- Published on Friday, 23 December 2016 17:00
Snapshot of the study of economic phenomena using the tools of physics
How would you go about understanding how markets can suddenly be gripped by panic? To physicists, using a model originally developed to explain magnetism might make sense. Yet, economists may find this extremely counter-intuitive. Both physical and economic phenomena may possess universal features that could be uncovered using the tools of physics. The principal difference is that in economic systems - unlike physical ones - current actions may be influenced by the perception of future events. The latest issue of EPJ Special Topics examines the question as to whether econophysics, a physics-based approach to understanding economic phenomena, is more useful and desirable than conventional economics theories.
- Published on Wednesday, 21 December 2016 15:29
This paper presents the design, manufacturing and characterization of an integrated circuit (IC) that uses the plasma oscillations phenomena in silicon nanotransistors (Si-CMOS) for the detection of a 300 GHz-carrier-frequency wireless signal. We present the strategies for a Si-CMOS-based, wideband, integrated circuit receiver comprising: (i) a physics based, specific plasma-wave-transistor design, allowing impedance matching to the antenna and the amplifier, (ii) a patch antenna engineered through a stacked resonator approach and (iii) a broadband amplifier that uses bandwidth enhancement circuit techniques.
- Published on Monday, 19 December 2016 19:22
Nowadays semiconductor nanostructures developed by colloidal methods have emerged as an alternative to the classical III-V semiconductors and rare earth technologies to provide active functionalities in photonic devices. Their outstanding optical properties include high absorption cross section, high quantum yield of emission at room temperature, or the capability of tuning the band-gap with the size/base material. As a consequence, these materials have been successfully applied in several fields, such as photodetection, amplification, generation of light or sensing. For these purposes their solution process nature provides a cheap fabrication, and an easy incorporation on a broad range of substrates and photonic structures. This review summarizes the great effort undertaken by the scientific community to construct active photonic devices based on semiconductors fabricated by chemical methods. The works compares the performances demonstrated by semiconductor nanocrystals (colloidal quantum dots, quantum rods and quantum wells) with those provided by organometal halide perovskites, and describes their appropriate integration into photonic architectures (waveguides and cavities) to achieve stimulated emission.
- Published on Monday, 19 December 2016 12:16
Fluids in non-equilibrium steady states exhibit long-range fluctuations which extend over the entire system. They can be described by non-equilibrium thermodynamics and fluctuating hydrodynamics that assume local equilibrium for the thermophysical properties as a function of space and time.
The experimental evidence for the consistency between this assumption of local equilibrium in the equations and the non-local fluctuation phenomena observed is reviewed in this EPJ E colloquium paper
- Published on Friday, 16 December 2016 17:01
Competitive sport ranking evolution over time is used to predict the future evolution of rankings
Competitive sports and games are all about the performance of players and teams, which results in performance-based hierarchies. Because such performance is measurable and is the result of varied rules, sports and games are considered a suitable model to help understand unrelated social or economic systems characterised by similar rules-based complexity. Now, a team of Mexican scientists have used the performance of national teams in tennis, chess, golf, poker and football as a test-bed for identifying universal features in the creation of hierarchies—such as the stratified structure found in the global hierarchical distribution of wealth. José Morales from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and his colleagues found they could, in principle, predict changes in rank occupancy over the course of a contender's lifetime, regardless of the particularities of the sports or activity. These findings, published in EPJ Data Science, enhance our ability to forecast how stratification occurs in competitive activities.
EPJ B Highlight - Tortoise electrons trying to catch up with hare photons give graphene its conductivity
- Published on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 15:14
Collective electron interaction, mediated by photons across space-time under a weak magnetic field, explains the special conductivity of the one-atom-thick material
How electrons interact with other electrons at quantum scale in graphene affects how quickly they travel in the material, leading to its high conductivity. Now, Natália Menezes and Cristiane Morais Smith from the Centre for Extreme Matter and Emergent Phenomena at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and a Brazilian colleague, Van Sergio Alves, have developed a model attributing the greater conductivity in graphene to the accelerating effect of electrons interacting with photons under a weak magnetic field. Their findings have been published in EPJ B.
- Published on Monday, 05 December 2016 10:03
Scientists have now adopted a qualitative theoretical neuroscience model commensurate with actual measurements of neurons' dynamics
Neuroscientists are currently working diligently to understand the dynamics of thousands of coupled neurons. Understanding how they operate requires accurate models. The trouble is that each of the existing neuroscience models has its own shortcomings. Russian physicists have, for the first time, developed an effective method for solving the equations of a well-known theoretical neuroscience dynamic model and make it more biologically relevant. These findings have just been published in EPJ Plus by Eugene Postnikov and Olga Titkova from Kursk State University, Russia. They could not only help resolve problems in the neurosciences, but could also provide a deeper understanding of neuronal activity in the emerging sector of neurovascular dynamics, which describes the interplay between the brain's neurons and the blood flow.
- Published on Monday, 28 November 2016 11:28
The wide range of applications that have been found for cold plasmas stems from the fact that they are physical systems out of thermodynamic equilibrium. This property enhances their reactivity at low gas temperature, and allows macroscopic effects to be obtained with only moderate energy consumption.
In this EPJ D review, the basic concepts of ionised gases in a non-equilibrium state are treated by showing how and why the non-equilibrium functions of the degrees of freedom are formed in a variety of natural and man-made plasmas, with particular emphasis on the progress that has been made in the last decade. A modern perspective of the molecular basis of non-equilibrium and of a state-to-state kinetic approach is adopted. Computational and diagnostic techniques that have been used to investigate the non-equilibrium conditions are also surveyed.
EPJ D Highlight - Better than milk on breakfast cereals: new precision coating method for industrial granular material
- Published on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 17:12
Deposition of a thin film catalyst of a predicted thickness on the surface of novel hydrogen storage microbeads helps release hydrogen
As anyone who eats their cereal with milk in the morning knows: coating large volumes of granular material homogeneously is no mean feat. In a recent paper published in EPJ D, an Austrian team has developed a new method, based on physical vapour deposition, to upscale the quantity of coating without affecting the quality and homogeneity of the film. In this study, Andreas Eder from Vienna University of Technology and colleagues also developed a model capable of predicting the film thickness. This represents a major step forward for industrial materials, as previous approaches relied on optical measurement after the coating had been deposited. Because this coating system is capable of implementing a plasma close to the granular substrate, it opens the door to new surface treatment and modification possibilities.
- Published on Friday, 18 November 2016 12:51
How scientists are using big data analysis to deconstruct the art of storytelling
Our most beloved works of fiction hide well-trodden narratives. And most fictions is based on far fewer storylines than you might have imagined. To come to this conclusion, big data scientists have worked with colleagues from natural language processing to analyse the narrative in more than a thousand works of fiction. By deconstructing some of the magic of narrative in fiction books, they have also confirmed that there are six different, common ways of telling a story that can be found time and time again in popular stories. They were inspired by the work of US fiction author Kurt Vonnegut, who originally proposed the similarity of emotional story lines in a Masters’s thesis rejected by the University of Chicago. These findings have just been published in EPJ Data Science by Andrew Reagan from the University of Vermont, USA, and colleagues.