Applied Physics

Superconductivity, a quantum phenomenon in which metals below a certain temperature develop flow of current with no loss or resistance, has been one of the most intriguing problems in physics, for over a century.

First discovered in the element mercury in 1911, superconductivity is said to occur when electrical resistance in a solid vanishes when that solid is cooled below a characteristic temperature, called the transition temperature, which varies from material to material. Transition temperatures tend to be close to 0 K or -273 C. At even slightly higher temperatures, the materials tend to lose their superconducting properties; indeed, at room temperature most superconductors are very poor conductors.

UPDATE: LIGO has detected gravitational waves.

Diamonds are made of carbon, graphite is also made of carbon. Both are natural, yet one is quite valuable and the other is a commodity.

Because of basic similarities, everyone wants to know if the value and hype of diamonds are justified, especially when they see them all over mainstream department stores.

Is diamond really as rare as people make it out to be?  The short answer is yes, diamonds are incredibly rare, geologically speaking. The longer answer is that they could even be considered Mother Nature’s scientific miracle. 

A new simple nanowire manufacturing technique uses self-catalytic growth process assisted by thermal decomposition of natural gas. According to the research team, this method is simple, reproducible, size-controllable, and cost-effective in that lithium-ion batteries could also benefit from it.

In their approach, they discovered that germanium nanowires are grown by the reduction of germanium oxide particles and subsequent self-catalytic growth during the thermal decomposition of natural gas, and simultaneously, carbon sheath layers are uniformly coated on the nanowire surface. 

Florida's citrus industry has been struggling with citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing (HLB), a disease caused by a bacterium called Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) that destroys fruit production and eventually kills the tree. An effective cure using antibiotics and breeding has not happened, and crop production is declining steadily.

A group of researchers are using lasers on citrus leaves. When used with the right settings, could greatly improve the success of antibiotic treatments currently being looked into as a way to stop the deadliest plant disease in Florida's history. 
No matter how much force is applied (within reason, no hammer of Thor stuff) you can't separate two interleaved phone books by pulling on their spines.

A new experiment shows it is even possible to suspend a car from them.

Using a model that reproduces the traction and friction forces involved, researchers at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), Laboratoire Gulliver (CNRS/ESPCI ParisTech), Laboratoire de Génie des Procédés Papetiers (CNRS/Grenoble INP) and McMaster University in Canada have shown that when the spines of the interleaved phonebooks are pulled on vertically, part of the vertical force is converted into a horizontal force that presses on the sheets. The pages then remain stuck together due to friction. 

Researchers have identified the requirements for the development of new types of extremely low power consumption electric devices by studying Cr-doped (Sb, Bi)2Te3 thin films. 

At extremely low temperatures, an electric current flows around the edge of the film without energy loss, and under no external magnetic field. This attractive phenomenon is due to the material's ferromagnetic properties but it has been unclear how the material gains this property until now.

In my previous article, Subscription Box Chemistry Set, I tested the Google Cardboard headset from the starter kit as a stereograph viewer with stereographs I found online. Unfortunately, the screen widths for my iPod and Android phone were too small to use with the Google goggles. So I decided to build my own stereograph viewer with parts from my Lego optics lab.

The build was very simple (see picture above). I used the following parts from my Lego optics lab:

Well, it’s that time of year again – and there it is; just four words into an article on Christmas I’ve used the word ‘time.’

Among the hodge-podge of rituals and holidays that survive in the post-Christian West, Christmas might just be the one that tells us the most about how humans relate to and experience temporality.


Perovskites are materials used in batteries, fuel cells, and electronic components, and occur in nature as minerals. Despite their important role in technology, little is known about the reactivity of their surfaces. How do water molecules behave when they attach to a perovskite surface? Normally only the outermost atoms at the surface influence this behavior, but on perovskites the deeper layers are important, too.

Professor Ulrike Diebold's team at TU Wien (Vienna) have answered this long-standing question using scanning tunneling microscopes and computer simulations.