A paper posted to arXiv last month claims to have achieved superconductivity at room temperature, but other physicists say the data may be incorrect.
When it comes to applied quantum mechanics, there are two “holy grails” in the field.
One is building a large scale quantum computer and the other is achieving superconductivity above the freezing point of water, colloquially known as room temperature superconductivity. Superconductors are materials that have no electrical resistance—meaning that electrons can flow through the object unimpeded—but so far physicists have only been able to achieve superconductivity by bringing the materials to incredibly cold temperatures. If superconductivity could be harnessed at room temperature, it would allow for the free transport of energy, wildly faster computers, and incredibly precise sensors. Indeed, it would fundamentally change the world.
In July, Dev Thapa and Anshu Pandey, two well-regarded chemical physicists from...
The discovery of buckyballs surprised and delighted chemists in the 1980s, nanotubes jazzed physicists in the 1990s, and graphene charged up materials scientists in the 2000s, but one nanoscale carbon structure – a negatively curved surface called a schwarzite – has eluded everyone. Until now.
UC Berkeley chemists have proved that three carbon structures recently created by scientists in South Korea and Japan are in fact the long-sought schwarzites, which researchers predict will have unique electrical and storage properties like those now being discovered in buckminsterfullerenes (buckyballs or fullerenes for short), nanotubes and graphene.
The new structures were built inside the pores of zeolites, crystalline forms of silicon dioxide – sand – more commonly used as water softeners in laundry detergents and to catalytically crack petroleum into gasoline. Called zeolite-templated carbons (ZTC), the structures were being investigated for possible interesting...
The infamous exotic state of matter - Bose Einstein Condensates – that allows scientists to observe the quantum world has now just been created in space!
In the normal world atoms are separate systems with clearly defined boundaries, however at temperatures nearing absolute zero all those boundary conditions come down and the individual atomic systems coalesce into one. This exotic state of matter is known as a Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC) and was named after physicists Satyendra Nath Bose and Albert Einstein whose work on groups of photons and bosonic atoms led to its prediction in 1924.
BECs are extremely interesting, as now you have an agglomeration of atoms coalesced into one entity such that it can be described by a wave function that is normally reserved for the quantum world.
The first realization of this exotic matter came in 1995 by Eric Cornell and Carl Wiemann when a...
Imaging Tool Flags New Proteins, Lipids and DNA to Track Metabolic Changes in Animals
Imaging tools like X-rays and MRI have revolutionized medicine by giving doctors a close up view of the brain and other vital organs in living, breathing people. Now, Columbia University researchers report a new way to zoom in at the tiniest scales to track changes within individual cells.
Described in Nature Communications, the tool combines a widely used chemical tracer, D2O, or heavy water, with a relatively new laser-imaging method called stimulated Raman scattering (SRS). The technique’s potential applications include helping surgeons quickly and precisely remove tumors, to helping to detect head injuries and developmental and metabolic disorders.
“We can use this technology to visualize metabolic activities in a wide range of animals,” said the study’s senior author Wei Min, a chemistry...
There has been a number of recent scientific discoveries about the Great Pyramids of Giza using technologically advanced methods. For instance, a methodology that utilizes measurements in the variation of flux from cosmic muons (heavy cousins of the electron)—called archaeological muography—detected evidence for a possible second entrance and hidden corridor in the Great Pyramid of Giza (the largest of the Pyramids of Giza). As well, thermal imaging have revealed perplexing thermal anomalies in the Great Pyramid. Several explanations were put forward to explain the cause of the anomalies, but one particularly suggestive explanation was that it is due to increased air circulation caused by a hidden corridor or chamber -- corroborating similar findings using muonic radiographic analysis.
General relativity tells us that light will be affected by gravity. This so-called bending of spacetime has now just been observed in the warped light of a star orbiting the Milky Way’s very own super massive black hole (SMBH) - Sagittarius A*.
The bending of light due to the presence of a massive object - where the massive object is blocking its path and refocusing it, like a lens – is known as gravitational lensing. The light will be traveling at a constant speed along curved space – the medium or path has therefore not changed, and so no energy is lost. However, if the photon of electromagnetic radiation moves away from the curved path then energy will be lost, and the wavelength will be increased – this is known as gravitational redshift.
Utilizing infrared observations made at the Very Large Telescope in Chile, astronomers were able to follow a group of high...
In-direct observations of black holes are made through the detection of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the surrounding matter, and more recently through the detection of gravitational waves. Now for the first time, at an observatory 5000 feet below the Antarctic ice, astronomers have observed a black hole through the detection of neutrinos!
Neutrinos are subatomic fundamental particles, that are produced through radioactive decay – that is the spontaneous decomposition of a nucleus into a more stable configuration. These high energy particles are also weakly interacting at the electromagnetic level and are thus able to traverse vast distances across space and time, carrying information from the most distant parts of the Universe. On the other hand, the highly energetic enigmatic particles such as protons, electrons or atomic nuclei – known as cosmic rays – are...
On Halloween in 1832, the naturalist Charles Darwin was onboard the HMS Beagle. He marveled at spiders that had landed on the ship after floating across huge ocean distances. “I caught some of the Aeronaut spiders which must have come at least 60 miles,” he noted in his diary. “How inexplicable is the cause which induces these small insects, as it now appears in both hemispheres, to undertake their aerial excursions.”
Small spiders achieve flight by aiming their butts at the sky and releasing tendrils of silk to generate lift. Darwin thought that electricity might be involved when he noticed that spider silk stands seemed to repel each other with electrostatic force, but many scientists assumed that the arachnids, known as “ballooning” spiders, were simply sailing on the wind like a paraglider. The wind power explanation has thus far been unable to account for observations of spiders rapidly launching into the...
Scientists have isolated the two different forms of water molecule for the first time.
Water molecules were known to exist as two distinct "isomers", or types, based on their slightly different properties at the atomic level.
By separating out the two isomers, researchers were able to show that they behave differently in the way that they undergo chemical reactions.
The work appears in Nature Communications.
In basic terms, water molecules consist of a single oxygen atom bonded to a pair of hydrogen atoms (HO).
However, they can be further subdivided based on a property of the nuclei at the hearts of the hydrogen atoms - their "spin".
While they aren't spinning in the sense we would understand, this property of hydrogen nuclei does affect the rotation of the water molecules themselves.
If the nuclear spins of the two hydrogen atoms in water are oriented in the same direction, it is called ortho-water. If they are arranged in different directions, it is known as para-water.
Scientists expand the range of conditions thought to be suitable for habitability of exoplanets. A new study provides new clues indicating that an exoplanet 500 light-years away is much like Earth. Kepler-186f is the first identified Earth-sized planet outside the Solar System orbiting a star in the habitable zone. This means it's the proper distance from its host star for liquid water to pool on the surface.
The conventional way of approaching the defining categories of what can be termed a habitable planet is to compare how similar the planet is to Earth. This means that planets must occupy an orbital location around their central star where liquid water can exist—the so-called circumstellar habitable zone—they must be terrestrial bodies, not too big and not too small. However, this conservative perspective defining what can be considered a habitable planet is based on the presumption that life elsewhere in the galaxy must be like life on Earth—it also...