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Latest Physical Review Letters Stories

Image 1 - New Record For Measurement Of Atomic Lifetime
2011-09-08 05:40:30

  Researchers at the Niels Bohr Institute have measured the lifetime of an extremely stable energy level of magnesium atoms with great precision. Magnesium atoms are used in research with ultra-precise atomic clocks. The new measurements show a lifetime of 2050 seconds, which corresponds to approximately ½ hour. This is the longest lifetime ever measured in a laboratory. The results have been published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters. The experiment...

2011-08-31 23:38:08

In solid materials with regular atomic structures, figuring out weak points where the material will break under stress is relatively easy. But for disordered solids, like glass or sand, their disordered nature makes such predictions much more daunting tasks. Now, a collaboration combining a theoretical model with a first-of-its kind experiment has demonstrated a novel method for identifying “soft spots” in such materials. The findings from University of Pennsylvania and...

2011-08-23 21:43:29

A new physics-based theory could give researchers a deeper understanding of the unusual, slow dynamics of liquids composed of large polymers. This advance provides a better picture of how polymer molecules respond under fast-flow, high-stress processing conditions for plastics and other polymeric materials. Kenneth S. Schweizer, the G. Ronald and Margaret H. Professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois, and graduate student Daniel Sussman published their...

2011-08-08 12:18:17

A liquid does not have to be a disordered bunch of particles: A team of researchers at Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) and the University of Vienna has discovered intriguing structures formed by tiny particles floating in liquids. Under mechanical strain, particle clusters in liquids can spontaneously form strings and dramatically alter the properties of the liquid. What is common to blood, ink and gruel? They are all liquids in which tiny particles are suspended "“ so...

2011-08-05 14:03:37

An instrument developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has enabled a research team at a fusion energy experiment in China to observe--in startling detail--how a particular type of electromagnetic wave known as a radiofrequency (RF) wave affects the behavior of hot ionized gas.  In the experiment at EAST (the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak located at the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, China), scientists...

2011-08-01 12:07:38

The quantum world allows you to answer questions correctly when you don't even have all the information you should need No-one likes a know-it-all but we expect to be able to catch them out: someone who acts like they know everything but doesn't can always be tripped up with a well-chosen question. Can't they? Not so. New research in quantum physics has shown that a quantum know-it-all could lack information about a subject as a whole, yet answer almost perfectly any question about the...

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2011-07-26 10:20:00

In a blow to science fiction writers and daydreamers all over, it appears that the hopes of building a time machine may be dashed once and for all, reports the Los Angeles Times (LA Times) and other media outlets. Physicists at the Hong Kong University of Technology and Science have just proved that no machine will ever allow a person to travel through time because time travel is flat-out impossible and beyond the limits of the physical laws of the universe. Until now, it was thought that...

2011-07-25 12:26:45

Boston College researchers' designer material has potential applications for thermophotovoltaics A designer metamaterial has shown it can engineer emitted "blackbody" radiation with an efficiency beyond the natural limits imposed by the material's temperature, a team of researchers led by Boston College physicist Willie Padilla report in the current edition of Physical Review Letters. A "blackbody" object represents a theorized ideal of performance for a material that perfectly absorbs all...

2011-06-30 13:44:30

At the smallest scales, magnetism may not work quite the way scientists expected, according to a recent paper in Physical Review Letters by Rafal Oszwaldowski and Igor Zutic of the University at Buffalo and Andre Petukhov of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The three physicists have proposed that it would be possible to create a quantum dot -- a kind of nanoparticle -- that is magnetic under surprising circumstances. Magnetism is determined by a property all electrons possess:...

2011-06-22 13:49:19

Physicists at the University of Arizona have achieved a breakthrough toward the development of a new breed of computing devices that can process data using less power In a recent publication in Physical Review Letters, physicists at the University of Arizona propose a way to translate the elusive magnetic spin of electrons into easily measurable electric signals. The finding is a key step in the development of computing based on spintronics, which doesn't rely on electron charge to digitize...


Word of the Day
negawatt
  • A unit of saved energy.
Coined by Amory Lovins, chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as a contraction of negative watt on the model of similar compounds like megawatt.