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Spintronic technology advances with newly designed magnetic tunnel junctions

For the last two decades, magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) have played a central role in spintronic devices such as read heads of hard disk drives and nonvolatile magnetoresistive random access memories (MRAMs), and researchers are constantly working to improve their performance. Show More Summary

A new model for capillary rise in nano-channels offers insights into fracking

In the last decades, hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," a method of oil and gas extraction, has revolutionized the global energy industry. It involves fracturing rock with a pressurized liquid or "fracking fluid" (water containing sand suspended with the aid of thickening agents) to draw out small oil and gas deposits trapped in stone formations.

High-energy visionary

Meet Hernán Quintana Godoy, the scientist who made Chile central to international astronomy. Professor Hernán Quintana Godoy has a way of taking the long view, peering back into the past through distant stars while looking ahead to the...Show More Summary

Unusual fluid behavior observed in microgravity

(—Normally when a liquid is heated above its boiling point, it evaporates, turning into a vapor. But when scientists recently performed an experiment on the International Space Station (ISS), they observed that the vapor near a heat pipe condensed into a liquid even when the temperature was 160 K above the substance's normal boiling point. Show More Summary

Electrons used to control ultrashort laser pulses

We may soon get better insight into the microcosm and the world of electrons. Researchers at Lund University and Louisiana State University have developed a tool that makes it possible to control extreme UV light - light with much shorter wavelengths than visible light. The new method uses strong laser pulses to direct the short bursts of light.

Feature: Meetings: Seen and Heard at the 2017 APS March Meeting

In case you missed it, or weren’t able to attend all 700-plus sessions, here are some highlights from the world’s largest physics meeting. [Physics 10, 29] Published Mon Mar 20, 2017

Producing radioisotopes for medical imaging and disease treatment

The before and after images are stunning: A prostate cancer patient riddled with metastatic tumors that disappear after just three, potent treatments.

Results from the NEOS experiment on sterile neutrinos differ partly from the theoretical expectations

Dubbed as "ghost particles," neutrinos have no electric charge and their masses are so tiny that they are difficult to observe. The sun, nuclear reactors, supernovae explosions create them, when their nuclei are going through a radioactive decay, known as beta decay. Show More Summary

Deformable thermoelectric materials add a new twist to the design of energy-scavenging devices

Adding elasticity to the impressive properties of materials known as thermoelectrics could help us conserve more power, KAUST researchers have shown.

From black holes to helium

A team of scientists has discovered that a law controlling the bizarre behavior of black holes out in space—is also true for cold helium atoms that can be studied in laboratories.

Research set to reveal the chaotic mysteries of turbulence

A team of researchers led by The University of Manchester is on the brink of revealing some of the mysteries of turbulence – a force of nature that has chaotic influence on land, sea and air.

Boosting the ability to detect superweak magnetic fields

Each beat of your heart or burst of brain activity relies on tiny electrophysiological currents that generate minuscule ripples in the surrounding magnetic field. These field variations provide the basis for a range of research tools and diagnostic techniques with mouthful names like magnetoencephalography (MEG) and magnetocardiography (MCG). Show More Summary

News from the Front, XIII: Holographic Heat Engines for Fun and Profit

I put a set of new results out on to the arxiv recently. They were fun to work out. They represent some of my continued fascination with holographic heat engines, those things I came up with back in 2014 that I think I've written about here before (here and here). Show More Summary

Physicists learn how to put plasmons in a twist

Orbital angular momentum could be used to encode information

The Pantheon of Derivatives – Part III

  Some Topology Whereas the terminology of vector fields, trajectories and flows almost by itself suggests its origins and physical relevance, the general treatment of vector fields, however, require some abstractions. The following might appear to be purely mathematical constructions, and I will restrict myself to a minimum, but they actually occur in modern physics: […]

Fermilab’s fight against invasive species

With 6,800 acres of natural habitat, Fermilab gets help from dedicated citizens who help maintain a landscape where native species flourish.

New feedback system could allow greater control over fusion plasma

Like a potter shaping clay as it spins on a wheel, physicists use magnetic fields and powerful particle beams to control and shape the plasma as it twists and turns through a fusion device. Now a physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Molecular scale transporter with a twist, powered by liquid crystal defects

Defects that break the symmetry of otherwise orderly material are called topological defects. In solid crystals, they are called dislocations because they interrupt the regularly structured atom lattice. In contrast, topological defects...Show More Summary

Lust for power: Engineers develop non-toxic material that generates electricity through hot and cold

Thanks to the discovery of a new material by University of Utah engineers, jewelry such as a ring and your body heat could generate enough electricity to power a body sensor, or a cooking pan could charge a cellphone in just a few hours.

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