Volume 9 Issue 8, August 2013

Volume 9 Issue 8

By means of low-temperature scanning tunnelling spectroscopy, a heavy fermion material in its superconducting and mixed states can be imaged. Besides probing the superconducting gap symmetry, the measurements also reveal a pseudogap. Letters p468 and p474; News & Views p458 IMAGE: BRIAN ZHOU AND A. YAZDANI COVER DESIGN: ALLEN BEATTIE


  • Editorial |

    Europe and the US, with their international partners, are planning their way ahead in particle physics.

  • Editorial |

    The remarkable space telescope reveals true colours — and a new moon.


  • Commentary |

    Deep inelastic scattering — using a twenty-first-century electron–hadron collider of sufficient energy and intensity — could teach us much more about nuclear matter at the smallest resolvable scales, as well as add to our understanding of the Higgs boson and to the search for physics beyond the standard model.

    • Paul Newman
    •  & Anna Stasto


Books and Arts

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News & Views |

    Transformation optics is an invaluable tool for designing metamaterials. The same idea, it is now shown, could also prove to be a boon for nanoplasmonics.

    • R. C. McPhedran
  • News & Views |

    Observations from NASA's Solar Dynamic Observatory provide compelling evidence for the central role of magnetic reconnection in solar flares.

    • Terry G. Forbes
  • News & Views |

    In their search for more favourable environments bacteria choose new directions to explore, usually at random. In a marine bacterium with a single polar flagellum it is now shown that this quest is enhanced by a buckling instability.

    • Howard C. Berg
  • News & Views |

    One of the fundamental problems in few-body physics is the formation of diatomic molecules in three-atom collisions. An experimental technique now explores the resulting distribution of molecular quantum states in an ultracold gas.

    • Stefan Willitsch


  • Letter |

    Gamma-ray bursts are the most energetic sources of radiation in the Universe, and half are followed by afterglows that include X-ray flares of mysterious origin. A statistical study of such X-ray flares reveals the same power-law behaviour as solar flares, which suggests a common underlying magnetic reconnection process.

    • F. Y. Wang
    •  & Z. G. Dai
  • Letter |

    By pushing scanning tunnelling spectroscopy down to millikelvin temperatures, it is now possible to image a heavy fermion superconductor and measure the superconducting gap symmetry, with gap nodes in unexpected momentum-space locations.

    • M. P. Allan
    • , F. Massee
    • , D. K. Morr
    • , J. Van Dyke
    • , A. W. Rost
    • , A. P. Mackenzie
    • , C. Petrovic
    •  & J. C. Davis
  • Letter |

    By means of low-temperature scanning tunnelling spectroscopy, a heavy fermion material in its superconducting and mixed states can be imaged. Besides probing the superconducting gap symmetry, the measurements also reveal a pseudogap.

    • Brian B. Zhou
    • , Shashank Misra
    • , Eduardo H. da Silva Neto
    • , Pegor Aynajian
    • , Ryan E. Baumbach
    • , J. D. Thompson
    • , Eric D. Bauer
    •  & Ali Yazdani
  • Letter |

    It is now shown that phonons can be coherently transferred between two nanomechanical resonators, it is now shown. The technique of controlling the coupling between nanoscale oscillators using a piezoelectric transducer is useful for manipulating classical oscillations, but if extended to the quantum regime it could also enable entanglement of macroscopic mechanical objects.

    • Hajime Okamoto
    • , Adrien Gourgout
    • , Chia-Yuan Chang
    • , Koji Onomitsu
    • , Imran Mahboob
    • , Edward Yi Chang
    •  & Hiroshi Yamaguchi
  • Letter |

    Coherent control of two flexural modes of a nanoscale oscillator using radiofrequency signals is now demonstrated. This oscillator is analogous to quantum two-level systems such as superconducting circuits and quantum dots, and therefore this technique raises the possibility of information processing using nanomechanical resonators.

    • T. Faust
    • , J. Rieger
    • , M. J. Seitner
    • , J. P. Kotthaus
    •  & E. M. Weig
  • Letter |

    Extreme ultraviolet and X-ray imaging of a solar flare with unprecedented clarity now provide visual evidence that magnetic reconnection plays a fundamental role in generating solar flares. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is able to observe a ’cold’ plasma moving into the reconnection point and the simultaneous acceleration of a hot-flare-heated plasma away from it.

    • Yang Su
    • , Astrid M. Veronig
    • , Gordon D. Holman
    • , Brian R. Dennis
    • , Tongjiang Wang
    • , Manuela Temmer
    •  & Weiqun Gan
  • Letter |

    Buckling is often regarding as a form of mechanical failure to be avoided. High-speed video microscopy and mechanical stability theory now show, however, that bacteria use such processes to their advantage. Cells propelled with a single flagellum change direction with a flick-like motion that exploits a buckling instability.

    • Kwangmin Son
    • , Jeffrey S. Guasto
    •  & Roman Stocker


  • Article |

    In topological insulators, studies have largely concentrated on the spin part of the wavefunction. But the spin–orbit coupling is strong, so the orbital components of the wavefunction need to be measured as well. Surprisingly, the orbital wavefunction turns out to be asymmetric about the Dirac point.

    • Yue Cao
    • , J. A. Waugh
    • , X-W. Zhang
    • , J-W. Luo
    • , Q. Wang
    • , T. J. Reber
    • , S. K. Mo
    • , Z. Xu
    • , A. Yang
    • , J. Schneeloch
    • , G. D. Gu
    • , M. Brahlek
    • , N. Bansal
    • , S. Oh
    • , A. Zunger
    •  & D. S. Dessau
  • Article |

    When a domain wall of a given chirality is injected into a magnetic nanowire, its trajectory through a branched network of Y-shaped nanowire junctions—such as a honeycomb lattice, for instance—can be pre-determined. This property has implications for data storage and processing.

    • Aakash Pushp
    • , Timothy Phung
    • , Charles Rettner
    • , Brian P. Hughes
    • , See-Hun Yang
    • , Luc Thomas
    •  & Stuart S. P. Parkin
  • Article |

    The modelling of plasmonic systems is complicated by the broad range of length scales involved: the physical dimensions of the structure might be as small as 1 nm, whereas the wavelength of the light involved can be a few hundred nanometres. It is now shown that transformation optics, a technique successfully used to design metamaterials, is also valuable for circumventing these problems.

    • J. B. Pendry
    • , A. I. Fernández-Domínguez
    • , Yu Luo
    •  & Rongkuo Zhao