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.

  • Shrinking the Proton Again!

    This photo shows the vacuum chamber used to measure the 2S-4P transition frequency in atomic hydrogen. The purple glow in the back stems from the microwave discharge that dissociates hydrogen molecules into hydrogen atoms. The blue light in the front is fluorescence from the ultraviolet laser that excites the atoms to the 2S state. The turquoise blue glow is stray light from the laser system used to measure the frequency of the 2S-4P transition. (Photo: MPQ)

    Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen. It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly smaller, by four standard deviations, than previous determinations using regular hydrogen. This discrepancy and its origin have attracted much attention in the scientific community, with even extensions of the so-called standard model of physics being discussed.

  • Silicon as a New Storage Material for the Batteries of the Future

    An etching process gives the originally blank discs a porous surface - and a colourful sheen. The porous silicon layer can be bonded particularly well with a copper electrode. Photo: Siekmann, Kiel University

    Kiel University and equipment manufacturers RENA Technologies present new approach at the Hannover Messe. Longer life times, larger ranges and faster recharging - developments such as electric mobility or the miniaturisation of electronics require new storage materials for batteries. With its enormous storage capacity, silicon would potentially have decisive advantages over the materials used in commercial available lithium-ion batteries. But due to its mechanical instability, it has so far been almost impossible to use silicon for storage technology.

  • Silver Nano Wire Networks provide threefold functionality

    Periodic two-dimensional networks of silver nanowires can act as transparent conducting electrodes (TCE) with low sheet resistance and high transparancy, outperforming the standard TCE material ITO (Indium Tin Oxide). After publishing their research results on the influence of the wire diameter and the pitch between the wires in 2012, van de Groep et al. proceeded their work and showed that, when geometrically optimized, these silver nanowire networks can additionally act as photonic light-trapping structures.

  • Slow, But Efficient

    The electron kinetic energy spectrum from Ar clusters interacting with intense laser pulses is dominated by a low-energy structure (orange area). Bernd Schütte

    For the past 30 years intense laser cluster interactions have been seen primarily as a way to generate energetic ions and electrons. In surprising contrast with the hitherto prevailing paradigm, a team of researchers has now found that copious amounts of relatively slow electrons are also produced in intense laser cluster interactions.

  • SoCUS – New Cost-Effective Sensor System to Measure State of Charge

    Sensors with 1 cm and 2 cm diameter to measure the state of charge of the battery. © Photo K. Selsam, Fraunhofer ISC

    Batteries are indispensable for electric vehicles and other mobile devices that require electrical power. Complex battery management systems (BMS) are needed to estimate, for example, the range and durability of the battery. Therefore, they determine the state of charge for each cell on the basis of Current (Coulomb Counting) and Voltage. As BMS calculations are based on default values, they are prone to error. Especially with frequent partial charge and certain battery cell types, no precise measurement of the state of charge is possible. In addition, these systems consume some of the energy themselves.

  • Solid State Batteries for Tomorrow's Electric Cars

    Marie Claude Bay and Corsin Battaglia work in a glove box on the solid state batteries of the future. Empa

    As part of a strategic international cooperation program of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Empa in Dübendorf (CH) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg (D) launched a three-year joint research project at the beginning of January to create the basis for a produc-tion-ready next generation of traction batteries for electric cars. In contrast to lithium-ion cells currently in use, these will consist only of solids and will no longer contain flammable liquid electrolytes. The Fraunhofer ISC contributes its know-how in process development and battery cell production and produces the first prototypes.

  • Sonnenlicht direkt in mechanische Arbeit umwandeln - neu entwickelte Materialien führen zu ersten Erfolgen

    Ein Team von Forschern der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin und der Technischen Universität Eindhoven in den Niederlanden hat dünne Plastikfilme entwickelt, die sich kontinuierlich im Sonnenlicht bewegen. Derartige Materialien, die die Energie des Sonnenlichtes direkt in Bewegung umwandeln können, sind vielversprechende Kandidaten für die Entwicklung von solar getriebenen aktiven Oberflächen, wie z.B. in selbstreinigenden Fenstern. Die Ergebnisse dieser Studie wurden jetzt in Nature Communications veröffentlicht.

  • Sorting machine for atoms

    The physicists from University of Bonn (from left): Dr. Andrea Alberti, Carsten Robens, Prof. Dr. Dieter Meschede, Dr. Wolfgang Alt and Stefan Brakhane.  © Foto: Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn

    Physicists at the University of Bonn have cleared a further hurdle on the path to creating quantum computers: in a recent study, they present a method with which they can very quickly and precisely sort large numbers of atoms. The work has now been published in “Physical Review Letters”.

    Imagine you are standing in a grocery store buying apple juice. Unfortunately, all of the crates are half empty because other customers have removed individual bottles at random. So you carefully fill your crate bottle by bottle.

  • Speedy Surfaces

    FLTR: Coating by liquid flame spray; surface SEM ; letters on paper below liquid repellent coating; confocal microscopy image of water drop resting on coating on glass. Copyright Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Reproduced with permission.

    Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, and the Tampere University of Technology, Finland, have found a new way of applying a structured coating for liquid repellency.
    By using liquid flame spray, the method is extremely fast. Not only water but also oil drops do not adhere to these surfaces but remain spherical and bounce or roll off easily.

  • Spinströme: Riesengroß und ultraschnell

    Spinströme: Riesengroß und ultraschnell Der Laserpuls trifft auf Nickel (grün). Elektronen, deren Spin nach oben zeigt (rot) wechseln in das Silizium (gelb). Aus dem Silizium wechseln Elektronen beider Spinrichtungen zurück. Abbildung: TU Wien

    Mit einer neuen Methode der TU Wien lassen sich extrem starke Spinströme herstellen. Sie sind wichtig für die Spintronik, die unsere herkömmliche Elektronik ablösen könnte.

  • Spintronik für künftige energieeffiziente Informationstechnologien

    Spin-Ströme in Topologischen Isolatoren kontrolliert

    Ein internationales Team um den HZB-Forscher Jaime Sánchez-Barriga hat gezeigt, wie sich in Proben aus einem Topologischen Isolator-Material spinpolarisierte Ströme gezielt in Gang setzen lassen. Zudem konnten sie die Ausrichtung der Spins in diesen Strömen kontrollieren. Damit demonstrierten sie, dass sich diese Materialklasse dafür eignet, mithilfe von Spins Daten zu verarbeiten.

  • Spintronik: Effizientes Materialsystem für die wärmeunterstützte Datenspeicherung

    Die Membran besitzt Poren im Abstand von 105 Nanometern, die als Haftstellen für die magnetischen Domänenwände wirken. Bild: HZB

    Ein HZB-Team hat Dünnschichten aus Dysprosium-Kobalt über einer nanostrukturierten Membran an BESSY II untersucht. Sie zeigten, dass eine Erwärmung auf nur 80 Grad Celsius ausreicht, um die Magnetisierung von winzigen Nano-Regionen neu auszurichten. Dies ist weit weniger als bislang für die wärmeunterstützte magnetische Datenspeicherung (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording) nötig war.

  • Spiral arms: not just in galaxies

    Infrared image of the Rho Ophiuchi star formation region (left). The image on the right shows thermal dust emission from the protoplanetary disk surrounding the young star Elias 2-27. NASA/Spitzer/JPL-Caltech/WISE-Team (left image), B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF); ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), L. Pérez (MPIfR) (right image).

    Astronomers have found a distinct structure involving spiral arms in the reservoir of gas and dust disk surrounding the young star Elias 2-27. While spiral features have been observed on the surfaces of protoplanetary disks, these new ALMA observations are the first to reveal that such spirals occur at the disk midplane, the region where planet formation takes place. This is of importance for planet formation: structures such as these could either indicate the presence of a newly formed planet, or else create the necessary conditions for a planet to form. As such, these results are a crucial step towards a better understanding how planetary systems like our Solar system came into being.

  • Splicing Together a Thin Film in Motion

    The principle of time-spliced imaging is depicted here for a simulated evolution of magnetic field lines from four rotating magnetic dipoles that have the same initial anti-ferromagnetic structure as the studied material, neodymium nickelate. The early frames in the time series pin down the set of possible reconstructions at later times, sharpening the image recovery by ruling out erroneous solutions. (c) Jörg Harms / MPSD

    Technology reliant on thin film materials has become ubiquitous in our everyday life. Control of the electronic properties of materials at the nanometer level is reflected in advances of computers, solar energy and batteries. The electronic behavior of thin films is heavily influenced by the contact with their surroundings, as exemplified by the recent discovery of 2D superconductivity at a thin film interface. However, information about how such entwined states come into existence is limited by the lack of tools capable of visualizing such buried interfaces.

  • Stable Magnetic Bit of Three Atoms

    Illustration of the constructed magnetic bit composed of only three iron atoms on a platinum substrate. University of Hamburg

    As reported today in the journal Nature Communications a team of experimentalists and theoreticians of the University of Hamburg in cooperation with the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Radboud University in Nijmegen have experimentally realized a ferromagnetic particle composed of only three iron atoms which can serve as a bit for the magnetic storage of information. By particular electronic interactions of the bit with the conductive substrate it is positioned on, the information the bit carries can be processed in an unusual, so called non-collinear, way, which could add new functionality to future elements of information technology.

  • Stagediving with Biomolecules Improves Optical Microscopy

    Microtubules, gliding through the optical near field (blue) of a nanostructured gold surface. The quantum dots (green) react to the local field by increasing their fluorescence rate. Graphic: Heiko Groß

    Physicists from Dresden and Würzburg have developed a novel method for optical microscopy. Using biological motors and single quantum dots, they acquire ultra-high-resolution images. The resolution of conventional optical microscopy is limited by the fundamental physical principle of diffraction to about one half of the wavelength of the light: If the distance between two objects is smaller than this so-called "diffraction limit", they can no longer be visually separated - their image appears "blurred ". To acquire optical images at the scale of few nanometers, this is clearly not sufficient.

  • Superconductors Earn their Stripes

    By Mai-Linh Doan - self photo, CC BY-SA 3.0,

    Understanding high temperature superconductivity (high Tc) has been a long-standing challenge since its discovery in copper oxide compounds in 1986. A key issue in addressing this problem has involved the study of phases found near superconductivity, typically at temperatures in excess of Tc or at doping levels lower than those needed to achieve this state.

  • Superconductors through the inner city of Essen

    A superconducting cable requires much less space compared to traditional cables of equal transmission capacity.  © innogy SE

    To date, copper and aluminium cables carry the current into the city centres. Large substations lower the voltage to 10,000 volts and feed electricity into the distribution network. With compact high-temperature superconducting cables, this structure can be simplified. The BINE Projektinfo brochure "Superconductors for the medium-voltage network" (1/2017) describes a successful field test in Essen. The world's longest superconducting cable renders substation obsolete

  • Swiftly Switched Spins Stay Cool

    Using ultrashort pulses of light enables extremely economical switching of spins within a few picoseconds from one stable orientation (red arrow) to another (white arrow). Illustration: Brad Baxley ( – For exclusive use in reporting this press release.


    Using extremely short bursts of light, precisely shaped in a custom-cut gold antenna, an international research team from Germany, The Netherlands, Russia, and the US has switched the magnetization state of a solid faster and more efficiently than ever before. Their key achievement could pave the way towards a novel kind of nearly dissipation-free information technology. The results are published in the current issue of the top-tier journal Nature.

  • Tandem Solar Cells – Record Efficiency for Silicon-based Multi-junction Solar Cell

    Tandem solar cell made of silicon and III-V semiconductor materials, a more energetically efficient use of the solar spectrum is possible, compared to conventional solar cells available today. © Fraunhofer ISE/ A. Wekkeli

    Silicon solar cells dominate the photovoltaic market today but the technology approaches the theoretical maximum efficiency that can be achieved with silicon as the only absorber material. Tandem solar cells, on the other hand, combine several absorber materials, enabling a better energetic use of the solar irradiance spectrum. Due to their higher efficiency potential, tandem solar cells have a promising future. After intensive research, scientists at Fraunhofer ISE in cooperation with partners have achieved a new efficiency record of 22.3 percent for a multi-junction solar cell made of silicon and III-V semiconductor materials.