Physics

Could the Big Bang be Wrong?

A short history of the universe since the time of the Big Bang. We can directly observe more than 13 billion years of change, but the beginning itself is an enduring mystery. (Credit: ESA)

The Big Bang is the defining narrative of modern cosmology: a bold declaration that our universe had a beginning and has a finite age, just like the humans who live within it. That finite age, in turn, is defined by the evidence that universe is expanding (again, and unfortunately, many of us are familiar

Immortal quantum particles

Decay is relentless in the macroscopic world: broken objects do not fit themselves back together again. However, other laws are valid in the quantum world: new research shows that so-called quasiparticles can decay and reorganize themselves again and are thus become virtually immortal. These are good prospects for the development of durable data memories.

Gaining a better understanding of what happens when two atoms meet

An international team of researchers has demonstrated a new way to gain a detailed understanding of what happens when two atoms meet. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their experiments, which involved observing closely as two atoms came into contact with one another.

Discovery of light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials' properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg have used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

'Hidden' phases of matter revealed through the power of light

New chemistry research demonstrates how 'hidden' phases of matter can be activated by extremely fast pulses of light. This fundamental scientific breakthrough paves the way for creating materials that can be imbued with new properties, such as conducting electricity or making it magnetic.

Mysterious Majorana quasiparticle is now closer to being controlled for quantum computing

Using a new approach, researchers detected the elusive Majorana quasiparticle, notable for being its own antiparticle and for its potential as the basis for a robust quantum computing system, in a device built from a superconductor, small magnetic elements, and a topological insulator.

Liquid gold on the nanoscale

Researchers have discovered what liquid gold looks like on the nanoscale -- and in doing so have mapped the way in which nanoparticles melt, which is relevant to the manufacturing and performance of nanotech devices.

New quantum dot microscope shows electric potentials of individual atoms

Researchers have developed a new method to measure the electric potentials of a sample at atomic accuracy. The new scanning quantum dot microscopy method could open up new opportunities for chip manufacture or the characterization of biomolecules such as DNA.

National MagLab creates world-record magnetic field with small, compact coil

A novel magnet half the size of a cardboard toilet tissue roll usurped the title of "world's strongest magnetic field" from the metal titan that had held it for two decades at the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

Small currents for big gains in spintronics

University of Tokyo researchers have created an electronic component that demonstrates functions and abilities important to future generations of computational logic and memory devices. It is between one and two orders of magnitude more power efficient than previous attempts to create a component with the same kind of behavior. This could have applications in the emerging field of spintronics.

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