Physical Sciences

Quantum carpets from tumbling molecules: Manipulating molecular rotation by electromagnetic fields

Molecules are comprised of charged particles whose spatial distribution is or could be distorted, lending the molecules a handle by which they can be manipulated via external electromagnetic fields. Dr Burkhard Schmidt at the Freie Universität Berlin and Professor Bretislav Friedrich at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, along with their affiliates Dr Marjan Mirahmadi and […]

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Physical Sciences

Designing disorder at the atomic scale

The crystal structures of solids can exhibit a vast array of different atomic arrangements, which may also change depending on conditions, temperature, pressure, etc. In new research, a team led by Dr Daniel Chaney, based at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in France, have used cutting-edge techniques to show for the first time how some materials display exciting new […]

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Physical Sciences

Optimising solvent extraction for metal recycling

The platinum-group metals play a central role in several technological applications including fuel cells, electronic devices, and catalysts for oil refining and automobile converters. Owing to the scarcity of these metals, methods for their recycling from end-of-life devices are in increasing demand. Hydrometallurgy, which exploits the ability of specific molecules to selectively dissolve metal ions and separate them from unwanted […]

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Physical Sciences

Galactic archaeology: Using chemical abundances to map our galaxy’s history

The different chemical elements we observe across the Milky Way have gone through drastically different formation processes – which have taken place on drastically different timescales. Crucially for astronomers, these differences can be clearly seen in the abundances of chemical elements contained in stars today, providing important clues about our Galaxy’s distant past. In a new overview, Professor Francesca Matteucci […]

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Physical Sciences

A parametric framework for multidimensional linear regression

While Ordinary Least Squares regression establishes fundamental concepts in data analysis, it requires the independent variable to be error-free and the error term to be constant. Dr Stanley Luck, statistics consultant and founding member of Vector Analytics LLC in the US, has developed an innovative parametric framework for multidimensional linear regression. This provides a more general framework for establishing measurement […]

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Physical Sciences

Exploring neutrinos: Entanglement, entropy, and fractional calculus

Neutrinos are elusive, strange particles that are produced in the nuclear reactions that power stars. As such, the study of neutrinos from the Sun gives us a window directly into the Sun’s core, as well as telling us more about these fundamental particles. However, neutrinos are notoriously hard to detect, so detectors like the Super-Kamiokande and Homestake solar neutrino experiments […]

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Physical Sciences

Turning salt water into fresh water with capacitive deionization cycling

Fresh water is one of the key ingredients for sustaining human life. Obtaining sufficient quantities of safe and drinkable water remains a challenge, however. One important approach is to make use of salt water from our unusable water through a process known as desalination. Professor Matthew Suss at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, with his PhD candidates Mr Eric […]

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Physical Sciences

A solution to dark matter: New evidence for hydrogen’s second flavour

Following on from his previous research, Professor Eugene Oks at Auburn University, Alabama, presents even further evidence that an explanation for dark matter could lie with a ‘second flavour’ of hydrogen atoms. This time, he analyses the results of an extensive survey of millions of galaxies to assess the characteristics of ‘gravitational lensing’: a light-bending effect, first predicted by Einstein. […]

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Physical Sciences

Table-top soft X-ray laser in the ‘water window’

X-rays are excellent tools for exploring the structure of matter and molecules. Professor Szymon Suckewer and his group at Princeton University, alongside Professors Olga Kocharovskaya, Marlan Scully and Alexei Sokolov of Texas A&M University, have developed a technology capable of producing X-rays, but which can fit into a standard university lab – even onto a table top. This offers new […]

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Physical Sciences

Caught on camera: Visual comprehension of chemical reactions

Using in-situ electron microscopy, Professor Dominik Lungerich at the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Korea, and colleagues have produced a video of the assembly of a spherical all-carbon molecule, known as a buckyball, from a different planar molecule. Within this video, it is possible to see the precursor molecule morph into a buckyball as its bonds break and reform, providing […]

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