Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

University of Utah electrical and computer engineering associate professor, Rajesh Menon, holds up a piece of silicon that has been etched with microscopic pillars and holes to create a polarized filter. He leads a team of researchers that have developed a new polarizer that can allow more light to pass through than conventional polarizers. This could lead to LCD displays for smartphones and tablets that last longer on a battery charge and cameras that can take better pictures at low light.

NRL scientists discover novel metamaterial properties within hexagonal boron nitride

Periodic arrays of cone-shaped hexagonal boron nitride nanoantennas, depicted magnified image above, were used to confine hyperbolic polaritons in all three dimensions. This enabled the researchers to fundamentally probe the novel optical properties within these materials and demonstrate the highly directional, low loss hyperbolic polaritons that are confined within the volume of the antennas. These results provide the first foray into natural hyperbolic materials as building blocks for nanophotonic devices in the mid-infrared to terahertz spectral range.U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Manchester, U.K.; Imperial College, London; University of California San Diego; and the National Institute of Material...

Thin film produces new chemistry in 'nanoreactor'

Two mirror-image domains (terbium in green, manganese in red, oxygen not shown) meet at a domain wall, where terbium atoms are squeezed out and replaced by manganese (red cross).Physicists at the University of Groningen led by Professor of Functional Nanomaterials Beatriz Noheda have discovered a new manganese compound that is produced by tension in the crystal structure of...

Scientists get to the heart of fool's gold as a solar material

This crystal of iron pyrite shows the characteristic cubic crystals of 'fool's gold.'  A new study led by Song Jin at the University of Wisconsin-Madison identifies defects in pyrite's crystal structure as a critical obstacle to building commercial solar cells from the cheap and abundant iron pyrite material.As the installation of photovoltaic solar cells continues to accelerate, scientists are looking for inexpensive materials beyond the traditional silicon that can efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

Lawrence Livermore develops method to measure residual stress in 3-D printed metal parts

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed an efficient method to measure residual stress in metal parts produced by powder-bed fusion additive manufacturing.

Major class of fracking chemicals no more toxic than common household substances

The "surfactant" chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers...

A billion holes can make a battery

A billion nanopores could fit on a postage stamp.Researchers at the University of Maryland have invented a single tiny structure that includes all the components of a battery that they say could bring about the ultimate miniaturization of...

Lighter, cheaper radio wave device could transform telecommunications

Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering have built a radio wave circulator that has the potential to double the useful bandwidth in wireless communications by enabling full-duplex functionality, meaning devices can transmit and receive signals on the same frequency band at the same time.Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have achieved a milestone in modern wireless and cellular telecommunications, creating a radically smaller, more efficient...

Good vibrations give electrons excitations that rock an insulator to go metallic

Vanadium atoms (blue) have unusually large thermal vibrations that stabilize the metallic state of a vanadium dioxide crystal. Red depicts oxygen atoms.For more than 50 years, scientists have debated what turns particular oxide insulators, in which electrons barely move, into metals, in which electrons flow freely. Some scientists sided with Nobel...

Maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle after all

This is Associate Professor Mads Toudal Frandsen, University of Southern DenmarkLast year CERN announced the finding of a new elementary particle, the Higgs particle. But maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle, maybe it just looks like it. And maybe it...

Transitions between states of matter: It's more complicated, scientists find

The seemingly simple process of phase changes -- those transitions between states of matter -- is more complex than previously known, according to research based at Princeton University, Peking University...

Quantum mechanical calculations reveal the hidden states of enzyme active sites

This is an image of a [2Fe-2S] clusterEnzymes carry out fundamental biological processes such as photosynthesis, nitrogen fixation and respiration, with the help of clusters of metal atoms as "active" sites. But scientists lack basic information about...

New technique allows ultrasound to penetrate bone, metal

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique that allows ultrasound to penetrate bone or metal, using customized structures that offset the distortion usually caused by these so-called aberrating layers. 'In effect, it's as if the aberrating layer isn't even there,' says Dr. Yun Jing, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State University and senior author of a paper describing the work.Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique that allows ultrasound to penetrate bone or metal, using customized structures that offset the distortion usually caused by these so-called...

Field-emission plug-and-play solution for microwave electron guns

This is a photograph of a cathode plug for the injector, with an UNCD film deposited on top.On a quest to design an alternative to the two complex approaches currently used to produce electrons within microwave electron guns, a team of researchers from Euclid TechLabs and Argonne...

New model clarifies photoexcited thin-film lattice dynamics

This image depicts time-resolved X-ray diffraction on a laser-excited thin film which is transiently split in an expanded and a compressed sub layer due to coherent lattice dynamics.A research team from Germany developed an analytical model to describe the structural dynamics of photoexcited thin films and verified it by ultrafast X-ray diffraction.

Self-doping may be the key to superconductivity in room temperature

A comparison of XAS data from two different temperatures shows that cooling results in a redistribution of charges between the superconducting copper oxide planes and chains.Swedish materials researchers at Link√∂ping and Uppsala University and Chalmers University of Technology, in collaboration with researchers at the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source (SLS) in Switzerland investigated the superconductor YBa2Cu3O7-x...

Space: The final frontier in silicon chemistry

Schematic figure of the present experiment. Reactive molecules produced in a supersonic jet come into the microwave cavity placed inside a vacuum chamber, where microwave radiation excites the molecules.  Induced microwave radiation from the excited molecules is detected.Silicon, which is one of the most common elements in Earth's crust, is also sprinkled abundantly throughout interstellar space. The only way to identify silicon-containing molecules in the far corners...

Microbot muscles: Chains of particles assemble and flex

In a step toward robots smaller than a grain of sand, University of Michigan researchers have shown how chains of self-assembling particles could serve as electrically activated muscles in the...

On-demand conductivity for graphene nanoribbons

Physicists have, for the first time, explored in detail the time evolution of the conductivity, as well as other quantum-level electron transport characteristics, of a graphene device subjected to periodic...

VTT demonstrates new technique for generating electricity

Research scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have demonstrated a new technique for generating electrical energy. The new method can be used in harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations...

ORNL thermomagnetic processing method provides path to new materials

The high magnetic field environments are provided by fully recondensing commercial prototype superconducting magnet processing system. The electromagnetic fields turn and align the liquid crystal phase forming a pseudo super-structure of ordered domains. This leads to advanced physical properties such as near-zero coefficient of thermal expansion.For much the same reason LCD televisions offer eye-popping performance, a thermomagnetic processing method developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory can advance the performance of polymers.

Researchers hit milestone in accelerating particles with plasma

SLAC researchers Spencer Gessner, left, and Sebastien Corde monitor pairs of electron bunches sent into a plasma inside an oven of hot lithium gas at the Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests (FACET). They are part of a team whose findings show that this electron acceleration technique, known as plasma wakefield acceleration, is powerful enough and efficient enough to drive a new generation of compact particle accelerators.Scientists from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of California, Los Angeles have shown that a promising technique for accelerating electrons on waves of plasma...

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