news 2021



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Materials Science - Physics - 23.12.2021
Templating approach stabilises 'ideal' material for alternative solar cells
Templating approach stabilises ’ideal’ material for alternative solar cells
Researchers have developed a method to stabilise a promising material known as perovskite for cheap solar cells, without compromising its near-perfect performance. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, used an organic molecule as a 'template' to guide perovskite films into the desired phase as they form.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 22.12.2021
2021’s news highlights from the Faculty of Science and Engineering
Our world-leading science and engineering at The University of Manchester has been the cause of some exciting stories this year. Whether it's space, materials, or the climate, our stories have been top news across the country and the world. Here's some of the most popular and interesting news releases from the Faculty of Science and Engineering in 2021.

Materials Science - Physics - 20.12.2021
'Wonder material' phosphorene nanoribbons live up to hype in first demonstration
’Wonder material’ phosphorene nanoribbons live up to hype in first demonstration
Phosphorene nanoribbons have been incorporated into new types of solar cells, dramatically improving the cells' efficiency, in a new study led by UCL and Imperial College London researchers. Phosphorene nanoribbons (PNRs) are ribbon-like strands of the 2D material phosphorous, which, similar to graphene, are made of single-atom-thick layers of atoms.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 20.12.2021
Turbocharged data analysis could prevent gravitational wave computing crunch
A new method of analysing the complex data from massive astronomical events could help gravitational wave astronomers avoid a looming computational crunch. Researchers from the University of Glasgow have used machine learning to develop a new system for processing the data collected from detectors like the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 17.12.2021
New space telescope to uncover secrets of Universe's origins
New space telescope to uncover secrets of Universe’s origins
The NASA-led James Webb Space Telescope, which includes hardware designed and built at UCL and which will image the very first stars to shine in the Universe, is scheduled to be launched into space later this month. The telescope, one of the great space observatories following Hubble, will be launched on-board the Ariane rocket from Europe's spaceport in French Guiana on or after Friday 24 December.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 13.12.2021
Challenging Einstein's greatest theory with extreme stars
Challenging Einstein’s greatest theory with extreme stars
Credit Norbert JunkesMPIfR (Effelsberg), Letourneur and Nanšay Observatory (NRT), ASTRON (WSRT), ATNFCSIRO (Parkes), Anthony Holloway (Jodrell Bank), NRAOAUINSF (VLBA), NSFAUIGreen Bank Observatory (GBT). Researchers at The University of Manchester have helped conduct a 16-year long experiment to challenge Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Chemistry - Physics - 09.12.2021
Precision sieving of gases through atomic pores in graphene
Precision sieving of gases through atomic pores in graphene
By crafting atomic-scale holes in atomically thin membranes, it should be possible to create molecular sieves for precise and efficient gas separation, including extraction of carbon dioxide from air, University of Manchester researchers have found. If a pore size in a membrane is comparable to the size of atoms and molecules, they can either pass through the membrane or be rejected, allowing separation of gases according to their molecular diameters.

Physics - 09.12.2021
Revolutionising imaging through an optical fibre the width of a human hair
A new imaging technique, allowing 3D imaging at video rates through a fibre the width of a human hair, could transform imaging for a wide range of applications in industrial inspection and environmental monitoring. In the longer term the technique could be further developed for applications in medical imaging.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 08.12.2021
Optical cavities could be key to next generation interferometers
A new concept has been developed that has the potential to assist new instruments in the investigation of fundamental science topics such as gravitational waves and dark matter. The concept is described in a paper written by UK Quantum Technology Hub Sensors and Timing researchers at the University of Birmingham and published in , and a related patent application filed by University of Birmingham Enterprise.

Physics - Chemistry - 02.12.2021
Colour-changing magnifying glass gives clear view of infrared light
Colour-changing magnifying glass gives clear view of infrared light
By trapping light into tiny crevices of gold, researchers have coaxed molecules to convert invisible infrared into visible light, creating new low-cost detectors for sensing. It's like listening to slow-rippling earthquake waves by colliding them with a violin string to get a high whistle that's easy to hear, and without breaking the violin Jeremy Baumberg Detecting light beyond the visible red range of our eyes is hard to do, because infrared light carries so little energy compared to ambient heat at room temperature.

Environment - Physics - 01.12.2021
Putting the fizz into salty water
Putting the fizz into salty water
A new study sheds light on the way salty water acts in deep-sea aquifers, paving the way for further research into carbon storage deep beneath the seabed. Pools of salty water (brine) trapped beneath the seabed offer an unparalleled opportunity to sequester carbon and keep it trapped for millennia. Yet research in this area remains rudimentary, as little is known about the way sodium chloride (salt) behaves when it-s combined with carbon dioxide several kilometres beneath the surface of the earth, where conditions of heat and pressure are extreme.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 01.12.2021
Opinion: AI can reliably spot molecules on exoplanets - and might even discover new laws of Physics
Opinion: AI can reliably spot molecules on exoplanets - and might even discover new laws of Physics
Research into the logic behind AI shows that algorithms think in reliable and scientific ways that could help us learn undiscovered laws of physics, say PhD candidate Kai Hou Yip and Dr Quentin Changeat (both UCL Physics & Astronomy). Do you know what the Earth's atmosphere is made of? You'd probably remember it's oxygen, and maybe nitrogen.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 29.11.2021
Space dust analysis could solve mystery of the origins of Earth’s water
An international team of scientists may have solved a key mystery about the origins of the Earth's water, after uncovering persuasive new evidence pointing to an unlikely culprit - the Sun. In a new paper published today in the journal Nature Astronomy , a team of researchers from the UK, Australia and America describe how new analysis of an ancient asteroid suggests that extraterrestrial dust grains carried water to Earth as the planet formed.

Materials Science - Physics - 22.11.2021
Mystery of high-performing solar cell materials revealed in stunning clarity | University of Cambridge
Mystery of high-performing solar cell materials revealed in stunning clarity | University of Cambridge
Researchers have visualised, for the first time, why perovskites - materials which could replace silicon in next-generation solar cells - are seemingly so tolerant of defects in their structure. The findings , led by researchers from the , are published .

Physics - 22.11.2021
Fundamental particles modelled in beam of light
Scientists at the University of Birmingham have succeeded in creating an experimental model of an elusive kind of fundamental particle called a skyrmion in a beam of light. The breakthrough provides physicists with a real system demonstrating the behaviour of skyrmions, first proposed 60 years ago by a University of Birmingham mathematical physicist, Professor Tony Skyrme.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 16.11.2021
Research casts new light on processes behind solar eruptions
New research into the powerful magnetic fields which form inside the sun and cause violent eruptions could help predict solar flares. Mathematicians and astrophysicists from the UK and Italy have comprehensively modelled the emergence of twisted magnetic fields into the solar atmosphere, and verified their models through observations - a breakthrough in scientific understanding of the process by which solar flares occur.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 12.11.2021
Computer modelling of black hole's jets supports Einstein's theory
Computer modelling of black hole’s jets supports Einstein’s theory
An international team involving UCL researchers has developed a computer model of the powerful jets released by the M87 black hole, matching the observations of astronomers and providing new support for the theory of general relativity. The black hole launches a jet of plasma at very close to the speed of light, a so-called relativistic jet, over a distance of more than 6,000 light years (that is, the jet extends beyond the giant galaxy in which the black hole resides).

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 11.11.2021
Black holes of 'all shapes and sizes' in new gravitational wave catalogue
Black holes of ’all shapes and sizes’ in new gravitational wave catalogue
The largest catalogue of gravitational wave events ever assembled has been released today, with dozens of ripples in space time captured by a global network of detectors. The aftershocks of huge astronomical events, including rare mergers of neutron stars and black holes, were picked up by an international team of scientists, include experts from Cardiff University's Gravity Exploration Institute.

Physics - Electroengineering - 08.11.2021
Doppler effect and sonic boom in graphene devices opens new direction in quantum electronics research
A team including researchers from The University of Manchester's National Graphene Institute (NGI) has revealed that sonic boom and Doppler-shifted sound waves can be created in a graphene transistor, giving new insights into this advanced material and its potential for use in nanoscale electronic technologies.

Health - Physics - 04.11.2021
Brightest ever X-ray shows lung vessels altered by Covid-19
The damage caused by Covid-19 to the lungs' smallest blood vessels has been intricately captured using high-energy X-rays emitted by a special type of particle accelerator. Scientists from UCL and the European Synchrotron Research Facility (ESRF) used a new revolutionary imaging technology called Hierarchical Phase-Contrast Tomography (HiP-CT), to scan donated human organs, including lungs from a Covid-19 donor.
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