Super-fine sound beam could one day be an invisible scalpel

A carbon-nanotube-coated lens that converts light to sound can focus high-pressure sound waves to finer points than ever before. The University of Michigan engineering researchers who developed the new therapeutic ultrasound approach say it could lead to an invisible knife for noninvasive surgery.

Long-wavelength laser will be able to take medicine fingerprints

A laser capable of working in the terahertz range – that of long-wavelength light from the far infrared to 1 millimetre – enables the 'fingerprint' of, say, a drug to be examined better than can be done using chemical analysis. To achieve this, PhD student Thomas Denis of the University of Twente's MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology has combined the best of two worlds, a free electron source and photonic crystals. The result: greater flexibility and a compact laser.

Physicists achieve elusive 'evaporative cooling' of molecules

Achieving a goal considered nearly impossible, physicists have chilled a gas of molecules to very low temperatures by adapting the familiar process by which a hot cup of coffee cools. Evaporative cooling has long been used to cool atoms to extraordinarily low temperatures. The process was used in 1995 to create the Bose-Einstein condensate. The latest demonstration marks the first time evaporative cooling has been achieved with molecules.

Physicist's research may lead to more precise measurements of time

(—Tanya Zelevinsky's Pupin Hall lab is home to a sprawling contraption of gangly wires, metal pipes and chambers, and flashing lights. Inside a container that opens up like a porthole is a glowing blue dot—a cloud of a million atoms cooled to nearly absolute zero, or close to minus 460 degrees Fahrenheit, eight orders of magnitude below room temperature. "I can safely say this is the coldest point in New York City," says Zelevinsky, an assistant professor of physics who may know more about cold than most people—she was born in Siberia.

Searching for defects in space

Topological defects in space may have developed fractions of a second after the Big Bang. Simulations of these wormlike entities and a comparison of the simulations with cosmic background radiation measurements by the Planck satellite should confirm their existence.

44. Er...Einstein Was Right After All

An experiment clocking faster-than-light motion had a fatal flaw, but it was still good science.

Long-wavelength laser will take better 'fingerprints' of medicines than chemical analysis, research suggests

A laser capable of working in the terahertz range – that of long-wavelength light from the far infrared to 1 millimeter – takes a better 'fingerprint' of, say, a drug under investigation, than a traditional chemical analysis. Scientists have combined a free electron source with photonic crystals which has resulted in great flexibility within a compact laser.

Laser technique expands capabilities: New system will advance carbon cycling and alternative energy research

Using short pulses from an ultraviolet laser, scientists are able to fracture organic samples that can be measured to produce a stable-isotope ratio. This ratio has applications in forensics and medicine, but also can be used to better understand metabolic processes in microbes.

New Trio Lifts Off to the International Space Station

With temperatures well below freezing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Tom Marshburn of NASA, Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency launched Wednesday to the International Space Station at 6:12 a.m. CST (6:12 p.m. Baikonur time).

Metamaterials experts show a way to reduce electrons' effective mass to nearly zero

The field of metamaterials involves augmenting materials with specially designed patterns, enabling those materials to manipulate electromagnetic waves and fields in previously impossible ways. Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have come up with a theory for moving this phenomenon onto the quantum scale, laying out blueprints for materials where electrons have nearly zero effective mass.


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