Physics and Astronomy

This area deals with the fundamental laws and building blocks of nature and how they interact, the properties and the behavior of matter, and research into space and time and their structures.

innovations-report provides in-depth reports and articles on subjects such as astrophysics, laser technologies, nuclear, quantum, particle and solid-state physics, nanotechnologies, planetary research and findings (Mars, Venus) and developments related to the Hubble Telescope.

Laser method identifies, counts toxic molecules

A spectroscopy technique that offers advances in detection of toxic chemicals and counting of molecules has been demonstrated by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientist and collaborators. Described in the Feb. 8 issue of the Journal of Chemical Physics, the NIST-patented technique may be useful for development of miniaturized chemical sensors, as well as for fundamental surface science studies.

The technique (a variation on cavity ring-down spectroscopy) relies on

Hubble and Keck find farthest known galaxy in the Universe

An international team of astronomers may have set a new record in discovering what is the most distant known galaxy in the Universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is being viewed at a time only 750 million years after the big bang, when the Universe was barely 5 percent of its current age.

The primeval galaxy was identified by combining the power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and CARA’s W. M. Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These great obs

Cranfield University reaches for the stars

Looking into the night sky you may see a few stars and the moon. Astronomers, however, are looking for more than this – they are looking for Earth-like planets, which, with a little help from Cranfield University, they may be able to find.

As part of a four-year collaborative project, Cranfield University professors Paul Shore, Dave Stephenson and John Nicholls, together with Dr David Walker and Dr Peter Doel, both of University College London, and OpTIC Technium, are set to establish a uniq

Sweet science: Common candies yield physics discovery

Research using M&Ms sheds light on particle-packing problem

For most people, a regular lunch of M&M’s and coffee would lead to no good. For Princeton physicist Paul Chaikin and collaborators, it spurred fundamental insights into an age-old problem in mathematics and physics.

Chaikin and Princeton chemist Salvatore Torquato used the candies to investigate the physical and mathematical principles that come into play when particles are poured randomly into a vessel. While

Hidden order found in cuprates may help explain superconductivity

Like the delicate form of an icicle defying gravity during a spring thaw, patterns emerge in nature when forces compete. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found a hidden pattern in cuprate (copper-containing) superconductors that may help explain high-temperature superconductivity.

Superconductivity, the complete loss of electrical resistance in some materials, occurs at temperatures near absolute zero. First observed in 1911 by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlin

Etching holes in vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers creates better beam

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found a way to significantly improve the performance of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers by drilling holes in their surfaces. Faster and cheaper long-haul optical communication systems, as well as photonic integrated circuits, could be the result.

Low-cost VCSELs are currently used in data communication applications where beam quality is of little importance. To operate at higher speeds and over longer distances, the

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