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JILA's strontium lattice atomic clock now performs better than ever because scientists literally "take the temperature" of the atoms' environment. Two specialized thermometers, calibrated by NIST researchers and visible in the center of the photo, are ins

Getting better all the time: JILA strontium atomic clock sets new records

April 24, 2015 10:57 am | by NIST | News | Comments

In another advance at the far frontiers of timekeeping by NIST researchers, the latest modification of a record-setting strontium atomic clock has achieved precision and stability levels that now mean the clock would neither gain nor lose one second in some 15 billion years—roughly the age of the universe.

X-ray ptychography, fluorescence microscopy combo sheds new light on trace elements

April 24, 2015 10:44 am | by Angela Hardin, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists have developed a new approach that combines ptychographic x-ray imaging and...

Ultra-sensitive sensor detects individual electrons

April 24, 2015 10:25 am | by SINC | News | Comments

A Spanish-led team of European researchers at the Univ. of Cambridge has created an electronic...

Heat makes electrons’ spin in magnetic superconductors

April 24, 2015 9:53 am | by Academy of Finland | News | Comments

Physicists have shown how heat can be exploited for controlling magnetic properties of matter....

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Method takes quantum sensing to a new level

April 24, 2015 8:09 am | by Ron Walli, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Thermal imaging, microscopy and ultra-trace sensing could take a quantum leap with a technique developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their work overcomes fundamental limitations of detection derived from the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states that the position and momentum of a particle cannot be measured with absolute precision.

Researchers use novel polarization to increase data speeds

April 24, 2015 7:53 am | by Jay Mwamba, The City College of New York | News | Comments

As the world’s exponentially growing demand for digital data slows the Internet and cell phone communication, City College of New York researchers may have just figured out a new way to increase its speed.

A silver lining

April 24, 2015 7:43 am | by Julie Cohen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | News | Comments

The silver used by Beth Gwinn’s research group at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, has value far beyond its worth as a commodity, even though it’s used in very small amounts. The group works with the precious metal to create nanoscale silver clusters with unique fluorescent properties. These properties are important for a variety of sensing applications including biomedical imaging.

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The compact photon source, which is being developed by Berkeley Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Idaho National Laboratory, is tunable, allowing users to produce MeV photons within very specific narrow ranges of energy, an improvement that

National security on the move with high energy physics

April 23, 2015 11:43 am | by Theresa Duque, Berkley Lab | News | Comments

Scientists are developing a portable technology that will safely and quickly detect nuclear material hidden within large objects such as shipping cargo containers or sealed waste drums. The researchers have been awarded over $10 million from the NNSA to combine the capabilities of conventional building-size research instruments with the transportable size of a truck for security applications on the go.

Under certain conditions, two individual, indistinguishable photons will form a pair as a result of interference. This subtle quantum effect has been successfully imaged for the first time by Michał Jachura and Radosław Chrapkiewicz, doctoral students at

Quantum ‘paparazzi’ film photons in the act of pairing up

April 23, 2015 11:34 am | by University of Warsaw | News | Comments

In the quantum world of light, being distinguishable means staying lonely. Only those photons that are indistinguishable can wind up in a pair, through what is called Hong-Ou-Mandel interference. This subtle quantum effect has been successfully imaged for the first time by two doctoral students from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw.

High-power diode laser module for space applications: Micro-integrated Extended Cavity Diode Laser (ECDL) for laser spectroscopy of rubidium atoms in space. This module has been used on April 23 for tests on board the FOKUS research rocket aiming to demon

Examining Einstein – precise experiments using lasers in space

April 23, 2015 11:20 am | by Forschungsverbund Berlin | News | Comments

Albert Einstein tells us that clocks run slower the deeper they are in the gravitational potential well of a mass. This effect is described by General Relativity Theory as the gravitational red shift. General Relativity Theory also predicts that the rates of all clocks are equally influenced by gravitation independent of how these clocks are physically or technically constructed. However, more recent theories of gravitation...

From metal to insulator and back again

April 23, 2015 8:45 am | by Carnegie Institution | News | Comments

New work from the Carnegie Institution’s Russell Hemley and Ivan Naumov hones in on the physics underlying the recently discovered fact that some metals stop being metallic under pressure. Metals are compounds that are capable of conducting the flow of electrons that make up an electric current.

Boiling down viscous flow

April 23, 2015 7:41 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Drizzling honey on toast can produce mesmerizing, meandering patterns, as the syrupy fluid ripples and coils in a sticky, golden thread. Dribbling paint on canvas can produce similarly serpentine loops and waves. The patterns created by such viscous fluids can be reproduced experimentally in a setup known as a “fluid mechanical sewing machine,” in which an overhead nozzle deposits a thick fluid onto a moving conveyor belt.

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Phonons, arise!

April 22, 2015 8:16 am | by Neal Singer, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Modern research has found no simple, inexpensive way to alter a material’s thermal conductivity at room temperature. That lack of control has made it hard to create new classes of devices that use phonons, rather than electrons or photons, to harvest energy or transmit information. Phonons have proved hard to harness.

Combing through terahertz waves

April 22, 2015 8:02 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | News | Comments

Light can come in many frequencies, only a small fraction of which can be seen by humans. Between the invisible low-frequency radio waves used by cell phones and the high frequencies associated with infrared light lies a fairly wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum occupied by what are called terahertz, or sometimes submillimeter, waves.

Nanophotonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems

April 21, 2015 10:46 am | by Max Planck Society | News | Comments

Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, which are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have proven to be one of the most promising tools for simulating and understanding the behavior of many-body systems. However, the implementation in free space has some limitations such as the distance between the atoms (around 400 nm) and the short range of the interactions.

Electron trapping harnessed to make light sensors

April 21, 2015 10:34 am | by Mark Esser, NIST | News | Comments

Traps. Whether you’re squaring off against the Empire or trying to wring electricity out of sunlight, they’re almost never a good thing. But sometimes you can turn that trap to your advantage. A team from the Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln, working with researchers at NIST, has shown that electron-trapping defects that are typically problematic in solar cells can be an asset when engineering sensitive light detectors.

New tabletop detector “sees” single electrons

April 21, 2015 7:37 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicists have developed a new tabletop particle detector that is able to identify single electrons in a radioactive gas. As the gas decays and gives off electrons, the detector uses a magnet to trap them in a magnetic bottle. A radio antenna then picks up very weak signals emitted by the electrons, which can be used to map the electrons’ precise activity over several milliseconds.

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The magnetic coercivity, the resistance to change in the orientation of the magnetic domain structure, for nickel (Ni) was shown to strongly depend on the crystal structure of the underlying oxide (vanadium oxide). The maximum Ni coercivity occurs at the

Giant magnetic effects induced in hybrid materials

April 20, 2015 2:22 pm | by Department of Energy, Office of Science | News | Comments

Proximity effects in hybrid heterostructures, which contain distinct layers of different materials, allow one material species to reveal and/or control properties of a dissimilar species. Specifically, for a magnetic thin film deposited onto a transition metal oxide film, the magnetic properties change dramatically as the oxide undergoes a structural phase transition.

Applied physics helps decipher the causes of sudden death

April 20, 2015 2:10 pm | by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) | News | Comments

Sudden cardiac death accounts for approximately 10 percent of natural deaths, most of which are due to ventricular fibrillation. Each year it causes 300,000 deaths in the United States and 20,000 in Spain. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the transition to calcium alternans, an arrhythmia associated with increased risk of sudden death, has common features with the magnetic ordering of metals.

For the first time, researchers predicted the properties of granular Platonic solids (crystalline) packs and discovered a significant shape effect in their overall thermo-mechanical behavior.

New paper opens the door to the study of a new class of materials

April 20, 2015 12:51 pm | by William G. Gilroy, University of Notre Dame | News | Comments

A new paper describes how an accurate statistical description of heterogeneous particulate materials, which is used within statistical micromechanics theories, governs the overall thermo-mechanical properties. This detailed statistical description was computed using a novel adaptive interpolation/integration scheme on the nation’s largest parallel supercomputers.

Advances in molecular electronics

April 20, 2015 10:27 am | by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf | News | Comments

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the Univ. of Konstanz are working on storing and processing information on the level of single molecules to create the smallest possible components that will combine autonomously to form a circuit. As recently reported in Advanced Science, the researchers can switch on the current flow through a single molecule for the first time with the help of light.

Quantum model helps solve mysteries of water

April 20, 2015 10:19 am | by National Physical Laboratory | News | Comments

Water is one of the most common and extensively studied substances on earth. It’s vital for all known forms of life but its unique behavior has yet to be explained in terms of the properties of individual molecules. Water derives many of its signature features from a combination of properties at the molecular level such as high polarizability, directional hydrogen bonding sites and van der Waals forces.

Pulsing light may indicate supermassive black hole merger

April 20, 2015 10:11 am | by Abby Robinson, Univ. of Maryland | News | Comments

As two galaxies enter the final stages of merging, scientists have theorized that the galaxies' supermassive black holes will form a "binary," or two black holes in such close orbit they are gravitationally bound to one another. In a new study, astronomers at the Univ. of Maryland present direct evidence of a pulsing quasar, which may substantiate the existence of black hole binaries.

Liquid crystal bubbles experiment arrives at ISS

April 20, 2015 8:10 am | by Univ. of Colorado, Boulder | News | Comments

An experiment led by the Univ. of Colorado Boulder arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) and will look into the fluid dynamics of liquid crystals that may lead to benefits both on Earth and in space. A new physical science investigation on ISS, the Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space (OASIS), will examine the behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity.

Detector at the South Pole explores the mysterious neutrinos

April 17, 2015 8:51 am | by Univ. of Copenhagen | News | Comments

Neutrinos are a type of particle that pass through just about everything in their path from even the most distant regions of the universe. The Earth is constantly bombarded by billions of neutrinos, which zip right through everything. Only very rarely do they react with matter, but the giant IceCube experiment at the South Pole can detect when there is a collision between neutrinos and atoms in the ice using a network of detectors.

Quantum cryptography at the speed of light

April 15, 2015 8:11 am | by Marit Mitchell, Senior Communications Office, Univ. of Toronto | News | Comments

Imagine having your MRI results sent directly to your phone, with no concern over the security of your private health data. Or knowing your financial information was safe on a server halfway around the world. Or sending highly sensitive business correspondence, without worrying that it would fall into the wrong hands.

RHIC smashes record for polarized proton luminosity

April 15, 2015 7:34 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider just shattered its own record for producing polarized proton collisions at 200-GeV collision energy. In the experimental run currently underway at this two-ringed, 2.4-mile-circumference particle collider, accelerator physicists are now delivering 1,200 billion of these subatomic smashups per week.

On the road to spin-orbitronics

April 14, 2015 7:55 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

Few among us may know what magnetic domains are, but we make use of them daily when we email files, post images or download music or video to our personal devices. Now a team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found a new way of manipulating the walls that define these magnetic domains and the results could one day revolutionize the electronics industry.

Dark Energy Survey creates detailed guide to spotting dark matter

April 14, 2015 7:39 am | by Andre Salles, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey have released the first in a series of dark matter maps of the cosmos. These maps, created with one of the world's most powerful digital cameras, are the largest contiguous maps created at this level of detail and will improve our understanding of dark matter's role in the formation of galaxies.

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