Physics

Why X-rays could become a lot more personal

X-rays could be about to change. Since its discovery at the end of the 19th century, the radiation has provided a window into the inner workings of the body, and later gave us the power to "see" inside everything from buildings to suitcases. But the technology has remained in principle the same: the rays are fired through whatever object is being inspected onto a fixed, rigid and usually small detector that can produce the desired image.

Gravitational wave detectors to search for dark matter

Gravitational wave detectors might be able to detect much more than gravitational waves. According to a new study, they could also potentially detect dark matter, if dark matter is composed of a particular kind of particle called a "dark photon." In the future, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) scientists plan to implement a search for dark photons, which will include certain previously unexplored regions of the dark photon parameter space.

Noise in the biorhythm: biological clocks respond differently to light fluctuations

Anyone who has experienced jet lag knows the power of the biological clock. Almost all organisms, from humans to the smallest of bacteria, have a built-in system that tells them whether it is time to rest or to be active. Most biological clocks 'tick' autonomously, but some bacteria depend on light to synchronize their clock every day. Using mathematical calculations, researchers from AMOLF and the University of Michigan have now demonstrated that an autonomous clock suffers far less from noise, such as fluctuations in sunlight due to clouds.

Controlling hole spin for future quantum spin-based devices, topological materials

The 'spins' of electrons (and holes) in semiconductors have potential applications in spintronics, spin-based quantum computing, and topological systems.

3-D inks that can be erased selectively

3-D printing by direct laser writing enables production of micro-meter-sized structures for many applications, from biomedicine to microelectronics to optical metamaterials. Researchers have now developed 3-D inks that can be erased selectively. This allows specific degradation and reassembly of highly precise structures on the micrometer and nanometer scales.

Magnetic antiparticles offer new horizons for information technologies

Nanosized magnetic particles called skyrmions are considered highly promising candidates for new data storage and information technologies. Now, physicists have revealed new behavior involving the antiparticle equivalent of skyrmions in a ferromagnetic material. The researchers demonstrated their findings using advanced computer simulations that can accurately model magnetic properties of nanometer-thick materials.

What do physicists mean when they talk about nothing?

Philosophers have debated the nature of "nothing" for thousands of years, but what has modern science got to say about it? In an interview with The Conversation, Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and Emeritus Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, explains that when physicists talk about nothing, they mean empty space (vacuum). This may sound straightforward, but experiments show that empty space isn't really empty – there's a mysterious energy latent in it which can tell us something about the fate of the universe.

Neutron stars may hold an answer to neutron puzzle on Earth

According to University of Illinois physicist Douglas H. Beck, "Neutrons play some unusual roles in our world. Free neutrons decay in about 900 s but, bound in nuclei, they are stable and make up somewhat more than half the mass of the visible universe."

Researchers suggest phonons may have mass and perhaps negative gravity

A trio of physicists with Columbia University is making waves with a new theory about phonons—they suggest they might have negative mass, and because of that, have negative gravity. Angelo Esposito, Rafael Krichevsky and Alberto Nicolis have written a paper to support their theory, including the math, and have uploaded it to the xrXiv preprint server.

How hot is Schrödinger's coffee?

A new uncertainty relation, linking the precision with which temperature can be measured and quantum mechanics, has been discovered.

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