When it comes to sleuthing in science, few are better than the intrepid investigators at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). For example, take the "Case of the Stray Electrons."
NIST researchers have created nanoscale devices that manipulate electrons in order to count them one at a time. Such counting is critical to the development of new fundamental electrical standards. When two electrons are bound in pairs (called Cooper pairs) in a superconductor, they can be manipulated much faster, providing larger currents that can be measured more accurately. Manipulation of Cooper pairs also is important in several schemes to develop quantum computers. Past attempts at manipulation, however, have been thwarted by the existence of a small number of unpaired electrons rambling around in the superconducting state. Avoiding these unpaired electrons is the mystery that NIST is now helping solve.
NIST researchers have uncovered an important clue by showing that a previously unappreciated factor has a strong effect on the number of unpaired electrons in Cooper pair devices. Electron counting devices are made from two layers of aluminum, where the strengths of the bonds pairing electrons in each layer can be different. This slight difference originally was thought to be unimportant. However, a study of more than a dozen devices in which this difference was varied in a controlled way and independently measured in each device, shows the difference does affect device performance directly.
Fred McGehan | EurekAlert!
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine