Physics

What the world's most accurate clock can tell us about Earth and the cosmos

It would take 15 billion years for the clock that occupies Jun Ye's basement lab at the University of Colorado to lose a second—about how long the universe has existed.

Magnet milestones move distant nuclear fusion dream closer

Teams working on two continents have marked similar milestones in their respective efforts to tap an energy source key to the fight against climate change: They've each produced very impressive magnets.

Quantum chemists conjure recipe to turn gold, silver and copper into vessels of green energy

Quantum chemists believe gold, silver and copper could help the world take a leap towards green energy after discovering that compounds based on these metal elements and hydrogen are very promising candidates for hydrogen storage. These 'metal hydride' complexes could be used to store hydrogen for use on board vehicles, for example, where it must be stored cryogenically and/or at very high pressure.

Scientists see evidence of first-order phase change in nuclear matter

New evidence suggests that protons and neutrons go through a "first-order" phase transition—a kind of stop-and-go change in temperature—when they "melt." This is similar to how ice melts: Energy first increases the temperature, and then, during the transition, the temperature stays steady while the energy transforms a solid to a liquid. Only when all the molecules are liquid can the temperature increase again. With protons and neutrons, the melted state is a soup of quarks and gluons.

Artificial brain networks simulated with new quantum materials

Isaac Newton's groundbreaking scientific productivity while isolated from the spread of bubonic plague is legendary. University of California San Diego physicists can now claim a stake in the annals of pandemic-driven science.

New laser-based microphone calibration system

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have conducted the first demonstration of a faster and more accurate way to calibrate certain kinds of microphones.

High-energy shape memory polymer could someday help robots flex their muscles

When stretched or deformed, shape memory polymers return to their original shapes after heat or light is applied. These materials show great promise for soft robotics, smart biomedical devices and deployable space structures, but until now they haven't been able to store enough energy. Now, researchers have developed a shape memory polymer that stores almost six times more energy than previous versions.

Walking with coffee is a little-understood feat of physics

Walking with coffee is something most of us do every day without considering the balancing act it requires. In fact, there's a lot of physics preventing the coffee from spilling over.

Researchers realize a spin field-effect transistor at room temperature

A crucial goal of spintronics research is to coherently manipulate electron spins at room temperature using electrical current. This is particularly valuable as it would enable the development of numerous devices, including spin field-effect transistors.

New opportunities for light-powered battery and fuel cell design

Automotive and other industries are hard at work improving the performance of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells. Now, researchers from Japan have made a discovery that will enable new possibilities for future environmental stability in this line of work.

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