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Magnetic FreeBOT orbs work together to climb large obstacles

We’ve seen both companies and research teams attempt to make modular robots an everyday reality, but, more often than not, they all run into the same problem: the mechanism that allows those devices to connect to each other is complicated and fragile. With a new design called FreeBOT, a team of researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen may have figured out a simple but elegant solution to that problem as highlighted by IEE Spectrum.    

Each FreeBOT comes encased within an iron shell. Inside, there are a pair of motorized wheels and a single magnet — in that way, it’s not too dissimilar from one of Sphero’s adorable STEM toys. The combination of a ferromagnetic shell and an internal magnet is what allows two or more FreeBOTs to attach to one another. When a FreeBOT moves close to one of its friends, its magnet excites a magnetic

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Investigating optical activity under an external magnetic field

light
Credit: Petr Kratochvil/public domain

Optical activity in chiral molecules has become a hot topic in physics and optics, representing the ability to manipulate the polarized state of light. Understanding how molecules rotate the plane of plane-polarized light has widespread applications, from analytic chemistry to biology and medicine—where it can, for example, be used to detect the amount of sugar in a substance. A new study published in EPJ B by Chengping Yin of the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Quantum Engineering and Quantum Materials, South China, aims to derive an analytical model of optical activity in black phosphorous under an external magnetic field.


Yin and his fellow authors experimented with black phosphorous—a thermodynamically stable form of phosphorus at room temperature and pressure, first synthesized in 1914—in a single, closely packed layer of atoms or a monolayer. The researchers discovered that in addition to expected strong optical activity, dichroism-transmittance difference between

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Ripples in the pond of magnetic field reconnection

Ripples in the pond of magnetic field reconnection
New magnetic reconnection phenomena occurring at the interface between the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere which are 70,000 km and 150,000 km away from the Earth, respectively. The magnetic field reconnection spans the spatial domain of 2000 km x 2000 km which are reconstructed from the NASA-MMS data measured at the spacecraft paths (white dotted points) along with the plasma physics model. The green lines mark the X lines which are less than 30 km from the spacecraft paths. Both the solar wind and the magnetosphere consist of electrons, ions (mostly protons), electric and magnetic fields. The background colors in the maps denote the plasma number density.

The majority of the visible matter in the Universe consists of charged particles or plasmas which may develop magnetic field reconnection (MR) at the places where the magnetic field direction exhibits abrupt change. Through the MR the magnetic field energy may effectively be

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Observing magnon-polarons using a nanopatterned magnetic structure lit by short laser pulses

Observing magnon-polarons using a nanopatterned magnetic structure lit by short laser pulses
In a nanopatterned magnetic structure illuminated by a short laser pulse, magnons and photons couple to form quasiparticles called magnon-polarons. Credit: APS/Alan Stonebraker/ Physics

A team of physicists from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom has found a new way to observe magnon-polarons by using a nanopatterned magnetic structure lit with short laser pulses. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review B, the group describes extending prior research involving magnon-polarons to develop a better method for observing magnon polarons.


Magnons are quantized spin waves that carry information, but because they are difficult to manipulate, there have been no practical applications. Polarons are quasiparticles that have been used by researchers to study interactions between atoms and electrons in solid materials. Both magnons and polarons are the subject of research efforts aimed at packing more information into smaller spaces (for computers, smartphones, etc.) Some of that research has

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Create an Irresistible and Magnetic Brand Using Storytelling

I was sitting in a room full of highly paid and talented marketing folks for one of the largest brands in the world. Ideas for new marketing campaigns were flowing out of them and sticking to the whiteboard like darts at a local pub. I stood in awe at the sheer volume of ideas this room was able to create in minutes. Over the next hour, they whittled down the list and landed on the final idea with the skill of a surgeon. The arguments for it were strong, and the team was convinced this was the one.



diagram


© Quarta_ | Getty Images


Fast-forward to a month later, those same marketers were all huddled around a table. Their campaign had failed to hit its target and they were frantically trying to figure out why. This is where I decided to speak up. I cleared my throat and asked if I

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The magnetic fields of the jellyfish galaxy JO206

The magnetic fields of the jellyfish galaxy JO206
The galaxy JO206 and its ordered magnetic field (green lines) along the gas tail. Credit:ESO/GASP collaboration, adapted

An international team of astronomers has gained new insights into the physical conditions prevailing in the gas tail of so-called jellyfish galaxies. They are particularly interested in the parameters that lead to the formation of new stars in the tail outside the galaxy disk. They analyzed, for example, the strength and orientation of the magnetic fields in the galaxy JO206.


Ancla Müller and Professor Ralf-Jürgen Dettmar from Ruhr-Universität Bochum describe their findings together with Professor Christoph Pfrommer and Dr. Martin Sparre from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam as well as colleagues from the INAF—Italian national institute of Astrophysics in Padua, Selargius and Bologna in the journal Nature Astronomy from 26 October 2020.

Strong magnetic fields

Jellyfish galaxies are galaxies that fall into the center of a galaxy cluster, so that the

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