2019 Impact factor 1.347
Condensed Matter and Complex Systems

EPJ B Highlight - New insights into the early stages of creep deformation

Varying strain patterns during creep deformation.

Computer simulations show that the evolution of material structures during creep deformation can modify material properties.

The properties of many materials can change permanently when they are pushed beyond their limits. When a given material is subjected to a force, or ‘load’, which is stronger than a certain limit, it can become so deformed that it won’t return to its original shape, even after the load is removed. However, heavy loads aren’t strictly necessary to deform materials irreversibly; this can also occur if they are subjected to lighter loads over long periods of time, allowing a slow process called ‘creep’ to take place. Physicists have understood for some time that this behaviour involves sequences of small, sudden deformations, but until now, they have lacked a full understanding of how creep deformation affects material properties over time. In new research published in EPJ B, Michael Zaiser and David Castellanos at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany analysed the characteristic ways in which material structures evolve during the early stages of creep deformation.


EPJ B Highlight - Spread-changing orders and deletions affect stock prices

Trade orders strongly influence stock prices. Photo by M. B. M. on https://unsplash.com/photos/ ZzOa5G8hSPI.

A new analysis of the bid-ask spread of stock prices reveals that placements and deletions of trade orders can affect stock prices as much as trades themselves

The first rule on the stock market is to buy low and sell high. Economists are well aware of how this behaviour changes the prices of stocks, but in reality, trades alone don’t tell the whole story. Parties like banks and insurance companies rarely trade stocks themselves; instead, they place orders for traders to do so on their behalf, which can be canceled at any time if they are no longer interested. The amount payed by those placing orders is affected by a highly variable quantity called the bid-ask ‘spread’ – the difference between the price initially quoted for a stock, and the final bidding price. In a new study published in EPJ B, Stephan Grimm and Thomas Guhr from Duisburg-Essen University in Germany compare the influences that three price-changing events have on these spread changes. Their work sheds new light on the intricate inner workings of the stock market.


EPJ B Review Article - Micromagnetics and Spintronics: Models and Numerical Methods

Computational micromagnetics has become an indispensable tool for the theoretical investigation of magnetic structures. Classical micromagnetics has been successfully applied to a wide range of applications including magnetic storage media, magnetic sensors, permanent magnets and more. The recent development of spintronics devices has led to various extensions to the micromagnetic model in order to account for spin-transport effects. Now, Claas Abert of the University of Vienna has prepared a comprehensive Review Article on the subject for EPJ B, aiming to provide an overview of the analytical micromagnetic model as well as its numerical implementation. The main focus is put on the integration of spin-transport effects with classical micromagnetics.


EPJ B Highlight - How to stop diseases and forest fires from spreading

When the population approaches a certain level of heterogeneity, the infection slows.

A new model, published in EPJ B and exploring how epidemics spread, could help prevent infections and forest fires from getting out of hand

Recently, epidemics like measles have been spreading due to the lack of vaccinations, and forest fires have become increasingly frequent due to climate change. Understanding how both these things spread, and how to stop them, is more important than ever. Now, two researchers from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council in Bariloche, Argentina, have studied the way epidemics spread in heterogeneous populations. Their findings were recently published in European Physical Journal B.


EPJ B Highlight - Inhibitory neurons have two types of impact on brain oscillations

The emergence of synchronization with excitatory and inhibitory neurons.

A certain type of neuron, called inhibitory neurons, can have two types of overall effect on oscillations in the brain

Studying the brain involves measuring the activity of billions of individual brain cells called neurons. Consequently, many brain measurement techniques produce data that is averaged to reflect the activity of large populations of these neurons. If all of the neurons are behaving differently, this will average out. But, when the behaviour of individual neurons is synchronized, it produces clearly visible oscillations.

Synchronisation is important to understanding how neurons behave, which is particularly relevant with regard to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and Parkinson’s. Now, a group of researchers from the Institute of Computational Physics and Complex Systems at Lanzhou University, China, has used a combination of two computer models to study the ways different kinds of neurons can impact synchronisation. The study is published in the European Physical Journal B.


EPJB Colloquium - Complex band-structure analysis and topological physics of Majorana nanowires

In this new Colloquium article published in EPJ B, Javier Osca (IMEC and KU Leuven, Belgium) and Llorenç Serra (IFISC and Departament de Física, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma, Spain) review applications of complex band structure theory to describe Majorana states in nanowires and nanowire junctions. The dimensionality of the considered wires is gradually increased, from strictly 1D to quasi-1D with one and two transverse dimensions.


EPJ B Highlight - Magnetic nanoparticles can 'burn' cancer cells

Stock market prediction models.

Magnetic hyperthermia is still a highly experimental cancer treatment, but new research shows that the therapy is tunable

Unfortunately, cancer isn’t simply a single disease, and some types, like pancreas, brain or liver tumours, are still difficult to treat with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, leading to low survival rates for patients. Thankfully, new therapies are emerging, like therapeutic hyperthermia, which heats tumours by firing nanoparticles into tumour cells. In a new study published in EPJ B, Angl Apostolova from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria and colleagues show that tumour cells’ specific absorption rate of destructive heat depends on the diameter of the nanoparticles and the composition of the magnetic material used to deliver the heat to the tumour.


EPJ B Colloquium - Cooperative magnetic phenomena in artificial spin systems: spin liquids, Coulomb phase and fragmentation of magnetism

Two-dimensional arrays of interacting magnetic nanostructures offer a remarkable playground for simulating, experimentally, lattice spin models. Initially designed to capture the low-energy physics of highly frustrated magnets, they quickly became a lab-on-chip platform to investigate cooperative magnetic phenomena often associated with classical frustrated magnetism.

This Colloquium paper from Nicolas Rougemaille and Benjamin Canals at the Institut NEEL (Univ. Grenoble, CNRS, France) reviews the many-body physics which can be visualized, directly in real space, through the magnetic imaging of artificial arrays of magnetic nanostructures. Particular attention is paid to classical spin liquid states, magnetic Coulomb phases and magnetic moment fragmentation. Other phenomena, such as complex magnetic ordering, charge crystallization and monopole-like excitations, are also described in light of the recent advances in the field.


EPJ B Highlight - Understanding stock market returns: which models fits best?

Stock market prediction models.

A comparison of two models for stock market prediction shows clear differences in their accuracy, depending on the length of the forecasting period

Understanding stock market returns hinges on understanding their volatility. Two simple but competing models have been dominant for decades: the Heston model, introduced in 1993, and the multiplicative model, which dates back to 1990. American physicists recently compared the two models by applying them to the United States stock market and using historical data from two indexes: the S&P500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average. In a study published in EPJ B, Rostislav Serota and colleagues from the University of Cincinnati, OH, USA, demonstrate the clear differences between the two models. Simply put, the Heston model is better for predicting long-time accumulations of stock returns, while the multiplicative model is better suited to predicting daily or several-day returns.


EPJ B Highlight - Intelligent metamaterials behave like electrostatic chameleons

Chameleon-like behaviour.

Metashells can adapt their wave-bending behaviour based on the characteristics of the material they contain

A chameleon can flexibly change its colour to match its surroundings. And a similar phenomenon can now be seen in a new class of smart materials called metamaterials. The trouble is that these metamaterials lack the ability to respond to nearby objects due to their physical characteristics. To remedy this shortcoming, Chinese physicists have developed so-called 'metashells': hollow shells made of metamaterials and capable of carrying materials in their core. The advantage is that their physical characteristics, such as permittivity - the extent to which a material can store charge within an electrical field - change with the electromagnetic properties of the material they contain. In a recent theoretical study published in EPJ B, Liujun Xu and Jiping Huang from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, describe how they have developed an entire class of these chameleon-like metashells.


E. Hernandez and H. Rieger
Thank you for the very fruitful and efficient collaboration. It has been a pleasure!!

Paul van Loosdrecht, Guest Editor Topical issue: Excitonic Processes in Condensed Matter, Nanostructured and Molecular Materials, 2013

ISSN (Print Edition): 1434-6028
ISSN (Electronic Edition): 1434-6036

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag