Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

Artist's rendering of Terasaki spiral ramps, helices that connect stacks of evenly spaced sheets in the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Griffith scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds

This is Professor Howard Wiseman, Director of Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics.Griffith University academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory based on the existence of, and interactions between, parallel universes.

Clean smell doesn't always mean clean air

Some of the same chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere as a result of smog and ozone are actually taking place in your house while you are cleaning. A...

Supersonic laser-propelled rockets

The effectiveness of current laser-propulsion techniques is limited by the instability of supersonic gas flow, caused by shock waves that "choke" the inlet of the nozzle, reducing thrust. Those effects can be reduced with the help of laser ablation, redirecting the plasma plume so that it flows close to the interior walls of a supersonic nozzle and significantly improving the overall thrust.Scientists and science fiction writers alike have dreamt of aircrafts that are propelled by beams of light rather than conventional fuels. Now, a new method for improving the thrust generated...

NIST 'combs' the atmosphere to measure greenhouse gases

Photo illustration of NIST experiment using a pair of laser frequency combs (depicted as rainbow-colored cartoons) to detect the simultaneous signatures of several 'greenhouse' gases along a 2-kilometer path between a NIST laboratory roof and a nearby mesa. Each comb 'tooth' represents a different frequency of light. To identify gases in the atmosphere, researchers measured the amount of comb light absorbed at different frequencies along the path.By remotely "combing" the atmosphere with a custom laser-based instrument, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric...

'Reverse engineering' materials for more efficient heating and cooling

The multi-phase thermoelectric Cu(1.97)Ag(0.03)Se consists of a main crystal structure of Cu(2)Se and an impurity phase with the crystal structure of CuAgSe. In this scanning electron microscope image the impurity phase shows up as light spots. The dark spots are voids in the crystal structure.If you've ever gone for a spin in a luxury car and felt your back being warmed or cooled by a seat-based climate control system, then you've likely experienced the...

Helping general electric upgrade the US power grid

This image shows a laboratory test of a liquid-metal cathode.When researchers at General Electric Co. sought help in designing a plasma-based power switch, they turned to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). The proposed...

Thermodiffusion in weightlessness

Thermodiffusion, also called the Soret effect, is a mechanism by which an imposed temperature difference establishes a concentration difference within a mixture. Two studies1,2 by Belgian scientists from the Free...

Li-ion batteries contain toxic halogens, but environmentally friendly alternatives exist

Physics researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have discovered that most of the electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries -- commonly found in consumer electronic devices -- are superhalogens, and that the...

Berkeley Lab study reveals molecular structure of water at gold electrodes

This image depicts from left Miquel Salmeron, Jinghua Guo, David Prendergast, Liwen Wan, Chenghao Wu, Tod Pascal and Juan-Jesus Velasco-Velez.When a solid material is immersed in a liquid, the liquid immediately next to its surface differs from that of the bulk liquid at the molecular level. This interfacial layer...

Exploring X-Ray phase tomography with synchrotron radiation

Phase-contrast imaging is a technique for scanning the volumes of soft tissues like tumors or internal organs, but with much greater contrast than conventional CT scans. This image shows a non-invasive 'slice' of a rat's heart tissue made with X-ray phase tomography by propagation-based imaging, which provides sharper data with higher resolution than phase tomography using X-ray grating interferometry (see image #2).X-ray phase tomography is an imaging technique that uses penetrating X-rays to create volumetric views through "slices" or sections of soft biological tissues, such as tumors, and it offers strongly...

Lord of the microrings

This is a schematic of a PT symmetry microring laser cavity that provides single-mode lasing on demand.A significant breakthrough in laser technology has been reported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley. Scientists...

'Nanomotor lithography' answers call for affordable, simpler device manufacturing

This is an atomic force microscope image of a square-wave pattern written by a rod-shaped nanowire robot for nanoscale device manufacturing.What does it take to fabricate electronic and medical devices tinier than a fraction of a human hair? Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego recently invented a new...

Microrockets fueled by water neutralize chemical and biological warfare agents

With fears growing over chemical and biological weapons falling into the wrong hands, scientists are developing microrockets to fight back against these dangerous agents, should the need arise. In the...

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact

A team led by the Lawrence Livermore scientists has created a new kind of ion channel consisting of short carbon nanotubes, which can be inserted into synthetic bilayers and live...

Calming the plasma edge: The tail that wags the dog

This is a comparison of visible light from a reference no-Li discharge and one with Li injection in DIII-D. Li-II visible emission is primarily green in this image from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.Experiments on the DIII-D tokamak that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have demonstrated the ability of lithium injections to transiently double the temperature and pressure...

Physicists' simple solution for quantum technology challenge

A solution to one of the key challenges in the development of quantum technologies has been proposed by University of Sussex physicists.

Watching the hidden life of materials

This is professor Siwick tweaking up the laser in his McGill University lab.Researchers at McGill University have succeeded in simultaneously observing the reorganizations of atomic positions and electron distribution during the transformation of the "smart material" vanadium dioxide (VO2) from a semiconductor...

Molecular beacons shine light on how cells 'crawl'

'Our premise is that mechanics play a role in almost all biological processes, and with these DNA-based tension probes we're going to uncover, measure and map those forces,' says biomolecular chemist Khalid Salaita.Adherent cells, the kind that form the architecture of all multi-cellular organisms, are mechanically engineered with precise forces that allow them to move around and stick to things. Proteins called...

Liquid helium offers a fascinating new way to make charged molecules

A collaboration between researchers at the Universities of Leicester and Innsbruck has developed a completely new way of forming charged molecules which offers tremendous potential for new areas of chemical...

Could I squeeze by you?

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have developed deeper understanding of the ideal design for mesoporous nanoparticles used in catalytic reactions, such as hydrocarbon conversion to biofuels....

Triplet threat from the sun

This is the initial UV excitation leading to photofragmentation.The most obvious effects of too much sun exposure are cosmetic, like wrinkled and rough skin. Some damage, however, goes deeper -- ultraviolet light can damage DNA and cause proteins...

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