Heat Transport Studies Provide Evidence for a New Phase of Matter

July 11, 2018

Figure 1*: A recent thermal transport study of gallium arsenide quantum wells measured a fractional thermal Hall conductivity, which is consistent with the emergence of a non-Abelian phase called the PH-Pfaffian. Two new theoretical works have shown that this phase could arise from hybridization among two other phases, the Pfaffian and anti-Pfaffian, arranged in a quilt-like pattern. Between patches of the two phases are edge states that carry heat but not electric charge. [Credit: APS/Carin Cain]


The Physics of Better Batteries

June 23, 2018
image of lithium batteries

Harvard University researchers are using physics to solve one of the biggest challenges in designing light-weight, long-lasting batteries: how to squeeze more energy into less space. Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Department of Physics have developed a tunable, electrochemical system that can store large amounts of energy in the space between atomically thin sheets of layered two-dimensional materials, like graphene. [...]


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)