Physics

Researchers probe features of star clusters surrounding supermassive black holes

At the center of the galaxy, millions of stars whirl in orbits around a supermassive black hole. This circuit can take anywhere from a few hours for stars close to the event horizon of the black hole to thousands of years for their distant neighbors. The nature of the dance—how the stars interact collectively through their gravitational forces—can vary from galaxy to galaxy.

Small high-voltage transmission electron microscope built in Japan

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Japan has built a high-voltage transmission electron microscope small enough to reside in a university lab. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes building the first-of-its-kind microscope and how well it works.

Alignment of single-wall carbon nanotubes along common axis

The researchers used machine-vision automation and parallelization to simultaneously produce globally aligned, single-wall carbon nanotubes using pressure-driven filtration.

Experiment measures velocity in 3-D

Many of today's scientific processes are simulated using computer-driven mathematical models. But for a model to accurately predict how air flow behaves at high speeds, for example, scientists need supplemental real life data. Providing validation data, using up-to-date methods, was a key motivating factor for a recent experimental study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

New understanding of the evolution of cosmic electromagnetic fields

Electromagnetism was discovered 200 years ago, but the origin of the very large electromagnetic fields in the universe is still a mystery.

Solving the mystery of quantum light in thin layers

Tungsten diselenide emits light with very special properties. Nobody could tell why -- but now, scientists have solved the riddle: a combination of atomic defects in the material and microscopic distortion is responsible for the remarkable effect.

New understanding of the evolution of cosmic electromagnetic fields

Next year is the 200 year anniversary of the discovery of electromagnetism by the Danish physicist H.C. Ørsted. Even 200 years after its discovery, the existence of electromagnetism still brings up new puzzles pertaining to their origin.

Dynamic pattern of skyrmions observed

Cu2OSeO3 is a material with unusual magnetic properties. Magnetic spin vortices known as skyrmions are formed within a certain temperature range when in the presence of a small external magnetic field. Currently, moderately low temperatures of around 60 Kelvin (-213 degrees Celsius) are required to stabilise their phase, but it appears possible to shift this temperature range to room temperature. The exciting thing about skyrmions is that they can be set in motion and controlled very easily, thus offering new opportunities to reduce the energy required for data processing.

Science follows from furry mysteries

Greg Gbur's new book from Yale University Press, "Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics," takes on a strange topic for a physicist—the mysteries of the cat.

Overlap allows nanoparticles to enhance light-based detection

Scientists use the plasmonic properties of gold nanoparticles to amplify light from molecules triggered by electrochemiluminescence. The work could help researchers analyze the active surfaces of catalysts and other materials at the nanoscale.

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