Physics

A map illustrating the inherent colours of 466 types of carbon nanotubes. (Courtesy: Kauppinen Group/Aalto University) Why do some thin films of single-wall carbon nanotubes take on colourful hues even though as-synthesized films are usually black? A team of researchers in Finland, the US and China has now come up with a possible answer in
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Topological operation: lattice surgery has been used to entangle qubits. (Courtesy: Shutterstock/Dmitriy-Rybin) “Lattice surgery” has been used to quantum-mechanically entangle fault-tolerant topological qubits – an achievement that could lead to the production of more reliable quantum logic gates. Created by researchers in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, the entanglement technique could prove useful in the development
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Join the audience for a live webinar at 7 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. CDT on 3 February 2021 exploring the benefits of RadCalc’s 3D subscription packages Want to take part in this webinar? Participants will learn how RadCalc’s 3D packages can improve accuracy, efficiency, safety in the QA process and lower up-front acquisition costs. Join this
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Using a state-of-the-art laser-assisted diamond-machining system, ULO Optics and LBP Optics are developing a unique class of lenses to fine-tune the laser-cutting process for industrial steels Laser focus: the EDGETECT2 consortium is developing ZnSe lenses that will enhance the cutting performance of industrial laser systems used to fabricate high-added-value steel parts. (Courtesy: LBP Optics) Innovative
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Pulsar array: artist’s impression of how NANOGrav observes pulsars in an effort detect gravitational waves. (Courtesy: NANOGrav/T Klein) The observation of tiny deviations in the arrival times of radio pulses from neutron stars could be our first glimpse at gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes – according to astronomers working on the NANOGrav pulsar
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If you live in a part of the world with cold winters, you probably know the awful feeling that comes with an unexpectedly early frost or snow—one that covers your car in a layer of ice before you’ve pulled out your gloves and ice scraper for the season. The one that makes your fingers freeze
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Particle pioneer: Martinus Veltman (Michael Hoch/CERN) The Dutch physicist Martinus Veltman, who won half of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Physics for his theoretical contributions to the Standard Model of particle physics, died on 4 January aged 89. In the 1960s and 1970s, Veltman’s work was instrumental in understanding the weak interaction in particle physics.
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Using computers to process natural human language is notoriously difficult, so perhaps its not surprising that researchers are turning to quantum computers. In this episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast, Bob Coecke of Cambridge Quantum Computing explains why natural language processing is “quantum native” – which makes it a perfect candidate for an early
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Schematic structure of the tandem solar cell stack in 3D. Credit: Eike Koehnen/HZB Solar cells made from a combination of silicon and a complex perovskite have reached a new milestone for efficiency. The new tandem devices, made by Steve Albrecht and colleagues at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Germany, have a photovoltaic conversion efficiency (PCE) of 29.15%,
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A new quantum network. (Courtesy: iStock/Traffic Analyzer) 2020, despite all its multitudinous awfulness, was a good year for quantum science. Here at Physics World, we come across important papers nearly every week on topics from quantum algorithms and improved qubit architectures to better quantum sensors and imaginative new experiments on quantum fundamentals. In fact, there’s
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RefleXion is developing a biology-guided radiotherapy (BgRT) system that incorporates PET data. The BgRT technology, which has not yet received US FDA 510(k) clearance, will synchronize these data with the linac to direct radiation to tumours with sub-second latency. (Courtesy: RefleXion Medical) A new, biology-guided radiotherapy (BgRT) system could improve radiation therapy by delivering high
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Phononic crystal: the barrier was created using two different lattices that comprised acrylic cylinders. (Courtesy: University of Hong Kong) A curious effect called “Klein tunnelling” has been observed for the first time in an experiment involving sound waves in a phononic crystal. As well as confirming the century-old prediction that relativistic particles (those travelling at
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Lesley Jarvis and Brian Pogue are investigating the use of Cherenkov imaging for real-time monitoring of radiotherapy delivery. (Courtesy: Mark Washburn, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health) Cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center are receiving added treatment scrutiny, via real-time monitoring of the radiation dose delivered during their treatments. This treatment verification is enabled by a Cherenkov
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Cosmic time machine: the EDGES radio telescope sheds light on primordial gravitational waves. (Courtesy: Suzyj/CC BY-SA 4.0) The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is a rich source of information about the early universe, and now physicists in Switzerland and Germany reckon it could also serve as a detector of high-frequency gravitational waves, which are ripples in
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Company’s past, present and future determined by developing products on-demand Cool stuff: For nearly 60 years, Cryomech – based in Syracuse, New York – has made a name for itself as a problem-solving partner for its customers. (Courtesy: Cryomech) The Gifford-McMahon Cryocooler may be synonymous with Cryomech, but the company’s legacy isn’t defined by product.
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As someone whose job it is to help people understand and appreciate physics, I absolutely hate the way most people talk about Isaac Newton and how he developed his theory of gravity. It’s not the apple bit that I have a problem with; that’s an important part of the story, and even historically accurate! The thing
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The 10 greatest theoretical predictions of all time, the cool new calorimeters at the CERN particle-physics lab and the links between quantum physics and consciousness are all in the new issue of your favourite magazine Deep questions: Is physics linked to consciousness? Wishing all Physics World readers a very happy and prosperous new year…let’s hope
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Artist’s conception of nanodiamonds used for in vitro diagnostics. (Courtesy: Ella Maru Studio/UCL) Fluorescent nanodiamonds can increase the sensitivity of paper-based medical diagnostic tests, according to a proof-of-concept study from researchers in the UK. Replacing the gold nanoparticles widely used in lateral flow tests with nanodiamonds that contain nitrogen-vacancy centres led to a dramatic improvement
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Joshua Chawner (left) and Dmitry Zmeev with the world’s first LEGO cryonaut (Courtesy: Joshua Chawner) Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, physicists have still found time to carry out research that touches on the quirkier side of science. Here is our pick of the 10 best, not in any particular order. Low-temperature LEGO Condensed-matter
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Physicists worldwide showed spirit and innovation, but 2020 can’t end soon enough. Physics World editor-in-chief Matin Durrani looks back at the year that’s coming to an end. (Courtesy: iStock/photo_Pawel) I remember receiving one of those “hilarious” WhatsApp messages in mid-March just as the coronavirus pandemic was taking hold and everyone was going slightly mad. Signed
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Maps of regional lung expansion in (left) a mouse with cystic fibrosis-like disease and (right) a healthy littermate. (Courtesy: Monash University) This year has been a year like no other. In 2020, many physicists turned their research efforts towards tackling the pandemic. Within medical physics, researchers worked to develop improved diagnostics and potential treatments for
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Eye in the sky: data from the Jason-3 satellite was used in the study. (Courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech) Third-degree tides – tiny sea-level fluctuations once known only locally from measurements made by tidal gauges – have been mapped out across the globe by geophysicist Richard Ray at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, US. As well
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Tin is a commonplace metal that’s used industrially in a thousand different ways. From the solder that holds your computer’s motherboard together to the PVC plumbing under your sink, tin compounds are everywhere. In spite of its versatility, tin possesses an interesting physical property which is responsible for its tendency to wear down over time
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Courtesy: iStock/agsandrew This pandemic-blighted year isn’t going to top anyone’s list of favourites, but looking on the bright side for a moment, 2020 has seen some remarkable advances in quantum science and technology. Here are a few of the highlights from subfields ranging from quantum fundamentals to quantum computing. The most precise thermometer possible How
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Taken from the December 2020 issue of Physics World. Members of the Institute of Physics can enjoy the full issue via the Physics World app. Metaphorical Christmas Emma Chapman’s new book uses familiar elements of the holiday season to help explain the earliest stars. (Courtesy: iStock/da-kuk) With Christmas looming just around the corner, it will
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Let it snow: Brighten up your holiday season with some quizzing. (Courtesy: Shutterstock/ESB-Professional) 1. It’s dark at the North Pole in winter. Fortunately, Santa’s reindeer have exceptional eyesight. Which wavelengths of light can they see? A Ultraviolet B Infrared C Microwave D All of the above 2. In 2019, researchers at the University of Manchester calculated
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By Lindsay Olson Scientific Adviser:  Dr. Don Lincoln Curator: Georgia Schwender  As Fermilab’s first artist in residence, my workspace had some unusual supplies for an artist’s studio. Pinned to my idea board I had a list of subatomic particles, quotes from popular physics books, the names of inspiring physicists, and a picture of Nobel Laureate
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Jin-Woo Han is Senior Scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Along with colleagues Meyya Meyyappan, Myeong-Lok Seol and Jungsik Kim, he has designed a nanoscale complementary vacuum field emission transistor (VFET). In this interview Han explains why his team is interested in VFETs and the challenges involved in creating the devices
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Capillary condensation in atomic-scale channels. Courtesy: Zisong Ma, Yan Liang (USTC) When water vapour spontaneously condenses inside capillaries just 1 nm across, it behaves according to the 150-year-old Kelvin equation – defying predictions that this pre-quantum-era formula would inevitably break down at the atomic scale. This is the finding of researchers at the University of
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A beam transformed: Optical transforms like tight focussing and total internal reflection, which gives rise to an evanescent field, can lead to out-of-plane polarization components and transverse spin, even for totally unpolarized input light. (Courtesy: Konstantin Bliokh/Diane Roth) It’s been almost a century since Wolfgang Pauli mooted the idea of “hidden rotation”: a new quantum
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Dose and dose-rate distributions produced for multiple treatment beams using (left) intensity-modulated proton therapy and (right) simultaneous dose and dose-rate optimization (SSDRO) for a 10 Gy fraction. The plan quality was best for the SDDRO method using nine beams. (Courtesy: Med. Phys. 10.1002/mp.14531) The primary goal of radiotherapy is to deliver a large radiation dose
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Radiation therapy providers in the US need to start preparing now for the introduction of the Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model (RO-APM) Alignment matters: Accuray is confident that its emphasis on hypofractionated and ultrahypofractionated radiotherapy will prove to be a good fit for the RO-APM. (Courtesy: Accuray) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
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Through the looking glass: the ALICE detector at CERN is currently being upgraded and may soon provide further insights into hyperon interactions. (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN) Collisions between high-energy protons at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN have given physicists a first glimpse at interactions involving exotic particles called hyperons. Researchers working on the ALICE
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