Scientists can now detect magnetic behavior at the atomic level with a new electron microscopy technique developed by a team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Uppsala University, Sweden. The researchers took a counterintuitive approach by taking advantage of optical distortions that they typically try to eliminate.
"It's a new approach to measure magnetism at the atomic scale," ORNL's Juan Carlos Idrobo said. "We will be able to study materials in a new way. Hard drives, for instance, are made by magnetic domains, and those magnetic domains are about 10 nanometers apart." One nanometer is a billionth of a meter, and the researchers plan to refine their technique to collect magnetic signals from individual atoms that are ten times smaller than a nanometer.
"If we can understand the interaction of those domains with atomic resolution, perhaps in the future we will able to decrease the size of magnetic hard drives," Idrobo said. "We won't know without looking at it."
Researchers have traditionally used scanning transmission electron microscopes to determine where atoms are located within materials. This new technique allows scientists to collect more information about how the atoms behave.
"Magnetism has its origins at the atomic scale, but the techniques that we use to measure it usually have spatial resolutions that are way larger than one atom," Idrobo said. "With an electron microscope, you can make the electron probe as small as possible and if you know how to control the probe, you can pick up a magnetic signature."
The ORNL-Uppsala team developed the technique by rethinking a cornerstone of electron microscopy known as aberration correction. Researchers have spent decades working to eliminate different kinds of aberrations, which are distortions that arise in the electron-optical lens and blur the resulting images.
Researchers at HRL Laboratories, LLC, have achieved a new milestone in 3D printing technology by demonstrating an approach to additively manufacture ceramics that overcomes the limits of traditional ceramic processing an
Surprising effect occurs when light is confined to fewer than three dimensions
Photons can have half-integer values of angular momentum when they are confined to fewer than three dimensions. That is the conclusion of physicists in Ireland, who have revived an experiment first done in the 1830s to show that photons are not limited to having just integer values of angular momentum. The discovery could have applications in quantum computing and could also boost the capacity of optical-fibre data transmission.
The angular momentum of light comes in two varieties: spin and orbital. Spin is associated with optical polarization, which is the orientation of light's electric-field oscillations. Orbital angular momentum rotates a light beam's wavefront around its propagation axis, giving it a corkscrew shape.
Individually, the two types of angular momentum come in multiples of the reduced Planck's constant, ħ. For spin, those multiples are either +1 or –1, while the orbital variety can take any integer value. To date, physicists have assumed that a photon's total angular momentum is simply the sum of these two parts and that it therefore comes in integer multiples of ħ. But in the latest research, Paul Eastham of Trinity College Dublin and colleagues have shown that the total angular momentum can in fact take on half-integer values.
Inspiration for the work, says Eastham, came from celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Irish mathematician William Hamiltonin 2005. Hamilton and physicist Humphrey Lloyd showed, in the 1830s, that a beam of light passing through a "biaxial" crystal takes on the shape of a hollow cylinder. The void at its centre is now known to be caused by the light acquiring orbital angular momentum. The bicentennial prompted renewed interest in this effect among physicists in Ireland, says Eastham, who joined Trinity College in 2009 and then started to think about exactly how such beams behave quantum-mechanically.
‘Is there life after death?’ is a question that has dominated human thinking since time immemorial. But now researchers have discovered that an animal’s genes can ‘live’ on for up to four days after its body has died, Science Magazine reported.
A Chinese supercomputer has topped a list of the world's fastest computers again this year, and for the first time the winning system uses Chinese-designed processors instead of U.S. technology.
The announcement Monday is a new milestone for Chinese supercomputer development and a further erosion of past U.S. dominance of the field. Last year's Chinese winner in the TOP500 ranking maintained by researchers in the United States and Germany slipped to No. 2, followed by a computer at the U.S. government's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
Also this year, China displaced the United States for the first time as the country with the most supercomputers in the top 500. China had 167 systems and the United States had 165. Japan was a distant No. 3 with 29 systems.
Supercomputers are one of a series of technologies targeted by China's ruling Communist Party for development and have received heavy financial support. Such systems are used for weather forecasting, designing nuclear weapons, analyzing oilfields and other specialized purposes.
"Considering that just 10 years ago, China claimed a mere 28 systems on the list, with none ranked in the top 30, the nation has come further and faster than any other country in the history of supercomputing," the TOP500 organizers said in a statement.
This year's champion is the Sunway TaihuLight at the National Supercomputing Center in Wuxi, west of Shanghai, according to TOP500. It was developed by China's National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology using entirely Chinese-designed processors.
The TaihuLight is capable of 93 petaflops, or quadrillion calculations per second, according to TOP500. It is intended for use in engineering and research including climate, weather, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and data analytics.
Its top speed is about five times that of Oak Ridge's Titan, which uses Cray, NVIDIA and Opteron technology. Other countries with computers in the Top 10 were Japan, Switzerland, Germany and Saudi Arabia.
A microchip containing 1,000 independent programmable processors has been designed by a team at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The energy-efficient 'KiloCore' chip has a maximum computation rate of 1.78 trillion instructions per second and contains 621 million transistors.
A new multi-step brain imaging method called ClearMap creates a snapshot of neuronal activity across the entire brain of an adult mouse1.
The tool, described 25 May in Cell, could help researchers understand how symphonies of neurons firing during social interactions differ between mouse models of autism and typical mice.
Scientists have used various methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, to record synchronized activity in brain regions. But these techniques cannot identify which patterns of activity correspond with particular behaviors.
In the new method, a specialized microscope shines light on various depths of the mouse brain to produce a three-dimensional (3D) rendering of active neurons. New software then superimposes this image onto a publicly available atlas of brain structures. Scientists can analyze this combination to pinpoint the brain regions that fire in synchrony and match that activity to what the animal was doing just before they examined its brain.
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