Physics

Decoding the brain: Scientists redefine and measure single-neuron signal-to-noise ratio

(Phys.org)—The signal-to-noise ratio, or SNR, is a well-known metric typically expressed in decibels and defined as a measure of signal strength relative to background noise – and in statistical terms as the ratio of the squared amplitude or variance of a signal relative to the variance of the noise.

The ins and outs of quantum chromodynamics

Quarks and antiquarks are the teeny, tiny building blocks with which all matter is built, binding together to form protons and neutrons in a process explained by quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

Unlocking lignin for sustainable biofuel

In an effort to further the commercial viability of cellulosic ethanol, a team of scientists used the Titan supercomputer to model the interaction of lignin and hemicellulose in the plant cell wall of a genetically modified aspen tree. The team’s conclusion—that hydrophobic, or water repelling, lignin binds less with hydrophilic, or water attracting, hemicellulose—points researchers toward a promising way to engineer better plants for biofuel.

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D

An international collaboration has succeeded in using synchrotron light to detect and record the complex 3-D magnetization in wound magnetic layers. This technique could be important in the development of devices that are highly sensitive to magnetic fields, such as in medical diagnostics for example. Their results are published now in Nature Communications.

New perturbative method of solving the gravitational N-body problem in general relativity

Presenting a new perturbative method to deal with the gravitational N-body problem in general relativity. A novel approach to construct global and local reference frames leads to explicit transformation rules for metric tensor and related relativistic gravitational potentials as well as efficient formulation of the equations of motion.

Engineers give invisibility cloaks a slimmer design

Researchers have developed a new design for a cloaking device that overcomes some of the limitations of existing "invisibility cloaks." In a new study, electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego have designed a cloaking device that is both thin and does not alter the brightness of light around a hidden object. The technology behind this cloak will have more applications than invisibility, such as concentrating solar energy and increasing signal speed in optical communications.

Down to the quantum dot

Using a single molecule as a sensor, scientists have successfully imaged electric potential fields with unrivaled precision. The ultrahigh-resolution images provide information on the distribution of charges in the electron shells of single molecules and even atoms. The 3-D technique is also contact-free. The first results achieved using 'scanning quantum dot microscopy' have now been published.

Multilayer magnetic recording to realize high-density hard disk drives

Researchers at Toshiba have demonstrated a new technology in which microwave magnetic fields are used to reverse magnetization directions by selecting layers in a multilayer magnetic medium. The developed magnetization reversal technology is expected to realize increased hard disk drive (HDD) capacity by adopting high-density, multilayer (three-dimensional) magnetic recording media.

Researchers build molecules using a laser beam

(Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from Israel's Hebrew University and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Germany's Universität Kassel has succeeded in demonstrating coherent control of bond-forming between atoms using a laser beam. In their paper published in Physical Review Letters, the team describes their experiments with molecule-making and outlines future possible applications.

Engineers give invisibility cloaks a slimmer design

Researchers have designed a new cloaking device that overcomes some of the limitations of existing 'invisibility cloaks.' In a new study, electrical engineers have designed a cloaking device that is both thin and does not alter the brightness of light around a hidden object. The technology behind this cloak will have more applications than invisibility, such as concentrating solar energy and increasing signal speed in optical communications.

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