Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them. Able to operate in ordinary, room-temperature environments, yet exploiting some of the deepest principles of quantum physics, these optomechanical systems can act as inherently accurate thermometers, or conversely, as a

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Designing new materials from ‘small’ data

Finding new functional materials is always tricky. But searching for very specific properties among a relatively small family of known materials is even more difficult. But a team from Northwestern Engineering and Los Alamos National Laboratory found a workaround. The group developed a novel workflow combining machine learning and density functional theory calculations to create

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Creating atomic scale nanoribbons

Silicon crystals are the semiconductors most commonly used to make transistors, which are critical electronic components used to carry out logic operations in computing. However, as faster and more powerful processors are created, silicon has reached a performance limit: the faster it conducts electricity, the hotter it gets, leading to overheating. Graphene, made of a

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Researchers create first ‘water-wave laser’

Technion researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that laser emissions can be created through the interaction of light and water waves. This “water-wave laser” could someday be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves, or as a feature on microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” devices used to study cell biology and to

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How visual attention selects important information

Studies of visual attention discovered an interesting inconsistency in spatial property. Specifically, some studies reported broad spatial spreads around attended locations, while others reported a selection of information at the attention focus. For example — according to one study, when a person looks for a friend in a crowd, visual attention makes not only the

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