Applied physics

  • Article
    | Open Access

    The successful in-orbit operation of an electric space propulsion system based on iodine, rather than the more expensive and difficult-to-store xenon, is demonstrated.

    • Dmytro Rafalskyi
    • , Javier Martínez Martínez
    •  & Ane Aanesland
  • Article |

    An acoustic topological gallery insulator constructed from sonic crystals made of thermoplastic rods decorated with carbon nanotube films enables the out-coupling of amplified and focused sound at audible frequencies.

    • Bolun Hu
    • , Zhiwang Zhang
    •  & Johan Christensen
  • Article |

    A micromachine less than 100 micrometres across, made of arrays of nanomagnets on hinged panels, is encoded with multiple shape transformations  and actuated with a magnetic field.

    • Jizhai Cui
    • , Tian-Yun Huang
    •  & Laura J. Heyderman
  • Article |

    A carrier-resolved photo-Hall technique is developed to extract properties of both majority and minority carriers simultaneously and determine the critical parameters of semiconductor materials under light illumination.

    • Oki Gunawan
    • , Seong Ryul Pae
    •  & Byungha Shin
  • Letter |

    A stretchable polymer pump that uses electric fields to accelerate ions in dielectric liquids can generate flow even when bent into different conformations, offering applications in soft robotics.

    • Vito Cacucciolo
    • , Jun Shintake
    •  & Herbert Shea
  • Letter |

    Mott materials feature scale-less relaxation dynamics after the insulator-to-metal transition that make its electric triggering dependent on recent switching events.

    • Javier del Valle
    • , Pavel Salev
    •  & Ivan K. Schuller
  • Article |

    The displacement of a mechanical resonator is measured to within 35% of the Heisenberg uncertainty limit, enabling feedback cooling to the quantum ground state, nine decibels below the quantum-backaction limit.

    • Massimiliano Rossi
    • , David Mason
    •  & Albert Schliesser
  • Letter |

    A network of four spin-torque nano-oscillators can be trained in real time to recognize spoken vowels, in a simple and scalable approach that could be exploited for large-scale neural networks.

    • Miguel Romera
    • , Philippe Talatchian
    •  & Julie Grollier
  • Letter |

    A continuous-wave room-temperature maser is demonstrated by combining a cavity with a high Purcell factor with the narrow linewidth of nitrogen–vacancy defect centres in diamond.

    • Jonathan D. Breeze
    • , Enrico Salvadori
    •  & Christopher W. M. Kay
  • Letter |

    A two-dimensional phononic quadrupole topological insulator is demonstrated experimentally using mechanical metamaterials, which has both the one-dimensional edge states and the zero-dimensional corner states predicted by theory.

    • Marc Serra-Garcia
    • , Valerio Peri
    •  & Sebastian D. Huber
  • Article |

    A robust and scale-independent strategy for the design of reconfigurable architected materials (in which properties are adjusted by altering structure rather than composition) is described, based on space-filling assemblies of polyhedra.

    • Johannes T. B. Overvelde
    • , James C. Weaver
    •  & Katia Bertoldi
  • Letter |

    Holograms for sound waves, encoded in a 3D printed plate, are used to shape sound fields that can be used for the contactless manipulation of objects.

    • Kai Melde
    • , Andrew G. Mark
    •  & Peer Fischer
  • Letter |

    A light-weight, low-cost microelectromechanical system gravimeter is presented with sensitivity and stability high enough to measure the elastic deformation of the Earth’s crust as a result of tidal forces, enabling many applications.

    • R. P. Middlemiss
    • , A. Samarelli
    •  & G. D. Hammond
  • Letter |

    Laser-plasma particle accelerators offer much higher acceleration than conventional methods, which could enable high-energy applications; here two separate accelerator stages, driven by two independent lasers, are coupled using plasma-based optics.

    • S. Steinke
    • , J. van Tilborg
    •  & W. P. Leemans
  • Letter |

    Spontaneous levitation and trampoline-like bouncing behaviour of water droplets on rigid superhydrophobic surfaces in a low-pressure environment are observed, and are due to a build-up of overpressure in the surface texture beneath the droplets.

    • Thomas M. Schutzius
    • , Stefan Jung
    •  & Dimos Poulikakos
  • Letter |

    A negative refractive index, a property that does not exist in natural materials, can be produced in so-called metamaterials by combining two building blocks; here it is shown that it is possible to design and fabricate a metamaterial with a negative refractive index that consists of only one type of building block by taking advantage of its crystalline structure, and this approach is demonstrated through an acoustic superlens.

    • Nadège Kaina
    • , Fabrice Lemoult
    •  & Geoffroy Lerosey
  • Review Article |

    To evaluate the promise of potential computing technologies, this review examines a wide range of fundamental limits, such as to performance, power consumption, size and cost, from the device level to the system level.

    • Igor L. Markov
  • Letter |

    Fusion fuel gains greater than unity — which are crucial to the generation of fusion energy — are achieved on the US National Ignition Facility using the ‘high-foot’ implosion method, which reduces instability in the implosion of the fuel.

    • O. A. Hurricane
    • , D. A. Callahan
    •  & R. Tommasini
  • Review Article |

    The phonon is the physical particle responsible for the transmission of sound and heat; controlling the properties of phonons in materials could trigger many advances, which are reviewed here.

    • Martin Maldovan
  • Letter |

    Growth of a flagellum outside the bacterial cell proceeds by successive subunit acquisition from the cell export machinery to form a chain that is pulled to the flagellum tip, where subunit crystallization provides the entropic force to drive the process.

    • Lewis D. B. Evans
    • , Simon Poulter
    •  & Gillian M. Fraser
  • Brief Communications Arising |

    • X. Z. Zhang
    • , C. H. Wan
    •  & X. Y. Tan
  • Letter |

    A diamond chip with nitrogen–vacancy centres is used for magnetic imaging of living magnetotactic bacteria with sub-cellular spatial resolution.

    • D. Le Sage
    • , K. Arai
    •  & R. L. Walsworth
  • Letter |

    A crystalline material is investigated that responds to a slowly increasing external stress by exhibiting impulsive ‘avalanche’ behaviour as well as smooth stress release that is approximately as slow as the external stress rate; unusual oscillatory behaviour in the avalanche time series is reported.

    • Stefanos Papanikolaou
    • , Dennis M. Dimiduk
    •  & Stefano Zapperi
  • Letter |

    A framework is developed in which new connections to a growing network optimize geometric trade-offs between popularity and similarity, instead of simply preferring popular nodes; this approach accurately describes the large-scale evolution of various networks.

    • Fragkiskos Papadopoulos
    • , Maksim Kitsak
    •  & Dmitri Krioukov
  • Article |

    A free-electron laser provides a sufficiently intense source of X-rays to allow X-ray and optical wave mixing, here demonstrated by measuring the induced charge density and associated microscopic fields in single-crystal diamond.

    • T. E. Glover
    • , D. M. Fritz
    •  & J. B. Hastings
  • Letter |

    An electronic current flowing in one conductor can induce a drag current in another spatially separated conductor by means of Coulomb interactions; when these interactions are sufficiently strong the currents become equal and the drag therefore ‘perfect’, as shown here for a bilayer two-dimensional electron system.

    • D. Nandi
    • , A. D. K. Finck
    •  & K. W. West
  • Letter |

    The AWARE-2 camera uses a parallel array of microcameras to capture one-gigapixel images at three frames per minute.

    • D. J. Brady
    • , M. E. Gehm
    •  & S. D. Feller
  • Letter |

    A new class of liquid crystals is reported that undergoes light-induced ordering and order-increasing phase transitions; possible applications include ophthalmic devices, such as variable transmission sunglasses.

    • Tamas Kosa
    • , Ludmila Sukhomlinova
    •  & Timothy J. Bunning
  • Brief Communications Arising |

    • Seungchul Kim
    • , Jonghan Jin
    •  & Seung-Woo Kim
  • Letter |

    Propagating cracks—normally associated with material failure and viewed as undesirable—can be controlled in a film/substrate system, opening up new possibilities for nanofabrication and atomic-scale patterning.

    • Koo Hyun Nam
    • , Il H. Park
    •  & Seung Hwan Ko

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