Physics

Behaviors of the tiniest water droplets revealed

A new study has uncovered fundamental details about the hexamer structures that make up the tiniest droplets of water, the key component of life -- and one that scientists still don't fully understand.

Structure of superheavy elements in 'island of stability': Nucleus 256Rf can now be studied in depth

One of the most sought-after goals in nuclear physics is an understanding of the structure of superheavy elements in the so-called "island of stability". These nuclei contain a large number of protons, and would ordinarily be ripped apart by the strong Coulomb repulsion between them. However, quantum mechanical shell-effects act to stabilize the nuclei, meaning that they can then live long enough to be observed in the laboratory. Now, experimental advances make it possible to study the nucleus 256Rf in detail for the first time.

Quark matter’s connection with the Higgs: Heavy ion collisions delve deeper into the origin of (visible) mass

You may think you've heard everything you need to know about the origin of mass. After all, scientists colliding protons at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe recently presented stunning evidence strongly suggesting the existence of a long-sought particle called the Higgs boson, thought to "impart mass to matter." But while the Higgs particle may be responsible for the mass of fundamental particles such as quarks, quarks alone can't account for the mass of most of the visible matter in the universe -- that's everything we see and sense around us.

Hearing the telltale sounds of dangerous chemicals

Researchers have developed a new chemical sensor that can simultaneously identify multiple nerve agents.

Closing in on the border between primordial plasma and ordinary matter

Scientists have observed first glimpses of a possible boundary separating ordinary nuclear matter, composed of protons and neutrons, from the seething soup of their constituent quarks and gluons that permeated the early universe.

Speedy ions could add zip to quantum computers

Take that, sports cars! Physicists can accelerate their beryllium ions from zero to 100 miles per hour and stop them in just a few microseconds. The researchers think their zippy ions may be useful in future quantum computers.

Nano, photonic research gets boost from new 3-D visualization technology

For the first time X-ray scientists have combined high-resolution imaging with 3-D viewing of the surface layer of material using X-ray vision in a way that does not damage the sample. This new technique expands the range of X-ray research possible for biology and many aspects of nanotechnology, particularly nanofilms, photonics, and micro- and nano-electronics. This new technique also reduces "guesswork" by eliminating the need for modeling-dependent structural simulation often used in X-ray analysis.

Gamma rays from galactic center could be evidence of dark matter

Gamma-ray photons seen emanating from the center of the Milky Way galaxy are consistent with the intriguing possibility that dark-matter particles are annihilating each other in space, according to new research.

Scientists 'waltz' closer to using spintronics in computing

Aiming to use electron spins for storing, transporting and processing information, researchers have revealed the first-ever direct mapping of the formation of a persistent spin helix in a semiconductor.

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