News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Two-level quantum systems are routinely excited by resonant pump beams. Experiments now show resonant excitation through dichromatic, detuned pumps — providing a coherent control technique that will also aid single-photon emission from solid-state devices.

    • Glenn S. Solomon
  • News & Views |

    Floquet engineering harnesses alternating fields to create a topological band structure in an otherwise ordinary material. These fields drive plasmons that can spontaneously split into chiral circulating modes and induce magnetization.

    • Luis E. F. Foa Torres
  • News & Views |

    Photonic circuits naturally implement boson sampling, a quantum algorithm that is classically hard to solve. Four photon pairs produced and processed within a single silicon chip have now been used to run it, a step towards besting classical computers.

    • Robert Keil
  • News & Views |

    The superconductor–insulator phase transition is a quantum phenomenon that reveals a competition between the superconducting phase order and charge localization. Now, microwave spectroscopy is shown to be a promising approach to investigate this effect in controllable one-dimensional Josephson arrays.

    • Alexander D. Mirlin
    •  & Ivan V. Protopopov
  • News & Views |

    A demonstration that Michael Berry’s legacy can inform our understanding of Lamb waves in stratified fluids serves as a reminder of the reach of topological thinking — as well as its potential utility.

    • Timothy E. Dowling
  • News & Views |

    A rich pattern of fractional quantum Hall states in graphene double layers can be naturally explained in terms of two-component composite fermions carrying both intra- and interlayer vortices.

    • Gábor A. Csáthy
    •  & Jainendra K. Jain
  • News & Views |

    The detection of the quantum state of tens of neutral atoms arranged in arrays has reached a new record fidelity. This brings fault-tolerant quantum computation and simulation closer to reality.

    • Christian Gross
  • News & Views |

    A theoretical analysis of exotic superconductors suggests that it is possible to manipulate the state of their order parameter with light. This will help engineer devices from topological superconductors by patterning regions with different orders.

    • Ivar Martin
  • News & Views |

    While Bose–Einstein condensates of atoms were achieved in the mid-1990s, extending the regime of quantum degeneracy to polar molecules took another two decades of dedicated work. The researchers that contributed to this achievement span many generations of students in many different laboratories around the world.

    • Kang-Kuen Ni
  • News & Views |

    The transport properties of many two-dimensional systems are strongly affected by the proximity of a periodic pattern. Colloidal particles are now shown to have preferred sliding routes due to competing symmetries between two unmatched crystalline surfaces.

    • Pietro Tierno
  • News & Views |

    A measurement based on quantum entanglement of the parameter describing the asymmetry of the Λ hyperon decay is inconsistent with the current world average. This shows that relying on previous measurements can be hazardous.

    • Ulrik Egede
  • News & Views |

    A variety of magnetic structures based around ferromagnetic spin spirals have been the topic of intense study over the past decade. The discovery of spin spirals that arise from antiferromagnetic order has just broadened the horizons for magnetic possibilities even further.

    • Elizabeth Blackburn
  • News & Views |

    The measurement of the charge density wave energy gap in high-temperature superconducting cuprates uncovers new links between competing states.

    • Jiarui Li
    •  & Riccardo Comin
  • News & Views |

    Experiments and simulations show that trains of droplets in microfluidic networks undergo synchronized oscillations, and that strategies to prevent these oscillations can help maintain uniform distribution of red blood cells in microcirculation.

    • Siva A. Vanapalli
  • News & Views |

    An experimental study of living cells suggests that single myosin molecules are capable of generating unusually large forces. The observation is supported by a theoretical model — and demonstrates the complexity of in vivo force generation.

    • Andrew W. Holle
    •  & Ralf Kemkemer
  • News & Views |

    The mechanics of many materials can be modelled by a network of balls connected by springs. A bottom-up approach based on differential geometry now captures changes in mechanics upon network growth or merger, going beyond the linear deformation regime.

    • A. Souslov
    •  & V. Vitelli
  • News & Views |

    One of the fundamental radioactive decay modes of nuclei is β decay. Now, nuclear theorists have used first-principles simulations to explain nuclear β decay properties across a range of light- to medium-mass isotopes, up to 100Sn.

    • Arnau Rios
  • News & Views |

    Artificial magnetic fields have been constructed in 2D and 3D acoustic structures to manipulate sound, in much the same way as Dirac and Weyl fermions respond to magnetic fields in their quantum levels.

    • Baile Zhang
  • News & Views |

    Ultrasonic radiation forces are harnessed to trap and then shake clusters of spheres — mimicking the effect of temperature on cluster formation in granular systems. This assembly process has applications from the nanoscale to the macroscale.

    • Bruce Drinkwater
  • News & Views |

    A two-state hopping experiment combined with a dynamical systems model reveals that cancer cells are deterministically driven across barriers, whereas normal cells cross only with the help of stochastic fluctuations.

    • Ulrich S. Schwarz
  • News & Views |

    An electrical interferometer device has detected interference patterns that suggest anyons could be conclusively demonstrated in the near future.

    • Steven H. Simon
  • News & Views |

    Zirconium alloys are widely used as cladding material in nuclear reactors due to their neutron transparency. Now, it is shown that 88Zr has a surprisingly high neutron capture cross-section exceeding that of other zirconium isotopes by six orders of magnitude.

    • Stephan Heinitz
    •  & Ulli Köster
  • News & Views |

    Kagome lattice materials combine a frustrated lattice with electron–electron and spin–orbit interactions. One of them, Co3Sn2S2, now reveals magnetic properties that respond in the opposite way to what is expected.

    • Oleg V. Yazyev
  • News & Views |

    An inspired experimental approach sheds light on the formation of active turbulence in a system of microtubules and molecular motors. The emergent scaling behaviour takes us a step closer to understanding how activity begets turbulence.

    • Seth Fraden
  • News & Views |

    Through stochastic resonance, noise-driven fluctuations make an otherwise weak periodic signal accessible. Experiments have now reported quantum stochastic resonance, which arises from intrinsic quantum fluctuations rather than external noise.

    • Stefan Ludwig
  • News & Views |

    From disease proliferation to cell functioning, spreading dynamics on networks impact many collective phenomena. The joint contributions of the interaction structure and local dynamics have now been disentangled, revealing three distinct types of spreading pattern.

    • Marc Timme
    •  & Jan Nagler
  • News & Views |

    Quark–gluon plasma has been recreated in heavy-ion collisions, providing a glimpse of the very early Universe. The PHENIX Collaboration offers new insights into the possible creation of this state in smaller collision systems.

    • Yen-Jie Lee
  • News & Views |

    The simulation of strongly correlated quantum phases using ultracold atoms in optical lattices was first proposed 20 years ago. In the wake of that pioneering idea, quantum simulations are now widely pursued in experiments across the world.

    • Immanuel Bloch
  • News & Views |

    A large-scale imaging study has tracked thousands of bacteria living in three-dimensional biofilms. This technical tour de force reveals the importance of mechanical interactions between cells for building local and global structure.

    • Jordi Garcia-Ojalvo
  • News & Views |

    Electrons with fractional dimension have been observed in an artificial Sierpiński triangle, demonstrating their quantum fractal nature.

    • Dario Bercioux
    •  & Ainhoa Iñiguez
  • News & Views |

    Using data from the IceCube telescope, a study presents the first attempt at obtaining geophysical information about Earth’s internal structure from the flux of neutrinos that pass through it.

    • Véronique Van Elewyck
  • News & Views |

    Generating pure spin currents is a necessary part of many spintronic devices. Now there is a new mechanism for doing this, utilizing nuclear spin waves.

    • Claudia K. A. Mewes
  • News & Views |

    Mercury isotopes are unique in exhibiting dramatic differences in their nuclear shapes. The analysis of over more than twenty Hg isotopes now shows that this follows from the influence of single-particle effects on the collective properties of a nucleus.

    • Paul Cottle
    •  & Kirby Kemper
  • News & Views |

    Many microorganisms use light-sensitive receptors to migrate. A case in point is the microalga Euglena gracilis, which avoids light intensity increases by swimming in polygonal trajectories — providing an elegant solution to navigational challenges.

    • Nicolas Waisbord
    •  & Jeffrey S. Guasto
  • News & Views |

    An active counterpart to passive wetting is an encouraging sign for tissue physics and, more generally, the interface between biology and physics.

    • Richard G. Morris
    •  & Alpha S. Yap
  • News & Views |

    Are there limits to the applicability of textbook quantum theory? Experiments haven’t found any yet, but a new theoretical analysis shows that treating your colleagues as quantum systems might be a step too far.

    • Matthew F. Pusey
  • News & Views |

    Large-scale quantum computations are hampered by the propagation of errors. Experiments have now demonstrated the deterministic teleportation of a quantum gate, which prevents error propagation by using a combination of quantum and classical bits.

    • Isaac Chuang
  • News & Views |

    The axial symmetry of tokamaks benefits plasma confinement but hinders control. Experiments have now proven that optimized non-axisymmetric magnetic fields can provide much improved control without degrading the plasma confinement.

    • Allen H. Boozer
  • News & Views |

    Cooling molecules down to their ground state is an ongoing challenge for atomic and molecular physicists. Further steps in this journey have recently been made, with promising implications.

    • Paul S. Julienne
  • News & Views |

    The realization of a new topological state using an electrical-circuit approach establishes a flexible scheme that should enable further explorations into uncharted territory and, equally importantly, make experiments with topological states more broadly accessible.

    • Ling Lu
  • News & Views |

    The properties of bismuth have long defied expectation, casting it just outside the bounds of almost every category. Now topology joins the list, as its electronic structure once deemed trivial turns out to have higher-order topology.

    • Christian R. Ast
  • News & Views |

    The discovery of large anomalous electronic and thermal transport in candidate magnetic Weyl semimetals reveals another example of the striking features of topological materials.

    • Lucile Savary
  • News & Views |

    The agent responsible for the accelerated expansion of the Universe is completely unknown. Delicate interference measurements of the quantum transitions of very slow neutrons bouncing on a flat table have constrained an interesting theoretical possibility.

    • W. Michael Snow
  • News & Views |

    Building spinning microrotors that self-assemble and synchronize to form a gear sounds like an impossible feat. However, it has now been achieved using only a single type of building block — a colloid that self-propels.

    • Peer Fischer
  • News & Views |

    Mapping cell lineages onto a problem in graph theory suggests that physical principles regulate cell positioning during egg development in the fruit fly — providing an elegant example of how physics can advance our understanding of biology.

    • Ben D. MacArthur
  • News & Views |

    Cells in embryonic tissues generate coordinated forces to close small wounds rapidly without scarring. New research shows that large cell-to-cell variations in these forces are a key system feature that surprisingly speeds up wound healing.

    • M. Shane Hutson
  • News & Views |

    Understanding how natural surfaces repel foulants by wrinkling seems like a simple matter of elasticity. But the nonlinear behaviours that emerge from dimensional effects make for some intriguing new physics.

    • Haim Diamant
  • News & Views |

    Recent experiments demonstrate that effects arising from quantum geometrical phases and band structure topology can coexist in two-dimensional materials, and can be addressed via optoelectronic experiments.

    • Alexander W. Holleitner
    •  & Paul B. Seifert
  • News & Views |

    Applications of spintronics often require angular momentum to be moved from place to place. A possible observation of spin superfluidity may point the way toward the transport of spin angular momentum across an insulating sample with no dissipation or energy loss.

    • Joshua Folk
  • News & Views |

    Energy levels in superconducting quantum devices are highly sensitive to charge fluctuations. Generally, this is considered a bug, but new work transforms this sensitivity into the defining feature of a novel device.

    • Leonid Glazman