Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Applied Physical Sciences

Journal Club: A physicist’s take on the age-old ecological puzzle of how species form communities

Ecologists have long searched for the rules that govern how individual species join together to form a community. Whether forest or desert, the problem is complex. Myriad factors influence a community’s composition and stability —from how strongly species compete to … Continue reading

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Journal Club: A new, twisted topological insulator

About a decade ago, physicists began identifying and probing materials that suffer something of an identity crisis. On the surface of these crystals, electrons flow and form currents, like in a conductor. But in the interior, electrons are pinned and … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Super-sensitive new microscope uses ultracold atoms to image magnetic fields at high precision

In recent years, physicists have developed an arsenal of sensitive, high-resolution tools to probe the smallest magnetic fields, revealing nanoscale subtleties lost in larger-scale measurements. An understanding of these structures can offer insights into exotic quantum materials. A new microscope … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Finding new ways to store higher-density information with ferroelectric materials

Recent findings suggest early proof of principle for a new way to read, write and erase information in much smaller areas than conventional memory. The method entails ferroelectric thin films, which store information using the domains’ polarization directions like the … Continue reading

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New simple theory developed of plastic deformation of metals

Scientists would like to design high-strength structural materials, but much about this work depends on laborious trial and error due to the complexity of plastic deformation — that is, how materials can deform irreversibly. Now researchers propose a unified theory … Continue reading

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C. elegans synchronized swimming

When a group of nematodes gets together in any kind of liquid, they put on quite a show. Each worm waves its body rhythmically to propel itself along. But the waving isn’t all random—in a dense group of Caenorhabditis elegans, … Continue reading

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Liquid metal powers a microfluidic pump

Increasingly researchers are developing lab-on-a-chip devices that can do the work of an entire lab on the area the size of a microchip. Pumps are needed to move tiny amounts of fluid from one chamber to another within these microfluidic … Continue reading

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First images of electron orbitals in complex molecules

The areas where electrons in a molecule are likely to be found in space are known as molecular orbitals. These define the chemical and physical traits of matter, so researchers have long strived to image them, but were missing all … Continue reading

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Naturally occurring melanin could be the future of edible electronics

Naturally occurring melanin possesses electronic properties that allow it to serve as a battery electrode, scientists report for the first time in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The electronics that power iPhones and laptops are optimized for … Continue reading

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Nanoantennae might help view matter during ultrafast timeframes

As scientists grow more capable of analyzing events that zip by at ultrafast timeframes, they would love to investigate complex systems, such as how all the molecules in photosynthesis or the components in quantum computers interact. Now researchers have developed … Continue reading

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