- Published on 30 June 2023
New research looks at navigation strategies for deformable microswimmers in a viscous fluid faced with drifts, strains, and other deformations.
A deformable microswimmer is a small-scale organism or artificial structure that uses sinusoidal body undulations to propel itself through a fluid environment.
The term applies to organisms like bacteria which navigate through fluids using whip-like tails called flagella, sperm cells propelling themselves through the female reproductive system, and even nematodes, tiny worms that move through water or soil with undulations. Microswimmers can also describe tiny microrobots constructed from soft-materials designed to respond to stimuli and perform tasks like drug delivery on a micro-scale.
That means the study of microswimmers has applications in a vast array of scientific fields, from biology to fundamental physics to nanorobotics.
In a new paper in EPJ E by Jérémie Bec, a researcher at CNRS and Centre Inria d’Université Côte d’Azur and his colleagues attempt to find an optimal navigation policy for microswimmers, crucial for enhancing their performance, functionality, and versatility for applications such as targeted drug delivery.
- Published on 28 June 2023
New research looks at the potential for new discoveries in particle physics
The discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012 represented a major turning point for particle physics marking the completion of what is known as the standard model of particle physics. Yet, the standard model can’t answer every question in physics, thus, since this discovery at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) physicists have searched for physics beyond the standard model and to determine what shape future physics will take.
A new paper in EPJ H: Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Physics by Robert Harlander and Jean-Philippe Martinez of the Institute for Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology, RWTH Aachen University, Germany, and Gregor Schiemann from the Faculty of Humanities and Cultural Studies, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany, considers the idea that particle physics may be on the verge of a new era of discovery and understanding in particle physics. The paper also considers the implications of the many possible scenarios for the future of high-energy physics.
- Published on 26 June 2023
Guest Editors: Alexey V. Verkhovtsev, Vincenzo Guidi, Nigel J. Mason, Andrey V. Solov’yov
Understanding the Dynamics of Systems on the Nanoscale forms the core of a multidisciplinary research area addressing many challenging interdisciplinary problems at the interface of physics, chemistry, biology, and materials science. They include problems of structure formation, fusion and fission, collision and fragmentation, surfaces and interfaces, collective electronic excitations, reactivity, nanoscale phase and morphological transitions, irradiation driven transformations of complex molecular systems, biodamage, channeling phenomena, and many more. Common to these interdisciplinary scientific problems is the central role of the structure formation and dynamics of animate and inanimate matter on the nanometer scale.
This topical issue presents a collection of research papers devoted to different aspects of the Dynamics of Systems on the Nanoscale, ranging from fundamental research on elementary atomic and molecular mechanisms to studies at a more applied level, covering innovative theoretical, experimental and computational modeling techniques. Some of the contributions discuss specific applications of the research results in several modern and emerging technologies, such as controlled nanofabrication with charged particle beams or the design and practical realization of novel gamma-ray crystal-based light sources.
- Published on 19 June 2023
New research looks at the problem of solving a physics problem starting with observational data and working backwards
The early success of physics comes mainly from solving direct or forward problems in which the physical state of a system can be described from a well-defined physical model and from governing equations. Yet, there exists a different type of problem, inverse problems, that are trickier to solve but are crucial to fields such as engineering, astrophysics and geophysics.
Solving these inverse problems requires taking a set of observational data and then working backwards, or inverting the problem, to arrive at the causal factors that gave rise to the data.
A new paper in EPJ B by Universidade Federal do Rio researchers Gilberto Corso and João Medeiros de Araujo, considers the possibility of solving inverse problems in physics by using statistical information from noise statistics.
- Published on 19 June 2023
Low-dimensional quantum systems named ‘spin ladders’ are strongly linked to superconductivity. A new theoretical approach has accurately predicted the nature of the spin ladder which appears in real chemical compound – possibly paving the way for new discoveries of advanced superconductors.
When fabricated in 1 or 2 dimensions, systems of particles whose quantum spins interact with each other can display some unique quantum properties. Through new research published in EPJ B, Asif Iqbal and Baidur Rahaman at Aliah University in Kolkata, India, developed a new theoretical technique for calculating the structures and interactions taking place in these unique materials. Their approach could pave the way for advanced new superconductors – which allow electric currents to flow through them with zero resistance.
- Published on 17 May 2023
Depending on the friction and external bias forces they experience, self-propelled Brownian particles will take on one of four possible states of motion. The discovery could help researchers to draw deeper insights into the behaviours of these unique systems in nature and technology.
Active Brownian motion describes particles which can propel themselves forwards, while still being subjected to random Brownian motions as they are jostled around by their neighbouring particles. Through new analysis published in EPJ E, Meng Su at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China, together with Benjamin Lindner at Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, have discovered that these motions can be accurately described using four distinct mathematical patterns.
- Published on 08 May 2023
New research looks at why cycling has a low uptake among women in urban areas
Over recent years not only has cycling proved itself to be an outdoor activity with tremendous health benefits, but it has also presented itself as a useful tool in the quest to find an environmentally friendly method of urban transportation.
Despite the increasing popularity of cycling, many countries still have a negligible uptake in the pursuit and this is even more pronounced when considering how many women engage in cycling. To this day, a mostly unexplained gender gap exists in cycling.
A new paper in EPJ Data Science by the University of Turin Department of Computer Science researcher Alice Battiston and her co-authors attempts to understand the determinants behind the gender gap in cycling on a large scale.
- Published on 08 May 2023
While neural networks can help to improve the accuracy of fluid flow simulations, new research shows how their accuracy is limited unless the right approach is taken. By embedding fluid properties into neural networks, simulation accuracy can improve by orders of magnitude.
The Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) is a simulation technique used to describe the dynamics of fluids. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in employing neural networks for computational modelling of fluids. The results of a collaboration between researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology and Los Alamos National Laboratory, published in EPJ E, show how neural networks can be embedded into a LBM framework to model collisions between fluid particles. The team found that it is essential to embed the correct physical properties into the neural network architecture to preserve accuracy. These discoveries could deepen researchers’ understanding of how to model fluid flows.
- Published on 04 May 2023
Heating clusters of these elements reveals key differences
The bonds between clusters of elements in the fourteenth group of the periodic table are known to be fickle. Ranging from the nonmetal carbon, to the metalloids silicon and germanium, to the metals tin and lead, all these elements share the same configuration of valence electrons – electrons in their atoms’ outermost energy level. However, clusters formed from these elements respond differently to being excited with laser pulses. Studying the response of atomic clusters to photoexcitation as a function of the element they are composed of and their number of atoms reveals patterns that can be used to gain insight into their structure and binding mechanisms.
- Published on 04 May 2023
Austenitic steel is a potential material for nuclear fusion reactors
Producing energy on Earth through nuclear fusion, the type of reaction that powers the Sun, has proven to be a major challenge. The extreme conditions needed for such a reaction require the walls of a nuclear fusion device to be made of a material with a particular set of mechanical properties, including being able to withstand incredibly high temperatures and be shock- and corrosion-resistant. Austenitic steel, a non-magnetic steel with a crystalline structure, is one of the materials considered for use in nuclear fusion devices.