Physics

Physics is the study of science that deals with matter, energy, motion, and force through time and space. 
Physics in nanotechnology embodies segments such as quantum computing, laser technology, photonics as some examples.

  • Electron Rivers

    Usually, the movement of electrons in a real material is rather different from the flow of water in a river. However, in extraordinary materials like the metal oxide PdCoO2, “electron rivers” can exist, as predicted theoretically over fifty years ago and now demonstrated by scientists from the MPI CPfS.

  • Electronic Highways on the Nanoscale

    In the Laboratory a structured silicon carbide crystal is heated in a preparation chamber of a scanning tunneling microscope, so that small graphene structures can be formed. Photo: TU Chemnitz/Jacob Müller

    For the first time, the targeted functionalization of carbon-based nanostructures allows the direct mapping of current paths, thereby paving the way for novel quantum devices. Computers are getting faster and increasingly powerful. However, at the same time computing requires noticeably more energy, which is almost completely converted to wasted heat. This is not only harmful to the environment, but also limits further miniaturization of electronic components and increase of clock rates. A way out of this dilemma are conductors with no electrical resistance.

  • Engineers at Saarland University Turn Polymer Films into Self-sensing High-tech Actuators

    To showcase their technology at Hannover Messe, the engineers Philipp Linnebach (r.) and Paul Motzki (l.) have come up with a playful way of demonstrating its capabilities. Credit: Oliver Dietze

    They might only be made from thin silicon film, but they can squeeze down hard, deliver a powerful thrust, vibrate or hold any required position. And because they can act as sensors, they are becoming important tools in technical applications. Stefan Seelecke and his team at Saarland University are developing a new generation of polymer film-based engineering components that can be used as continuous switches, self-metering valves, motorless pumps or even as tactile aids for touchscreens. The technology needs neither rare earths nor copper, it is cheap to produce and consumes very little energy and components made using it are astonishingly light.

  • Entanglement Becomes Easier to Measure

    Physicists have developed a new protocol to detect entanglement of many-particle quantum states using a much easier approach. The protocol is particularly interesting for characterizing entanglement in systems involving many particles. These systems could help us not only to improve our understanding of matter but to develop measurement techniques beyond current existing technologies.

  • Entangling Photons from a Quantum Dot in the Telecom C-Band

    Schematic representation of a quantum dot emitting polarization entangled photons. The entanglement is here pictorially represented by the transparent connection between the two photons. Sascha Kolatschek, Universität Stuttgart / IHFG

    A research team of the institute of semiconductor optics and functional interfaces (IHFG) of the University of Stuttgart experimentally verified the generation of polarization-entangled photon pairs in the emission wavelength range of the telecom C-band. The generation of entangled photons, i.e. a non-classical phenomenon which “bounds” the states of two different entities, is a cornerstone for the realization of quantum networks.

  • Entwicklung neuer Entspiegelungen mithilfe nanostrukturierter Schichtmaterialien

    Entwicklung neuer Entspiegelungen mithilfe nanostrukturierter Schichtmaterialien | Halbseitig entspiegelte Linse Photo: W. Oppel, Fraunhofer IOF

    Optische Komponenten begleiten uns in nahezu allen Alltagsanwendungen – von Handykameras über Abstandssensoren in Autos bis hin zu Objektiven für hochauflösende Kameras. Doch ohne Entspiegelung gehen an jeder Grenzfläche einer optischen Komponente mehrere Prozent des Lichtes verloren. Deshalb sind heute insbesondere Systeme aus mehreren Linsen wie z.B. in Fotoapparaten oder Fahrzeugdisplays ohne Antireflex (AR)-Funktion undenkbar. Forschern gelang es nun, erfolgreich eine neue Methode der Entspiegelung mithilfe nanostrukturierter Schichtmaterialien zu entwickeln.

  • Environment Turns Molecule into a Switch

    A flat molecule on a surface comprised of bismuth atoms (blue) and silver atoms (grey). The central manganese atom (red) is capable of changing its position. Graphic: Jens Kügel & Michael Karolak

    For the first time, physicists from the University of Würzburg have successfully positioned an organic molecule on a substrate realizing two stable configurations. This may have application potential in molecular spintronics. It looks like a cross with four arms of equal length that have a central atom at their intersection. All atoms are arranged in one plane so that the molecule is absolutely planar – at least in the normal state.

  • Environmentally Friendly Alternative to Prohibited Hard Chrome Plating Using Chromium(VI)

    World premiere: EHLA system for Laser Material Deposition of piston rods having a length of up to ten meters. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany / Hornet Laser Cladding B.V., Lexmond, NL.

    The strict conditions on the use of chromium(VI) for corrosion and wear protection coatings, which will take effect in the EU in September 2017, hit the manufacturers of highly stressed metal components particularly hard. One such company is IHC Vremac Cylinders B.V. in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. The hydraulic cylinders it manufactures, which often measure many meters in length, have to withstand rough maritime conditions for years. With its choice of an award-winning alternative to hard chrome plating, this Dutch manufacturer has become the first company in the world to coat its components using the EHLA technique developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen.

  • Environmentally Friendly Steel Coatings: Fraunhofer ILT Wins Steel Innovation Award

    On June 13, 2018, the Fraunhofer ILT team took 2nd place at the Steel Innovation Awards in Berlin in the “Steel in Research and Development” category for their EHLA process. © Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany.

    Once every three years, the German steel industry presents its Steel Innovation Awards. The purpose of this initiative is to recognize innovations that are helping to ensure this material remains a viable choice for the long term. The jury considers not just products made from steel, but also innovative processes such as Extreme High-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA). For the development of the EHLA process, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen won the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize in 2017. On June 13, 2018, the researchers were honoured with the 2nd Prize of the Steel Innovation Award in the “Steel in Research and Development” category.

  • ERC Grant: Nanopartikel-Katalysatoren in Form bringen

    Beatriz Roldán Cuenya erhält eine renommierte Förderung vom Europäischen Forschungsrat. © RUB, Marquard

    Prof. Dr. Beatriz Roldán Cuenya von der Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) erhält einen der renommierten Consolidator Grants vom Europäischen Forschungsrat (ERC). Die Förderung beläuft sich auf zwei Millionen Euro für fünf Jahre. Die Wissenschaftlerin strebt an, mit den Mitteln neue Einblicke in die katalytischen Fähigkeiten von Nanopartikeln zu gewinnen, insbesondere wie sich Größe, Form und chemischer Zustand der Partikel während einer katalytischen Reaktion ändern. Winzige Metallpartikel, gerade einmal 1 bis 50 Nanometer groß, können als Katalysatoren für verschiedene Reaktionen dienen. Mehrere Parameter beeinflussen die katalytische Aktivität der Nanopartikel: ihre Größe und Form, das Trägermaterial, an das die Partikel gebunden sind, die Umgebung sowie der chemische Zustand der Partikel, also zum Beispiel ob sie als reines Metall oder als Oxid vorliegen.

  • Error-Free into the Quantum Computer Age

    Quantum error correction protocols detect and correct processing errors in trapped-ion quantum computers. IQOQI Innsbruck/Harald Ritsch

    A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors. In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means they need to consist of a considerably higher number of quantum bits. Second, they have to be capable of processing errors.

  • Essential Quantum Computer Component Downsized by Two Orders of Magnitude

    The new nonreciprocal device acts as a roundabout for photons. Here, arrows show the direction of photons propagation. IST Austria/Birgit Rieger

    Researchers at IST Austria have built compact photon directional devices. Their micrometer-scale, nonmagnetic devices route microwave photons and can shield qubits from harmful noise. Qubits, or quantum bits, are the key building blocks that lie at the heart of every quantum computer. In order to perform a computation, signals need to be directed to and from qubits. At the same time, these qubits are extremely sensitive to interference from their environment, and need to be shielded from unwanted signals, in particular from magnetic fields. It is thus a serious problem that the devices built to shield qubits from unwanted signals, known as nonreciprocal devices, are themselves producing magnetic fields.

  • Europäisches Riesenteleskop erhält modernsten Spektrografen

    Astrophysiker der Universität Göttingen sind an der Planung und Entwicklung eines modernen Vielkanal-Spektrografen für das europäische Riesenteleskop E-ELT beteiligt. Das European Extremely Large Telescope wird derzeit in Chile gebaut und mit einem Hauptspiegeldurchmesser von 39 Metern das größte optische Teleskop der Welt.

  • European XFEL prepares for user operation: Researchers can hand in first proposals for experiments

    The FXE instrument, which is currently being assembled in its hutch in the European XFEL experiment hall, will enable studies of ultrafast processes such as decisive intermediate steps of chemical reactions. The X-ray laser flashes enter the instrument from the right side of the picture and travel through a series of complex optics and diagnostics before arriving at the sample interaction region. A yellow robot arm for one of the instrument's detectors is seen in the background to the left. European XFEL

    For the first time, scientists from around the world can now submit their proposals for experiments at the European XFEL. The international science facility in the Hamburg metropolitan region published the first call for applications for “beamtime” on its website. The user programme is expected to begin in the second half of the year, with two of the planned six instruments being initially available.

  • Evaluating Risk of Hydrogen Embrittlement: New Simulation of Cold Cracks in High-strength Steels

    Light microscopy image of a welded connection’s weld structure. © Fraunhofer IWM

    High-strength steels play a vital role in the construction of modern vehicles and machines. If these steels are welded during the production of components, mobile hydrogen atoms can cause problems within the material: the atoms accumulate slowly at highly stressed areas of a component, resulting in the steel becoming brittle at these locations. This can result in so-called cold break formations which can lead to component failure. Dr. Frank Schweizer of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM has developed a simulation method with which component manufacturers can assess cold break tendencies and adjust their production accordingly.

  • Evidence of the Higgs Particle's Decay in Quarks

    The illustration shows an event that could be the sought-after decay of the Higgs particle in quarks. Illustration: ATLAS collaboration

    Research group at the University of Freiburg contribute significant new findings to the ATLAS experiment.

    As part of the ATLAS collaboration, the Freiburg research group led by Prof. Dr. Karl Jakobs and Dr. Christian Weiser has contributed to finding strong evidence that, among other things, the Higgs particle decays into quarks. The researchers analyzed data sets that were recorded in 2015 and 2016 with the ATLAS detector at the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Exotic Quantum States Made from Light: Physicists Create Optical “Wells” for a Super-Photon

    Potential wells The artist's rendering shows how potential wells are created for the light in the microresonator through heating with an external laser beam (green). © Photo: David Dung/Uni Bonn

    Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

  • Exotischer Materiezustand: "Flüssige" Quantenspins bei tiefsten Temperaturen beobachtet

    Exotischer Materiezustand Flüssige Quantenspins bei tiefsten Temperaturen beobachtet | Im Kristallgitter von Kalzium-Chrom-Oxid gibt es sowohl ferromagnetische Wechselwirkungen (grüne und rote Balken) als auch antiferromagnetische (blaue Balken). Abbildung: HZB

    Ein Team am HZB hat experimentell eine sogenannte Quanten-Spinflüssigkeit in einem Einkristall aus Kalzium-Chrom-Oxid nachgewiesen. Dabei handelt es sich um einen neuartigen Materiezustand. Das Besondere an dieser Entdeckung: Nach gängigen Vorstellungen war das Quantenphänomen in diesem Material gar nicht möglich. Nun liegt eine Erklärung vor. Die Arbeit erweitert das Verständnis von kondensierter Materie und könnte auch für die zukünftige Entwicklung von Quantencomputern von Bedeutung sein. Die Ergebnisse sind nun in Nature Physics veröffentlicht.

  • Explanation for Puzzling Quantum Oscillations has been Found

    Ball bouncing chaotically in a stadium (top). If it starts near an unstable trajectory, it remains close to this trajectory for some time but eventually escapes (bottom). IST Austria/Maksym Serbyn

    So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics. Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a quantum simulator.

  • Exploring the Phenomenon of Superconductivity

    Types of pairing of two fermions. Figure: Puneet Murthy

    Fermions in flatland pair up at very high temperatures: Using ultracold atoms, researchers at Heidelberg University have found an exotic state of matter where the constituent particles pair up when limited to two dimensions. The findings from the field of quantum physics may hold important clues to intriguing phenomena of superconductivity. The results were published in Science magazine.