Waves & Packets
Mar. 17, 2012

'Designer' graphene-like material that mimics relativity and the Higgs field makes its debut
Ars Technica
Researchers in the U.S. have created the first artificial samples of graphene whose electronic properties can be controlled in a way not possible in the natural form of the material. The samples, which were made using a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope, can be used to study the properties of so-called Dirac electrons and might possibly lead to the creation of a new generation of quantum materials and devices with exotic behavior. In work described in Nature, a team of physicists arranged carbon monoxide molecules on an ultraclean copper surface at a temperature of 4.2K in the same hexagonal pattern found in graphene, except that they could change the spacing slightly. This process simulates many of the properties of ordinary graphene while providing a more tunable set of electronic properties. The researchers achieved a transition between massless and massive quasiparticle states by distorting the lattice, a process that is analogous to how the Higgs field acts in particle physics. More

South African astronomers reach milestone with KAT-7: Observe 1st hydrogen spectral line in NGC 3109
SKA Africa Program Office
Astronomers at the University of Cape Town have demonstrated the ability of the KAT-7, the South African precursor to the MeerKAT and possibly to the Square Kilometer Array, by observing the HI line in the spiral galaxy NGC 3109. The KAT-7 was originally conceived to be a test platform, but it has performed so well that it is being used to produce new scientific results. This HI spectra of NCG 3109 has been known for some time. But the forthcoming functionality of KAT-7, particularly velocity resolution of 1 km/s in the HI mode and 0.1 km/s in the OH mode, will allow astronomers to place constraints on the models used to describe the dynamics of hydrogen in gas rich galaxies.More

LOFAR radio telescope opens new window to cosmic magnetism
Magnetic fields are present almost everywhere in the universe. They affect the evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters, contribute significantly to the total pressure of interstellar gas, control the density and distribution of cosmic rays in the interstellar medium and play a crucial but not yet well-understood role in the onset of star formation. In spite of their importance, the evolution, structure and origin of cosmic magnetic fields are still open problems in fundamental physics and astrophysics. Measuring radio waves at low frequencies offers a new window to study cosmic magnetism, and LOFAR is the ideal radio telescope to open this window widely. The LOFAR Magnetism Key Science Project draws together expertise from multiple fields of magnetism science and intends to use LOFAR to tackle fundamental questions on cosmic magnetism by exploiting a variety of observational techniques.More

Dineutron emission seen for the 1st time
Physics World
A team of U.S.-based physicists has reported via Physical Review Letters the first observation of dineutron emission by studying the decay of beryllium-16 to beryllium-14. Beryllium-16 does not readily emit a single neutron because that would leave a nucleus of beryllium-15, which is more unstable. Whether two-neutron decay occurs in two stepwise single-neutron events, or if there are true dineutron particles, or if neutron duos are just persistently correlated, has been debatable. But the PRL paper's authors believe they have detected dineutrons outside a nucleus during nuclear decay. Such decay could extend our understanding of the strong force and the processes taking place in neutron stars.More

Graphene could make an ideal basis for a medical repair kit
More and more people are having their ruined body parts replaced with prostheses interconnected to the nervous system. Advances in graphene technology might bring these artificial devices to their senses — in bionic eyes and ears. Unlike silicon transistors, those made of graphene can't be switched off — its physical properties don't allow for that, Hone says — and this means they're not suited to digital applications where devices must be able to generate ones and zeroes. What graphene transistors are good at, is biological sensing — the sort of task that eyes and ears perform. More

Researchers mimic relativity and the Higgs field in graphene-like material
Ars Technica
A new experiment involving a graphene-like material has shown that it is possible to make some spectacular manipulations of the properties of these quasiparticles. In work described in Nature, a team of physicists arranged carbon monoxide molecules on an ultraclean copper surface at a temperature of 4.2K in the same hexagonal pattern found in graphene, except that they could change the spacing slightly. This process simulates many of the properties of ordinary graphene while providing a more tunable set of electronic properties. The researchers achieved a transition between massless and massive quasiparticle states by distorting the lattice, a process that is analogous to how the Higgs field acts in particle physics.More

Cold atoms simulate graphene
ETH Life
Scientists at ETH Zurich have used potassium atoms trapped into an optical lattice to simulate the properties of graphene. The optical lattice was created by a set of orthogonal and precisely positioned laser beams to create honeycomb-like structures similar to that found in graphene. Once trapped in the lattice, the potassium atoms behaved as if they were electrons in a crystal structure of graphene. And by applying a magnetic field gradient, the Dirac points, where the conduction and valence bands cross in momentum space, can be identified. Electron behavior at the Dirac point is what links this potassium-containing optical lattice to the carbon-containing material lattice of graphene. The "crystal structure" of the optical lattice can easily be changed by changing the position of the laser beams, which gives insight into the effect of graphene's molecular geometry on its electrical properties.More

NSBP member, Neil deGrasse Tyson pushes exploration in new book
Ars Technica
NASA has recently been struggling to defend funding for various projects as budget cuts are being considered in the political arena. Being buffeted by the winds of political change has become standard operating procedure for NASA. That's one of the themes of Neil deGrasse Tyson's new book, "Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier." Covering Why? How? and Why Not? of space exploration, Tyson makes a compelling case that NASA's budget represents a critical investment that has been neglected for some time. He asserts that new case statements have to be made like never before to motivate investments in space exploration. He discusses the advances in propulsion needed to expand the limits of our space exploration, as well as other challenges, technical and political.More

Charm and anti-charm — not quite the same
American Physical Society
From what we can observe, there is no symmetry between matter and antimatter in the universe. All structures, from unimaginably large clusters of galaxies to microscopic human cells, are made of matter. Though it is possible to produce antimatter in high-energy particle collisions, and even make medical use of positrons, antimatter seems to have disappeared from the universe at large. So far, all experimentally observed differences between the way matter and antimatter behave are well explained by the standard model of particle physics. The differences in matter and antimatter found heretofore are far too little to explain the asymmetry observed today. Now, in a paper appearing in Physical Review Letters, the LHCb collaboration has found a difference in the decay properties of D mesons and their antiparticles that is perhaps too large to be explained by the standard model. If future experiments support the team's finding, which is currently not statistically significant enough to be heralded a "discovery," it may turn out to be a milestone in understanding the disappearance of antimatter in the Universe.More

Teachers group endorses 'Physics First'
The National Alliance of Black School Educators has endorsed 'Physics First' as a curricular strategy to give every student the opportunity to formally learn physics, starting perhaps even as soon as the middle grades. Noting that only 25 percent of African-American high school students take physics, NABSE wants to help change that metric and have more students better positioned to be knowledge workers in the 21st-century economy. Implementing 'Physics First' will not only expose more students to physics coursework, it actually builds better science cognition in the students, supports the proper construction of scientific knowledge and leads to more higher-level science course taking later. In addition to endorsing 'Physics First,' NABSE and NSBP have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on projects involving out-of-classroom learning opportunities for K-12 students, recruiting new teachers, in-service teacher development and policy advocacy.More

Sending messages with neutrinos?
The entire world has been buzzing over long-range neutrino transmissions for the last six months. But what if a neutrino beam could carry intelligible information? This interesting, if not impractical idea has been explored by a group of researchers from the University of Rochester and North Carolina State University. They have for the first time sent a message using a beam of neutrinos. The message was sent through 240 meters of stone and said simply, "Neutrino." Commenters on this story have raised the possibility that there should be Neutrino SETI in addition to, or instead of, one based upon radio waves. More

Outgoing director of the Latin American Center for Physics discusses pursuing physics then and now
Physics Today
On April 15, Feliciano Sánchez Sinencio steps down from a four-year stint as director of the 50-year-old Latin American Center for Physics. Physics Today spoke with him about his career and about CLAF, which is seeking a new director.More

10 things you may not know about the Higgs boson
Symmetry Magazine
This year, scientists expect to either discover or refute the existence of the long-sought-after Higgs boson. Symmetry takes a look at some little-known facts about the elusive particle. More

National Society of Black Physicists jobs board postings
IAU Office of Astronomy for Development: Internship Opportunity
Postdoctoral Associate
Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers in East Africa
Director, South African Astronomical Observatory
Student Essay Contest — New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology
International Research Grant Competition — New Frontiers in Astronomy and Cosmology
Assistant Editor, Physical Review Letters
Assistant Professor of Physics — University of Wisconsin, River Falls
Marshall REU in Scientific Computing
Research in Sustainable Energy for sub-Saharan Africa
Notre Dame Physics REU Program
University of Northern Iowa REU in Hyperspectral Imaging
REU Program at Nevis Labs, Columbia University
William & Mary (NASA Langley, Jefferson Lab) Physics Department REU
Undergraduate Research in Computational Astrophysics
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey RiSE (Research in Science and Engineering) Summer Program
Research internships in computational astrophysics
Tenure Track (Open Rank) Faculty Position - Stony Brook Center for Science and Mathematics Education
Physics Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Center for Emergent Materials, CEM, Summer REU Program at The Ohio State UniversityMore

Latest research from Reports on Progress in Physics
IOP Journal
Optical interconnection networks for high-performance computing systems

Diffusive transport without detailed balance in motile bacteria: does microbiology need statistical physics

Few-body physics with ultracold atomic and molecular systems in traps

The impact of recent advances in laboratory astrophysics on our understanding of the cosmos

Archaeometallurgy using synchrotron radiation: A reviewMore

Latest research from Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters
Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters
Coupling of discrete-element method and smoothed particle hydrodynamics for liquid-solid flows

Axial Couette flow of an Oldroyd-B fluid in an annulus

Motion stability dynamics for spacecraft coupled with partially filled liquid container

Determination of volumetric elastic moduli of plant leaf cells based on pressure-volume curves

Specific adhesion of a soft elastic body on a wavy surfaceMore