Popular Science articles about Physics & Chemistry

Major step taken towards 'unbreakable' message exchange

Single particles of light, also known as photons, have been produced and implemented into a quantum key distribution (QKD) link, paving the way for unbreakable communication networks.

Strawberry extract protects against UVA rays

The experiment shows that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against UVA rays.An experiment has shown that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing its viability and reducing damage to DNA....

New chemical sensor makes finding landmines and buried IEDs easier

University of Connecticut scientists have developed a novel buried explosive detection system using a nanofiberous film and ultraviolet light. Image, top, shows a test application of the sensing film with trace 2,4-DNT explosive buried in a flower pot. Image, bottom, shows the same film under ultraviolet light 30 minutes later with location of buried explosive marked by a dark blot on the fluorescent film.A chemical sensing system developed by engineers at the University of Connecticut is believed to be the first of its kind capable of detecting vapors from buried landmines and other...

A direct look at graphene

This zoom-in STM topograph shows one of the cobalt trimers placed on graphene for the creation of Coulomb potentials – charged impurities – to which electrons and holes could respond.Perhaps no other material is generating as much excitement in the electronics world as graphene, sheets of pure carbon just one atom thick through which electrons can race at nearly...

Reluctant electrons enable 'extraordinarily strong' negative refraction

This is the chamber of the probe station where Donhee Ham's research group tests the new metamaterials.In a vacuum, light travels so fast that it would circle Earth more than seven times within the blink of an eye. When light propagates through matter, however, it slows...

Too cool to follow the law

So-called glass-formers are a class of highly viscous liquid materials that have the consistency of honey and turn into brittle glass once cooled to sufficiently low temperatures. Zhen Chen and...

MIT News Release: 10-year-old problem in theoretical computer science falls

Interactive proofs, which MIT researchers helped pioneer, have emerged as one of the major research topics in theoretical computer science. In the classic interactive proof, a questioner with limited computational...

Mathematicians develop new method for describing extremely complicated shapes

Mathematicians at the Institute for Advanced Study in New Jersey "bridged" topology and fractals and made a discovery that could lead to a new way of describing extremely complicated shapes...

How to avoid traps in plastic electronics

This is a visualization of an electron traveling through a potential field with charge traps in plastic electronics.Plastic electronics hold the promise of cheap, mass-produced devices. But plastic semiconductors have an important flaw: the electronic current is influenced by "charge traps" in the material. These traps, which...

'Diving board' sensors key to DNA detection

A tiny vibrating cantilever sensor could soon help doctors and field clinicians quickly detect harmful toxins, bacteria and even indicators of certain types of cancer from small samples of blood...

Photovoltaics from any semiconductor

The SFPV technology was tested for two top electrode architectures: (A) the top electrode is shaped into narrow fingers; (B) top electrode is uniformly ultrathin.A technology that would enable low-cost, high efficiency solar cells to be made from virtually any semiconductor material has been developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s...

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers, left to right, Sanjeevi Sivasankar, Chi-Fu Yen and Hui Li have invented microscope technology to study single biological molecules.

Usain Bolt could break his own record with the help of altitude and the wind

Imagine the following situation. The 100 metres finals in the London Olympic Games. The Jamaican Usain Bolt wins. Up to this point everything sounds normal except for the fact that...

Breaking the barriers for low-cost energy storage

A team of researchers has developed a cheap, rechargeable and eco-friendly battery that could be used to store energy at solar power plants for a rainy day.

Electromagnetic 'swamps' don't always bog electrons down

Scientists have designed a simple system to study how electrons travel through energy barriers instead of over them.

Dartmouth theoretical physicists probe the Majorana mystery

Dartmouth Professor Lorenza Viola is on the track of an exotic, subatomic particle, whose existence was first predicted 75 years ago.With headlines proclaiming the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called God particle -- particle physics has captured the imagination of the world, particularly among those who dwell on...

Offshore use of vertical-axis wind turbines gets closer look

Basing their work on decades of wind energy research and experience, Sandia engineers are creating several concept designs, running those designs through modern modeling software and narrowing those design options down to a single, most-workable design for a VAWT turbine-blade. Results aren’t in, but the early favorite for further testing is the Darrieus design.Sandia National Laboratories' wind energy researchers are re-evaluating vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) to help solve some of the problems of generating energy from offshore breezes.

Tiny airborne pollutants lead double life: UBC, Harvard research

University of British Columbia and Harvard researchers have provided visual evidence that atmospheric particles--which are ubiquitous in the atmosphere, especially above densely populated areas--separate into distinct chemical compositions during their...

Lotus leaf inspires fog-free finish for transparent surfaces

Inspired by the water-repellent properties of the lotus leaf, a group of scientists in China has discovered a way to impart a fog-free, self-cleaning finish to glass and other transparent...

Breakthrough by U of T-led research team leads to record efficiency for next-generation solar cells

Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T) and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) have made a breakthrough in the development of colloidal quantum dot (CQD)...

BELLA laser achieves world record power at 1 pulse per second

This shows the BELLA laser under construction. In the foreground, units of the front end stretch and amplify short, relatively weak laser pulses before further amplification in the long central chamber. Amplification is done by titanium sapphire crystals boosted by a dozen pump lasers. At the far end of the hall the now highly energetic stretched pulse is compressed before being directed to BELLA’s electron-beam accelerator component.On the night of July 20, 2012, the laser system of the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator (BELLA), which is nearing completion at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National...

Delving into the molecular mechanism behind deep-sea bacteria's pressure tolerance

The Mariana Trench is the deepest feature of Earth's surface. The water column there exerts a pressure of more than one thousand times normal atmospheric pressure at sea level, enough...