Physics

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.


CLICK ABOVE FOR FULL SIZE.

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.

Physicists at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated a new form of matter that melds the characteristics of lasers with those of the world’s best electrical conductors. The work introduces a new method of moving energy from one point to another as well as a low-energy means of producing a light beam like that from a laser.

At proper frequencies, air itself can make information transmissions difficult to intercept. Stability of the signal is a problem in applications such as that but researchers at NIST have discovered a technique they say will preserve signals better.

Their fiber-optic network that can be tuned across a range of visible and near-infrared frequencies while synchronizing the oscillations of light waves from different sources.

Combining diamond anvils and powerful lasers, laboratory researchers have developed a technique that should be able to squeeze materials to pressures 100 to 1,000 times greater than possible today, reproducing conditions expected in the cores of supergiant planets.

Until now, these pressures have only been available experimentally next to underground nuclear explosions.

Researchers in Italy have created an ultrashort light pulse—a single isolated burst of extreme-ultraviolet light that lasts for only 130 attoseconds (billionths of a billionth of a second).

Their achievement currently represents the shortest artificial light pulse that has been reported in a refereed journal. Shining this ultrashort light pulse on atoms and molecules can reveal new details of their inner workings—providing benefits to fundamental science as well as potential industrial applications such as better controlling chemical reactions.

If you’ve ever wondered about the ultimate fate of the universe, Lawrence Krauss and Robert Scherrer have some good news - sort of. In a paper published online on April 25 in the journal Physical Review D, the two physicists show that matter as we know it will remain as the universe expands at an ever-increasing clip. That is, the current status quo between matter and its alter ego, radiation, will continue as the newly discovered force of dark energy pushes the universe apart.