Physics News Feeds

  • Quantum shuttle to quantum processor made in Germany launched
    on February 24, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    The quantum computer race is in full swing. Germany has long been one of the world leaders in basic research. An alliance between Forschungszentrum Jülich and the semiconductor manufacturer Infinion, together with institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (IAF, IPMS) as well as the Leibniz Association (IHP, IKZ), the universities of Regensburg and Konstanz and the quantum start-up HQS, now aims to apply the results to industrial production. The goal is a semiconductor quantum processor made in Germany that is based on the “shuttling” of electrons and is to be achieved with technology available in Germany. The QUASAR project, which is funded with over 7.5 million euros by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims to lay the foundations for the industrial production of quantum processors over the next four years.

  • Nature’s funhouse mirror: Understanding asymmetry in the proton
    on February 24, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Asymmetry in the proton confounds physicists, but a new discovery may bring back old theories to explain it.

  • Experiment reveals new options for synchrotron light sources
    on February 24, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Accelerator experts from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB), the German federal metrology institute Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and Tsinghua University in Beijing have used a laser to manipulate electron bunches at PTB’s Metrology Light Source so that they emitted intense light pulses having a laser-like character. Using this method, specialized synchrotron radiation sources would potentially be able to fill a gap in the arsenal of available light sources and offer a prototype for industrial applications.

  • Researchers produce beams of entangled atoms
    on February 24, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    Heads or tails? If we toss two coins into the air, the result of one coin toss has nothing to do with the result of the other. Coins are independent objects. In the world of quantum physics, things are different: Quantum particles can be entangled, in which case they can no longer be regarded as independent individual objects, they can only be described as one joint system.

  • World’s first video of a space-time crystal
    on February 24, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    A German-Polish research team has succeeded in creating a micrometer-sized space-time crystal consisting of magnons at room temperature. With the help of the scanning transmission X-ray microscope Maxymus at Bessy II at Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, they were able to film the recurring periodic magnetization structure in a crystal. Published in the Physical Review Letters, the research project was a collaboration between scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Germany, the Adam Mickiewicz University and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poznań in Poland.

  • Researchers capture how materials break apart following an extreme shock
    on February 24, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Understanding how materials deform and catastrophically fail when impacted by a powerful shock is crucial in a wide range of fields, including astrophysics, materials science and aerospace engineering. But until recently, the role of voids, or tiny pores, in such a rapid process could not be determined, requiring measurements to be taken at millionths of a billionth of a second.

  • High-throughput screening for Weyl semimetals with S4 symmetry
    on February 24, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    A new topological invariant χ is defined in systems with S4 symmetry to diagnose the existence of Weyl fermions. By calculating χ, the computational cost for searching Weyl semimetals is greatly reduced. Recently, Gao et al. implemented this method in the high-throughput screening and found a lot of new Weyl semimetal candidates with exotic properties, providing realistic platforms for future experimental study of the interplay between Weyl fermions and other exotic states.

  • Machine learning aids in simulating dynamics of interacting atoms
    on February 24, 2021 at 8:16 am

    A revolutionary machine-learning (ML) approach to simulate the motions of atoms in materials such as aluminum is described in this week’s Nature Communications journal. This automated approach to “interatomic potential development” could transform the field of computational materials discovery.

  • After 20 years, physicists find a way to keep track of lost accelerator particles
    on February 23, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    A high-intensity accelerator beam is formed of trillions of particles that race at lightning speeds down a system of powerful magnets and high-energy superconductors. Calculating the physics of the beam is so complex that not even the fastest supercomputers can keep up.

  • Spintronics: New production method makes crystalline microstructures universally usable
    on February 23, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    New storage and information technology requires new higher performance materials. One of these materials is yttrium iron garnet, which has special magnetic properties. Thanks to a new process, it can now be transferred to any material. Developed by physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), the method could advance the production of smaller, faster and more energy-efficient components for data storage and information processing. The physicists have published their results in the journal Applied Physics Letters.

  • Simply speaking while infected can potentially spread COVID-19
    on February 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    COVID-19 can spread from asymptomatic but infected people through small aerosol droplets in their exhaled breath. Most studies of the flow of exhaled air have focused on coughing or sneezing, which can send aerosols flying long distances.

  • Measuring hemoglobin levels with AI microscope, microfluidic chips
    on February 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    One of the most performed medical diagnostic tests to ascertain the health of patients is a complete blood count, which typically includes an estimate of the hemoglobin concentration. The hemoglobin level in the blood is an important biochemical parameter that can indicate a host of medical conditions including anemia, polycythemia, and pulmonary fibrosis.

  • High energy radiotherapy could ‘paint’ tumours to avoid harming healthy tissue
    on February 23, 2021 at 3:37 pm

    A radiotherapy technique which ‘paints’ tumors by targeting them precisely, and avoiding healthy tissue, has been devised in research led by the University of Strathclyde.

  • Ion-optics-based quantum microscope can image individual atoms
    on February 23, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    A team of researchers at Universität Stuttgart has developed an ion-optics-based quantum microscope that is capable of creating images of individual atoms. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group explains how they built their microscope and how well it worked when tested.

  • New sensor paves way to low-cost sensitive methane measurements
    on February 23, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    Researchers have developed a new sensor that could allow practical and low-cost detection of low concentrations of methane gas. Measuring methane emissions and leaks is important to a variety of industries because the gas contributes to global warming and air pollution.

  • Lack of symmetry in qubits can’t fix errors in quantum computing, might explain matter/antimatter
    on February 22, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    A team of quantum theorists seeking to cure a basic problem with quantum annealing computers—they have to run at a relatively slow pace to operate properly—found something intriguing instead. While probing how quantum annealers perform when operated faster than desired, the team unexpectedly discovered a new effect that may account for the imbalanced distribution of matter and antimatter in the universe and a novel approach to separating isotopes.

  • Researchers create ‘beautiful marriage’ of quantum enemies
    on February 22, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Cornell University scientists have identified a new contender when it comes to quantum materials for computing and low-temperature electronics.

  • New ‘metalens’ shifts focus without tilting or moving
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    Polished glass has been at the center of imaging systems for centuries. Their precise curvature enables lenses to focus light and produce sharp images, whether the object in view is a single cell, the page of a book, or a far-off galaxy.

  • New storage medium uses physical properties of antiferromagnetic material
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Using nanoscale quantum sensors, an international research team has succeeded in exploring certain previously uncharted physical properties of an antiferromagnetic material. Based on their results, the researchers developed a concept for a new storage medium published in the journal Nature Physics. The project was coordinated by researchers from the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel.

  • A new study reveals that quantum physics can cause mutations in our DNA
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Quantum biology is an emerging field of science, established in the 1920s, which looks at whether the subatomic world of quantum mechanics plays a role in living cells. Quantum mechanics is an interdisciplinary field by nature, bringing together nuclear physicists, biochemists and molecular biologists.

  • The quest for the magic angle
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    Stack two layers of graphene, twisted at slightly different angles to each other, and the material spontaneously becomes a superconductor. Science still can’t explain how something so magical can happen, but physicists use special equipment to reveal what is taking place under the surface.

  • ‘Forward’ jet-tracking components installed at RHIC’s STAR detector
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Just prior to the start of this year’s run at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)—a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facility for nuclear physics research at DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory—a team of scientists, engineers, technicians, and students completed the installation of important new components of the collider’s STAR detector. This house-sized particle tracker (the Solenoidal Tracker at RHIC) captures the subatomic debris created when atomic nuclei collide so scientists can learn about the building blocks of matter. The new components will expand STAR’s ability to track jets of particles emerging in an extreme “forward” direction, meaning close to the beamline through which the particles travel as they collide.

  • Magnetic effect without a magnet
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm

    Electric current is deflected by a magnetic field—in conducting materials, this leads to the so-called Hall effect. This effect is often used to measure magnetic fields. A surprising discovery has now been made at TU Wien, in collaboration with scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland), McMater University (Canada), and Rice University (U.S.): an exotic metal made of cerium, bismuth and palladium was examined and a giant Hall effect was found to be produced by the material, in the total absence of any magnetic field. The reason for this unexpected result lies in the unusual properties of the electrons: They behave as if magnetic monopoles were present in the material. These discoveries have now been published in the scientific magazine PNAS.

  • Heat loss control method in fusion reactors
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    The core of a fusion reactor is incredibly hot. Hydrogen that inevitably escapes from it must be cooled on its way to the wall, as otherwise, the reactor wall would be damaged. Researchers from the Dutch institute DIFFER and EPFL’s Swiss Plasma Center have developed a strict measurement and control method for the cooling of very hot particles escaping from fusion plasmas.

  • Investigating dense plasmas with positron waves
    on February 22, 2021 at 2:14 pm

    Astrophysical and lab-created plasmas under the influence of magnetic fields are the source of intense study. New research seeks to understand the dynamics of position waves traveling through these clouds of highly ionized gas.

  • Optical frequency combs with a new dimension
    on February 22, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Periodic pulses of light forming a comb in the frequency domain are widely used for sensing and ranging. The key to the miniaturization of this technology toward chip-integrated solutions is the generation of dissipative solitons in ring-shaped microresonators. Dissipative solitons are stable pulses circulating around the circumference of a nonlinear resonator.

  • A speed limit also applies in the quantum world
    on February 19, 2021 at 10:28 pm

    Even in the world of the smallest particles with their own special rules, things cannot proceed infinitely fast. Physicists at the University of Bonn have now shown what the speed limit is for complex quantum operations. The study also involved scientists from MIT, the universities of Hamburg, Cologne and Padua, and the Jülich Research Center. The results are important for the realization of quantum computers, among other things. They are published in the prestigious journal Physical Review X, and covered by the Physics Magazine of the American Physical Society.

  • Physicists discover new route to active matter self-organisation
    on February 19, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    An international team led by Professor Yilin Wu, Associate Professor of the Department of Physics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has made a novel conceptual advance in the field of active matter science. The team discovered a new route in which the self-organization of active fluids in space and time can be controlled by a single material property called viscoelasticity. This new finding may pave the way for fabricating a new class of self-driven devices and materials, such as the ability to control the rhythmic movement of soft robots without relying on electronic circuits, and for the study of microbial physiology. It has been published in the scientific journal Nature.

  • Spin Hall effect of light achieved with near 100% efficiency
    on February 19, 2021 at 3:22 pm

    A POSTECH-KAIST joint research team has successfully developed a technique to reach near-unity efficiency of SHEL by using an artificially-designed metasurface.

  • A powerful, pocket-sized optical imager, no longer science fiction
    on February 19, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Before Wilhelm Röntgen, a mechanical engineer, discovered a new type of electromagnetic radiation in 1895, physicians could only dream of being able to see inside the body. Within a year of Röntgen’s discovery, X-rays were being used to identify tumors. Within 10 years, hospitals were using X-rays to help diagnose and treat patients.