Physics

This bacterium gets paid in gold

Scientists have placed light-absorbing gold nanoclusters inside a bacterium, creating a biohybrid system that produces a higher yield of chemical products, such as biofuels, than previously demonstrated. The biohybrid captures sunlight and carbon dioxide to make chemicals useful not only on Earth but also in the exotic environment of space.

Electrons go with the flow

You turn on a switch and the light switches on because electricity 'flows'. The usual perception is that this is like opening a faucet and the water starts to flow. But this analogy is misleading. The flow of water is determined by the theory of hydrodynamics, where the behavior of the fluid requires no knowledge of the movements of individual molecules.

Freeloaders beware: Incentives to foster cooperation are just around the corner

In our society, there are always a certain percentage of people who adopt a freeloader attitude. They let other members of society do all the work and do not do their part. By not contributing their share of effort, to the detriment of the rest of society, freeloaders pose a serious social threat, and can even lead to social collapse.

Statistical method recreates the history of a long-abandoned village

Archaeologists now have new tools for studying the development of medieval villages and the transformation of the historical landscapes surrounding them. In a study recently published in EPJ Plus, scientists have attempted to reconstruct the history of Zornoztegi, an abandoned medieval village located in the Basque Country, Spain.

Precise electron spin control yields faster memory storage

Data storage devices are not improving as fast as scientists would like. Faster and more compact memory storage devices will become a reality when physicists gain precise control of the spins of electrons. They typically rely on ultra-short lasers to control spins. However, improvement of storage devices via spin control requires first to develop ways of controlling the forces acting on these electronic spins.

Metal leads to the desired configuration

Scientists have found a way to change the spatial arrangement of bipyridine molecules on a surface. These potential components of dye-sensitized solar cells form complexes with metals and thereby alter their chemical conformation.

The cosmological lithium problem

An international research group has tried to find a solution to one of the unknowns in the current description of the Big Bang. Different nuclear reactions responsible for the creation and destruction of atomic nuclei in nucleosynthesis during the Big Bang are crucial in determining the primordial abundance of lithium, the third (and last) chemical element formed during the very early phase of the creation of the universe.

Controlling chemical reactions near absolute zero

Chemists have demonstrated complete experimental control over a chemical reaction just above absolute zero.

String theory: Is dark energy even allowed?

In string theory, a paradigm shift could be imminent. In June, a team of string theorists published a conjecture which sounded revolutionary: String theory is said to be fundamentally incompatible with our current understanding of 'dark energy'. A new study has now found out that this conjecture seems to be incompatible with the existence of the Higgs particle.

Smallest integrated Kerr frequency comb generator

Optical frequency combs can enable ultrafast processes in physics, biology, and chemistry, as well as improve communication and navigation, medical testing, and security. Engineers have built a Kerr frequency comb generator that, for the first time, integrates the laser with the microresonator, significantly shrinking the system's size and power requirements. They no longer need to connect separate devices using fiber -- they can now integrate it all on compact and energy efficient photonic chips.

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