Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

High performance golf club comes with annoying sound

In 2007, a new type of golf club hit the market. The distribution of mass in the club head made it less likely to twist, making an off-center hit less likely to send the ball veering off course. It did...

New tabletop instrument tests electron mobility for next-generation electronics

The table-top sized terahertz cyclotron resonance spectrometer.The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, with facilities in Florida and New Mexico, offers scientists access to enormous machines that create record-setting magnetic fields. The strong magnetic fields help researchers...

Light can 'heal' defects in new solar cell materials

A family of compounds known as perovskites, which can be made into thin films with many promising electronic and optical properties, has been a hot research topic in recent years....

Power up when the temperature is down

Transporting power sources in the coldest places may be easier with a new re-chargeable, non-metallic battery from Japan. This "eco battery" could provide portable sources of power in environments like...

ORNL demonstrates large-scale technique to produce quantum dots

Using this 250-gallon reactor, ORNL researchers produced three-fourths of a pound of zinc sulfide quantum dots, shown in the inset.A method to produce significant amounts of semiconducting nanoparticles for light-emitting displays, sensors, solar panels and biomedical applications has gained momentum with a demonstration by researchers at the Department of...

New Berkeley Lab study tallies environmental and public health benefits of solar power

These are annual environmental and health benefits of the 20 GW of solar power installed by the end of 2014.Solar power could deliver $400 billion in environmental and public health benefits throughout the United States by 2050, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Energy...

UW team first to measure microscale granular crystal dynamics

This image shows the microscale granular crystal in the laser ultrasonic experimental setup. The vibrant colors in the crystal are due to optical diffraction.Designing materials that better respond to dynamic loading can help vehicles minimize vibration, better protect military convoys or potentially make buildings safer during an earthquake.

Thinning out the carbon capture viscosity problem

A normally freely fluid liquid (yellow) turns into a liquid the thickness of cold honey after it binds carbon dioxide (red). Modifying its chemical structure frees it up into a noncharged, thin liquid again (blue).To make "clean" fossil fuel burning a reality, researchers have to pull carbon dioxide out of the exhaust gases that rise from coal or natural gas power plants and store...

Combining nanotextured surfaces with the Leidenfrost effect for extreme water repellency

A liquid droplet bouncing on a nanotextured surface powered by the Leidenfrost levitation and the Cassie state: The kinetic energy is transferred into the surface energy with small energy dissipation by the Cassie surface, which facilitates the droplet's rebound repeatedly until the capillary pressure outweighs the vapor pressure.Combining superhydrophobic surfaces with Leidenfrost levitation--picture a water droplet hovering over a hot surface rather than making physical contact with it--has been explored extensively for the past decade by researchers...

Towards decommissioning Fukushima: 'Seeing' boron distribution in molten debris

Compilation of control rod cross-sectional images, showing results of high-temperature steam oxidation.

<P>Japanese researchers have mapped the distribution of boron compounds in a model control rod, paving the way for determining re-criticality risk within the reactor.Decommissioning the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant just got one step closer. Japanese researchers have mapped the distribution of boron compounds in a model control rod, paving the way for determining...

Theorists smooth the way to modeling quantum friction

Theoretical chemists at Princeton University have pioneered a strategy for modeling quantum friction, or how a particle's environment drags on it, a vexing problem in quantum mechanics since the birth...

Single-step hydrogen peroxide production could be cleaner, more efficient

Bottles of dilute hydrogen peroxide sit on shelves in medicine cabinets across the world, yet synthesizing the chemical at the large scale requires a surprisingly complicated process that is economically unfeasible for all but a few industrial facilities.

Revealing the nature of magnetic interactions in manganese oxide

Benjamin Frandsen (left), a graduate student in physics at Columbia University, and Simon Billinge, a physicist at Brookhaven Lab and a professor at Columbia Engineering, developed magnetic pair distribution function (mPDF) analysis, a mathematical approach to understand materials' magnetic properties.For nearly 60 years, scientists have been trying to determine how manganese oxide (MnO) achieves its long-range magnetic order of alternating up and down electron spins. Now, a team of...

Dartmouth team creates new method to control quantum systems

Dartmouth College researchers have discovered a method to design faster pulses, offering a new way to accurately control quantum systems.

Physicists create first metamaterial with rewritable magnetic ordering

This is a schematic image representing the new magnetic nano-structure and the formed magnetic charge ice. Nanoscale magnets are arranged in a two-dimensional lattice. Each nanomagnet produces a pair of magnetic charges, one positive (red ball on the north pole) and one negative (blue ball on the south pole). The magnetic flux lines (white) point from north-pole/positive-charges to south-pole/negative-charges.University of Notre Dame physicists and their collaborators have produced the first rewriteable artificial magnetic charge ice. The research, described in a paper published in Science today, shows strong potential...

A digital Rochester Cloak to fit all sizes

Using the same mathematical framework as the Rochester Cloak, researchers at the University of Rochester have been able to use flat screen displays to extend the range of angles...

Gone with the wind: Argonne coating shows surprising potential to improve reliability in wind power

Researchers from Argonne's Surface and Lubrication Interaction, Discovery and Engineering initiative developed a novel "diamond-like" coating that could prove of great benefit when used to coat equipment for wind turbines, like the bearing in this photo. Pictured from left, Levent Eryilmaz, Giovanni Ramirez, Ali Erdemir and Aaron Greco.Despite the rigors of scientific inquiry and the methodical approaches of the world's most talented researchers, sometimes science has a surprise in store.

Cooling, time in the dark preserve perovskite solar power

Photo-degradation under sunlight and self-healing in the dark of the photocurrent in organometallic halide perovskite solar cells (top). Illustration of the light activation of meta-stable trap states during photo-degradation, and curing of these traps during self-healing (bottom).A new study has found both the cause and a solution for the pesky tendency of perovskite solar cells to degrade in sunlight, a research breakthrough potentially removing one roadblock...

Peering into tissue stiffness with VIPA-based Brillouin spectroscopy

TOP: Intralipid solutions of 0%, 0.01%, 0.1%, 1%, 10% and 20% concentrations; the new three stage spectrometer can suppress the background light of up to a 5% Intralipid solution with a total loss of over 90%. 
BOTTOM: The signal to background ratio of Brillouin spectra for the concentrations.At a microscopic level, every material contains spontaneous sound waves -- acoustic phonons -- that have properties dependent on the material's mechanical properties. When light interacts with these acoustic phonons,...

Plants display nature's optofluidic machinery

Plants harness the interaction of light and fluids to make fuel and move water from the roots to the leaves. This photograph of trees near Lake Geneva is overlaid with a diagram showing some of these fluid flows.If you place a houseplant next to a sunny window, you may notice the leaves bending toward the light. Plants don't have a brain, so the vast majority of movement...

Scientists create novel 'liquid wire' material inspired by spiders' capture silk

Why doesn't a spider's web sag in the wind or catapult flies back out like a trampoline? The answer, according to new research by an international team of scientists, lies...

Ocean bacteria are programmed to alter climate gases

SAR11, the most abundant plankton in the world's oceans, are pumping out massive amounts of two sulfur gases that play important roles in the Earth's atmosphere, researchers announced today in...

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