- Spawned by the spins of electrons in magnetic materials, these tiny whirlpools behave like independent particles and could be the future of computing. Experiments with SLAC’s X-ray laser are revealing their secrets. Scientists have known for a long time that magnetism is created by the spins of electrons lining up in certain ways. But about a decade ago, they discovered another astonishing layer of complexity in magnetic materials: Under the right conditions, these spins can form little ... [Read More]

- Today's lithium batteries commonly use a liquid electrolyte to carry ions between the two electrodes, but scientists eyeing solid alternatives see some exciting opportunities ahead. Among them are the authors of a new study who have used cellulose derived from wood as the basis for one of these solid electrolytes, which is paper-thin and can bend and flex to absorb stress as the battery cycles. One shortcoming of the electrolytes used in today's lithium batteries is that they contain volatile ... [Read More]


- Most of us control light all the time without even thinking about it, usually in mundane ways: we don a pair of sunglasses and put on sunscreen, and close—or open—our window blinds. But the control of light can also come in high-tech forms. The screen of the computer, tablet, or phone on which you are reading this is one example. Another is telecommunications, which controls light to create signals that carry data along fiber-optic cables . Scientists also use high-tech methods to control ... [Read More]


- Who’s killing physics? | Cosmos Weekly Taster More on: physics This article on the future of physics first appeared in Cosmos Weekly on 15 October 2021 . For more stories like this, subscribe to Cosmos Weekly. On a recent visit to my mum’s place, I searched through my old stuff for something my children might like. One book that caught my eyes was (the German edition of) James Trefil’s Dark Side of the Universe . It’s about cosmology, the Big Bang and the expansion of the universe, ... [Read More]

- For the first time, physicists have been able to directly measure one of the ways exploding stars forge the heaviest elements in the Universe. By probing an accelerated beam of radioactive ions, a team led by physicist Gavin Lotay of the University of Surrey in the UK observed the proton-capture process thought to occur in core-collapse supernovae. Not only have scientists now seen how this happens in detail, the measurements are allowing us to better understand the production and abundances of ... [Read More]

- Light offers an irreplaceable way to interact with our universe. It can travel across galactic distances and collide with our atmosphere, creating a shower of particles that tell a story of past astronomical events. Here on earth, controlling light lets us send data from one side of the planet to the other. Given its broad utility, it’s no surprise that light plays a critical role in enabling 21 st century quantum information applications. For example, scientists use laser light to precisely ... [Read More]

- When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory early last year, Shambhu Ghimire's research group was forced to find another way to study an intriguing research target: quantum materials known as topological insulators, or TIs, which conduct electric current on their surfaces but not through their interiors. Denitsa Baykusheva, a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow, had joined his group at the Stanford PULSE Institute two ... [Read More]


- Metalens-based design shrinks footprint, making optical traps practical for precision sensing and measurements. Researchers have created tiny chip-based optical tweezers that can be used to optically levitate nanoparticles in a vacuum. Optical tweezers — which employ a tightly focused laser beam to hold living cells, nanoparticles, and other objects — can be used for a variety of precision measurements and sensing applications. However, these optical traps are usually produced with bulky ... [Read More]

- By implementing a new signal stabilization technique, researchers were able to achieve secure quantum communication over a record 605 kilometers of fiber using the twin-field quantum key distribution (QKD) protocol. The new demonstration paves the way for transmitting highly secure, quantum-encrypted information over long distances, such as between cities. Mirko Pittaluga from Toshiba Europe Limited and the University of Leeds, both in the UK, will present the research at the Frontiers in ... [Read More]


- They are regarded as one of the most interesting materials for future electronics: Topological insulators conduct electricity in a special way and hold the promise of novel circuits and faster mobile communications. A research team has now unraveled a fundamental property of this new class of materials: How exactly do the electrons in the material respond when they are 'startled' by short pulses of so-called terahertz radiation? The results are not just significant for our basic understanding ... [Read More]

- Results suggest beauty quarks decay into electrons and muons at different rates The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) sparked worldwide excitement in March as particle physicists reported tantalizing evidence for new physics – potentially a new force of nature. Now, our new result , yet to be peer-reviewed, from Cern’s gargantuan particle collider seems to be adding further support to the idea. Our current best theory of particles and forces is known as the standard model , which describes ... [Read More]

- In attempts to understand the very nature of our reality, physicists sure have some mind-bending theories. Like what if information is a tangible and fundamental aspect of physical reality itself – alongside matter and energy ? Or, alternatively, what if information is the fifth state of matter ? Information is, after all, something all matter and energy measurably possess. The rules that govern their existence, like their mass, speed, or charge, are all bits of information they contain. So ... [Read More]

- Researchers report an uncanny resemblance between the superconductivity of magic graphene and that of high temperature superconductors. Magic graphene may hold the key to unlocking new mechanisms of superconductivity, including high temperature superconductivity. The discovery in 2018 of superconductivity in two single-atom-thick layers of graphene stacked at a precise angle of 1.1 degrees (called 'magic'-angle twisted bilayer graphene) came as a big surprise to the scientific community. Since ... [Read More]

- A high-tech fusion facility is like a thermos—both keep their contents as hot as possible. Fusion facilities confine electrically charged gas known as plasma at temperatures 10 times hotter than the sun, and keeping it hot is crucial to stoking the fusion reactions that scientists seek to harness to create a clean, plentiful source of energy for producing electricity. Now, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have made simple changes ... [Read More]


- Physicists have examined a special system of colloidal particles that they activated using laser light. The researchers discovered that self-propelling droplets, which they have named 'droploids', formed which contain the particles as an internal motor. A team of physicists from Germany and Sweden working with first author Jens Christian Grauer from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) has examined a special system of colloidal particles that they activated using laser light. The ... [Read More]

- The central principle of superconductivity is that electrons form pairs. But can they also condense into foursomes? Recent findings have suggested they can, and a physicist at KTH Royal Institute of Technology today published the first experimental evidence of this quadrupling effect and the mechanism by which this state of matter occurs. Reporting in Nature Physics, Professor Egor Babaev and collaborators presented evidence of fermion quadrupling in a series of experimental measurements on the ... [Read More]