APS Weekly NewsBrief
July 20, 2010

Silicon chip speed record broken on a lead-coated track
A "RACETRACK" capable of shuttling electrons around at high speed has set a new record for silicon chips, the cornerstone of computing. Electrical resistance imposes a strict speed limit on electrons travelling through silicon. To break this limit, computer scientists are considering replacing silicon with carbon, as atom-thick sheets of carbon, or graphene, conduct electricity better than any other substance at room temperature. Read the associated Physical Review Letters article.More

Different strokes
A single technique can produce a menagerie of tiny artificial swimmers that swim a medley of strokes, researchers report in an upcoming Physical Review E paper. Among the moves: zipping through liquid in a straight line, whirling around in tight circles and gliding in complicated loop-the-loop flower patterns.More

Shutting off the Large Hadron Collider
Researchers at the LHC have devised an elaborate procedure to bring high energy beams of protons to a dead halt in a fraction of a second.More

Fibers form all-in-one speaker and microphone
Physics World
Researchers have created a new generation of fibers that, they claim, can both detect and produce sound.More

Physicists hunt for a trace of the elusive, invisible geoneutrino
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Princeton University proclaimed this month that some of its physicists had helped discover neutrinos that originate from deep inside Earth. Elusive geoneutrinos may help us to understand the source of the convection in our planet's core.More

A magnetic remote control that can rewind a worm's wriggle
Scientific American
Researchers have used heated magnetic nanoparticles to manipulate nerve cells and control simple behavior in small, worm-like nematodes.More

Geoengineering can't please everyone
Nature News
Attempting to offset global warming by injecting sunlight-reflecting gases into the upper atmosphere isn't the quick fix for global climate change that advocates believe it might be, a new study finds.More

Steven Chu breaks record for highest-resolution optical imaging, cracking nanometer limit
Popular Science
A Nature paper co-authored by Steven Chu, Nobel laureate and Energy Secretary of the United States, describes a big breakthrough in the science of the very small. Chu and his co-authors Alexandros Pertsinidis and Yunxiang Zhang describe a method of optical microscopy that can image at resolutions as small as half a nanometer, a full order of magnitude smaller than the previous finest optical resolution.More

There's a hole in this possible earthquake pattern
The Los Angeles Times
Recent research suggests that earthquakes sometimes occur in a circular pattern over decades -- building up to one very large quake in the center. If true, the pattern of earthquakes recorded in California may indicate that a big quake is on its way.More

The incredible shrinking solar cell
The next generation of solar cells will be small. About the size of lint. But the anticipated impact: That's huge. Some of these emerging electricity-generating cells could be embedded in windows without obscuring the view. Engineers envision incorporating slightly larger ones into resins that would be molded onto the tops of cars or maybe the roofs of buildings.More