Physics

Crackling noise during growth

Globules of fat in homogenised milk, dust particles in the early solar system and small magnetic domains in ferromagnets are all examples of small parts coming together to form one whole, like "birds of a feather"; or, in this case: particles of the same size flock together. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics & Self-Organization, the University of Göttingen and Azarbaijan Shahid Madani University in Iran have demonstrated that such growth processes "crackle".

NASA Administrator Tours Earth Missions Under Construction in California

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will visit the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 13, to see progress on two Earth-observing missions currently undergoing preparation for launch in 2014.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Finds Source of Magellanic Stream

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have solved a 40-year mystery on the origin of the Magellanic Stream, a long ribbon of gas stretching nearly halfway around our Milky Way galaxy.

The Challenge is On: NASA-WPI 2014 Robot Prize Competition Registration Open

In pursuit of new technological solutions for America's space program and our nation's future, NASA and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass., have opened registration for the $1.5 million 2014 Sample Return Robot prize competition.

Getting to the core of Fukushima

Critical to the recovery efforts following the devastating effects of the 2011 tsunami on Japan's Fukushima reactor is the ability to assess damage within the reactor's core. A study in the journal AIP Advances by a team of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) shows that muon imaging may offer the best hope of assessing damage to the reactor cores and locating the melted fuel.

Regulating electron 'spin' may be key to making organic solar cells competitive

Organic solar cells that convert light to electricity using carbon-based molecules have shown promise as a versatile energy source but have not been able to match the efficiency of their silicon-based counterparts.

New insights into the one-in-a-million lightning called 'ball lightning'

One of the rare scientific reports on the rarest form of lightning—ball lightning—describes better ways of producing this mysterious phenomenon under the modern laboratory conditions needed to explain it. The new study on a phenomenon that puzzled and perplexed the likes of Aristotle 2,300 years ago and Nikola Tesla a century ago appears in ACS' The Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

Squeezed light using a silicon micromechanical system

Scientists have managed to engineer a miniature silicon system that produces a type of light that is quieter at certain frequencies -- meaning it has fewer quantum fluctuations -- than what is usually present in a vacuum.

Magnetic switching simplified

Researchers have described a new physical effect that could be used to develop more efficient magnetic chips for information processing. The quantum mechanical effect makes it easier to produce spin-polarized currents necessary for the switching of magnetically stored information.

Regulating electron 'spin' may be key to making organic solar cells competitive

Organic solar cells that use carbon-based molecules to convert light to electricity have not been able to match the efficiency silicon-based cells. Now, researchers have discovered a synthetic, high-performance polymer that could make inexpensive, highly efficient organic solar panels a reality.

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