UCI and national lab researchers develop a cobalt-free cathode for lithium-ion batteries

Irvine, Calif., Sept. 21, 2022 – Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and four national laboratories have devised a way to make lithium-ion battery cathodes without using cobalt, a mineral plagued by price volatility and geopolitical complications. In a paper published today in Nature, the scientists describe how they overcame thermal and chemical-mechanical instabilities of cathodes composed substantially of nickel – a common substitute for cobalt – by mixing in several other metallic elements.

African School of Physics Brings New Opportunities

The 7th African School of Fundamental Physics and Applications (ASP) will be held in-person at Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, 2022. Teams of leading physicists from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories and universities and other institutions across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Africa will introduce more than 70 African graduate students to physics theories, experiments, and technologies.

How superwinds help drive galactic development

Galactic superwinds – large outflows of gas created by a combination of supernova explosions and stellar winds – are closely connected to a galaxy’s earliest stages of development and evolution, including aspects like its size, shape, and even how many stars will eventually call it home.But while researchers have commonly observed these winds, very little is understood about the mechanism that drives them.

Physicists Uncover New Dynamical Framework for Turbulence

Physicists at Georgia Tech have proven — numerically and experimentally — that turbulence in fluid flows can be understood and quantified with the help of a small set of special solutions that can be precomputed for a particular geometry, once and for all.

Light Polarization Creates Art, Explains Mathematical Concepts

In the American Journal of Physics, Aaron Slepkov from Trent University explores the physics of how polarization-filtered colors emerge, how they can be controlled, and why subtle changes in viewing angle, sample orientation, and the order of layers of films between polarizers can have dramatic effects on the observed colors. The research emphasizes visual examples of concepts related to birefringence, such as addition, subtraction, and order-of-operations.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Record Successful Startup of LUX-ZEPLIN Dark Matter Detector at Sanford Underground Research Facility

Deep below the Black Hills of South Dakota in the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), an innovative and uniquely sensitive dark matter detector – the LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) experiment, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) – has passed a check-out phase of startup operations and delivered first results.

The futuristic South Pole Telescope looks far back in time

Designed to detect the oldest light in the universe, the South Pole Telescope is helping researchers at Argonne and around the world to learn about the beginnings of the universe.

Physicists confront the neutron lifetime puzzle

To solve a long-standing puzzle about how long a neutron can “live” outside an atomic nucleus, physicists entertained a wild but testable theory positing the existence of a right-handed version of our left-handed universe.

Tiny Limbs and Long Bodies: Coordinating Lizard Locomotion

Using biological experiments, robot models, and a geometric theory of locomotion, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology investigated how and why intermediate lizard species, with their elongated bodies and short limbs, might use their bodies to move. They uncovered the existence of a previously unknown spectrum of body movements in lizards, revealing a continuum of locomotion dynamics between lizardlike and snakelike movements.

Tang wins DOE Early Career Research Award

Zhaowen Tang, of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Dynamic Imaging and Radiography group, received a prestigious Early Career Research Program funding award from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The program, now in its thirteenth year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.

UCI scientists observe effects of heat in materials with atomic resolution

As electronic, thermoelectric and computer technologies have been miniaturized to nanometer scale, engineers have faced a challenge studying fundamental properties of the materials involved; in many cases, targets are too small to be observed with optical instruments. Using cutting-edge electron microscopes and novel techniques, a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions has found a way to map phonons – vibrations in crystal lattices – in atomic resolution, enabling deeper understanding of the way heat travels through quantum dots, engineered nanostructures in electronic components.

ORNL, partners launch first experiments using new facility to make cosmic isotopes on Earth

A new flagship facility for nuclear physics has opened, and scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory have a hand in 10 of its first 34 experiments.

Pushing the Boundaries of Moore’s Law: How Can Extreme UV Light Produce Tiny Microchips?

Some analysts say that the end of Moore’s Law is near, but Patrick Naulleau, the director of Berkeley Lab’s Center for X-Ray Optics (CXRO), says that it could be decades before the modern chip runs out of room for improvement, thanks to advances in materials and instrumentation enabled by the CXRO.

Research Breakthrough Means Warp Speed ‘Unruh Effect’ Can Finally Be Tested in Lab Settings

A major hurdle for work at the forefront of fundamental physics is the inability to test cutting-edge theories in a laboratory setting. But a recent discovery opens the door for scientists to see ideas in action that were previously only understood in theory or represented in science fiction.

School of Physics Uses Moths and Origami Structures for Innovative Defense Research

Georgia Tech has received two Department of Defense (DoD) 2022 Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) awards totaling almost $14 million. The highly competitive government program supports interdisciplinary teams of investigators developing innovative solutions in DoD interest areas. This year, the DoD awarded $195 million to 28 research teams across the country.

Colorado School of Mines Professor Wins Second Annual Joseph A. Johnson Award

The American Institute of Physics and the National Society of Black Physicists are pleased to announce that physicist Serena Eley is the recipient of the 2021 Joseph A. Johnson III Award for Excellence. The award, now in its second year, is given by AIP and NSBP in recognition of an early career scientist who exemplifies the values of Joseph A. Johnson, a renowned experimental physicist, impactful mentor, and founder of NSBP.

New results from MicroBooNE provide clues to particle physics mystery

New results from a more-than-decade long physics experiment offer insight into unexplained electron-like events found in previous experiments. Results of the MicroBooNE experiment, while not confirming the existence of a proposed new particle, the sterile neutrino, provide a path forward to explore physics beyond the Standard Model, the theory of the fundamental forces of nature and elementary particles.

Scientists Spot Rare Neutrino Signal for Big Physics Finding

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory developed a software toolkit that reconstructs and isolates neutrino data in 3D. This software directly enabled the long-awaited findings from the MicroBooNE experiment released today by Fermilab in four complementary analyses. The Wire-Cell team at Brookhaven Lab led one of the four analyses—the most sensitive analysis of the electron-neutrino interaction. Some components of the Wire-Cell toolkit were also used in the other three analyses.

Science snapshots from Berkeley Lab

New Berkeley Lab breakthroughs: engineering chemical-producing microbes; watching enzyme reactions in real time; capturing the first image of ‘electron ice’; revealing how skyrmions really move

Campaigning for More Marie Curies: More Women Means Changes for Physics, Engineering

Amy Sue Bix, a leading expert on the history of science and women and gender studies, will speak in an upcoming Lyne Starling Trimble lecture Wednesday, Sept. 29, in a live webcast. Her talk will delve into how the dramatic shift of girls and young women toward STEM occurred, how diversity will play a role in the nature and purpose of science and engineering, the changes in gender relations in the scientific community, and escalating concern for girls’ psychological well-being and personal opportunities.

Regulator Proteins or Symphonies of Genes: Statistical Modeling Points Way Toward Unified Theory for DNA Folding

Researchers seek to point a way toward a unified theory for how DNA changes shape when expressing genes. Presenting their work in Biophysics Reviews, the scientists use an approach called statistical mechanics to explore the phenomenon of so-called expression waves of gene regulation.

One scientist’s trash is another’s treasure:

While making materials samples to pursue their own research goals, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory discovered that an unwanted byproduct of their experiments was an extremely high-quality and difficult-to-obtain substance sought after by scientists researching layered materials.

2021 AIP Helleman Fellows to Study Intercellular Communication, History of String Theory, Dark Matter

AIP’s Center for History of Physics selects Robert van Leeuwen, Pepijn Moerman, and Jaco de Swart as the recipients of the 2021 AIP Robert H.G. Helleman Memorial Fellowships. The fellowships are made possible by a gift from Robert H.G. Helleman to establish an endowment for supporting young physicists with Dutch citizenship in their pursuit of research activities in physics in the United States.