On fusion, the isotope program, the HIFU, the cosmic web, particle beam imaging, and more

October 02, 2015

WASHINGTON D.C., Oct. 2, 2015 -- The following articles are freely available online from Physics Today, the world's most influential and closely followed magazine devoted to physics and the physical science community. You are invited to read, share, blog about, link to, or otherwise enjoy


By using a new instrument called the Cosmic Web Imager and a far-flung quasar as a flashlight, researchers at Caltech have probed a recently found filament of the cosmic web -- the extremely faint network of matter spindling across the universe -- and uncovered a giant protogalactic disk 400,000 light-years across. Physics Today's Sung Chang reports.

"The newly found filament [was] a perfect target for the [Cosmic Web Imager]. '[Cantalupo and I] knew it would be interesting and bright enough to say a lot about,' says [Caltech's Christopher] Martin."

MORE: http://bit.ly/1jAD3By


As recently recounted in a report by the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee Isotopes Subcommittee (NSACI), the U.S. isotope program -- essential to the production of isotopes used in medicine, energy, border monitoring, fundamental nuclear physics, archaeology, and more -- is undergoing many key changes, including the development of a research component and expanding collaborations with universities. Toni Feder of Physics Today reports.

"The report, Meeting Isotope Needs and Capturing Opportunities for the Future, recommends doubling annual federal funding for the program to nearly $40 million to cover the research and infrastructure needs the NSACI sets out for 2016-25. The program also brings in roughly $35 million a year.... The isotopes program was 'pure production, but it's difficult to meet the needs of the community if you don't have a means to invest in R&D,' says DOE's Jehanne Gillo, who directs the program. She and her team have turned it 'upside down,' she says."

MORE: http://bit.ly/1O75cLV


In this brief report, Physics Today's David Kramer discusses a surprise recent breakthrough in fusion energy -- the experimental creation of a stable plasma of superheated ions trapped inside an unusually configured bottle of magnetic fields -- by Tri Alpha Energy, a small, private company in southern California.

"'What they have achieved is rather remarkable and is a demonstrated mastery of FRC (field-reverse configuration),' says Steven Koonin, now director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. The FRC technique has generally been regarded by fusion scientists as a less-promising route to fusion than the mainstream approach."

MORE: http://bit.ly/1L7Vhoo


Particle beams work as a cancer treatment by damaging tumor cells through atomic and nuclear interactions, but errors in predicting the location of the Bragg peak -- the localized, sharp deposition of energy just before the beam stops -- can result in harmful energy spilling over into healthy tissues. In this feature article, Jerimy Polf, an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and Katia Parodi, professor and chair of medical physics at Ludwig-Maximilians University, discuss potential approaches to mitigate this risk and improve treatment.

"Particle radiation interacts with matter to produce low-pressure acoustic signals and high-energy gamma rays. Detecting and imaging those secondary emissions outside the patient can provide a real-time visualization of the treatment beams inside the patient."

MORE: http://bit.ly/1hf2kPV


Physics Today's Johanna Miller reports on the serendipitous discovery by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University Graduate School that allowed them to create freestanding solids that can sustain constant negative pressure, or isotropic tension -- a property long thought to be impossible except in liquids.

"The researchers synthesized lead titanate nanowires in the material's so-called PX phase -- a low-density, metastable crystal structure -- and induced them to transform into the denser, stable perovskite phase.... Because of the dynamics of that transformation, the perovskite nanowires form with the surfaces under positive pressure and their cores under negative pressure. The pressures proved to be stable for more than two years."

MORE: http://bit.ly/1M5b03V


In this feature, Bill O'Brien, director of the Bioacoustics Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Floyd Dunn (1924-2015), who was an emeritus professor at the university, discuss the circumstances at the University of Illinois that led to the creation of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), a now ubiquitous medical tool.

"Human ultrasonic neurosurgery was the result of a truly synergistic effort that began with the Fry brothers' arrival at Illinois in 1946. The Frys [Bill and Frank] and their colleagues faced scientific and technical challenges, but they overcame them, and quite successfully. By the end of the 1950s, HIFU therapy had been born and clinically validated. The Frys had accomplished their original goal of developing ultrasonic surgery for affecting the mammalian brain."

MORE: http://bit.ly/1ObpTrw

Physics Today is the flagship publication of the American Institute of Physics, and it includes a mix of in-depth feature articles, news coverage and analysis, and fresh perspectives on scientific advances and ground-breaking research. See: http://www.physicstoday.org


The American Institute of Physics is an organization of 10 physical science societies, representing more than 120,000 scientists, engineers, and educators. AIP delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research in physics employment and education, industrial outreach and the history of physics and allied fields. AIP is home to Society of Physics Students and the Niels Bohr Library and Archives, and it owns AIP Publishing LLC, a scholarly publisher in the physical and related sciences. More information: http://www.aip.org

American Institute of Physics

Related Cancer Treatment Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

ESMO 2020: Breast cancer drug set to transform prostate cancer treatment
A drug used to treat breast and ovarian cancer can extend the lives of some men with prostate cancer and should become a new standard treatment for the disease, concludes a major trial which is set to change clinical practice.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A new treatment for liver cancer
In the latest issue of Molecular Therapy, Skoltech and MIT researchers have published a new combinatorial therapy for the treatment of liver cancer.

Cancer cell reversion may offer a new approach to colorectal cancer treatment
A novel approach to reverse the progression of healthy cells to malignant ones may offer a more effective way to eradicate colorectal cancer cells with far fewer side effects, according to a KAIST research team based in South Korea.

NUS researchers show potential liver cancer treatment by targeting cancer stem-like cells
NUS researchers from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore and the N.1 Institute for Health have shown the potential use of small molecule inhibitors to treat advanced liver cancer.

Breast cancer gene a potential target for childhood liver cancer treatment
Hepatoblastoma is a rare liver cancer that mainly affects infants and young children and is associated with mutations in the β-catenin gene.

Light therapy could replace opioids as main treatment for cancer treatment side effect
A worldwide coalition of researchers and clinicians has agreed that light therapy is among the most effective interventions for the prevention of oral mucositis, painful ulcers in the mouth resulting from cancer therapy.

Scanning for cancer treatment
11,000 people are predicted to die from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2019.

Visualizing better cancer treatment
Researchers have engineered nanoscale protein micelles capable of both delivering chemotherapeutic drugs and of being tracked by MRI.

Read More: Cancer Treatment News and Cancer Treatment Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.