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Technique harnesses everyday seismic waves to image the Earth

May 29, 2015 11:30 am | by Ker Than, Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

A new technique developed at Stanford Univ. harnesses the buzz of everyday human activity to map the interior of the Earth. Using tiny ground tremors generated by the rumble of cars and trucks across highways, the activities within offices and homes, pedestrians crossing the street and even airplanes flying overhead, a Stanford Univ. team created detailed three-dimensional subsurface maps of the California port city of Long Beach.

Microscopic sonic screwdriver invented

May 29, 2015 7:56 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

A team of engineers have created tiny acoustic vortices and used them to grip and spin...

Physicists precisely measure interaction between atoms, carbon surfaces

May 29, 2015 7:36 am | by Peter Kelley, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Physicists at the Univ. of Washington have conducted the most precise and controlled...

Donuts, math and superdense teleportation of quantum information

May 28, 2015 12:26 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Putting a hole in the center of the donut allows the deep-fried pastry to cook evenly, inside...

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Spiraling laser pulses could change graphene

May 28, 2015 11:46 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study predicts that researchers could use spiraling pulses of laser light to change the nature of graphene, turning it from a metal into an insulator and giving it other peculiar properties that might be used to encode information. The results pave the way for experiments that create and control new states of matter with this specialized form of light, with potential applications in computing and other areas.

Squeezed quantum cats

May 27, 2015 8:15 am | by Oliver Morsch, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Quantum physics is full of fascinating phenomena. For example, the cat from the famous thought experiment by the physicist Erwin Schrodinger. The cat can be dead and alive at once, since its life depends on the quantum mechanically determined state of a radioactively decaying atom which, in turn, releases toxic gas into the cat's cage. As long as one hasn't measured the state of the atom, one knows nothing about the cat's health either.

Linking superconductivity and structure

May 27, 2015 7:31 am | by Carnegie Institution | News | Comments

Superconductivity is a rare physical state in which matter is able to conduct electricity without any resistance. It can only be found in certain materials, and even then it can only be achieved under controlled conditions of low temperatures and high pressures. New research from the Carnegie Institution hones in on the structural changes underlying superconductivity in iron arsenide compounds.

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New technique speeds nanoMRI imaging

May 26, 2015 11:11 am | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

NanoMRI is a scanning technique that produces nondestructive, high-resolution 3-D images of nanoscale objects, and it promises to become a powerful tool for researchers and companies exploring the shape and function of biological materials such as viruses and cells in much the same way as clinical MRI today enables investigation of whole tissues in the human body.

One step closer to a single-molecule device

May 26, 2015 10:57 am | by Columbia Univ. | News | Comments

Under the direction of Latha Venkataraman, associate professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, researchers have designed a new technique to create a single-molecule diode, and, in doing so, they have developed molecular diodes that perform 50 times better than all prior designs. Venkataraman's group is the first to develop a single-molecule diode that may have real-world technological applications for nanoscale devices.

Slip sliding away

May 26, 2015 7:47 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have found a way to use tiny diamonds and graphene to give friction the slip, creating a new material combination that demonstrates the rare phenomenon of “superlubricity.” The five-person Argonne team combined diamond nanoparticles, small patches of graphene and a diamond-like carbon material to create superlubricity, a highly-desirable property in which friction drops to near zero.

Advance in quantum error correction

May 26, 2015 7:25 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Quantum computers are largely theoretical devices that could perform some computations exponentially faster than conventional computers can. Crucial to most designs for quantum computers is quantum error correction, which helps preserve the fragile quantum states on which quantum computation depends.

Slinky lookalike “hyperlens” helps us see tiny objects

May 22, 2015 10:27 am | by Cory Nealon, Univ. at Buffalo | News | Comments

It looks like a Slinky suspended in motion. Yet this photonics advancement, called a metamaterial hyperlens, doesn’t climb down stairs. Instead, it improves our ability to see tiny objects. The hyperlens may someday help detect some of the most lethal forms of cancer.

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Physicists develop efficient method of signal transmission from nanocomponents

May 22, 2015 9:44 am | by Univ. of Basel | News | Comments

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner.

Used MRI magnets get second chance at life

May 22, 2015 7:42 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

When it comes to magnets, a doctor’s trash is a physicist’s treasure. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory recently acquired two decommissioned magnets from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners from hospitals in Minnesota and California that will find a new home as proving grounds for instruments used in high-energy and nuclear physics experiments.

Using seismic signals to track above-ground explosions

May 21, 2015 2:58 pm | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (lLNL) researchers have determined that a tunnel bomb explosion by Syrian rebels was less than 60 tons as claimed by sources. Using seismic stations in Turkey, LLNL scientists created a method to determine source characteristics of near-earth surface explosions.

World’s biggest atom smasher sets energy record

May 21, 2015 11:55 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists operating the world's biggest particle collider say they have set a new energy record ahead of the massive machine's full restart in June. The European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, says it succeeded late Wednesday in smashing together protons at 13 trillion electronvolts.

May 15, 2015,

Students apply physics to football at the Emirates Stadium

May 20, 2015 12:13 pm | by IOP | News | Comments

Students from four schools took part in a day of physics and football at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2015, as the finale of an eight-week program to engage students with science by applying it to soccer. The schools have been running after-school physics and football clubs in which students learnt about such concepts as projectiles, impact area and center of mass and applied their knowledge in practice on the football pitch.

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Mesoscale atoms (structures formed by microdroplets of water trapped in a drop of oil) produced at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. Courtesy of IPC PAS

Amazing microdroplet structures may lead to new technologies

May 20, 2015 11:47 am | by IPC PAS | News | Comments

A team of researchers has unveiled a new method of controlling the shapes of structures—so called mesoatoms—formed by microdroplets placed inside another drop. The work increases the possibilities of controlling the processes of self-organization of matter. During their research, the scientists also managed for the first time to observe the formation of microdroplet structures with unexpected shapes.

Researchers join the hunt for “elusive” gravitational waves

May 19, 2015 10:55 am | by Cardiff University | News | Comments

An international project to find the first direct evidence of the existence of gravitational waves, will be officially inaugurated on May 19, 2015. Researchers at Cardiff University will use a powerful supercomputer to comb through data from two gravitational wave detectors now being brought online and will search, with unprecedented accuracy, for the first ever direct evidence of the existence of gravitational waves later this year.

A foundation for quantum computing

May 19, 2015 8:01 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Quantum computers are in theory capable of simulating the interactions of molecules at a level of detail far beyond the capabilities of even the largest supercomputers today. Such simulations could revolutionize chemistry, biology and materials science, but the development of quantum computers has been limited by the ability to increase the number of quantum bits, or qubits, that encode, store and access large amounts of data.

New options for spintronic devices

May 18, 2015 10:46 am | by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin | News | Comments

Scientists from Paris and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have been able to switch ferromagnetic domains on and off with low voltage in a structure made of two different ferroic materials. The switching works slightly above room temperature. Their results, which are published online in Scientific Reports, might inspire future applications in low-power spintronics, for instance for fast and efficient data storage.

Quantum physics on tap

May 18, 2015 7:40 am | by McGill Univ. | Videos | Comments

We all know intuitively that normal liquids flow more quickly as the channel containing them tightens. Think of a river flowing through narrow rapids. But what if a pipe were so amazingly tiny that only a few atoms of superfluid helium could squeeze through its opening at once?

The measured plasma pressure profile and the particle dynamics relating to the loss of axial momentum loss.

Towards high performance electrodeless electric propulsion in space

May 15, 2015 12:07 pm | by Tohoku University | News | Comments

A part of the performance degradation mechanism of the advanced, electrodeless, helicon plasma thruster with a magnetic nozzle, has been revealed. An electric propulsion device is a main engine, and a key piece of technology for space development and exploration. Charged particles are produced by electric discharge and accelerated. Thrust force is equivalent to the momentum exhausted by the device, and spacecraft can thus be propelled.

A high harmonic spectrometer © ETH Zurich

Physicists observe attosecond real-time restructuring of electron cloud in molecule

May 15, 2015 11:52 am | by Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology | News | Comments

The recombination of electron shells in molecules, taking just a few dozen attoseconds, can now be viewed “live,” thanks to a new method. To track processes taking virtually no time to happen, scientists used the pump-probe method. First, a molecule was impulsively oriented with one laser pulse. Then a second powerful, low-frequency laser pulse ionized the molecule, which generated high harmonic radiation.

Researchers build new fermion microscope

May 14, 2015 7:50 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Fermions are the building blocks of matter, interacting in a multitude of permutations to give rise to the elements of the periodic table. Without fermions, the physical world would not exist. Examples of fermions are electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks and atoms consisting of an odd number of these elementary particles. Because of their fermionic nature, electrons and nuclear matter are difficult to understand theoretically. 

Discovered: “Swing-dancing” pair of electrons

May 13, 2015 4:45 pm | by Joe Miksch, Univ. of Pittsburgh | News | Comments

A research team led by the Univ. of Pittsburgh’s Jeremy Levy has discovered electrons that can “swing dance.” This unique electronic behavior can potentially lead to new families of quantum devices. Superconductors form the basis for magnetic resonance imaging devices as well as emerging technologies such as quantum computers. At the heart of all superconductors is the bunching of electrons into pairs.

Experiments first to observe rare subatomic process

May 13, 2015 4:30 pm | by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

Two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, have combined their results and observed a previously unseen subatomic process. As published in Nature, a joint analysis by the CMS and LHCb collaborations has established a new and rare decay of the Bs particle (a heavy composite particle consisting of a bottom antiquark and a strange quark) into two muons.

Water was plentiful in early universe

May 13, 2015 12:17 pm | by American Friends of Tel Aviv Univ. | News | Comments

Astronomers have held that water was a relative latecomer to the universe. They believed any element heavier than helium had to have been formed in the cores of stars and not by the Big Bang itself. Since the earliest stars would have taken some time to form, mature and die, it was presumed that it took billions of years for oxygen atoms to disperse throughout the universe and attach to hydrogen to produce the first interstellar "water".

Probing secrets of the universe inside a metal box

May 13, 2015 8:13 am | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

The Standard Model of particle physics, sometimes called "The Theory of Almost Everything," is the best set of equations to date that describes the universe's fundamental particles and how they interact. Yet the theory has holes.

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