic properties. And here is how they pulled it off: the CNTs "assembled themselves", as it were, out of tailor-made organic precursor molecules on a platinum surface. In future, CNTs of this kind may be used in ultra-sensitive light detectors and ultra-small transistors.
Ion duet offers tunable module for quantum simulator
by on Wed, 06 Aug 2014 13:45:17 EDT:
Physicists have demonstrated a pas de deux of atomic ions that combines the fine choreography of dance with precise individual control. The ion duet is a component for a flexible quantum simulator that could be scaled up in size and configured to model quantum systems of a complexity that overwhelms traditional computer simulations.
Watching chemistry in motion: Chemical environments mapped using molecular vibrations
by on Tue, 05 Aug 2014 15:06:50 EDT:
Scientists have long known that a molecule’s behavior depends on its environment. Taking advantage of this phenomenon, a group of researchers has developed a new technique to map microscopic environments using the vibrations of molecules. "It's a special new advance that will be broadly useful in studies of molecular and materials phenomena," said one scientist.
Scientists introduce new cosmic connectivity: Quantum pigeonhole paradox
by on Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:25:26 EDT:
Recently physicists at Chapman University's Institute for Quantum Studies introduced the Quantum Cheshire Cat. Now they have introduced another quantum animal: the Quantum Pigeon. They introduced a new kind of quantum connectivity between particles which transcends these limitations. This connectivity is happening all the time on a much bigger, cosmic scale.
Diamond defect interior design: Planting imperfections at specific spots within a diamond lattice could advance quantum computing
by on Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:17:16 EDT:
By carefully controlling the position of an atomic-scale diamond defect within a volume smaller than what some viruses would fill, researchers have cleared a path toward better quantum computers and nanoscale sensors.
Bottling up sound waves: Acoustic bottle beams hold promise for imaging, cloaking, levitation and more
by on Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:15:12 EDT:
Researchers have developed a technique for generating acoustic bottles in open air that can bend the paths of sound waves along prescribed convex trajectories. These self-bending bottle beams hold promise for ultrasonic imaging and therapy, and acoustic cloaking, levitation and particle manipulation.
Minuscule chips for NMR spectroscopy promise portability, parallelization
by on Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:12:25 EDT:
Engineers have created a truly portable device for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The team dramatically shrunk the electronic spectrometer components, fitting them on a silicon chip smaller than a sesame seed.
On-chip topological light: First measurements of transmission and delay
by on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 17:11:18 EDT:
First came the concept of topological light. Then came images of topological light moving around a microchip. Now full measurements of the transmission of light around and through the chip.
Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior
by on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:12:16 EDT:
Graphene, an ultrathin form of carbon with exceptional electrical, optical, and mechanical properties, has become a focus of research on a variety of potential uses. Now researchers have found a way to control how the material conducts electricity by using extremely short light pulses, which could enable its use as a broadband light detector. These findings could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors.
When particles fall left and right at the same time: Physicists develop new method to verify quantum entanglement
by on Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:11:06 EDT:
It takes only a slight disturbance for a pencil standing on its tip to fall in one direction or another. In the quantum world it is possible in principle for particles of a system to fall both left and right at the same time. Differentiating this "and" state -- the quantum entanglement of particles -- from the classical "or" is an experimental challenge. Scientists have now devised a novel and universal method that enables entanglement verification for states of large atomic systems.
Superconductors: Physical link to strange electronic behavior
by on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:16:20 EDT:
Scientists have new clues this week about one of the baffling electronic properties of the iron-based high-temperature superconductor barium iron nickel arsenide. Scientists have the first evidence, based on sophisticated neutron measurements, of a link between magnetic properties and the material's tendency, at sufficiently low temperatures, to become a better conductor of electricity in some directions than in others.
Spin Diagnostics: MRI for a quantum simulation
by on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:09:48 EDT:
Recently physicists have executed an MRI-like diagnostic on a crystal of interacting quantum spins. They predict that their method is scalable and may be useful for validating experiments with large ensembles of interacting spins.
Surprise: Biological microstructures light up after heating
by on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:25:08 EDT:
Physicists have investigated tubular biological microstructures that showed unexpected luminescence after heating. Optical properties of bioinspired peptides, like the ones investigated, could be useful for applications in optical fibers, biolasers and future quantum computers.
Finding quantum 'lines of desire': Physicists track quantum system's wanderings through quantum state space
by on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:24:31 EDT:
What paths do quantum particles, such as atoms or photons, follow through quantum state space? Scientists have used an "artificial atom" to continuously and repeatedly record the paths through quantum state space. From the cobweb of a million paths, a most likely path between two quantum states emerged, much as social trails emerge as people round off corners or cut across lawns between buildings.
Spin-based electronics: New material successfully tested
by on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:40:41 EDT:
Spintronics is a new field of electronics, using electron spin rather than motion. This technology requires insulating components that can control this quantum property. Scientists have shown experimentally that a novel material shows all the required properties.
Superman's solar-powered feats break a fundamental law of physics
by on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 09:38:37 EDT:
It goes without saying that Superman can accomplish some pretty spectacular feats. But according to students, the Man of Steel actually achieves the impossible--by breaking the fundamental physics law of conservation of energy.
Mysterious molecules in space: Silicon-capped hydrocarbons may be source of 'diffuse interstellar bands'
by on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:27:35 EDT:
New research has offered a tantalizing new possibility in the realm of interstellar molecules and diffuse interstellar bands: these mysterious molecules may be silicon-capped hydrocarbons like SiC3H, SiC4H and SiC5H.
The Quantum Cheshire Cat: Can neutrons be located at a different place than their own spin?
by on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:38:03 EDT:
Can neutrons be located at a different place than their own spin? A quantum experiment demonstrates a new kind of quantum paradox. The Cheshire Cat featured in Lewis Caroll's novel "Alice in Wonderland" is a remarkable creature: it disappears, leaving its grin behind. Can an object be separated from its properties? It is possible in the quantum world. In an experiment, neutrons travel along a different path than one of their properties -- their magnetic moment. This "Quantum Cheshire Cat" could be used to make high precision measurements less sensitive to external perturbations.
Beyond invisibility cloaks? Flexible metamaterial absorbers developed
by on Tue, 29 Jul 2014 11:53:31 EDT:
Scientists have created flexible metamaterial absorbers designed to suppress electromagnetic radiation from mobile electronics. Electromagnetic metamaterials boast special properties not found in nature and are rapidly emerging as a hot research topic for reasons extending far beyond "invisibility cloaks."
Physicists unlock nature of high-temperature superconductivity
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:40:34 EDT:
Physicists have identified the 'quantum glue' that underlies a promising type of superconductivity -- a crucial step towards the creation of energy superhighways that conduct electricity without current loss.