Archive for the ‘physics’ category

Jan 31, 2024

MIT physicists turn pencil lead into “gold”

Posted by in categories: materials, physics

MIT physicists have metaphorically turned graphite, or pencil lead, into gold by isolating five ultrathin flakes stacked in a specific order. The resulting material can then be tuned to exhibit three important properties never before seen in natural graphite.

“It is kind of like one-stop shopping,” says Long Ju, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and leader of the work, which is reported in the Oct. 5 issue of Nature Nanotechnology. “Nature has plenty of surprises. In this case, we never realized that all of these interesting things are embedded in graphite.”

Further, he says, “It is very rare material to find materials that can host this many properties.”

Jan 31, 2024

This Superconducting Experiment Just Broke Physics

Posted by in category: physics

Why did it just… stop?

Jan 31, 2024

Bright galaxies put dark matter to the test

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

For the past year and a half, the James Webb Space Telescope has delivered astonishing images of distant galaxies formed not long after the Big Bang, giving scientists their first glimpses of the infant universe. Now, a group of astrophysicists has upped the ante: Find the tiniest, brightest galaxies near the beginning of time itself, or scientists will have to totally rethink their theories about dark matter.

The team, led by UCLA astrophysicists, ran simulations that track the formation of small galaxies after the Big Bang and included, for the first time, previously neglected interactions between gas and dark matter. They found that the galaxies created are very tiny, much brighter, and form more quickly than they do in typical simulations that don’‘t take these interactions into account, instead revealing much fainter galaxies.

Small galaxies, also called , are present throughout the universe, and are often thought to represent the earliest type of galaxy. Small galaxies are thus especially interesting to scientists studying the origins of the universe. But the small galaxies they find don’t always match what they think they should find. Those closest to the Milky Way spin quicker or are not as dense as in simulations, indicating that the models might have omitted something, such as these gas-dark matter interactions.

Jan 31, 2024

Poloidal magnetic field in the dense plasma focus

Posted by in category: physics

Existence of an axial (poloidal) component of magnetic field in the dense plasma focus has been inferred using multiple diagnostics in many laboratories since 1979. It has not received much attention because its origin as well as role in plasma focus physics was unclear till recently. Recent discovery of long-lasting neutron emission perpendicular to the axis in PF-1000 and neutron fluence ratio (end/side) less than unity in Gemini shows that azimuthally accelerated and radially confined deuterons play an observable role in fusion reactions. A spontaneously generated poloidal magnetic field can provide both the azimuthal electric field necessary for acceleration and radial confinement of the ions being accelerated in the acceleration zone. A comprehensive survey of plasma focus research also confirms the role of spontaneously self-organized plasma objects in the fusion reaction process where their three-dimensional magnetic field structure provides a mechanism for accelerating and trapping ions making them repeatedly pass through a dense plasma target. With emerging appreciation of the likely role of the axial magnetic field in plasma focus neutron emission, it becomes imperative to consider models for its origin. This Letter proposes a partial theory of growth of the axial (poloidal) magnetic field via a simple dynamo, with the geomagnetic field as the seed, which converts the kinetic energy of the plasma into energy of the poloidal magnetic field. This theory leads to an experimentally testable proposition.

Jan 31, 2024

A method for examining ensemble averaging forms during the transition to turbulence in HED systems for application to RANS models

Posted by in categories: engineering, physics, space, supercomputing

Simulating KH-, RT-, or RM-driven mixing using direct numerical simulations (DNS) can be prohibitively expensive because all the spatial and temporal scales have to be resolved, making approaches such as Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) often the more favorable engineering option for applications like ICF. To this day, no DNS has been performed for ICF even on the largest supercomputers, as the resolution requirements are too stringent.8 However, RANS approaches also face their own challenges: RANS is based on the Reynolds decomposition of a flow where mean quantities are intended to represent an average over an ensemble of realizations, which is often replaced by a spatial average due to the scarcity of ensemble datasets. Replacing ensemble averages by space averages may be appropriate for flows that are in homogenous-, isotropic-, and fully developed turbulent states in which spatial, temporal, and ensemble averaging are often equivalent. However, most HED hydrodynamic experiments involve transitional periods in which the flow is neither homogeneous nor isotropic nor fully developed but may contain large-scale unsteady dynamics; thus, the equivalency of averaging can no longer be assumed. Yet, RANS models often still require to be initialized in such states of turbulence, and knowing how and when to initialize them in a transitional state is, therefore, challenging and is still poorly understood.

The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy allowing the initialization of a RANS model to describe an unsteady transitional RM-induced flow. We seek to examine how ensemble-averaged quantities evolve during the transition to turbulence based on some of the first ensemble experiments repeated under HED conditions. Our strategy involves using 3D high-resolution implicit large eddy simulations (ILES) to supplement the experiments and both initialize and validate the RANS model. We use the Besnard–Harlow–Rauenzahn (BHR) model,9–12 specifically designed to predict variable-density turbulent physics involved in flows like RM. Previous studies have considered different ways of initializing the BHR model.

Jan 31, 2024

A Trojan approach to guide and trap light beams via Lagrange points

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Reliably guiding and capturing optical waves is central to the functioning of various contemporary technologies, including communication and information processing systems. The most conventional approach to guide light waves leverages the total internal reflection of optical fibers and other similar structures, yet recently physicists have been exploring the potential of techniques based on other physical mechanisms.

Researchers at University of Southern California recently devised a highly innovative approach for trapping light. This method, introduced in Nature Physics, exploits the exotic properties of Lagrange points, the same equilibrium points that govern the orbits of primordial celestial bodies, such as so-called Trojan asteroids in the sun-Jupiter system.

“The discovery of Lagrange points, which happens to be pivotal in this research, can be traced back to the early work of Leonhard Euler and Joseph-Louis Lagrange, which found that at these locations, the exerted by two large bodies can be precisely counterbalanced by centrifugal forces,” Mercedeh Khajavikhan and Demetrios N. Christodoulides, co-authors of the paper, told Phys.org.

Jan 29, 2024

Recovering lossless propagation: HKU physicists overcoming optical loss in polariton system with synthetic complex frequency waves

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, physics, security

A collaborative research team co-led by Professor Shuang ZHANG, the Interim Head of the Department of Physics, The University of Hong Kong (HKU), along with Professor Qing DAI from National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, China, has introduced a solution to a prevalent issue in the realm of nanophotonics – the study of light at an extremely small scale. Their findings, recently published in the prestigious academic journal Nature Materials, propose a synthetic complex frequency wave (CFW) approach to address optical loss in polariton propagation. These findings offer practical solutions such as more efficient light-based devices for faster and more compact data storage and processing in devices such as computer chips and data storage devices, and improved accuracy in sensors, imaging techniques, and security systems.

Surface plasmon polaritons and phonon polaritons offer advantages such as efficient energy storage, local field enhancement, and high sensitivities, benefitting from their ability to confine light at small scales. However, their practical applications are hindered by the issue of ohmic loss, which causes energy dissipation when interacting with natural materials.

Over the past three decades, this limitation has impeded progress in nanophotonics for sensing, superimaging, and nanophotonic circuits. Overcoming ohmic loss would significantly enhance device performance, enabling advancement in sensing technology, high-resolution imaging, and advanced nanophotonic circuits.

Jan 29, 2024

Physicists discover time can flow both ways in materials

Posted by in categories: law, life extension, physics

For example, a video of a swinging pendulum would look the same if you played it backward. We see time as irreversible because of another law of nature, the second law of thermodynamics. This law says that the disorder in a system always increases. If the broken glass reassembled itself, the disorder would decrease.

The same law applies to the aging of materials. But physicists from Darmstadt have found out that this is not the case. They have discovered that the motion of molecules in glass or plastic can be reversed in time if you look at it from a special angle.

Jan 28, 2024

MIT physicists discover surprising twist in Milky Way’s core

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

MIT physicists have discovered a surprising twist in the Milky Way’s rotation curve that challenges our understanding of dark matter. By tracking the speed of stars across the galaxy, they’ve uncovered a potential deficit of dark matter at the galactic core.

Traditionally, astronomers believed that dark matter was responsible for the galaxy’s rotation. Still, the new analysis raises the possibility that the Milky Way’s gravitational center may be lighter in mass than previously thought.

Jan 28, 2024

Physicists identify a surprising phenomenon of aging in materials over time

Posted by in categories: life extension, physics

Physicists in Darmstadt are investigating aging processes in materials. For the first time, they have measured the ticking of an internal clock in glass. When evaluating the data, they discovered a surprising phenomenon.

We experience time as having only one direction. Who has ever seen a cup smash on the floor, only to then spontaneously reassemble itself? To , this is not immediately self-evident because the formulae that describe movements apply irrespective of the direction of time.

A video of a pendulum swinging unimpeded, for instance, would look just the same if it ran backwards. The everyday irreversibility we experience only comes into play through a further law of nature, the second law of thermodynamics. This states that the disorder in a system grows constantly. If the smashed cup were to reassemble itself, however, the disorder would decrease.

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