Physics

First direct look at how light excites electrons to kick off a chemical reaction

The first step in many light-driven chemical reactions, like the ones that power photosynthesis and human vision, is a shift in the arrangement of a molecule's electrons as they absorb the light's energy. This subtle rearrangement paves the way for everything that follows and determines how the reaction proceeds. Now scientists have seen for the first time how the molecule's electron cloud balloons out before any of its atomic nuclei respond.

Looking for dark matter with the Universe's coldest material

Scientists have been able to observe the universe and determine that about 80% of the its mass appears to be "dark matter," which exerts a gravitational pull but does not interact with light, and thus can't be seen with telescopes. Our current understanding of cosmology and nuclear physics suggests that dark matter could be made of axions, hypothetical particles with unusual symmetry properties.

In search of the lighting material of the future

Researchers have gained insights into a promising material for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The substance enables high light yields and would be inexpensive to produce on a large scale -- that means it is practically made for use in large-area room lighting. Researchers have been searching for such materials for a long time. The newly generated understanding will facilitate the rapid and cost-efficient development of new lighting appliances in the future.

In search of the lighting material of the future

At the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, researchers have gained insights into a promising material for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The substance enables high light yields and would be inexpensive to produce on a large scale—that means it is practically made for use in large-area room lighting. Researchers have been searching for such materials for a long time. The newly generated understanding will facilitate the rapid and cost-efficient development of new lighting appliances in the future. The study appears today in the journal Nature Communications.

Space is Big, Empty, and Very Very Lonely.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear about an asteroid that is passing "close" to Earth.

Do Peer Reviewers Prefer Significant Results?

An experiment on peer reviewers at a psychology conference suggests a positive result premium which could drive publication bias.

How do Supermassive Black Holes Form? You Can Sketch Galaxies to Help Astronomers Find Out

Tracing out the shape of a galaxy may offer clues to the size of its supermassive black hole. And a new study shows citizen scientists are actually better at it than computer algorithms.

Catching nuclear smugglers: Fast algorithm could enable cost-effective detectors at borders

A new algorithm could enable faster, less expensive detection of weapons-grade nuclear materials at borders, quickly differentiating between benign and illicit radiation signatures in the same cargo.

Supercurrent -- a current flowing without energy loss -- detected at edge of a superconductor with topological twist

The existence of superconducting currents, or supercurrents, along the exterior of a superconductor, has been surprisingly hard to find. Now, researchers have discovered these edge supercurrents in a material that is both a superconductor and a topological semi-metal. This evidence for topological superconductivity could help provide the foundation for applications in quantum computing and other future technologies.

Playing pool with neutrinos: Certain interactions look similar to the game

Hard to believe you can play pool with neutrinos, but certain neutrino interaction events are closer to the game than you think.

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