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Particles and Fields


EPJ B Highlight - A step closer to composite-based electronics

An illustration of a small portion of a square lattice. © I. Balberg et al.

A new study demonstrates that electrical resistivity obeys a staircase-like dependence on the conducting particle concentration in composite materials

Composite materials are of increasing interest to physicists. Typically, they are made of electrically conducting elements - such as spherical metallic or elongated carbon particles - embedded in an insulating glass or a polymer matrix. Their controllable electrical resistivity combined with their light and flexible properties, makes them suited for applications in flexible electronics. Now, a theoretical model, confirmed experimentally, elucidates how electrical resistivity varies with the concentration of the particles in these composite materials. These findings have been published in EPJ B, by Isaac Balberg and colleagues from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.


EPJ D Colloquium - No qualms about quantum theory

© Kevin Dooley/Flickr

The alleged shortcomings of quantum theory do not hold up to scrutiny, as the theory proves sound for the prediction of probability of events connected to the fate of sub-atomic scale particles

A colloquium paper published in EPJ D peers into the alleged issues associated with quantum theory. Berthold-Georg Englert from the National University of Singapore reviews a selection of the potential problems of the theory. In particular, he looks into cases when mathematical tools are confused with the actual observed sub-atomic scale phenomena they are describing. Such tools are essential to provide an interpretation of the observations, but cannot be confused with the actual object of studies.


EPJ B Highlight - Revisiting quantum effects in MEMS

Example of MEMS. © United States Government Work

New calculations shows that the influence of quantum effects on the operating conditions of nanodevices has, until now, been overestimated

Micro- and nano-electromechanical devices, referred to as MEMS and NEMS, are ubiquitous. These nanoscale machines with movable parts are used, for example, to trigger cars’ airbags following a shock. They can also be found in smartphones, allowing them to detect how to adequately display the screen for the viewer. The trouble is that, as their size decreases, forces typically experienced at the quantum level start to matter in these nanodevices. Mexican physicists have studied the mechanical and electrical stability of MEMS and NEMS, depending on the plate thickness and the nature of the material used. The results have now been published in EPJ B by Raul Esquivel-Sirvent and Rafael Perez-Pascual from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in Mexico City.


EPJ E Highlight - Levitating foam liquid under the spell of magnetic fields

Image of the surface of the foam chamber under experimental study. © N.Isert et al.

No better solution to studying ever-draining foams than applying a strong magnetic field to keep the liquid in the foam at a standstill by levitating its water molecules

Foams fascinate, partly due to their short lifespan. Foams change as fluid drains out of their structure over time. It is precisely their ephemeral nature which has, until now, prevented scientists from experimentally probing their characteristic dynamics further. Instead, foams have often been studied theoretically. Now, Nathan Isert from the University of Konstanz, Germany and colleagues, have devised a method of keeping foams in shape using a magnet, which allows their dynamics to be investigated experimentally, as recently described in EPJ E.


EPJ B Highlight - Numerical validation of quantum magnetic ordering

This study focuses on the (3+1)-dimensional spatially anisotropic quantum Heisenberg model. © M.-T. Kao et al.

Numerical simulations designed to confirm the magnetic characteristics of 3D quantum materials largely match the theoretical predictions

A new study set out to use numerical simulations to validate previous theoretical predictions describing materials exhibiting so-called antiferromagneting characteristics. A recently discovered theory shows that the ordering temperature depends on two factors—namely the spin-wave velocity and the staggered magnetisation. The results, largely consistent with these theoretical predictions, have now been published in a paper in EPJ B by Ming-Tso Kao and Fu-Jiun Jiang from the National Taiwan Normal University, in Taipei.


EPJ E Highlight - Uncovering liquid foams bubbly acoustics

Typical image of a bubble raft analysed for bubble-size determination. © J.Pierre et al.

First study to shows specific sounds’ speed and attenuation characteristics in liquid foam, opens the door to new type of sound proofing material

Liquid foams fascinate toddlers singing in a bubble bath. Physicists, too, have an interest in their acoustical properties. Borrowing from both porous material and foam science, Juliette Pierre from the Paris Diderot University, Paris, France and her colleagues studied liquid foams. They used an impedance tube to measure the velocity and attenuation of acoustic waves in liquid foams in a broad frequency range. The study published in EPJ E is a first in the literature. It could help in assessing any liquid foam’s bubble size or in designing the optimal foam structure for sound proofing.


EPJ D Highlight - Uniformity: the secret of better fusion ignition

Non-uniformity as a function of the power imbalance. © Temporal et al.

Fusion is one of the holy grails of energy production. Now, theoretical physicists have used simulations to investigate the uniformity of irradiation at the ignition stage of thermonuclear fusion reaction.

One of the ways to achieve thermonuclear fusion is through a controlled reaction between two light variants of hydrogen, called deuterium and tritium. Mauro Temporal, from the École Normale Supérieure Cachan, in France, and colleagues have made theoretical calculations indicating how best to improve the ignition stage of fusion reaction. Their approach, described in a paper published in EPJ D, involves increasing the uniformity of irradiation using high-power laser beams on the external shell of a spherical capsule containing a mix of deuterium and tritium.


EPJ E Highlight - Understanding the evolution of lungs through physical principles

Small bronchia, bronchioles (in white) and pulmonary arteries and veins in the human lung. Courtesy of E. R. Weibel

How fluid dynamics and transport shaped the structure of our lungs in the course of evolution.

Two French physicists, Bernard Sapoval and Marcel Filoche from École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, suggest in a study published in EPJ E how evolution has shaped our lungs through successive optimisations of physical parameters such as conservation of energy and speed of delivery.


EPJ B Colloquium - Conjugated polymer-wrapped carbon nanotubes: physical properties and device applications

s-SWNTs/PCBM heterojunction (Fig. 9c modified from Ref. [77] of the paper).

This EPJ B Colloquium presents an overview of the preparation method and physical properties of a new hybrid system consisting of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) wrapped in conjugated polymers. The technique, which was first demonstrated in 2007, has attracted great interest owing to the high purity of the resulting semiconducting SWNTs and the possibility of applying them in electronic devices. Here, the authors review recent progress in the preparation of these nano-hybrids, their photophysical properties, and their applications in field-effect transistors and photovoltaic devices.


EPJ D Colloquium - Modelling low energy electron and positron tracks in biologically relevant media

An example of single electron tracks simulation in liquid water.

This EPJD colloquium describes an approach whereby the effect of low and intermediate energy (0-100 eV) electrons and positrons can be incorporated into radiation damage models, in particular the deceleration of these particles in biologically-relevant materials (water and representative biomolecules). At the heart of the modelling procedure is a C++ computer program called Low Energy Particle Track Simulation (LEPTS), which is compatible with commonly available general purpose Monte Carlo packages. Input parameters are carefully selected from theoretical and experimental cross-section data and energy loss distribution functions.


G. Dissertori, J. Monroe, K. Skenderis and D. Zeppenfeld

Deputy Editors-in-Chief
D. J. Schwarz

Thank you for your prompt and thorough reply. Given the positive experience with the quality and speed of the review process, I will certainly consider EPJ C also for my future papers.

Roberto Onofrio

ISSN: 1434-6052 (Electronic Edition)

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