Physical Sciences

Physics of degradation: the difference between reliability engineering and reliability science

Quality and reliability are key factors for a product’s commercial success. Reliability testing usually occurs at the final product, using destructive methods. This implies that there might be added costs and delays if reliability tests fail. Looking at reliability sciences from the physics of degradation and the identification of degradation mechanisms, Prof Cher Ming Tan from the Research Center on […]

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Physical Sciences

Monitoring photonic crystal fibre fabrication in real-time

Photonic crystal fibres (PCFs) were first explored in the 1990s, and as conventional optical fibres have revealed their limits, interest in PCFs has only increased further. PCFs use a specific pattern of air-holes which stretch the length of the fibre to guide light. These delicate microstructures are functionally essential, but currently there is no way to monitor their production in […]

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Physical Sciences

Spectroscopic standard could help revolutionise the analysis of plastics

Plastic pollution is an environmental catastrophe in progress. 32 percent of the plastic we use escapes into the environment and only nine percent currently gets recycled. Fugitive plastic products often undergo various forms of environmental degradation, which lead to the formation of microplastics. British company Polymateria have developed additives for conventional plastics which facilitate biodegradation if they escape the waste stream. […]

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Physical Sciences

Crystal engineering for solid-state molecular recognition

Host-guest interactions in crystalline frameworks can be exploited to selectively and reversibly adsorb molecular species within a crystalline lattice. This process is important in a variety of technological fields, including gas separation, catalysis, trapping of pollutants and carbon capture. Professor Akiko Hori (Shibaura Institute of Technology) is developing chemical approaches for optimising the building blocks of these solid-state systems. Perfluorination […]

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Physical Sciences

The Lattice, the Clock, and the Microscope: A Next-Generation Quantum Simulator

Understanding systems of many interacting quantum particles remains one of the grand challenges in physics. Simulating such systems on supercomputers is impossible for more than a few particles, but promising approaches based on quantum simulators are on the horizon. Dr Sebastian Blatt’s team at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics, and their collaborators, have made significant strides to extend the capabilities […]

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Physical Sciences

Lighting Up Iridium Complexes

Iridium (Ir) is a fascinating element. A rare metal found in the Earth’s crust, Ir can bond with a variety of other elements to make different metal complexes. Such complexes have unusual and interesting interactions with light, with many complexes exhibiting strong luminescence on long timescales. This has made them widely used as molecules for bioimaging probes and organic light […]

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Physical Sciences

Cellulose nanodefects: The key to biofuels and biomaterials of the future

Cellulose is a renewable polymer that can be used to produce biofuels and other bio-based materials. However, the potential of cellulose to displace petroleum-derived products had been limited by incomplete knowledge of its nanoscale characteristics. Recent research by Dr Peter Ciesielski and Dr Michael Crowley, both from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has advanced our understanding of nanoscale defects that […]

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Physical Sciences

Free Electron Lasers: The Biggest and Brightest Light Sources

Creating focused, well-behaved beams of electrons is no easy task, but something that Dr Sergio Carbajo and his team at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator laboratory are experts in. They are developing new technologies to control electron generation for some of the world’s biggest and brightest lasers to make it possible to film exactly what happens in the […]

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Physical Sciences

‘Mosquito method’ avoids crossed wires in optical circuitry

Electric circuitry – energy-wasting and prone to interference – is overdue an overhaul. In several industries optical fibres allow faster data transfers, and ‘fibre’ is becoming synonymous with ‘faster internet’. As technologies like cloud storage drive a desire for ever-increasing data transfer speeds, optical fibres are expected to make their way inside computers. This requires a new set of manufacturing […]

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Physical Sciences

Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics wherein Planck’s constant becomes a variable

In his new book Generalized Lagrangian Approach and Behavior of Living Systems Professor Uziel Sandler, from the Jerusalem College of Technology, takes the reader on a journey from the conception of Quantum Mechanics through the development and application of a new extended Quantum Mechanics. An unexpected finding led him to a natural extension of the Hamiltonian Action and makes describing […]

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