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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


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.
Measuring the smallest magnets: Physicists measure magnetic interactions between single electrons
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:44:08 EDT:
Imagine trying to measure a tennis ball that bounces wildly, every time to a distance a million times its own size. The bouncing obviously creates enormous "background noise" that interferes with the measurement. But if you attach the ball directly to a measuring device, so they bounce together, you can eliminate the noise problem. Physicists have used a similar trick to measure the interaction between the smallest possible magnets -- two single electrons -- after neutralizing magnetic noise that was a million times stronger than the signal they needed to detect.
A transistor-like amplifier for single photons
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 09:43:25 EDT:
Scientists have achieved a twentyfold amplification of single-photon signals with the help of an ultracold quantum gas.
Building 'invisible' materials with light
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:07:42 EDT:
A new technique which uses light like a needle to thread long chains of particles could help bring sci-fi concepts such as cloaking devices one step closer to reality.
Superconductivity could form at high temperatures in layered 2-D crystals
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:05:54 EDT:
An elusive state of matter called superconductivity could be realized in stacks of sheetlike crystals just a few atoms thick, new analysis determined. Electrons and 'holes' would accumulate in separate layers of a 2D semiconductor compound in response to an electrical field forming a superfluid gas of indirect excitons. Counterflow superconductivity would result.
Simulating the invisible: How palladium nanoparticles interact
by on Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:04:40 EDT:
Panagiotis Grammatikopoulos in the OIST Nanoparticles by Design Unit simulates the interactions of particles that are too small to see, and too complicated to visualize. In order to study the particles’ behavior, he uses a technique called molecular dynamics. This means that every trillionth of a second, he calculates the location of each individual atom in the particle based on where it is and which forces apply. He uses a computer program to make the calculations, and then animates the motion of the atoms using visualization software. The resulting animation illuminates what happens, atom-by-atom, when two nanoparticles collide.
Breakthrough laser experiment reveals liquid-like motion of atoms within an ultra-cold cluster
by on Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:03:14 EDT:
A new study has furthered our understanding of how tiny nanosystems function, unlocking the potential to create new materials using nanosized ‘building blocks’.
Unleashing the power of quantum dot triplets
by on Thu, 24 Jul 2014 09:40:23 EDT:
Another step towards faster computers relies on three coherently coupled quantum dots used as quantum information units. Quantum computers have yet to materialize. Yet, scientists are making progress in devising suitable means of making such computers faster. One such approach relies on quantum dots-a kind of artificial atom, easily controlled by applying an electric field. A new study demonstrates that changing the coupling of three coherently coupled quantum dots (TQDs) with electrical impulses can help better control them.
Spinach could lead to alternative energy more powerful than Popeye
by on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:20:23 EDT:
Spinach gave Popeye super strength, but it also holds the promise of a different power for a group of scientists: the ability to convert sunlight into a clean, efficient alternative fuel. Physicists are using spinach to study the proteins involved in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert the sun's energy into carbohydrates used to power cellular processes. Artificial photosynthesis could allow for the conversion of solar energy into renewable, environmentally friendly hydrogen-based fuels.
The birth of topological spintronics: New material combo could lead to more efficient computers
by on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:17:24 EDT:
The discovery of a new material combination that could lead to a more efficient approach to computer memory and logic is the first promising indication that it may be possible to build a practical technology with a novel material known as a 'topological insulator.' The research team's results show that such a scheme can be 10 times more efficient for controlling magnetic memory or logic than any other combination of materials measured to date.
A crystal wedding in the nanocosmos may lead to fast multi-functional processing units on single chip
by on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:10:38 EDT:
Researchers have succeeded in embedding nearly perfect semiconductor crystals into a silicon nanowire. With this new method of producing hybrid nanowires, very fast and multi-functional processing units can be accommodated on a single chip in the future.
Scientists find way to maintain quantum entanglement in amplified signals
by on Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:10:32 EDT:
Physicists have found a way to preserve quantum entanglement of particles passing through an amplifier and, conversely, when transmitting a signal over long distances.
Quantum leap in lasers brightens future for quantum computing
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:07:36 EDT:
Scientists have devised a breakthrough laser that uses a single artificial atom to generate and emit particles of light. The laser may play a crucial role in the development of quantum computers, which are predicted to eventually outperform today's most powerful supercomputers.
'Comb on a chip' powers new atomic clock design
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:19:20 EDT:
Researchers have demonstrated a novel design for a small atomic clock that is based on a chip-scale frequency comb, or a microcomb.
Creating optical cables out of thin air
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:22:41 EDT:
Imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on Earth, or even into space. Researchers now report using an 'air waveguide' to enhance light signals collected from distant sources. These air waveguides could have many applications, including long-range laser communications, detecting pollution in the atmosphere, making high-resolution topographic maps and laser weapons.
Boosting the force of empty space: Theorists propose way to amplify force of vacuum fluctuations
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:14:25 EDT:
Vacuum fluctuations may be among the most counter-intuitive phenomena of quantum physics. Theorists have now proposed a way to amplify their force. The researchers believe that their proposed enhancement of the power of vacuum fluctuations can have profound implications for understanding Casimir and Van der Waals forces and it may even be used for applications in quantum information processing and other emerging quantum technologies.
Scientists use simple, low cost laser technique to improve properties and functions of nanomaterials
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:14:23 EDT:
By ‘drawing’ micropatterns on nanomaterials using a focused laser beam, scientists could modify properties of nanomaterials for effective applications in photonic and optoelectric applications.
Massive neutrinos and new standard cosmological model: No concordance yet
by on Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:13:26 EDT:
Neutrinos, also known as ‘ghost particles’ because they barely interact with other particles or their surroundings, are massless particles according to the standard model of particle physics. However, there is a lot of evidence that their mass is in fact non-zero, but it remains unmeasured. In cosmology, neutrinos are suspected to make up a fraction —- small but important -— of the mysterious dark matter, which represents 90% of the mass of the galaxy. Modifying the standard cosmological model in order to include fairly massive neutrinos does not explain all the physical observations simultaneously.
Understanding graphene's electrical properties on an atomic level
by on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:19:18 EDT:
For the first time, researchers have used a cutting-edge microscope to study the relationship between the atomic geometry of a ribbon of graphene and its electrical properties.
Chemists eye improved thin films with metal substitution
by on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:20:12 EDT:
The yield so far is small, but chemists have developed a low-energy, solution-based mineral substitution process to make a precursor to transparent thin films that could find use in electronics and alternative energy devices.
Carbyne morphs when stretched: Calculations show carbon-atom chain would go metal to semiconductor
by on Mon, 21 Jul 2014 12:40:28 EDT:
Applying just the right amount of tension to a chain of carbon atoms can turn it from a metallic conductor to an insulator. The research has implications for mechanically activated nanoscale electronics and optics.
Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity
by on Sun, 20 Jul 2014 20:43:24 EDT:
Researchers have created a plasmon laser detector that can sniff out tiny traces of airborne molecules of explosives. The sensor detected both DNT and ammonium nitrate at concentrations below one part per billion.
Highly charged ions: Multiply ionized atoms for clocks, qubits, and constants
by on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:15:16 EDT:
Why can't neodymium be more like tin? Well it can, if you ionize it enough. Why strip atoms of a dozen or more electrons? To make them more amenable for use in atomic clocks and quantum computers.
It's go time for LUX-Zeplin dark matter experiment
by on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:15:14 EDT:
From the physics labs at Yale University to the bottom of a played-out gold mine in South Dakota, a new generation of dark matter experiments is ready to commence. The go-ahead has been given to the Large Underground Xenon-Zeplin, a key experiment in the hunt for dark matter, the invisible substance that may make up much of the universe.
Universal three-body relation: Physicists succeed in revealing the scaling behavior of exotic giant molecules
by on Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:14:36 EDT:
When a two-body relation becomes a three-body relation, the behavior of the system changes and typically becomes more complex. While the basic physics of two interacting particles is well understood, the mathematical description of a three- or many-body system becomes increasingly difficult, such that calculating the dynamics can blast the capacities of even modern supercomputers. However, under certain conditions, the quantum mechanical three-body problem may have a universal scaling solution. The predictions of such a model have now been confirmed experimentally.
Future electronics may depend on lasers, not quartz
by on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 18:05:40 EDT:
Nearly all electronics require devices called oscillators that create precise frequencies -- frequencies used to keep time in wristwatches or to transmit reliable signals to radios. For nearly a century, these oscillators have relied upon quartz crystals to provide a frequency reference, much like a tuning fork is used as a reference to tune a piano. A new approach could ultimately replace the quartz crystal frequency reference -- technology in use since the 1920s.
Clearing the way for extremely efficient solar cells: First ab initio method for characterizing hot carriers
by on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:20:45 EDT:
Researchers have developed the first ab initio method for characterizing the properties of 'hot carriers' in semiconductors. This should help clear a major road block to the development of new, more efficient solar cells.
Scientists experimentally re-create conditions deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter and many exo-planets
by on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:20:11 EDT:
Using the largest laser in the world, scientists for the first time have experimentally re-created the conditions that exist deep inside giant planets, such as Jupiter, Uranus and many of the planets recently discovered outside our solar system.
When is a molecule a molecule? Scientists watch fast electron jumps in exploding molecules
by on Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:20:05 EDT:
Using ultra-short X-ray flashes, an international team of researchers watched electrons jumping between the fragments of exploding molecules. The study reveals up to what distance charge transfer between the molecular fragments can occur, marking the limit of the molecular regime. Such mechanisms play a role in numerous chemical processes, including photosynthesis.
Supercomputers reveal strange, stress-induced transformations in world's thinnest materials
by on Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:57:32 EDT:
Interested in an ultra-fast, unbreakable, and flexible smart phone that recharges in a matter of seconds? Monolayer materials may make it possible. These atom-thin sheets -- including the famed super material graphene -- feature exceptional and untapped mechanical and electronic properties. But to fully exploit these atomically tailored wonder materials, scientists must pry free the secrets of how and why they bend and break under stress. Supercomputer simulations have revealed unexpected transitions in graphene and other promising super materials under strain.
Directly visualizing hydrogen bonds
by on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:17:55 EDT:
Using a newly developed, ultrafast femtosecond infrared light source, chemists have been able to directly visualize the coordinated vibrations between hydrogen-bonded molecules -- the first time this sort of chemical interaction, which is found in nature everywhere at the molecular level, has been directly visualized.
Physicists detect process even rarer than the long-sought Higgs particle
by on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:55:17 EDT:
Scientists running the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful "atom smasher," report the first evidence of a process that can be used to test the mechanism by which the recently discovered Higgs particle imparts mass to other fundamental particles.
Cancer patients: How strongly does tissue decelerate the therapeutic heavy ion beam?
by on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:51:41 EDT:
A method for the more exact dosing of heavy ion irradiation in the case of cancer has been developed by researchers. Research in this relatively new therapy method is focused again and again on the exact dosing: how must the radiation parameters be set in order to destroy the cancerous cells "on the spot" with as low a damage as possible to the surrounding tissue?
Smallest Swiss cross: Made of 20 single atoms
by on Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:50:47 EDT:
The manipulation of atoms has reached a new level: Physicists were able to place 20 single atoms on a fully insulated surface at room temperature to form the smallest “Swiss cross”, thus taking a big step towards next generation atomic-scale storage devices.
Labs characterize carbon for lithion-ion batteries
by on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:24:10 EDT:
Researchers have found a universal descriptor of charge-transfer binding properties for carbon-based lithium-ion batteries. The model is based on intrinsic electronic characteristics of materials used as battery anodes. These include the material's quantum capacitance (the ability of the material to absorb charge) and the material's absolute Fermi level, which determines how many lithium ions may bond to the electrodes.
Nano-sized silicon oxide electrode for the next generation lithium ion batteries
by on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:57:42 EDT:
A new article reports on an approach with industrial potential to produce nano-sized composite silicon-based powders as negative electrodes for the next generation lithium ion batteries.
Quantum computers? First photonic router demonstrated
by on Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:41:03 EDT:
Scientists have demonstrated for the first time a photonic router -- a quantum device based on a single atom that enables routing of single photons by single photons. This achievement is another step toward overcoming the difficulties in building quantum computers.
Researchers discover boron 'buckyball'
by on Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:55:06 EDT:
The discovery of buckyballs -- soccer-ball-shaped molecules of carbon -- helped usher in the nanotechnology era. Now, researchers have shown that boron, carbon's neighbor on the periodic table, can form a cage-like molecule similar to the buckyball. Until now, such a boron structure had only been a theoretical speculation. The researchers dubbed their new-found nanostructure 'borospherene.'
Deep within spinach leaves, vibrations enhance efficiency of photosynthesis
by on Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:55:02 EDT:
Biophysics researchers have used short pulses of light to peer into the mechanics of photosynthesis and illuminate the role that molecule vibrations play in the energy conversion process that powers life on our planet.
Uncertainty gives scientists new confidence in search for novel materials
by on Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:16:24 EDT:
Scientists have found a way to estimate uncertainties in computer calculations that are widely used to speed the search for new materials for industry, electronics, energy, drug design and a host of other applications. The technique should quickly be adopted in studies that produce some 30,000 scientific papers per year.
How to uncover the true face of atomic nuclei
by on Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:12:08 EDT:
Protons and neutrons are the basic constituents of atomic nuclei. Are they distributed homogeneously, or perhaps in quartets consisting of two protons and two neutrons? Physicists have recently presented an idea how this issue may be investigated in future experiments.
Making quantum connections: The speed of information in a spin network
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:15:31 EDT:
Physicists are pretty adept at controlling quantum systems and even making certain entangled states. Researchers are putting these skills to work to explore the dynamics of correlated quantum systems. Recent results investigated how information flows through a quantum many-body system.
First snapshots of water splitting in photosynthesis
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:01:17 EDT:
Scientists have taken the first snapshots of photosynthesis in action as it splits water into protons, electrons and oxygen, the process that maintains Earth's oxygen atmosphere. The revealing of the mechanism of this water splitting process is essential for the development of artificial systems that mimic and surpass the efficiency of natural systems.
New paths into the world of quasiparticles
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 13:59:14 EDT:
Quasiparticles can be used to explain physical phenomena in solid bodies even though they are not actual physical particles. Physicists have now realized quasiparticles in a quantum system and observed quantum mechanical entanglement propagation in a many-body system.
Highway for ultracold atoms in light crystals
by on Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:56:22 EDT:
When a superconductor is exposed to a magnetic field, a current on its surface appears which creates a counter field that cancels the magnetic field inside the superconductor. This phenomenon, known as "Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect" after its discoverers, was first observed in 1933. Physicists have now succeeded in realizing an analogue of the Meissner effect by measuring edge currents in a ladder-like crystal of light.
Solar energy gets a boost: 'Singlet fission' can increase solar cell efficiency by as much as 30 percent
by on Tue, 08 Jul 2014 13:21:46 EDT:
Scientists have reviewed chemists' work on "singlet fission," a process in which a single photon generates a pair of excited states. This conversion process has the potential to boost solar cell efficiency by as much as 30 percent.
Nano-optics: Getting the most out of tiny lasers
by on Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:10:15 EDT:
Semiconductor optical devices are becoming increasingly commonplace. For example, light-emitting diodes, as they become more power efficient, are rapidly replacing conventional light bulbs. Lasers too are now found in every barcode scanner and compact-disc reader. An off-center waveguide enables light to be efficiently extracted from nanoscale lasers.
Mystery of the printed diode solved
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:16:12 EDT:
A thirteen-year-long mystery that has involved a long series of researchers has finally been solved. A new article presents a diode in printed electronics that works in the GHz band, which opens up a new opportunity to send signals from a mobile phone to, for example, printed electronic labels. Energy from the radio signal is collected and used to switch the label's display. The diode being printed means that it is both cheap and simple to manufacture. Researchers have long known that the diode works, but not how and why.
Building much smaller, greener electronics: Atom-scale, ultra-low-power computing devices to replace transistor circuits
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:25:14 EDT:
The digital age has resulted in a succession of smaller, cleaner and less power-hungry technologies since the days the personal computer fit atop a desk, replacing mainframe models that once filled entire rooms. Desktop PCs have since given way to smaller and smaller laptops, smartphones and devices that most of us carry around in our pockets. Scientists are now developing atom-scale, ultra-low-power computing devices to replace transistor circuits.
The quantum dance of oxygen: Proposal for a new phase of the element, when atoms dance in quartets
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:23:12 EDT:
Under extremely high pressure conditions oxygen molecules group into quartets and give rise to a “dance of their magnetic moments”. This results in magnetic properties never previously observed in these conditions and in theory points to the existence of a new phase of the element, called epsilon 1.
Solid-state physics: Consider the 'anticrystal'
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:43:18 EDT:
For the last century, the concept of crystals has been a mainstay of solid-state physics. Crystals are paragons of order; crystalline materials are defined by the repeating patterns their constituent atoms and molecules make. Physicists now have evidence that a new concept should undergird our understanding of most materials: the anticrystal, a theoretical solid that is completely disordered.
Ultra-cold atom transport made simple
by on Mon, 07 Jul 2014 12:15:05 EDT:
Techniques for controlling ultra-cold atoms traveling in ring traps currently represent an important research area in physics. A new study gives a proof of principle, confirmed by numerical simulations, of the applicability to ultra-cold atoms of a very efficient and robust transport technique called spatial adiabatic passage.
From pencil marks to quantum computers
by on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 16:23:06 EDT:
One of the hottest materials in condensed matter research today is graphene. Graphene had an unlikely start: it began with researchers messing around with pencil marks on paper. Pencil "lead" is actually made of graphite, which is a soft crystal lattice made of nothing but carbon atoms. When pencils deposit that graphite on paper, the lattice is laid down in thin sheets. By pulling that lattice apart into thinner sheets -- originally using Scotch tape -- researchers discovered that they could make flakes of crystal just one atom thick.
With 'ribbons' of graphene, width matters: A narrow enough ribbon will transform a high-performance conductor into a semiconductor
by on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:24:29 EDT:
Using graphene ribbons of unimaginably small widths -- just several atoms across -- a group of researchers has found a novel way to "tune" the wonder material, causing the extremely efficient conductor of electricity to act as a semiconductor. In principle, their method for producing these narrow ribbons -- at a width roughly equal to the diameter of a strand of human DNA -- and manipulating the ribbons' electrical conductivity could be used to produce nano-devices.
Tunable quantum behavior observed in bilayer graphene
by on Thu, 03 Jul 2014 14:23:42 EDT:
Researchers have observed the fractional quantum Hall effect in bilayer graphene and shown that this exotic state of matter can be tuned by an electric field.
Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:00:36 EDT:
Scientists have created a nonlinear mirror that could advance laser systems. The metamaterials were created with nonlinear optical response a million times as strong as traditional nonlinear materials.
Hollow optical fibers for UV light
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 13:16:50 EDT:
If you want to send light on a trip through optical fibers -- with as little loss as possible, you should opt for infrared light, as is the case, for example, in the telecommunication networks worldwide. For certain applications, such as spectroscopic investigations on ions or atoms, however, (laser) light in the ultraviolet range is required. But this type of light would quickly damage conventional optical fibers. Researchers have now tested a new type of optical fiber with a hollow core and have found out that this type of optical fiber was able to guide UV laser light without being damaged and with acceptable loss.
Superconducting-silicon qubits: Using a bottom-up approach to make hybrid quantum devices
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:36:12 EDT:
Theorists propose a way to make superconducting quantum devices such as Josephson junctions and qubits, atom-by-atom, inside a silicon crystal. Such systems could combine the most promising aspects of silicon spin qubits with the flexibility of superconducting circuits.
'Deep learning' makes search for exotic particles easier: New computing techniques could aid hunt for Higgs bosons
by on Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:36:06 EDT:
Fully automated 'deep learning' by computers greatly improves the odds of discovering particles such as the Higgs boson, beating even veteran physicists' abilities, according to new findings.
Nature of solids and liquids explored through new pitch drop experiment
by on Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:33:01 EDT:
Physicists have set up a new pitch drop experiment for students to explore the difference between solid and liquids. Known as the 'world's longest experiment', the set up at the University of Queensland was famous for taking ten years for a drop of pitch -- a thick, black, sticky material -- to fall from a funnel.