A collaboration of Chinese and American physicists has discovered a way to make a new carbon structure that could lead to fabrics 30 times stronger than Kevlar and 224 times stronger than cotton. The group dubbed the structures colossal carbon tubes because they're thousands of times larger than carbon nanotubes. At 40-100 millionths of a meter across and centimeters long, they're comparable in size to typical cotton fibers.
The structures consist of nested inner and outer tubes separated by hollow channels, making the tubes both light and strong. While they are nowhere near as strong as carbon nanotubes, the colossal tubes are much more ductile than the nanoscopic variety, making them more suited for spinning into threads and weaving into fabrics. The colossal tubes conduct electricity and show some of the properties of semiconductors, which means that they could lead to novel microelectronic components as well as super strong cloth.
The details regarding how the intricate structures form is still hazy, but the researchers propose that colossal carbon tubes could be incorporated into improved body armor, stronger carbon fiber composites (which are often shaped into parts for high-performance and lightweight vehicles), or components in microelectronics and tiny machines.Spin Flips Hit the Speed Limit
A team of physicists at Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Germany has managed to flip a nanoscopic magnet as fast as the fundamental speed limit allows. Their experiment consisted of two stacked layers of tiny magnets separated by a thin barrier to form what is called a magnetic tunnel junction. Such magnetic tunneling junctions are promising candidates for future magnetic memory chips.
The researchers allowed electrons aligned in a special way to flow between the layers, developing a spin torque, or twisting force that is transferred from one layer of nanomagnet onto the other. This torque pumps enough energy to the nanomagnet to make it move faster and faster until it changes direction. Several measurements showed that the researchers were able to switch the direction of magnetization as fast as physically possible.
Their spin torque record is important for the next generation of low current, ultra fast magnetic memory chips and sensors. This new generation of electronics encodes information in an electronic spin, rather than in an electronic charge. The spin torque switching effect is a powerful new approach to controlling electronic spins.
James Riordon | American Physical Society
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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