Physics

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with colleagues at George Mason University and Kwangwoon University in Korea, have fabricated a memory device that combines silicon nanowires with a more traditional type of data-storage. Their hybrid structure may be more reliable than other nanowire-based memory devices recently built and more easily integrated into commercial applications.

Transporting energy without any loss, travelling in magnetically levitated trains, carrying out medical imaging (MRI) with small-scale equipment: all these things could come true if we had superconducting materials that worked at room temperature. Today, researchers at CNRS have taken another step forward on the road leading to this ultimate goal. They have revealed the metallic nature of a class of so-called critical high-temperature superconducting materials. This result has been eagerly awaited for 20 years. It paves the way to an understanding of this phenomenon and makes it possible to contemplate its complete theoretical description.


An experiment in magnetic levitation.

University of Utah physicists developed small devices that turn heat into sound and then into electricity. The technology holds promise for changing waste heat into electricity, harnessing solar energy and cooling computers and radars.

"We are converting waste heat to electricity in an efficient, simple way by using sound," says Orest Symko, a University of Utah physics professor who leads the effort. "It is a new source of renewable energy from waste heat."


University of Utah physicist Orest Symko holds a match to a small heat engine that produces a high-pitched tone by converting heat into sound.

Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has fascinated physicists and generated debate about the origin of the universe and the structure of objects like black holes and complex stars called quasars. A major focus has been on confirming the existence of the gravitomagnetic field, as well as gravitational waves.

A physicist at the University of Missouri-Columbia recently argued in a paper that the interpretation of the results of Lunar Laser Ranging (LLR), which is being used to detect the gravitomagnetic field, is incorrect because LLR is not currently sensitive to gravitomagnetism and not effective in measuring it.

The large molecular gas cloud in the constellation of Taurus is the nearest star formation region and a star formation test environment for expert theorists and observers alike. The XMM-Newton project has provided by far the most sensitive and comprehensive X-ray survey of this region, for the first time systematically detecting almost all young stars embedded in the cloud as X-ray sources, including many objects with the lowest mass, the so-called brown dwarfs, and stars still in the process of growing, the so-called protostars.

Recent discoveries regarding the physics of ceramic superconductors may help improve scientists' understanding of resistance-free electrical power.

Tiny, isolated patches of superconductivity exist within these substances at higher temperatures than previously were known, according to a paper by Princeton scientists, who have developed new techniques to image superconducting behavior at the nanoscale.


Using a customized microscope, Princeton scientists have mapped the strength of current-carrying electron pairs as they form in a ceramic superconductor. From the top left, the images show the same 30-nanometer square region of the ceramic at successively cooler temperatures.

Sound waves escaping the sun's interior create fountains of hot gas that shape and power a thin region of the sun's atmosphere which appears as a ruby red "ring of fire" around the moon during a total solar eclipse, according to new research.

This region, called the chromosphere because of its color, is largely responsible for the deep ultraviolet radiation that bathes the Earth, producing the atmosphere's ozone layer.


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Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a novel way of making atoms interfere with each other, recreating a famous experiment originally done with light while also making the atoms do things that light just won't do.

Their experiments showcase some of the extraordinary behavior taken for granted in the quantum world—atoms acting like waves and appearing in two places at once, for starters—and demonstrate a new technique that could be useful in quantum computing with neutral atoms and further studies of atomic hijinks.


Atoms interfering with themselves.

Silicon is the most important material for electronic chips and processors. Yet it has a big drawback: being a so-called indirect semiconductor, it hardly emits any light. Therefore worldwide efforts in the labs of the microelectronics industry are aimed towards developing more efficient light sources based on silicon. Physicists at the Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) now managed to make Silicon shine red and blue in an alternating fashion. This two-color light source could help to produce cheap and compact biosensors.

Capturing the coldest atoms in the universe within the confines of a laser beam, University of California, Berkeley, physicists have made a device that can map magnetic fields more precisely than ever before.

Doctors now use sensitive magnetic field detectors called SQUIDS to record faint magnetic activity in the brain, while similar detectors are employed in fields ranging from geology to semiconductor manufacturing.