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.

  • Tiny Nanomachine Successfully Completes Test Drive

    Greatly enlarged reproduction of the nanomachine: The two rings are linked like a chain and can well be recognized. At the centre there is the T7 RNA Polymerase. © Julián Valero/caesar Bonn

    Together with colleagues from the USA, scientists from the University of Bonn and the research institute Caesar in Bonn have used nanostructures to construct a tiny machine that constitutes a rotatory motor and can move in a specific direction. The researchers used circular structures from DNA. The results will now be presented in the journal “Nature Nanotechnology”. Nanomachines include structures of complex proteins and nucleic acids that are powered with chemical energy and can perform directed movements. The principle is known from nature: Bacteria, for example, propel themselves forward using a flagellum.

  • To Trim Away a Protein

    Trim-Away directly and rapidly destroys a fluorescent protein in an egg cell. From left: cell before introduction of antibodies directed against the protein and 10, 30, and 60 minutes thereafter. Dean Clift / MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

    In our body, proteins carry out almost all essential processes, and protein malfunction causes many diseases. To study the function of a protein, researchers remove it from the cell and subsequently analyze the consequences. The two methods typically used are genome editing by CRISPR/Cas, and RNA interference, acting on the level of DNA or RNA, respectively. However, their influence on protein amounts is indirect and takes time. Scientists now present a new method, called Trim-Away, allowing to directly and quickly deplete any protein from any cell type. As Trim-Away can distinguish between different variants of a protein, it also opens up new venues for the therapy of diseases.

  • Topological Quantum Chemistry

    Cover of the journal Nature from July 20, 2017. By courtesy of Nature / Illustration by JVG

    An international team of researchers has found a way to determine whether a crystal is a topological insulator — and to predict crystal structures and chemical compositions in which new ones can arise. The results, published July 20 in the journal Nature, show that topological insulators are much more common in nature than currently believed.

    Topological materials, which hold promise for a wide range of technological applications due to their exotic electronic properties, have attracted a great deal of theoretical and experimental interest over the past decade, culminating in the 2016 Nobel Prize in physics. The materials' electronic properties include the ability of current to flow without resistance and to respond in unconventional ways to electric and magnetic fields.

  • Touchscreens go 3D with Buttons that Pulsate and Vibrate Under Your Fingertips

    The first touchscreen that taps back: Engineers Sophie Nalbach and Steffen Hau from Stefan Seelecke’s team test the prototype system that will be exhibited at Hannover Messe. Credit: Oliver Dietze

    By pulsing or vibrating on demand, smartphone screens can help users navigate through a menu or can guide a user’s finger to virtual on-screen buttons that can be created or removed wherever and whenever needed. Professor Stefan Seelecke and his team at Saarland University have developed a film that gives touchscreens a third dimension. The thin and extremely lightweight silicone film can adopt a variety of positions and shapes and can be made to execute a single pulse, a pushing motion, a sudden jolt or a prolonged vibration at a specific location on the screen. The polymer film also exhibits sensor properties and can therefore provide the device with an added sense organ.

  • Tough Nuts, Cracked in a Smart Way

    Additive Manufacturing enables minuscule metal structures with a complex geometry to be produced. Here is a test piece compared with a match head. Using AI to monitor the manufacturing process acoustically guarantees that the workpiece is devoid of any interior defects. Image: Empa

    Welding, printing, crushing concrete – an Empa team monitors noisy processes with the help of artificial intelligence. This way you can literally hear production errors and imminent accidents. Kilian Wasmer from the Empa lab for Advanced Materials Processing in Thun keeps shaking his head while speaking, as if he can’t believe the success story himself.

  • Towards Data Storage at the Single Molecule Level

    The tip of the STM (yellow) assumes the role of a hard drive’s reading and writing head for the molecule attached to the copper nitride surface (black). Figure/Copyright: Manuel Gruber

    The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

  • Traffic jam in empty space

    The Team of physicists in their laser laboratory (from left to right): Philipp Sulzer, Dr. Andrey Moskalenko, Dr. Denis Seletskiy, Maximilian Seeger, Dr. Claudius Riek, Prof. Alfred Leitenstorfer und Prof. Guido Burkard. Uni Konstanz

    New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum. An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by Professor Alfred Leitenstorfer has now shown how to manipulate the electric vacuum field and thus generate deviations from the ground state of empty space which can only be understood in the context of the quantum theory of light.

  • TU Berlin: First Imaging of Free Nanoparticles in Lab Experiment Using High-Intensity Laser Source

    Pill-shaped helium nanodroplets can be detected through curved structures in the scatter image. © MBI

    Joint press release
    Technische Universität Berlin, Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) and University of Rostock. 

    In a joint research project, scientists from the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI), the Technische Universität Berlin and the University of Rostock have managed for the first time to image free nanoparticles in a laboratory experiment using a high-intensity laser source. Previously, the structural analysis of these extremely small objects via single-shot diffraction was only possible at large-scale research facilities using so-called XUV and x-ray free electron lasers.

  • TUM and JGU activate new source of ultra-cold neutrons

    Researchers from TUM and JGU during installation work on the Mainz TRIGA UCN source

    Collaborative project results in the construction of a second UCN source at the TRIGA research reactor in Mainz / Blueprint for Munich-based high-efficiency source. Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have opened a new chapter in their long-standing collaboration concerning the generation of ultra-cold neutrons (UCN). A second source of ultra-cold neutrons has recently been installed at the TRIGA research reactor in Mainz. In initial tests, this source has been delivering excellent results. Neutrons are the neutral particles that form part of the atomic nucleus. In unbound form, as so-called free neutrons, they are unstable and decay rapidly. Experiments with ultra-cold neutrons are of special relevance for fundamental research in physics, particularly in the fields of cosmology and particle physics. For this purpose, free neutrons are cooled to very low temperatures, slowing down their movement to a level where they can be stored in special containers.

  • Tune your radio: galaxies sing while forming stars

    The radio observations were based on the KINGFISH  sample of galaxies. The compilation shows composite infrared images of these galaxies created from Spitzer and Herschel observations. Maud Galametz

    A team of astronomers led by Fatemeh Tabatabaei from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC), including scientists from two Max Planck institutes (MPIfR, Bonn and MPIA, Heidelberg), has measured the radio emission for a large sample of galaxies with the Effelsberg 100-m radio telescope at different wavelengths. These galaxies were selected from the KINGFISH sample previously observed in the infrared with the Herschel satellite. This allows for the first time a comparative study of a total of 52 spiral galaxies. A reliable method could be established to determine the star formation rate exclusively from radio data without including other spectral regimes.

  • Two Dimensional Circuit with Magnetic Quasi-Particles

    Classical integrated circuit (left) in contrast to integrated magnon circuit with two dimensional connections. Credit: AG Hillebrands

    Whether smart phone, computer or dialysis machine – there is no electronic device without chips and their electronic components inside. The individual circuit elements are therefore often wired using three dimensional so called bridge constructions. Currently, physicists at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern are working on a more efficient variation, where specific quasiparticles named magnons instead of electrons are being used. They have shown for the first time, in an initial model, that magnon current flow is possible in an integrated magnon circuit, in which case the components are only being connected two dimensionally. These investigations have been published in ‘Science Advances’

  • UDE koordiniert neues Schwerpunktprogramm: Partikel aus der Flamme

    Man findet sie in Batterien von Smartphones oder in Katalysatoren: Nanomaterialien mit definierten Eigenschaften sind in der Industrie gefragt. Doch bisher ist ihre großtechnische Herstellung schwierig. Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) hat daher ein neues Schwerpunktprogramm zum Thema „Nanopartikelsynthese in Sprayflammen“ eingerichtet. Koordiniert wird es von Prof. Dr. Christof Schulz von der Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE).

  • UDE: Wie kleine Magnete entspannen

    Magnetische Nanopartikel sind wahre Allrounder: Man verwendet sie zum Beispiel in der Krebstherapie, in Lautsprechern oder in Stoßdämpfern. Doch so verschiedene Anwendungen erfordern möglichst genau eingestellte Materialeigenschaften. Forscher um Professor Heiko Wende vom Center for Nanointegration (CENIDE) der Universität Duisburg-Essen (UDE) haben nun analysiert, wie solche Partikel relaxen, und ihre Ergebnisse in der Fachzeitschrift „Nano Letters“ veröffentlicht.

  • Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

    As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

  • Ultraclean Metal-Like Conductivity in Semimetallic WP2

    WP2 and MoP2 exhibit both very large conductivity as well as extremely high MR together due to the robust Weyl points and hydrodynamic effects at low temperature. Nitesh Kumar/ MPI CPfS

    Ultraclean metals show high conductivity with a high number of charge carriers, whereas semiconductors and semimetals with low charge carriers normally show a low conductivity. This scenario in semimetals can be changed if one can protect the carriers from scattering. In a recent study, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, in collaboration with High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML-EMFL), Netherlands; Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD-EMFL) and Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland show extremely large conductivity in a semimetal, WP2. The conductivity of ~ 3 x 108 -1cm-1 in WP2 at 2 K is comparable to highly conducting metals like potassium and copper of the similar purity.

  • Ultracold atoms in a "Rydberg-dress"

    Ultracold atoms in a Rydberg dress picture1 | Fig. 1: From the starting state densely filled with atoms (left), a ring-like structure emerges due to the long range interaction (right). Graphic: MPQ, Quantum Many-Body Systems Division

    Scientists at the MPQ (Garching) and MPIPKS (Dresden) have developed a novel technique to let atoms interact over large distances.

    Many properties of our everyday world can be explained if atoms are thought of as small, solid marbles, which feel each other only if brought in direct contact with each other. The temperature of the air surrounding us, for example, is the result of uncountable, continuously occurring collisions between its constituents. Contrary to this, we also know effects which arise from the interplay between two distant objects. Well-known examples are two magnets which can affect each other also at quite a distance, or the formation of a salt crystal as a regular arrangement of positively charged sodium and negatively charged chlorine ions, which are bound together at large distances by electrical attraction.

  • Ultrafast slow-motion microscope sees a single molecule vibrate

    Single pentacen molecules vibrate on a gold surface. Foto: Dominik Peller

    An international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has now recorded the ultrafast motion of a single molecule directly in time and space by combining a femtosecond laser with an atomic resolution microscope. Atoms and molecules are the constituents of virtually all matter that surrounds us. Interacting with each other while following the rules of nature, they form complex systems ranging from modern technology to living creatures. Their behavior, that is, what they actually do, basically determines all of natural and life sciences. They are so small, however, that we cannot observe them in daily life.

  • Ultrafast Snapshots of Relaxing Electrons in Solids

    Attosecond flashes of light and x-rays take snapshots of fleeting electrons in solids. Graphic: MPQ, Attoelectronics Group

    Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

  • Ultrakompakter Photodetektor

    Ultrakompakter Photodetektor | Ein plasmonischer Detektor, der direkt an einen Silizium-Lichtwellenleiter angekoppelt ist und weniger als ein Mikrometer groß ist, wurde am KIT entwickelt. Grafik: KIT

    Der Datenverkehr wächst weltweit. Glasfaserkabel transportieren die Informationen mit Lichtgeschwindigkeit über weite Entfernungen. An ihrem Ziel müssen die optischen Signale jedoch in elektrische Signale gewandelt werden, um im Computer verarbeitet zu werden. Forscher am KIT haben einen neuartigen Photodetektor entwickelt, dessen geringer Platzbedarf neue Maßstäbe setzt: Das Bauteil weist eine Grundfläche von weniger als einem Millionstel Quadratmillimeter auf, ohne die Datenübertragungsrate zu beeinträchtigen, wie sie im Fachmagazin Optica nun berichten.

  • Ultraschnelle Photoelektronenspektroskopie enthüllt Ringen zwischen Autoionisationskanälen

    Mit Hilfe von zeit-, energie- und winkelaufgelöster Photoelektronenspektroskopie gelang es Forschern vom Max-Born-Institut in Berlin, in Kooperation mit Kollegen aus Mailand und Padua, Schnappschüsse von gekoppelten Rydbergorbitalen während ultraschneller Autoionisation aufzunehmen.