Physics

A major step closer to a viable recording material for future hard disk drives

Magnetic recording is the primary technology underpinning today's large-scale data storage. Now, companies are racing to develop new hard disk devices (HDDs) capable of recording densities greater than 1 terabit per square inch.

Amoeba finds approximate solutions to NP-hard problem in linear time

Researchers have demonstrated that an amoeba—a single-celled organism consisting mostly of gelatinous protoplasm—has unique computing abilities that may one day offer a competitive alternative to the methods used by conventional computers.

Why does nuclear fission produce pear-shaped nuclei?

Nuclear fission is a process in which a heavy nucleus split into two. Most of the actinides nuclei (plutonium, uranium, curium, etc) fission asymmetrically with one big fragment and one small. Empirically, the heavy fragment presents on average a xenon element (with charge number Z=54) independently from the initial fissioning nucleus. To understand the mechanism that determines the number of protons and neutrons in each of the two fragments has been a longstanding puzzle.

Analyzing 3-D neutron polarization under high pressure

A joint research team consisting of NIMS, JAEA and the Institut Laue Langevin has developed a high-pressure cell composed of completely nonmagnetic materials. The team then succeeded for the first time in analyzing neutron polarization in three dimensions at an extremely high pressure of several gigapascals using the cell. This technique is applicable to detailed analysis of electron spin arrangements. The team also discovered a material with potential as a next-generation PC memory material due to the multiferroic properties it exhibited under high pressure.

Researchers develop non-destructive method to measure the salt content of concrete structures

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Advanced Photonics (RAP) have used a method, using the RANS compact neutron source, to non-destructively measure the salt content of structures such as bridges, tunnels, and elevated roadways, which can suffer from degradation due to exposure to salt from seawater and other sources.

Discover's Images of the Year 2018

The best of science in pictures this year, from the last breath of the last of a species to an interplanetary road trip.

NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Return to Earth After 197-Day Mission in Space

Three members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 57 crew, including NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, returned to Earth Thursday, safely landing at 12:02 a.m. EST (11:02 a.m. local time) in Kazakhstan.

NASA Astronaut, Crewmates Returns to Earth After 197-Day Mission in Space

Three members of the International Space Station’s Expedition 57 crew, including NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, returned to Earth Thursday, safely landing at 12:02 a.m. EST (11:02 a.m. local time) in Kazakhstan.

Better security achieved with randomly generating biological encryption keys

Data breaches, hacked systems and hostage malware are frequently topics of evening news casts—including stories of department store, hospital, government and bank data leaking into unsavory hands—but now a team of engineers has an encryption key approach that is unclonable and not reverse-engineerable, protecting information even as computers become faster and nimbler.

Holey graphene as Holy Grail alternative to silicon chips

Novel spintronics applications could stem from introducing holes into graphene to form triangular antidot lattices, granting the material new magnetic properties.

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