Spider-Man-Style Robotic Graspers Defy Gravity

Traditional methods of vacuum suction and previous vacuum suction devices cannot maintain suction on rough surfaces due to vacuum leakage, which leads to suction failure. Researchers Xin Li and Kaige Shi developed a zero-pressure difference method to enhance the development of vacuum suction units. Their method overcame leakage limitations by using a high-speed rotating water ring between the surface and suction cup to maintain the vacuum. They discuss their work in Physics of Fluids.

Read more

What’s MER? It’s a way to measure quantum materials, and it’s telling us new and interesting things

Experimental physicists have combined several measurements of quantum materials into one in their ongoing quest to learn more about manipulating and controlling the behavior of them for possible applications. They even coined a term for it– Magneto-elastoresistance, or MER.

Read more

Reinventing the Computer: Brain-Inspired Computing for a Post-Moore’s Law Era

Since 1947, computing development has seen a consistent doubling of the number of transistors that can fit on a chip. But that trend, Moore’s Law, may reach its limit as components of submolecular size encounter problems with thermal noise, making further scaling impossible. In this week’s Applied Physics Reviews, researchers present an examination of the computing landscape, focusing on functions needed to advance brain-inspired neuromorphic computing.

Read more

Opening Up DNA to Delete Disease

Protein editorial assistants are clearing the way for cut-and-paste DNA editors, like CRISPR, to access previously inaccessible genes of interest. Opening up these areas of the genetic code is critical to improving CRISPR efficiency and moving toward futuristic, genetic-based assaults on disease. The DNA-binding editorial assistants were devised by a U.S.-based team of bioengineers, who describe their design in APL Bioengineering.

Read more

SuperTIGER on its second prowl — 130,000 feet above Antarctica

A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch. SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins outside of the solar system.

Read more

Ultrasound Selectively Damages Cancer Cells When Tuned to Correct Frequencies

Doctors have used focused ultrasound to destroy tumors without invasive surgery for some time. However, the therapeutic ultrasound used in clinics today indiscriminately damages cancer and healthy cells alike. Researchers have now developed a low-intensity ultrasound approach that exploits the properties of tumor cells to target them and provide a safer option. Their findings, reported in Applied Physics Letters, are a new step in oncotripsy, the singling out and killing of cancer cells based on their physical properties.

Read more

Task Force Recommendations Outline Changes Needed to Increase African American Physics and Astronomy Students

Due to long-term and systemic issues leading to the consistent exclusion of African Americans in physics and astronomy, a task force is recommending sweeping changes and calling for awareness into the number and experiences of African American students studying the fields. “The Time Is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor’s Degrees in Physics and Astronomy” discusses the factors responsible for the success or failure of African American students in physics and astronomy.

Read more

Tests Measure Solar Panel Performance Beyond Established Standards

In testing solar panels, the sun’s intensity, the spectral composition and the angle of light are important factors in understanding why certain panels are successful and others degrade more quickly. To address the knowledge gap in degradation mechanisms for various photovoltaic types, researchers performed tests over five years in which they collected weather data and panel performance information. The results are published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Read more