Europhysics News

List of Papers (Total 1,523)

Light - cosmic messages from the past

The universe is filled with electromagnetic radiation, and visible light covers only a small section of its spectrum. The dominant sources of light are stars, with the energy originating from nuclear fusion processes in their interior. The question of energy generation in our sun and in other stars is the main focus of nuclear astrophysics.

How many gold atoms make gold metal?

It is well known that a piece of gold is an excellent metal: it conducts heat and electricity, it is malleable to work out for jewellery or thin coatings, and it has the characteristic golden colour. How do these everyday properties – familiar from our macroscopic world – change when a nanometre-size chunk of gold contains only 100, 200 or 300 atoms?

Soft Janus, wrinkles and all

Right now you are probably sitting on a comfy cushion. This is most likely filled with polyurethane (PU) foam. PUs are very long molecules made up of many repeating units. If the repeating units are prepolymers – intermediate-mass building blocks – with more than two reactive end groups, a three-dimensional network will form – a rubber, or elastomer, which can behave elastically...

Silicene: silicon conquers the 2D world

We live in the digital age based on the silicon chip and driven by Moore’s law. Last July, IBM created a surprise by announcing the fabrication of a 7 nm test chip with functional transistors using, instead of just silicon, a silicon-germanium alloy. Will silicon be dethroned?

Stella Lux: the energy-positive family car

A family car that runs purely on solar energy, and that charges your home batteries when not on the road. In other words: a car that is Energy-positive. Can such a car be built? The answer is ‘Yes!’, as was shown by an enthusiastic group of students at Eindhoven University of Technology.

Miazma: physics edutainment through a computer game

The beginning of the 21st century is characterised by several contradictions and challenges. One of them is that scientific and technological development has never been as important for the well-being of humankind as today. Nevertheless, these fields seem to lose the attention of talented and interested youngsters.

Towards TeV-scale electron-positron collisions: the Compact Linear Collider (CLIC)

The Compact Linear Collider (CLIC), a future electron-positron collider at the energy frontier, has the potential to change our understanding of the universe. Proposed to follow the Large Hardron Collider (LHC) programme at CERN, it is conceived for precision measurements as well as for searches for new phenomena.

Slippery and never wet

Superhydrophobic surfaces let water droplets roll off with low friction and falling droplets rebound, leaving the surfaces completely dry. Such extremely water repellent surfaces are found in nature on lotus leaves, the legs of water striders and feather coatings of birds, and portray a beautiful example of ingenious biological design. They provide an exciting research avenue for...

A Tribute to Manne Siegbahn

Spectroscopy came to dominate the 19th century, with a crucial role for Swedish physicists. It was Anders Ångström who introduced the tenmillionth part of a millimeter as the wavelength unit (1868), a unit that was adopted by Rowland for his tables of the solar spectral lines (1887-1893). Janne Rydberg, then, followed in Ångström's footsteps in searching for relations between the...

Redressing the inverted pyramid of scientific publishing

Scientific publishing is currently undergoing a progressively rapid transformation away from the traditional subscription model. With the Open Access movement in full swing, existing business practices and future plans are coming under increasing scrutiny, while new “big deals” are being made at breakneck speed. Scientists can rightfully ask themselves if all these changes are...

Can you afford to wait? Designing the collider of the future

Designing a future circular collider is a next step in humanity’s quest to explain the world. This effort is not only about striving for a profound understanding of nature, but also about creating an exciting perspective for future generations.

Can solar water-treatment really help in the fight against water shortages?

In the face of increasing global population, rising industrialization and the inescapable reality of climate change, the demand for access to clean, safe water has never been greater. Solar wastewater remediation technologies and solar water-treatment have the potential to contribute significantly towards affordable and sustainable solutions to this seemingly intractable problem...

Travel with hydrogen

In the field of transportation, hydrogen does not have a particularly glorious history. Just think of the dozens of hydrogen airships destroyed by fire over the years, with the Hindenburg disaster in 1937 as the most famous example. Now H2 is trying a comeback on the road, often in combination with a fuel cell and an electric motor to power the car.

A brief tour of the climate machine - 1 - The Climate machine, a two fluids thermal engine

The climate machine is a thermal engine that gets all its heat from the sun and redistributes it on the Earth surface through coupled fluid circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean. Water present on Earth in its three physical states — solid, liquid and gas — plays a key role in the climate.

Ion Coulomb crystals: from quantum technology to chemistry close to the absolute zero point

Ion Coulomb crystals are ordered structures of atomic or molecular ions stored in ion traps at temperatures close to the absolute zero point. These unusual “crystals” form the basis of extremely accurate clocks, provide an environment for precise studies of chemical reactions and enable advanced implementations of the technology for a quantum computer. In this article, we discuss...

A brief tour of the climate machine - 1 - The Climate machine, a two fluids thermal engine

The climate machine is a thermal engine that gets all its heat from the sun and redistributes it on the Earth surface through coupled fluid circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean. Water present on Earth in its three physical states — solid, liquid and gas — plays a key role in the climate.

Gender diversity in STEM

There is a strong business case for the value of diversity. Research by the World Economic Forum shows a 36% higher return on equity (ROE) for companies having a workforce with strong gender diversity. Also growth is influenced in a positive way: in 2009 - 2012 companies with a strong female leadership have increased their ROE by 10.1% as compared to an average of 7.4% for the...

A newcomer: the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator

Stellarators (“star generators”) belong to the earliest concepts for magnetic confinement of fusion plasmas. In May 1951, a confidential report authored by Lyman Spitzer at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) was issued, in which he proposed the “figure eight” stellarator based on the idea to generate the required rotational transform of magnetic field lines by...

The first fusion reactor: ITER

Established by the signature of the ITER Agreement in November 2006 and currently under construction at St Paul-lez-Durance in southern France, the ITER project [1,2] involves the European Union (including Switzerland), China, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, South Korea and the United States. ITER (‘the way’ in Latin) is a critical step in the development of fusion energy...

Challenges on the road towards fusion electricity

The ultimate aim of fusion research is to generate electricity by fusing light atoms into heavier ones, thereby converting mass into energy. The most efficient fusion reaction is based on merging the hydrogenic isotopes: Deuterium (2D) and Tritium (3T) into Helium (4He) and a neutron, which releases 17.6 MeV in the form of kinetic energy of the reaction products.