In the United States, electricity comes with the flip of a switch and heat arrives with the push of a button. Behind such convenience lies a massive infrastructure network that produces and distributes energy. And just like roads wear down and need to be repaved occasionally, this energy infrastructure degrades over time. Pipes can corrode and concrete can wear thin. Failure can be catastrophic...
An international team led by scientists from the University of Zurich finds that high-precision...
Will next Saturday’s Tour de France prologue get the winner it deserves? New aerodynamic...
A physicist at the University of Waterloo is among a team of scientists who have described how glasses form at the molecular level and provided a possible solution to a problem that has stumped scientists for decades.
Using the Subaru Telescope, researchers have found evidence that enigmatic objects in nearby galaxies—called ultra-luminous X-ray sources—exhibit strong outflows created as matter falls onto their black holes at unexpectedly high rates. The strong outflows suggest that black holes in these ULXs must be much smaller than expected. Curiously, these objects appear to be "cousins" of one of the most exotic objects in our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Research led by Michigan State University could someday lead to the development of new and improved semiconductors. In a paper, scientists detailed how they developed a method to change the electronic properties of materials in a way that will more easily allow an electrical current to pass through.
A new route to ultrahigh density, ultracompact integrated photonic circuitry has been discovered by researchers. The Berkeley Lab team has developed a technique for effectively controlling pulses of light in closely packed nanoscale waveguides, an essential requirement for high-performance optical communications and chip-scale quantum computing.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to manipulate a wide range of materials and their behavior using only a handful of helium ions. The team’s technique advances the understanding and use of complex oxide materials that boast unusual properties such as superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance but are notoriously difficult to control.
Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source. The unexplained heat has caused a two-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn's age.
An electronics technology that uses the "spin" of atomic nuclei to store and process information promises huge gains in performance over today's electron-based devices. But getting there is proving challenging. Now researchers at the Univ. of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering have made a crucial step toward nuclear spintronic technologies.
Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have reported the first observation of spin precession of spin currents flowing in a silicon nanowire transport channel, and determined spin lifetimes and corresponding spin diffusion lengths in these nanoscale spintronic devices.
Physicists have found a way to control the length and strength of waves of atomic motion that have promising potential uses such as fine-scale imaging and the transmission of information within tight spaces. The researchers measured waves called polaritons that can emerge when light interacts with matter.
Rotation is key to the performance of salad spinners, toy tops and centrifuges, but recent research suggests a way to harness rotation for the future of mankind's energy supply. In recently published papers, a physicist at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory demonstrated a novel method that scientists can use to manipulate the intrinsic rotation of hot, charged plasma gas within fusion facilities called tokamaks.
Virginia Tech engineers have shed light on what happens to a nearby particle when bubbles burst. Sunghwan Jung, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in the College of Engineering, has discovered new information about a phenomenon called cavitation, the process of bubble formation in a fluid like water.
Lightning darts across the sky in a flash. And even though we can use lightning rods to increase the probability of it striking at a specific location, its exact path remains unpredictable. At a smaller scale, discharges between two electrodes behave in the same manner, streaking through space to create electric arcs where only the start and end points are fixed. How then can we control the current so that it follows a predetermined path?
In a new study, researchers explain why one particular cathode material works well at high voltages, while most other cathodes do not. The insights, published in Science, could help battery developers design rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that operate at higher voltages.
The mantis shrimp is able to repeatedly pummel the shells of prey using a hammer-like appendage that can withstand rapid-fire blows by neutralizing certain frequencies of “shear waves,” according to new research. The club is made of a composite material containing fibers of chitin, the same substance found in many marine crustacean shells and insect exoskeletons but arranged in a helicoidal structure that resembles a spiral staircase.
Researchers have used ultra-short pulses of x-rays to film shock waves in diamonds. The study headed by DESY scientists opens up new possibilities for studying the properties of materials. Thanks to the extremely bright and short x-ray flashes, the researchers were able to follow the rapid, dynamic changes taking place in the shock wave with a high spatial, as well as a high temporal, resolution.
Aalto Univ. researchers have succeeded to predict, in theory, that superconducting surfaces can become topological superconductors when magnetic iron atoms are deposited on the surface in a regular pattern. They used the latest mathematical and physical models to predict the existence of a topological superconducting state on metallic superconducting surfaces and thin films.
An international research group led by scientists at NIST’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology has developed a method for measuring crystal vibrations in graphene. Understanding these vibrations is a critical step toward controlling future technologies based on graphene.
Researchers have solved the long-standing conundrum of how the boundary between grains of graphene affects heat conductivity in thin films of the miracle substance, bringing developers a step closer to engineering films at a scale useful for cooling microelectronic devices and hundreds of other nanotech applications.
Fog can play a key role in cloaking military invasions and retreats and the actions of intruders. That’s why physical security experts seek to overcome fog, but it’s difficult to field test security cameras, sensors or other equipment in fog that is often either too thick or too ephemeral. Until now, collecting field test data in foggy environments was time-consuming and costly.
An international team of physicists working at the Institute of Nuclear Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has measured the mass of a "strange" atomic nucleus with the aid of an innovative technique that is capable of significantly greater precision than that of previous methods. The researchers were able, for the first time worldwide, to observe the radioactive decay of artificially generated nuclei of super-heavy hydrogen.
Picking things up and putting them down is a mainstay of any kind of manufacturing, but fingers, human or robotic, are not always best for the task at hand. Researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania are developing a new kind of gripper, motivated by the ability of animals like the gecko to grip and release surfaces, that is perfectly suited for the delicate work involved in semiconductor manufacturing.
The effort to secure a stable, domestic source of a critical medical isotope reached an important milestone this month as the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory demonstrated the production, separation and purification of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) using a process developed in cooperation with SHINE Medical Technologies.
Optical fibers are hair-like threads of glass used to guide light. Fibers of exceptional purity have proved an excellent way of sending information over long distances and are the foundation of modern telecommunication systems. Transmission relies on what's called total internal reflection, wherein the light propagates by effectively bouncing back and forth off of the fiber's internal surface.
If you want to assign blame on an overcast day, then cast your eyes on the tropics. Water vapor originating is transported to midlatitudes on long filaments of flowing air that intermittently travel across the world’s oceans. When these airy tendrils make landfall, they can cause severe floods. Yet despite the importance of these “atmospheric rivers” for global water and heat cycles, the mechanism behind their formation is a mystery.
A NASA mission has released new images of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest asteroid between Mars and Jupiter. The photos were produced by the spacecraft Dawn, which is now observing Ceres from 2,700 miles above its surface; NASA has also produced a one-minute video animation that sheds new light on this mysterious and heavily cratered world.
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