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From a classical laser to a 'quantum laser'

Rainer Blatt's and Piet Schmidt's research team from the University of Innsbruck have successfully realized a single-atom laser, which shows the properties of a classical laser as well as quantum mechanical properties of the atom-photon interaction.

Posted: Mar 31st, 2010

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Materials: Twin tricks

'Nanotwinned' metals display both ultrahigh strength and ductility by forcing crystal dislocations to behave in strange ways.

Posted: Mar 31st, 2010

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New path to solar energy via solid-state photovoltaics

Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found a new mechanism by which the photovoltaic effect can take place in semiconductor thin-films. This new route to energy production overcomes the bandgap voltage limitation that continues to plague conventional solid-state solar cells.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2010

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Why atoms in solid matter show a preference for certain arrangements

Nature likes some symmetries, but dislikes others. Ordered solids often display a so-called 6-fold rotation symmetry. To achieve this kind of symmetry, the atoms in a plane surround themselves with six neighbours in an arrangement similar to that found in a honeycomb. As opposed to this, ordered materials with 7-fold, 9-fold or 11-fold symmetries do not appear to arise in nature.

Posted: Mar 30th, 2010

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