Science X Newsletter Tuesday, Sep 7

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for September 7, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers realize a spin field-effect transistor at room temperature

The realization of an Ising Hamiltonian solver based on coupled phase-transition nano-oscillators

These fridge-free COVID-19 vaccines are grown in plants and bacteria

Physicists engineer new property out of 'white' graphene

Making catalytic surfaces more active to help decarbonize fuels and chemicals

Natural archive reveals Atlantic tempests through time

Healthier supermarket layout improves customers' food choices, study shows

Extinct Tasmanian tiger brought to life in colour footage

Possible evidence of paternal care in bigfin reef squid

Identification of bacterial proteins that promote neurodegeneration

AI-powered system to diagnose glaucoma using eye images

Contactless and spatially structured cooling by directing thermal radiation

Spider silk inspires a new material with extraordinary mechanical properties

Creating a non-radiating source of electromagnetism

Newly developed evolved enzymes produce renewable isobutene

Physics news

Researchers realize a spin field-effect transistor at room temperature

A crucial goal of spintronics research is to coherently manipulate electron spins at room temperature using electrical current. This is particularly valuable as it would enable the development of numerous devices, including spin field-effect transistors.

Contactless and spatially structured cooling by directing thermal radiation

Everyone knows what it's like to be out on a cold and cloudless winter night when the skies are studded with stars. In the open, the cold is all too keenly felt. But in a forest, under the protective cover of the trees, it is less so. The reason for this difference is thermal radiation, which is emitted by the body and, depending on the nature of the surroundings, may be replaced by a smaller amount of radiation emanating from the environment. With a temperature of −270 degrees Celsius, the universe is far colder than our own immediate surroundings, and therefore emits hardly any thermal radiation. Research groups around the world have recently begun to explore novel methods for cooling buildings and clothing, even in broad daylight, by enhancing the rate of heat exchange with the universe—without the need for further energy consumption. However, potential applications of these methods for technological or experimental purposes—on a small scale—have rarely been investigated up to now.

Creating a non-radiating source of electromagnetism

An international team of researchers has developed a way to create non-radiating sources of electromagnetism. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their technique and how well it worked when they tested a model based on their ideas.

New opportunities for light-powered battery and fuel cell design

Automotive and other industries are hard at work improving the performance of rechargeable batteries and fuel cells. Now, researchers from Japan have made a discovery that will enable new possibilities for future environmental stability in this line of work.

Tea time gets flavor boost from thin film, impure water

Getting your day started sometimes feels like it requires magic, but making a good cup of tea requires a little science. In Physics of Fluids, researchers from ETH Zurich describe how they applied the science of rheology to the seemingly quaint purpose of improving the quality of a cup of black tea.

Exploring quantum gravity and entanglement using pendulums

When it comes to a marriage with quantum theory, gravity is the lone holdout among the four fundamental forces in nature. The three others—the electromagnetic force, the weak force, which is responsible for radioactive decay, and the strong force, which binds neutrons and protons together within the atomic nucleus—have all merged with quantum theory to successfully describe the universe on the tiniest of scales, where the laws of quantum mechanics must play a leading role.

Optical techniques offer fast, efficient COVID-19 detection

Without the prospect of herd immunity on the immediate horizon, speedy detection for COVID-19 remains imperative for helping to curb the pandemic. Point-of-care testing that can provide immediate results is an urgent need.

Walking with coffee is a little-understood feat of physics

Walking with coffee is something most of us do every day without considering the balancing act it requires. In fact, there's a lot of physics preventing the coffee from spilling over.

New powerful laser passes field test

A powerful experimental laser developed by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), TOPTICA Projects and other industry partners passed a key test last month at the Allgaeuer Volkssternwarte Ottobeuren observatory in Germany. The adaptive-optics laser has important additional capabilities compared to existing systems. It is to be installed at the European Space Agency's (ESA) Optical Ground Station in Tenerife, Spain, in the frame of the ESO–ESA Research & Development collaboration. The higher laser power and its chirping system will lead to significant improvements in the sharpness of astronomical images taken with ground-based telescopes. The technology also opens the door for developments in laser satellite communication.

Tunable surface plasmon-polariton resonance in organic light-emitting devices based on corrugated alloy electrodes

In a new publication from Opto-Electronic Advances, researchers led by Professor Yan-Gang Bi from Jilin University, Changchun, China discuss tunable surface plasmon-polariton resonance in organic light-emitting devices based on corrugated alloy electrodes.

Photoluminescence control by hyperbolic metamaterials and metasurfaces

In a new publication from Opto-Electronic Advances, researchers led by Professor Andrei V. Lavrinenko and Dr. Pavel N. Melentiev from the DTU Fotonik-Department of Photonics Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark and the Nanoplasmonics and Nanophotonics Group, Institute of Spectroscopy RAS, Moscow, Russia discuss photoluminescence control by hyperbolic metamaterials and metasurfaces.

Astronomy and Space news

Cold classical Kuiper Belt objects

The Kuiper Belt is a disk of small icy bodies, thought to be remnants of the early Solar System, that circles the Sun from the orbit of Neptune (about 30 astronomical units, AU, from the Sun) to about 50 AU. KBOs orbit at significant inclination angles with respect to the plane of the planetary orbits. Those called classical KBOs orbit within a specific range of distances from Neptune, and a subgroup of them, called cold classical KBOs (CCKBOs), has very low inclination angle, less than about six degrees. Astronomers think that CCKBOs are dynamically pristine, that is, they formed in-situ rather than having been scattered into their orbits by Neptune or other processes. Their low inclination angle reflects this history.

Technology news

The realization of an Ising Hamiltonian solver based on coupled phase-transition nano-oscillators

Combinatorial optimization problems are a class of hard computational problems that are commonly solved by computers for a variety of applications. Combinatorial optimization algorithms, for instance, allow economists to make predictions about a given market or help streaming platforms to recommend other suitable movies for individual users based on their past activity.

Efficiency of flexible CIGS solar cells measured at record 21.4%

A group of scientists at Empa has pushed the efficiency of flexible solar cells to a new limit. Independent measurements revealed an efficiency of 21.4 percent when these types of solar cells convert light into electricity. For comparison: the best efficiency of a non-flexible solar cell made of crystalline silicon is reported at 26.7 percent.

Helping semiconductors find a cooler way to relax

Bandgap engineering can improve the performance of optoelectronic devices that aim to harness the energy of "hot" electrons, research from KAUST shows.

In world first, bitcoin becomes legal tender in El Salvador

El Salvador on Tuesday became the first country to introduce bitcoin as legal tender, with high demand forcing a freeze of its online cyber "wallet" system on Day 1.

High-performance batteries for transporting mobility into the future

High-performance batteries are key to the comprehensive roll-out of e-mobility. ETH Pioneer Fellow Paul Baade is looking into how to manufacture them more cost-effectively.

AI-powered tool used to map sustainable roofs globally

As cities around the world continue to urbanize, there is a greater need to expand and optimize existing spaces. Cities have accelerated looking into how underutilized rooftop spaces might contribute to climate action, food production, and other purposes. Sustainable roofs, such as those with greenery and photovoltaic panels, can contribute to the roadmap for reducing the carbon footprint of cities but while studies have been done to gauge their potential, few track the actual performance of cities.

Toyota to spend $13.6 billion on electric car batteries by 2030

Toyota said Tuesday it will invest $13.6 billion into batteries for electric and hybrid cars by 2030, as the world's biggest automaker pushes to make its production carbon-neutral.

IAEA seeks Japan transparency in release of Fukushima water

Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency asked Japan on Tuesday for full and detailed information about a plan to release treated but still radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.

Apple to hold Sept. 14 event for new iPhone line, other devices

Apple Inc. has set the date for its biggest product launch of the year: Sept. 14. That's when the company is set to unveil its latest line of iPhones and other products ahead of a critical holiday season.

Merkel's record mixed as she takes wheel at last IAA show

No German leader's diary would be complete without a visit to the venerable IAA motor show, which welcomes Angela Merkel on Tuesday for the last time in her chancellorship.

Tycoon founder steps back as China tech scrutiny deepens

The billionaire founder of Chinese e-commerce giant is to step back from daily operations, his company announced, making him the latest A-list CEO to retreat from the limelight as Beijing squeezes the tech industry.

9/11's legacy of drone warfare has changed how we view the military

In October 2001, nearly one month after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, a US Air Force pilot made history as the first person to conduct a lethal strike with a modern drone—the Predator.

Tech crackdown is a cloud over China economy, ex-WTO chief says

China's regulatory efforts to increase control over its technology sector adds another "decoupling engine" to the global economy, which could weigh on Chinese growth prospects, the former head of the World Trade Organization said.

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Today's Top Stories - September 07, 2021

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