May 14, 2010

Physics - Spotlight of Exceptional Research

[Picture taken from the article: Is there a true supersolid phase transition?]

The American Physical Society (APS) is well known for probably the most traditional series of physics journal, but recently (not that much, but more or less) they made available in their website a feature that I have been enjoying a lot, which goes by the name Physics - Spotlight of Exceptional Research.

This webpage is regularly updated with headlines about notable papers published in their Physical Reviews journals. The best thing is that the papers are then commented by a specialist in the area and made available for free download! The accompanying comment is also downloadable in PDF format if you want. This is a fantastic feature specially for those who for any reason don't have access to the paid subscription of the journals. The current for headlines highlighted in the front page are:
  • Blurry vision belongs to history, Hans Blom and Jerker Widengren: Making simple modifications to laser-scanning microscopes—like those found in many laboratories—can beat the classical diffraction limit by a factor of 2.
  • Ultrafast computing with molecules, Ian Walmsley: Vibrations of the atoms in a molecule are used to implement a Fourier transform orders of magnitude faster than possible with devices based on conventional electronics.
  • Is there a true supersolid phase transition?,  Sébastien Balibar: New measurements of the rigidity of solid helium show that the emergence of supersolidity is actually a crossover, rather than a true phase transition.
  • The tetrahedral dice are cast … and pack densely, Daan Frenkel: Magnetic resonance images of tetrahedral dice show a density of random close packing, in agreement with recent calculations.
And yesterday I received an email from them about some videos they made available in this webpage as well. They can be watched in here. Currently they show three videos from a metting that happened in the 17th of March:
  • Optomechanical Devices, Florian Marquardt: The interplay of light and mechanical motion on the nanoscale has emerged as a very fruitful research topic during the past few years. Optomechanical systems are now explored as ultrasensitive force and displacement sensors. By using light to cool a mechanical system to its quantum ground state, researchers hope to explore the foundations of quantum mechanics in a new regime.
  • Spintronics, David Awschalom: The spin-orbit interaction in the solid state offers several versatile all-electrical routes for generating, manipulating, and routing spin-polarized charge currents in semiconductors. Recent experiments have explored several guises of this effect for the nascent field of spintronics. These include new opportunities for making the transition from fundamental studies to a spin-based technology for classical and quantum information processing.
  • Iron Age Superconductors, Michael Norman: A new class of high-temperature superconductors has been discovered in layered iron arsenides. In these materials, magnetism and superconductivity appear to be intimately related. Results in this rapidly moving field may shed light on the still unsolved problem of high-temperature cuprate superconductivity.  
I haven't had the time to watch any of the videos yet, but I intend to do that over the weekend. They seem quite interesting. If someone watched them and wants to comment a bit, you will be very welcome.

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