Current Physics News and Events

Current Physics News and Events, Physics News Articles.
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Physical virology shows the dynamics of virus reproduction
The reproductive cycle of viruses requires self-assembly, maturation of virus particles and, after infection, the release of genetic material into a host cell. New physics-based technologies allow scientists to study the dynamics of this cycle and may eventually lead to new treatments. (2021-01-14)

New way to control electrical charge in 2D materials: Put a flake on it
Gaining control of the flow of electrical current through atomically thin materials is important to potential future applications in photovoltaics or computing. Physicists in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered one way to locally add electrical charge to a graphene device. (2021-01-14)

Quantum computers to study the functioning of the molecules of life
A breakthrough that has implications for molecular biology, pharmacology and nanotechnologies. The fields of application are many. Identifying the mechanisms behind neurodegenerative processes in some proteins, for example, can help limit their proliferation. Understanding how a protein takes on a certain shape can open the way to use the nanomachines that nature has designed to cut, edit or block damaged or defective genes. Their study was published in the international academic journal Physical Review Letters (2021-01-14)

Wearable electronics for continuous cardiac, respiratory monitoring
A small and inexpensive sensor, announced in Applied Physics Letters and based on an electrochemical system, could potentially be worn continuously by cardiac patients or others who require constant monitoring. A solution containing electrolyte substances is placed into a small circular cavity that is capped with a thin flexible diaphragm, allowing detection of subtle movements when placed on a patient's chest. The authors suggest their sensor could be used for diagnosis of respiratory diseases. (2021-01-12)

Can sodium-ion batteries replace trusty lithium-ion ones?
Sodium-ion batteries are a potential replacement for lithium batteries, but different anodes are needed for the same level of performance. Amorphous carbon is known to be a useful anode, because it has defects and voids that can be used to store sodium ions. Nitrogen/phosphorus-doped carbon also offers appealing electrical properties. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers describe how they applied basic physical concepts of atomic scale to build high-performance anodes for sodium-ion batteries. (2021-01-12)

Singing a tumor test song
Singing may be the next-generation, noninvasive approach to determining the health of a patient's thyroid. When a person sings, the vibrations create waves in the tissue near the vocal tract called shear waves. If a tumor is present in the thyroid, the elasticity of its surrounding tissue increases, stiffening, and causing the shear waves to accelerate. Using ultrasound imaging to measure these waves, researchers can determine the elasticity of the thyroid tissue. (2021-01-12)

Enlightening dark ions
Every field has its underlying principles. For economics it's the rational actor; biology has the theory of evolution; modern geology rests on the bedrock of plate tectonics. (2021-01-12)

A charge-density-wave topological semimetal
A novel material has been discovered that is characterised by the coupling of a charge density wave with the topology of the electronic structure. (2021-01-09)

Breaking through the resolution barrier with quantum-limited precision
Researchers at Paderborn University have developed a new method of distance measurement for systems such as GPS, which achieves more precise results than ever before. Using quantum physics, the team led by Leibniz Prize winner Professor Christine Silberhorn has successfully overcome the so-called resolution limit. (2021-01-05)

Scrambled supersolids
Supersolids are fluid and solid at the same time. Physicists from Innsbruck and Geneva have for the first time investigated what happens when such a state is brought out of balance. They discovered a soft form of a solid of high interest for science. As the researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino and Thierry Giamarchi report in Nature Physics, they were also able to reverse the process and restore supersolidity. (2021-01-04)

Detective work in theoretical physics
Physicists at the Universities of Münster and Düsseldorf in Germany have published a review article on the so-called dynamical density functional theory (DDFT). This is a method for describing systems consisting of a large number of interacting particles such as are found in liquids, for example. The 127-page article is published in the magazine Advances in Physics. (2020-12-29)

Ecosystem dynamics: Topological phases in biological systems
Physicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have shown that topological phases could exist in biology, and in so doing they have identified a link between solid-state physics and biophysics. (2020-12-21)

New curriculum improves students' understanding of electric circuits in schools
The topic of electricity often poses difficulties for many secondary school students in physics lessons. Physics Education Researchers at the Goethe University and the University of Tübingen have developed and empirically evaluated a new, intuitive curriculum as part of a major comparative study. The result: not only do secondary school students gain a better conceptual understanding of electric circuits, but teachers also perceive the curriculum as a significant improvement in their teaching. (2020-12-18)

Physicists quantum simulate a system in which fermions with multiple flavors behave like bosons
Quantum simulations show that boson-like behaviours, so-called bosonization, emerge from an ensemble of fermions in three-dimensional systems, despite that bosons and fermions are governed by distinct quantum statistics (2020-12-16)

Quantum interference in time
Bosons--especially photons--have a natural tendency to clump together. In 1987, three physicists conducted a remarkable experiment demonstrating this clustering property, known as the Hong-Ou- Mandel effect. Recently, researchers at ULB's Centre for Quantum Information and Communication, have identified another way in which photons manifest their propensity to stick together. This research has just been published in PNAS (2020-12-14)

Research develops new theoretical approach to manipulate light
The quest to discover pioneering new ways in which to manipulate how light travels through electromagnetic materials has taken a new, unusual twist. (2020-12-08)

Batteries mimic mammal bones for stability
Sodium-ion batteries offer several advantages over lithium-ion batteries; however, it is difficult to develop sodium cathodes, materials through which electrons can enter a battery. Many candidate materials are unstable or cannot withstand high voltages. To find a solution, researchers turned to nature. They created a porous system of NVP structures, surrounded by a dense shell of reduced graphene oxide. They describe the mammal bone-inspired sodium cathode in the journal Applied Physics Reviews. (2020-12-08)

Tiny nanospindles enhance use of ultrasound to fight cancer
Ultrasound can be used to treat cancer when used in combination with molecules that sensitize the system to sound waves. These sonosensitizers generate toxic reactive oxygen species that attack and kill tumor cells. In Applied Physics Review, scientists report a new type of sonosensitizer based on a vanadium-doped titanium dioxide that enhances the amount of damage ultrasound inflicts on tumors. Studies in mice showed tumor growth was markedly suppressed when compared to a control group. (2020-12-08)

A French team has improved the measurement of a fundamental physical constant
A team of French researchers has just conducted the most accurate measurement to date of the fine-structure constant, which characterizes the strength of interaction between light and charged elementary particles, such as electrons. This value has just been determined with an accuracy of 11 significant digits; improving the precision of the previous measurement by a factor of 3. (2020-12-02)

RUDN University physicists described a new type of amorphous solid bodies
Many substances with different chemical and physical properties, from diamonds to graphite, are made up of carbon atoms. Amorphous forms of solid carbon do not have a fixed crystal structure and consist of structural units--nanosized graphene particles. A team of physicists from RUDN University studied the structure of amorphous carbon and suggested classifying it as a separate type of amorphous solid bodies: a molecular amorphic with enforced fragmentation. (2020-12-02)

Clothing, tattoos could be used to monitor patient health
A shirt that monitors your blood pressure or a pair of socks that can keep track of your cholesterol levels might be just a few years away from becoming reality. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers examine the use of microfibers and nanofibers as wearable monitors that could keep track of a patient's vital signs. The microfiber- and nanofiber-based technology addresses growing concerns in the medical community about monitoring chronic illnesses as the population ages. (2020-12-01)

Researchers validate theory that neutrinos shape the universe
A research team including Kavli IPMU Principal Investigator Naoki Yoshida has, in a world first, succeeded in performing a 6-dimensional simulation of neutrinos moving through the universe. (2020-12-01)

Bacteria colonies invade new territories without traffic jams -- how?
An international collaboration between researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Oxford University, and University of Sheffield has revealed that colonies of slow moving bacteria can expand significantly quicker than their fast moving counterparts - and how. The result is now published in Nature Physics. (2020-11-27)

Understanding the utility of plasmas for medical applications
Plasma medicine is an emerging field, as plasmas show promise for use in a wide range of therapies from wound healing to cancer treatment, and plasma jets are the main plasma sources typically used in plasma-surface applications. To better understand how plasma jets modify the surfaces of biological tissue, researchers conducted computer simulations of the interaction between an atmospheric pressure plasma jet with a surface that has properties similar to blood serum. (2020-11-24)

Quantum magic squares
The magic of mathematics is particularly reflected in magic squares. Recently, quantum physicist Gemma De las Cuevas and mathematicians Tim Netzer and Tom Drescher introduced the notion of the quantum magic square, and for the first time studied in detail the properties of this quantum version of magic squares. (2020-11-24)

Mystery solved: a 'New Kind of Electrons'
Why do certain materials emit electrons with a very specific energy? This has been a mystery for decades - scientists at TU Wien have found an answer. (2020-11-19)

New method brings physics to deep learning to better simulate turbulence
Deep learning, also called machine learning, reproduces data to model problem scenarios and offer solutions. However, some problems in physics are unknown or cannot be represented in detail mathematically on a computer. Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign developed a new method that brings physics into the machine learning process to make better predictions. The researchers used turbulence to test their method. (2020-11-16)

Analysis paves way for more sensitive quantum sensors
Theoretical researchers at Pritzker Molecular Engineering have found a way to make quantum sensors exponentially more sensitive by harnessing a unique physics phenomenon. (2020-11-16)

Connecting two classes of unconventional superconductors
The understanding of unconventional superconductivity is one of the most challenging and fascinating tasks of solid-state physics. Different classes of unconventional superconductors share that superconductivity emerges near a magnetic phase despite the underlying physics is different. (2020-11-11)

New research explores the thermodynamics of off-equilibrium systems
Arguably, almost all truly intriguing systems are ones that are far away from equilibrium -- such as stars, planetary atmospheres, and even digital circuits. But, until now, systems far from thermal equilibrium couldn't be analyzed with conventional thermodynamics and statistical physics. In a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, physicist David Wolpert of the Santa Fe Institute presents a new hybrid formalism to overcome these limitations. (2020-11-11)

Improving high-energy lithium-ion batteries with carbon filler
Lithium-ion batteries are the major rechargeable power source for many portable devices as well as electric vehicles, but their use is limited, because they do not provide high power output while simultaneously allowing reversible energy storage. Research reported in Applied Physics Reviews aims to offer a solution by showing how the inclusion of conductive fillers improves battery performance. (2020-11-10)

No matter the size of a nuclear party, some protons and neutrons will pair up and dance
No matter the size of a nuclear party, certain protons and neutrons will always pair up and dance, a new MIT study finds. The results will help map the workings within neutron stars and heavy radioactive nuclei. (2020-11-09)

Scientists explain the paradox of quantum forces in nanodevices
Researchers proposed a new approach to describe the interaction of metals with electromagnetic fluctuations (i.e., with random bursts of electric and magnetic fields). Researchers proposed a new approach to describe the interaction of metals with electromagnetic fluctuations (i.e., with random bursts of electric and magnetic fields). (2020-10-27)

Estimating risk of airborne COVID-19 with mask usage, social distancing
In Physics of Fluids, researchers used a model to understand airborne transmission that is designed to be accessible to a wide range of people, including nonscientists. Employing concepts of fluid dynamics and factors in airborne transmission, they propose the Contagion Airborne Transmission inequality model. While not all factors may be known, it can still be used to assess relative risks. The researchers determined protection from transmission increases with physical distancing in an approximately linear proportion. (2020-10-26)

Creating perfect edges in 2D-materials
Ultrathin materials such as graphene promise a revolution in nanoscience and technology. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now made an important advance within the field. In a recent paper in Nature Communications they present a method for controlling the edges of two-dimensional materials using a 'magic' chemical. (2020-10-19)

Layer of strength, layer of functionality for biomedical fibers
Wound dressing, tissue scaffolding, controlled and sustained drug delivery, and cardiac patching are all biomedical processes requiring a material that combines strength with functionality. Core-sheath polymer fibers, fibers comprised of a strong core surrounded by a biologically applicable sheath layer, are an affordable way to meet these requirements. In the journal Applied Physics Reviews, researchers discuss methods of producing core-sheath polymer fibers and their promising applications. (2020-10-13)

Breaking the coupling process
Real-time observation of signal transmission in proteins provides new insights for drug research. (2020-10-06)

Hydrogen embrittlement creates complications for clean energy storage, transportation
Hydrogen is becoming a crucial pillar in the clean energy movement, and developing safe and cost-effective storage and transportation methods for it is essential but complicated, because hydrogen can cause brittleness in several metals including ferritic steel. Recent advancements provide insight into the embrittlement process and a review of various methods in Applied Physics Reviews improves the understanding of the structure, property, and performance of ferritic steels subjected to mechanical loading in a hydrogen environment. (2020-10-06)

Scientists present a comprehensive physics basis for a new fusion reactor design
As part of the Journal of Plasma Physics' continuing focus on the scientific progress in fusion physics, the journal editors and Cambridge University Press are proud to present an important Special Issue of JPP, the 'Status of the SPARC Physics Basis'. (2020-09-29)

Covid-19: Social distancing is more effective than travel bans
Travel bans will delay the peak of infection with days, while social distancing has a much stronger impact, amounting in up to 4 weeks delay, scientists report. (2020-09-28)

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