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Is the Higgs boson a piece of the matter-antimatter puzzle?

December 16, 2014 8:28 am | by SLAC Office of Communications | News | Comments

Several experiments, including the BaBar experiment at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, have helped explain some, but not all, of the imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe. Now a SLAC theorist and his colleagues have laid out a possible method for determining if the Higgs boson is involved.

Fraud-proof credit cards possible with quantum physics

December 15, 2014 3:11 pm | by Lyndsay Meyer, The Optical Society | News | Comments

Credit card fraud and identify theft are serious problems for consumers and industries. Though corporations and individuals work to improve safeguards, it has become increasingly difficult to protect financial data and personal information from criminal activity. Fortunately, new insights into quantum physics may soon offer a solution.

Using liquid drops to make solids stiffer

December 15, 2014 2:13 pm | by Rase McCry, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Engineers at Yale Univ. have discovered that the stiffness of liquid drops embedded in solids has something in common with Goldilocks: While large drops of liquids are softer than the solid that surrounds them, extremely tiny drops of liquid can actually be stiffer than certain solids. But when they’re “just right,” the liquid drops have the exact same stiffness as the surrounding solid.

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Control on shape of light particles opens the way to quantum Internet

December 15, 2014 8:53 am | by Eindhoven Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

In the same way as we now connect computers in networks through optical signals, it could also be possible to connect future quantum computers in a quantum Internet. The optical signals would then consist of individual light particles or photons. One prerequisite for a working quantum Internet is control of the shape of these photons.

Team combines logic, memory to build “high-rise” chip

December 15, 2014 7:49 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

For decades, the mantra of electronics has been smaller, faster, cheaper. Today, Stanford Univ. engineers add a fourth word: taller. A Stanford team revealed how to build high-rise chips that could leapfrog the performance of the single-story logic and memory chips on today's circuit cards.

Physics World names top 10 physics breakthroughs of 2014

December 12, 2014 7:47 am | News | Comments

The first ever landing of a man-made probe onto a comet has been named Physics World Breakthrough of the Year for 2014. From a shortlist of 10 highly commended breakthroughs, the historic achievement by scientists working on the Rosetta mission was singled out by the Physics World editorial team for its significance and fundamental importance to space science.

3-D maps reveal the genome's origami code

December 12, 2014 7:00 am | Videos | Comments

In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3-D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation -- a kind of "genomic origami" that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. 

Theory details how ‘hot’ monomers affect thin-film formation

December 11, 2014 2:43 pm | by Mike Williams, Rice University | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice and the University of Maryland led by Rice theoretical physicist Alberto Pimpinelli devised the first detailed model to quantify what they believe was the last unknown characteristic of film formation through deposition by vacuum sublimation and chemical vapor deposition.

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‘High-entropy’ alloy is as light as aluminum, as strong as titanium alloys

December 11, 2014 8:09 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new “high-entropy” metal alloy that has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other existing metal material. High-entropy alloys are materials that consist of five or more metals in approximately equal amounts. 

New way to plug 'leaky' light cavities

December 11, 2014 8:07 am | News | Comments

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have demonstrated a new and more efficient way to trap light, using a phenomenon called bound states in the continuum (BIC) that was first proposed in the early days of quantum wave mechanics.

Defects are perfect in laser-induced graphene

December 10, 2014 7:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have created flexible, patterned sheets of multilayer graphene from a cheap polymer by burning it with a computer-controlled laser. The process works in air at room temperature and eliminates the need for hot furnaces and controlled environments, and it makes graphene that may be suitable for electronics or energy storage.

World record for compact particle accelerator

December 9, 2014 12:01 pm | by Kate Greene, Berkeley Lab | News | Comments

Using one of the most powerful lasers in the world, researchers have accelerated subatomic particles to the highest energies ever recorded from a compact accelerator.                        

Hunting for dark matter in a gold mine

December 9, 2014 8:24 am | News | Comments

The Homestake Mine, a played-out gold mine in Lead, S.D., that has been converted into a warren of underground chambers housing physics experiments that need to be shielded from cosmic radiation. One of these experiments is the Lux detector, designed to detect WIMPs (weakly interacting massive particles). 

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Researchers show commonalities in how different glassy materials fail

December 9, 2014 7:59 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have now shown an important commonality that seems to extend through the range of glassy materials. They have demonstrated that the scaling between a glassy material’s stiffness and strength remains unchanged, implying a constant critical strain that these materials can withstand before catastrophic failure.

Rattled atoms mimic high-temperature superconductivity

December 8, 2014 9:29 am | by SLAC Office of Communications | News | Comments

An experiment at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory provided the first fleeting glimpse of the atomic structure of a material as it entered a state resembling room-temperature superconductivity—a long-sought phenomenon in which materials might conduct electricity with 100% efficiency under everyday conditions.

Physics mystery shows path to quantum transistors

December 8, 2014 8:01 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

An odd, iridescent material that's puzzled physicists for decades turns out to be an exotic state of matter that could open a new path to next-generation electronics. Physicists at the Univ. of Michigan have discovered or confirmed several properties of the compound samarium hexaboride that raise hopes for finding the silicon of the quantum era. They say their results also close the case of how to classify the material.

Unusual electronic state found in new class of superconductors

December 8, 2014 7:41 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

A team of scientists has discovered an unusual form of electronic order in a new family of unconventional superconductors. The findingestablishes an unexpected connection between this new group of titanium-oxypnictide superconductors and the more familiar cuprates and iron-pnictides, providing scientists with a whole new family of materials from which they can gain deeper insights into the mysteries of high-temperature superconductivity.

Geophysicists challenge traditional theory underlying the origin of mid-plate volcanoes

December 5, 2014 9:16 am | by Virginia Tech | News | Comments

A long-held assumption about the Earth is discussed in Science, as a team of researchers look at how a layer beneath the Earth's crust may be responsible for volcanic eruptions. The discovery challenges conventional thought that volcanoes are caused when plates that make up the planet's crust shift and release heat.

New tool tweaks rainbows of x-ray laser light

December 4, 2014 9:30 am | by SLAC Office of Communications | News | Comments

The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has teamed up with Santa Monica-based RadiaBeam Systems to develop a device known as a dechirper, which will provide a new way of adjusting the range of energies within single pulses from SLAC’s x-ray laser. The dechirper will enable scientists to narrow or broaden the spectrum of each x-ray pulse—similar to the spectrum of colors in visible light—up to four-fold.

Laser sniffs out toxic gases from afar

December 3, 2014 4:45 pm | by Robin Anne Smith, Duke Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have developed a way to sniff out tiny amounts of toxic gases from up to one kilometer away. The new technology can discriminate one type of gas from another with greater specificity than most remote sensors and under normal atmospheric pressure, something that wasn’t thought possible before.

CO2 warming effects felt just a decade after emitted

December 3, 2014 10:54 am | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

It takes just 10 years for a single emission of carbon dioxide to have its maximum warming effects on the Earth. This is according to researchers at the Carnegie Institute for Science who have dispelled a common misconception that the main warming effects from a carbon dioxide emission will not be felt for several decades.

New technique could harvest more of the sun’s energy

December 1, 2014 8:32 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | News | Comments

As solar panels become less expensive and capable of generating more power, solar energy is becoming a more commercially viable alternative source of electricity. However, the photovoltaic cells now used to turn sunlight into electricity can only absorb and use a small fraction of that light, and that means a significant amount of solar energy goes untapped. A new technology epresents a first step toward harnessing that lost energy.

Study details laser pulse effects on behavior of electrons

December 1, 2014 8:16 am | by Scott Schrage, University Communications, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln | News | Comments

By solving a 6-D equation that had previously stymied researchers, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln physicists have pinpointed the characteristics of a laser pulse that yields electron behavior they can predict and essentially control. It's long been known that laser pulses of sufficient intensity can produce enough energy to eject electrons from their ultra-fast orbits around an atom, causing ionization.

Protons fuel graphene prospects

November 26, 2014 9:11 am | by Univ. of Manchester | News | Comments

Graphene, impermeable to all gases and liquids, can easily allow protons to pass through it, Univ. of Manchester researchers have found. Published in Nature, the discovery could revolutionize fuel cells and other hydrogen-based technologies as they require a barrier that only allow protons to pass through.

“Giant” charge density disturbances discovered in nanomaterials

November 26, 2014 9:02 am | by Forschungszentrum Juelich | News | Comments

In metals such as copper or aluminum, so-called conduction electrons are able to move around freely, in the same way as particles in a gas or a liquid. If, however, impurities are implanted into the metal's crystal lattice, the electrons cluster together in a uniform pattern around the point of interference, resembling the ripples that occur when a stone is thrown into a pool of water.

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