Physics

Climate Models Project Increase in U.S. Wildfire Risk

Scientists using NASA satellite data and climate models have projected drier conditions likely will cause increased fire activity across the United States in coming decades.

NASA Opportunity Rover Finishes Walkabout On Mars Crater Rim

The latest work assignment for NASA's long-lived Mars rover Opportunity is a further examination of an area where the robot just completed a walkabout.

Scientists develop indium-free organic light-emitting diodes

Scientists have discovered new ways of using a well-known polymer in organic light emitting diodes, which could eliminate the need for an increasingly problematic and breakable metal-oxide used in screen displays in computers, televisions, and cell phones.

Steps towards filming atoms dancing

With their ultra short X-ray flashes, free-electron lasers offer the opportunity to film atoms in motion in complicated molecules and in the course of chemical reactions. However, for monitoring this motion, the arrival time and the temporal profile of the pulses which periodically illuminate the system, must be precisely known. An international team of scientists has now developed a measurement technique that provides complete temporal characterization of individual FEL (free-electron laser) pulses at DESY's soft-X-ray free-electron laser, named FLASH.

Uncovering unique properties in a two-dimensional crystal: Potential for optoelectronics, solar cells, valleytronics

When the dry lubricant molybdenum disulfide is stripped down to a single layer of atoms, a tightly bound quasi-particle comprised of two electrons and a hole forms with unique spin and valley properties. The charged quasi-particles offer potential use in new solar cells and other electronic devices that are controlled by light or designed to control light, to study what physicists call "many-body interactions"and a new concept of electronics called valleytronics.

Steps towards filming atoms dancing

With their ultra short X-ray flashes, free-electron lasers offer the opportunity to film atoms in motion in complicated molecules and in the course of chemical reactions. However, for monitoring this motion, the arrival time and the temporal profile of the pulses which periodically illuminate the system, must be precisely known. An international team of scientists has now developed a measurement technique that provides complete temporal characterization of individual FEL (free-electron laser) pulses at DESY's soft-X-ray free-electron laser, named FLASH.

Mercury’s North Pole May Have Icy Craters

The yellow spots represent icy areas.

Ice? On the planet closest to the Sun? You heard right: Mercury’s northern pole may have craters containing frozen water.

The evidence, presented in three papers published last week in Science, comes from several sources. The Mercury Laser Altimeter, an instrument on the Mercury space probe, MESSENGER, helps scientists map the topography of the planet by firing lasers at its surface and recording the time it takes for the light to return. The inst

Team uses fractal geometry to build lighter structures

(Phys.org)—A team made up of members from several European countries has published a paper in Physical Review Letters describing a technique they've developed for using fractal geometry to build structures that maintain their strength despite weighing significantly less.

World's smallest wrench puts new twist on microscopic manipulation; Harnesses laser light's ability to gently push and pull

Harnessing laser light's ability to gently push and pull microscopic particles, researchers have created the fiber-optic equivalent of the world's smallest wrench. This virtual tool can precisely twist and turn the tiniest of particles, from living cells and DNA to microscopic motors and dynamos used in biological and physical research.

NASA Mars Rover Fully Analyzes First Martian Soil Samples

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has used its full array of instruments to analyze Martian soil for the first time, and found a complex chemistry within the Martian soil. Water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances, among other ingredients, showed up in samples Curiosity's arm delivered to an analytical laboratory inside the rover.

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