Friction Has Memory, Say Physicists

June 20, 2018

Light entering the lower slab of plastic reflects off its upper surface but also passes into the upper slab in spots where there is close contact at the interface. The technique reveals the true contact area between the two slabs, an important parameter in determining friction. (S. Dillavou and S. Rubinstein/Harvard Univ.)


Squeezing Light at the Nanoscale

June 19, 2018

These nanodiscs act as micro-resonators, trapping infrared photons and generating polaritons. When illuminated with infrared light, the discs concentrate light in a volume thousands of times smaller than is possible with standard optical materials, which can be used to detect single biomolecules. (Image courtesy of the Capasso Lab/Harvard SEAS)


Building One Molecule from a Reservoir of Two Atoms

April 13, 2018

A single molecule has been produced in an optical tweezer by a controlled reaction between a single sodium and single cesium atom. Inside a glass cell vacuum apparatus, a laser-cooled cloud of sodium atoms is suspended, allowing a microscope to view the fluorescence from individual atoms trapped side-by-side. Credit: Lee Liu and Yu Liu.

In terms of size, it may be the smallest scientific breakthrough ever made at Harvard.


Topological Order in the Pseudogap Metal

April 5, 2018

Figure 1*.

The copper oxide-based high-temperature superconductors display a mysterious "pseudogap" metal phase at temperatures just above the critical temperature in a regime of low hole density. Extensive experimental and numerical studies have yielded much information on the nature of the electron corrections, but a fundamental theoretical understanding has been lacking.