Scientists from the international XENON collaboration announced on June 17 that data from their XENON1T detector, the world’s most sensitive dark matter experiment, shows a surprising excess of events. While the scientists do not claim to have found dark matter, the source of the observed unexpected rate of events is not yet fully understood. It could be a sign of the solar axion. The team is preparing a device upgrade to further study these and other results.
The US Department of Defense is getting interested in space-based propulsion. Through a May presolicitation, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its intent to have a flyable nuclear thermal propulsion system ready for a demonstration in 2025.
A “game-changing” technique for imaging molecules known as cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has produced its sharpest pictures yet and, for the first time, discerned individual atoms in a protein. The breakthrough reported by the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, and the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, cements cryo-EM’s position as the dominant tool for mapping the 3D shapes of proteins.
Cryo-Ops 2020, the 9th edition of the International Workshop on Cryogenic Operations, will be held in Grenoble, France, November 2-4. Organized by the Département des Systèmes Basses Températures (DSBT) and Université Grenoble-Alpes, the workshop will take place at the Institut Néel campus located in the world-class scientific GIANT (Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies) campus.
On June 23, the US Department of Energy announced that it will invest up to $100 million over five years in two new DOE National Laboratory-led consortia to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies research and development. One consortium will seek to achieve large-scale, affordable electrolyzers which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen; the other will seek to accelerate the development of fuel cells for heavy-duty vehicle applications, including long-haul trucks.
On June 23, the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences awarded Rice University experimental physicist Ming Yi a five-year grant to explore the details of magnetism in two-dimensional materials. She and her colleagues seek to learn the origin of magnetism in bulk materials that are exfoliated for use as low-dimensional materials, how the key ingredients for magnetism evolve as materials go from 3D to 2D and how the 2D magnetic properties can be perturbed and tuned.
Bluefors, a Finnish cryogenics company focused on the quantum computing industry, and Physics World are jointly presenting a free quantum computing-centered webinar open to the public. The live "Next Generation of Cryogenics: Tailored for Quantum Technologies" will be presented at 3 p.m. BST/5 p.m. EET on July 2, 2020. It will explore an integrated experimental platform for the control of the quantum degrees of freedom.
In CERN’s superconducting equipment testing hall, an innovative transmission line has set a new record for the transport of electricity. The 60-meter long link has transported a total of 54,000 amperes (54 kA, or 27 kA in either direction). The line has been developed for the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC), the accelerator that will succeed the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and is scheduled to start up at the end of 2027.