Physical Sciences

A long-awaited understanding of the Casimir torque

The Casimir force has been well researched by physicists for decades, but only recently has one particularly intriguing aspect of this effect been recreated in the lab. Through his research, Dr Wijnand Broer at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences has built upon these recent breakthroughs to explore the processes which cause the surfaces of some specialised materials to […]

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Physical Sciences

Searching for axions: Revealing the dark matter particle

Dark matter is one of the central mysteries of modern cosmology. Even after many years of investigation into the true nature of this enigmatic component of our Universe, every search for its cause has so far come up short. Dr David J. E. Marsh at the University of Göttingen believes that the solution lies with a fundamental particle which was […]

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Physical Sciences

Building waveguides for everyday photonic circuits

From mobile phones to computers, the devices we use every day are almost universal in their use of electricity for transmitting information through their circuits. However, Dr Richard Hildner at the University of Groningen believes that the capabilities of many modern technologies could improve if they were combined with circuits which operate using light. His team’s work has now brought […]

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Physical Sciences

Sustainable construction for a circular economy

Prof Dr-Ing Danièle Waldmann and Dr Gelen Gael Chewe Ngapeya from the Institute of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Luxembourg are developing sustainable solutions for the construction industry in the form of modular building components that can be reused, reconditioned and recycled. Rather than standardising buildings, the research team have developed standardised building components including new masonry […]

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Physical Sciences

Hydrogen? Just add water and sunlight

Hydrogen has been sold to the public as having the potential to be the ultra-clean fuel for the future’s economy. What’s less likely to be mentioned is that 96% of hydrogen is produced from natural gas, coal or other fossil fuels – producing it using renewable electricity is simply too expensive. To realise hydrogen’s full potential, the world needs better […]

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Physical Sciences

Facilitated ion transfer through liquid-liquid interfaces

The migration of charged ions through interfaces between immiscible liquids plays an important role in several natural and technological processes. Prof Akihiro Morita of Tohoku University in Japan uses molecular dynamics simulations to develop models of the complex phenomena involved in the motion of ions across interfaces under the effect of external electric fields. This powerful approach is providing detailed […]

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Physical Sciences

New Toolkits for Positron Emission Tomography

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a powerful imaging technique that uses radiotracers injected into the body to look at biology in tissues and cells, making it an important tool in biomedical research and drug development. Dr Victor Pike, Chief of the PET Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Section of the Molecular Imaging Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health in the U.S., […]

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Physical Sciences

Directed Panspermia: Synthetic DNA in bioforming planets

As our technological advancements continue, scientists are beginning to turn what was science fiction into reality. Concepts such as terraforming and travel between stars are becoming more achievable, giving life to the dream that one day we might colonise other planets. Directed panspermia is one method of altering a hostile, uninhabited planet to a more Earth-like environment, and Cork Institute […]

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Physical Sciences

Industrial-Academic collaboration: The key for C-H bond activation

A very hot and current scientific topic is the synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the burning question being “how can we make API synthesis efficient?”. A big step towards the answer was taken by Dr Guillaume Journot, senior scientist at Servier, France, and Dr Jean-François Brière, a CNRS senior research scientist at COBRA laboratory in Rouen, France. They proved […]

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Physical Sciences

Amino acids bombarded with ionising radiation – what breaks first?

Ionising radiation, including high-energy electrons, is usually something best avoided. However, nuclear accidents and even medical tools mean that human tissue is occasionally exposed to it. After the ‘Atomic Age’ of the mid-1900s, understanding the effect of radiation on the human body has been recognised as of paramount importance. Dr Jelena Tamuliene’s most recent research at Vilnius University is into […]

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