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.

Researchers Say ’Frustrated Magnets’ Hint at Broader Organizing Principle in Nature

When “frustrated” by their arrangement, magnetic atoms surrender their individuality, stop competing with their neighbors and then practice a group version of spin control—acting collectively to achieve local magnetic order—according to scientists from the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, Johns Hopkins University and Rutgers University writing in the Aug. 22, 2002, issue of the journal Nature.

The unexpected composite behavior detected in experiments

Copper-oxide plane at surface of superconductor has surprising properties

The peculiar behavior of high-temperature superconductors has baffled scientists for many years. Now, by imaging the copper-oxide plane in a cuprate superconductor for the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have found several new pieces to this important puzzle.

As reported in the Aug. 19 issue of Physical Review Letters, physics professor Ali Yazdani, graduate student Shashank Misra, and colleagues used a scanning tunneling microscope to demonstrate t

A Most Unusual Superconductor and How It Works

First-principles calculation explains the strange behavior of magnesium diboride

Magnesium diboride (MgB2) becomes superconducting at 39 degrees Kelvin, one of the highest known transition temperatures (Tc) of any superconductor. What’s more, its puzzling characteristics include more than one superconducting energy gap, a state of affairs anticipated in theory but never before seen experimentally.

Now theorists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Universit

An exciting new state for excitons

A Bose-Einstein condensate, a form of matter heretofore only observed in atoms chilled to less than a millionth of a degree above absolute zero, may now have been observed at temperatures in excess of one degree Kelvin in excitons, the bound pairs of electrons and holes that enable semiconductors to function as electronic devices.

Researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), in collaboration with a scientist at the University of California’s Santa Barbara camp

Heavy Stars Thrive among Heavy Elements

VLT Observes Wolf-Rayet Stars in Virgo Cluster Galaxies [1]

Do very massive stars form in metal-rich regions of the Universe and in the nuclei of galaxies ? Or does “heavy element poisoning” stop stellar growth at an early stage, before young stars reach the “heavyweight class”?

What may at the first glance appear as a question for specialists actually has profound implications for our understanding of the evolution of galaxies, those systems of billions of stars – the m

Starquakes reveal stellar secrets

Looking into the interior of the Earth or the Sun is a bit similar to examining a baby in its mother`s womb using an ultrasound scan. Light cannot penetrate the area, so we make pictures in these cases using sound waves, which human ears cannot hear. With SOHO, ESA has probed deeply into the Sun using the sound-waves principle, and with great success. The future missions, Solar Orbiter and Eddington, will look inside our Sun and other stars, respectively, in a similar way.

Here on Earth, whe

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