American Institute of Physics
American Institute of Physics Articles
Improving image sensors for machine vision
Image sensors measure light intensity, but angle, spectrum, and other aspects of light must also be extracted to significantly advance machine vision.
Quantum dots visualise tiny vibrational resonances
In the late 18th century, Ernst Chladni, a scientist and musician, discovered that the vibrations of a rigid plate could be visualised by covering it with a thin layer of sand and drawing a bow across its edge. With the bow movement, the sand bounces and shifts, collecting along the nodal lines of the vibration. Chladni's discovery of these patterns earned him the nickname, "father of acoustics." His discovery is still used in the design and cons...
Optical nanosensor uses torque for signal processing
The world of nanosensors may be physically small, but the demand is large and growing, with little sign of slowing. As electronic devices get smaller, their ability to provide precise, chip-based sensing of dynamic physical properties such as motion become challenging to develop. An international group of researchers have put a literal twist on this challenge, demonstrating a new nanoscale optomechanical resonator that can detect torsional m...
Autumn is coming: high-tech electronics made from fallen leaves
Northern China's roadsides are peppered with deciduous phoenix trees, producing an abundance of fallen leaves in autumn. These leaves are generally burned in the colder season, exacerbating the country's air pollution problem. Investigators in Shandong, China, recently discovered a new method to convert this organic waste matter into a porous carbon material that can be used to produce high-tech electronics. The advance is reported in the Journal...
Nanoscale magnetic excitations that can store data
Magnets and magnetic phenomena underpin the vast majority of modern data storage, and the measurement scales for research focused on magnetic behaviors continue to shrink with the rest of digital technology. Skyrmions, for example, are a kind of nanomagnet, composed of a spin-correlated ensemble of electrons acting as a topological magnet on certain microscopic surfaces. The precise properties, like spin orientation, of such nanomagnets can store...
A simple way to gain control of magnetism
While the ability to easily control the magnetic properties of small electronic systems is highly desirable for future small electronics and data storage, an effective solution has proven to be extremely elusive. But now, a group of researchers from universities in Chile and Brazil are reporting in the Journal of Applied Physics, from AIP Publishing, a simple way to gain control of magnetism that starts by controlling the shape of the system...
Bonding technique uses inkjet printers
A team of Spanish researchers at the University of Barcelona have demonstrated a bonding technique for chips, called SMD or surface mounted devices, that uses an inkjet printer with ink that incorporates silver nanoparticles. The technique, described in the Journal of Applied Physics, was developed in response to the industrial necessity for a fast, reliable and simple manufacturing process, and with an eye to reducing the environmental...
Material can turn sunlight, heat and movement into electricity
Many forms of energy surround you: sunlight, the heat in your room and even your own movements. All that energy - normally wasted - can potentially help power your portable and wearable gadgets, from biometric sensors to smart watches. Now, researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have found that a mineral with the perovskite crystal structure has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources at the same time.
How to 3D print your own sonic tractor beam
Last year Asier Marzo, then a doctoral student at the Public University of Navarre, helped develop the first single-sided acoustic tractor beam - that is, the first realisation of trapping and pulling an object using sound waves from only one direction. Now a research assistant at the University of Bristol, Marzo has lead a team that adapted the technology to be, for all intents and purposes, 3D printable by anyone (with some assembly r...
Technique simplifies detection of cancer DNA biomarkers
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., making early, reliable diagnosis and treatment a priority for researchers. Genomic biomarkers offer great potential for diagnostics and new forms of treatment, such as immunotherapy. Miniaturised lab-on-chip approaches are prime candidates for developing viable diagnostic tests and instruments because they are small, need only limited test volumes, and can be cost-effective.
Ultrasound-powered actuator develops micro robot
The quest to develop a wireless micro-robot for biomedical applications requires a small-scale "motor" that can be wirelessly powered through biological media. While magnetic fields can be used to power small robots wirelessly, they do not provide selectivity since all actuators (the components controlling motion) under the same magnetic field just follow the same motion.
Drone measurements spot optimal wind farms
Wind energy is a key part of the global energy future, expanding rapidly throughout the world in onshore and offshore settings. But to be sustainable, large scale, multi-megawatt (multi-MW) wind farming's economic efficiencies need to be maximised and knowing where to place the turbines within the wind farm is a first step. Without proper and strategic placement of wind turbines, the low-speed wind behind turbines, called a wake, decreases t...
Researchers create living bio-hybrid system
One of the biggest challenges in cognitive or rehabilitation neurosciences is the ability to design a functional hybrid system that can connect and exchange information between biological systems, like neurons in the brain, and human-made electronic devices.
Lower-limb 'robotic exoskeleton' for human gait rehab
Stroke and spinal cord injury patients often require gait rehabilitation to regain the ability to walk or to help strengthen their muscles. Wearable "robot-assisted training" is quickly emerging as a method that helps improve this rehab process. In a major advance, researchers from Beihang University in China and Aalborg University in Denmark have designed a lower-limb robot exoskeleton—a wearable robot—that features natural knee...
Controlling ultrasound with 3D printed devices
Ultrasound is more than sound. Obstetricians use it to peer inside a woman's uterus and observe a growing baby. Surgeons use powerful beams of ultrasound to destroy cancer cells. Researchers fire ultrasound into materials to test their properties. But these high-frequency acoustic waves can do even more. Researchers have now 3D printed a new kind of device that can harness high-pressure ultrasound to move, manipulate, or destroy tiny objects...
Synchronising optical clocks to one quadrillionth of a second
An international team of researchers, led by the NIST, based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has advanced their work with synchronising a remote optical clock with a master clock by exploring what happens to time signals that need to travel through 12 kilometers (km) of turbulent air, which is known to distort optical signals.
Creating antimatter via lasers
Dramatic advances in laser technologies are enabling novel studies to explore laser-matter interactions at ultrahigh intensity. By focusing high-power laser pulses, electric fields (of orders of magnitude greater than found within atoms) are routinely produced and soon may be sufficiently intense to create matter from light.
Acoustic metamaterial panel absorbs low-frequency sound
When it comes to low-frequency sound waves, traditional sound-absorbing materials tend to be undesirably bulky, heavy or thick. This challenge inspired a group of researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Le Mans, France, to design subwavelength absorbers specifically for low-frequency sound waves.
Tuning materials and devices to adapt to their environment
Materials with large dielectric constants—aka "high-K materials"—have recently garnered attention for their potential use within future generations of reduced-dimension semiconductor devices. Barium strontium titanate, one such material, possesses an inherently large dielectric constant that can be altered significantly by an applied electrical field—by as much as a factor of 10.
Water and light flow inspire optical coupler sensor
When a river narrows or two rivers run into each other and merge, the water flow's speed increases and it becomes much stronger. Water flow and light flow are similar in many ways, and this inspired a group of researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to explore whether light flow within a waveguide—a linear structure that transports electromagnetic waves between endpoints—be...