Physical Sciences

Laser induced damage threshold testing

Today’s latest laser technologies can be used for a diverse array of applications. Currently, however, their use is being hindered by a lack of knowledge about certain power thresholds, above which lasers can damage valuable materials and components. Through their research, Dr Jan Vanda and colleagues at the HiLASE Centre, part of the Institute of Physics at the Czech Academy […]

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Physical Sciences

Inspiration from surfactants gives Li-S cells longer life

The renewable-fuelled future is reliant on improvements in battery energy density to smooth the grid and power electric vehicles for longer journeys. Lithium-ion cells – the industry standard – are almost at their capacity. Lithium-sulfur cells could be the answer, current technology degrades quickly due to an effect called redox shuttling. Dr Gao Liu, a staff scientist and his team […]

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Physical Sciences

Textile-embedded microcapsules: The future of drug delivery

Research on textiles has come a long way, with numerous examples of textiles having bifunctional characteristics. Advancements in the area show the incorporation of microcapsules on textiles, containing active principles with antimicrobial, cosmetic, or even drug characteristics. Prof Manuel Jose Lis Arias, at the Terrassa Institute of Textile Research and Industrial Cooperation of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, has been […]

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Physical Sciences

Hydrogen’s Second Flavour: A Solution to Dark Matter?

From their observations, astronomers widely predict that dark matter must comprise around 85% of all matter in the universe. So far, however, most theories about the nature of this mysterious source of mass have pinned their hopes on theoretical, as-yet undiscovered particles. Professor Eugene Oks from the Physics Department of the Auburn University has proposed that a more natural explanation […]

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Physical Sciences

Weighing weightless photons for laser-based manufacturing

It may be hard to believe that a beam of light can melt steel, but that is exactly what happens during laser beam machining. Using lasers for processing has become increasingly common but knowing exactly how much energy and heating occurs during these processes is a challenging task. This is why colleagues Dr John Lehman and Dr Paul Williams at […]

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Physical Sciences

Converting to terahertz communications

The amount of data we generate globally is now accelerating at a breakneck pace. As this transformation occurs, exchanges of terahertz signals could become a crucial aspect of future communication systems, yet without a way to efficiently convert these waves to and from optical signals, such a prospect has remained unfeasible so far. In his research, Professor Cyril Renaud at […]

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Physical Sciences

Realising free-space communication with quantum cascade lasers

As cheap and accessible tools for transmitting private information, freely propagating light waves are highly desirable for parties operating secure communication networks. However, the encoded information these waves contain can easily be lost due to unpredictable fluctuations in the Earth’s atmosphere. In their research, Frédéric Grillot and Olivier Spitz at Télécom Paris have developed sophisticated new techniques to overcome this […]

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Physical Sciences

Seizing control over quantum systems through measurement

Thanks to the deep complexities of quantum mechanics, physicists have so far faced serious difficulties in establishing control over quantum systems. In his research, Dr Arjendu Pattanayak at Carleton College in Minnesota demonstrates that the dynamics of vibrating quantum systems can be altered by adjusting the settings of the lasers used to measure them. His team’s results could lead to […]

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Physical Sciences

Harnessing the photochemistry of bromine for sustainable manufacturing

Chemical production can be fraught with hazards. From explosions to toxic chemicals, making useful molecules often requires careful thought about how to make a process inherently safer. Researchers at RCPE (Austria) have developed an ingenious way to use the automated flow reactors manufactured by Corning SAS (France) to safely harness the photochemistry of bromine – a highly toxic, sludge-brown substance […]

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Physical Sciences

The 30,000-year ceramics comeback

Despite the ubiquity of metals in machinery, ceramic tools and systems can perform better under the most extreme conditions. M2 Laboratory are a group of scientists at Tianjin University in China with an interest in ceramic materials. Amongst their ranks is Bin Lin, a professor, doctoral supervisor and deputy director of the key laboratory of Advanced Ceramics and Processing Technology. […]

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