Applied Physics

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. 

One thing that prevents cost-effective uptake of large-scale alternative energy, like solar and wind energy, is a lack of storage solutions. On the small scale, it is only an annoyance that battery technology has not really advanced in decades.

One thing that may help on the small scale is understanding how existing disposable Lithium batteries degrade during normal use, following on a study showing how they fail at high heat. The study follows calls from investigators in August 2015 for a safety review of all lithium battery-powered equipment on planes after a fire on board a grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Heathrow Airport in 2013.

Engineers have harnessed the molecular machinery of living systems to power an integrated circuit from adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of life, and they did it by integrating a conventional solid-state complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit with an artificial lipid bilayer membrane containing ATP-powered ion pumps, opening the door to creating entirely new artificial systems that contain both biological and solid-state components.

Researchers have developed power paper; a new material with an outstanding ability to store energy. The material consists of nanocellulose and a conductive polymer and one sheet, 15 centimeters in diameter and a few tenths of a millimeter thick can store as much as 1 F, which is similar to the supercapacitors currently on the market. The material can be recharged hundreds of times and each charge only takes a few seconds.

Engineers have developed a new technology that uses an oscillating electric field to easily and quickly isolate drug-delivery nanoparticles from blood. 

Nanoparticles are generally one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair and are difficult to separate from plasma, the liquid component of blood, due to their small size and low density. Traditional methods to remove nanoparticles from plasma samples typically involve diluting the plasma, adding a high concentration sugar solution to the plasma and spinning it in a centrifuge, or attaching a targeting agent to the surface of the nanoparticles.

These methods either alter the normal behavior of the nanoparticles or cannot be applied to some of the most common nanoparticle types.

The V-3 “supergun” was meant to win the war for Germany.

In 1943, for the first time since World War II began, Hitler was on the back foot. Allied bombs were devastating German cities and the Fuhrer was rattled.

His proposed V-3 cannon would be the biggest gun the world had seen.