News & Comment

  • Comment
    | Open Access

    The particle physics community refreshes the roadmap for the field in Europe, taking into account the worldwide context, in the so-called European Strategy for Particle Physics update, which happens every seven years.

    • Fabiola Gianotti
    •  & Gian Francesco Giudice
  • News & Views |

    An atomic spin oscillator coupled to a mechanical membrane resonator forms an effective negative-mass oscillator. Entanglement in this hybrid quantum system is created by a backaction-evading position measurement, despite the macroscopic separation.

    • Brian D’Urso
    •  & James Millen
  • News & Views |

    Although quantum mechanics is essential to understand microscopic systems, it has little effect on heavier objects. Experiments have now put strict constraints on theories that use gravity to explain the absence of large-scale quantum effects.

    • M. S. Kim
  • Research Highlight |

    • Elizaveta Dubrovina
  • Measure for Measure |

    Wolfgang Pauli introduced the Bohr magneton as a fundamental unit of magnetic moment during an effort to find a quantum basis for magnetism, as Davide Castelvecchi recounts.

    • Davide Castelvecchi
  • News & Views |

    The properties of anyons — two-dimensional particles that are neither fermions nor bosons — have been directly measured in a quantum Hall interferometer.

    • Rui-Rui Du
  • Q&A |

    The First Plasma discharge in the ITER tokamak is expected for 2025 with deuterium–tritium plasma operation ten years later. We spoke with ITER’s Director-General, Bernard Bigot, and Tim Luce, head of ITER’s Science & Operations Department, about the current status of the project and potential future directions in fusion research.

    • Stefanie Reichert
  • Editorial |

    As the construction of the ITER tokamak enters its next phase — the machine assembly — now is a good time for a recap of the history and current status of nuclear fusion research.

  • News & Views |

    When a semiconductor is embedded inside a microcavity, infrared photons have been shown to bind electrons and holes together as excitons. This result opens the door for quantum material engineering based on light–matter interactions.

    • Meera M. Parish
  • News & Views |

    The discussion of the quantum mechanical Wigner’s friend thought experiment has regained intensity. Recent theoretical results and experimental tests restrict the possibility of maintaining an observer-independent notion of measurement outcomes.

    • Časlav Brukner
  • Editorial |

    The persistent under-representation of Black physicists is a systemic problem that requires will, money and long-term commitment to be solved.

  • Measure for Measure |

    Giacomo Prando summarizes the troubled history of the radian, a unit with the odd property of appearing and disappearing seemingly at will in dimensional formulas.

    • Giacomo Prando
  • News & Views |

    A mooted advantage of high-dimensional states is their robustness to noise, yet their fragility in noisy channels has hindered their deployment. A demonstration shows how to exploit entanglement to restore quantum correlations lost in transmission.

    • Andrew Forbes
    •  & Isaac Nape
  • News & Views |

    An exactly solvable model for superconductivity includes two crucial features of the cuprates and sheds light on unexplained experiments.

    • Jan Zaanen
  • Editorial |

    This month, a Focus issue highlights recent developments in fundamental research on superconductivity.

  • Measure for Measure |

    When you start tearing a piece of aluminium foil apart, you create dislocations in the material. Suhas Eswarappa Prameela and Tim Weihs recount the story of the Burgers vector that is now an indispensable tool for describing dislocations.

    • Suhas Eswarappa Prameela
    •  & Timothy P. Weihs
  • News & Views |

    Squeezed light is useful for metrology and quantum information. An optomechanical squeezed light source that works at room temperature will facilitate the technological applications of quantum light.

    • André Xuereb
  • News & Views |

    Near-term quantum computations are susceptible to noise that — left uncorrected — can destroy the correlations responsible for quantum computational speedups. New work develops tools for bolstering the noise resilience of these speedups.

    • Bill Fefferman
  • News & Views |

    Novel non-equilibrium phases of matter have recently become the focus of intense interest. The realization of topological phases which cannot exist under the constraints of thermodynamic equilibrium is a key aim.

    • Mark S. Rudner
  • News & Views |

    Everybody who has ever made a paper airplane and been disappointed as it spins out of control, crashing to the ground, knows how tricky achieving suitable trim and stability for gliding can be. But, somehow, wiggling flying snakes glide without tumbling.

    • Jim Usherwood
  • News & Views |

    An elegant experiment showing that acoustic waves are amplified after scattering by a rotating body demonstrates an effect predicted in 1971 by Yakov Zel’dovich. This result has implications for the understanding of scattering from black holes.

    • Bruce W. Drinkwater
  • News & Views |

    Experiments show how the magnetic order in antiferromagnets can be manipulated through lattice vibrations excited by a laser. This induces a large and reversible magnetic moment at very high speed.

    • Dominik M. Juraschek
    •  & Prineha Narang
  • News & Views |

    Quantum cascade lasers are bright and compact semiconductor lasers that emit light in the mid- to far-infrared spectral region. The use of a closed ring cavity has now set them on the path towards ultrafast pulses.

    • Johann Riemensberger
  • Comment |

    Since the 1950s, international cooperation has been the driving force behind fusion research. Here, we discuss how the International Atomic Energy Agency has shaped the field and the events that have produced fusion’s global signature partnership.

    • Matteo Barbarino
  • News & Views |

    A laser–plasma experiment has recreated shock waves in collisionless, weakly magnetized conditions and evidenced electron acceleration to relativistic energies, offering unprecedented insight into a long-standing problem in astrophysics.

    • Laurent Gremillet
    •  & Martin Lemoine
  • News & Views |

    Microscopic motile cilia, beating in synchrony across large scales, move the liquid lining of our lungs, protecting from infection and dirt. Surprisingly, a disordered arrangement of cilia, as observed in nature, is shown to be optimal for airway clearance.

    • Pietro Cicuta
  • Editorial |

    The contribution of partners and families to scientists’ work is often overlooked. It should be acknowledged and supported more.

  • Measure for Measure |

    As a unit for enzyme activity, the katal is enigmatic but struggles to find widespread acceptance. Soumitra Athavale tells its story.

    • Soumitra V. Athavale
  • Comment |

    Automated learning from data by means of deep neural networks is finding use in an ever-increasing number of applications, yet key theoretical questions about how it works remain unanswered. A physics-based approach may help to bridge this gap.

    • Lenka Zdeborová
  • News & Views |

    Systems of neutral atoms are gradually gaining currency as a promising candidate for realizing large-scale quantum computing. The achievement of a record-high fidelity in quantum operation with alkaline-earth Rydberg atoms is a case in point.

    • Wenhui Li
  • Editorial |

    On the 60th anniversary of the first functioning laser, we imagine a research landscape without it.

  • Measure for Measure |

    The tool of choice to measure optical frequencies with extremely high precision is the optical frequency comb. Camille-Sophie Brès explains what makes this technique so powerful.

    • Camille-Sophie Brès
  • News & Views |

    Equilibrium self-assembly processes find free-energy minima but no such general statement holds for systems driven out of equilibrium. A new study has employed laser-induced convective flows to achieve dissipative self-assembly across multiple scales with universal growth and fluctuation statistics.

    • Gili Bisker