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materials science

A view of nanoparticles in a crystalline pattern.
Abstractions blog

Strange Metal-like Bonds Discovered in Customized Crystals

September 3, 2019

While studying materials made from DNA-coated nanoparticles, researchers found a new form of this matter: lattices in which smaller particles roam like electrons in metallic bonds.

insights puzzle

Solution: Magic Moiré in Twisted Graphene

July 26, 2019

Answering these simple questions can give you an intuitive feel for the geometric properties behind the emergence of superconductivity in rotated graphene sheets.

Abstractions blog

How Swarming Insects Act Like Fluids

July 10, 2019

By studying a swarm of flying midges as though it were a fluid, physicists have learned how collective behaviors might stabilize a group against environmental disruptions.

insights puzzle

When Magic Is Seen in Twisted Graphene, That’s a Moiré

June 20, 2019

What do moiré patterns seen in optics, art, photography and color printing have to do with superconducting layers of graphene?

Art for "A Potent Explanation Emerges for Graphene’s Magic Angle"
Abstractions blog

What’s the Magic Behind Graphene’s ‘Magic’ Angle?

May 28, 2019

A new theoretical model may help explain the shocking onset of superconductivity in stacked, twisted carbon sheets.

Art for "With a Simple Twist, a ‘Magic’ Material Has Quietly Become the Biggest Thing in Physics"
quantum physics

With a Simple Twist, a ‘Magic’ Material Is Now the Big Thing in Physics

April 30, 2019

The stunning emergence of a new type of superconductivity with the mere twist of a carbon sheet has left physicists giddy, and its discoverer nearly overwhelmed.

mathematical physics

A Child’s Puzzle Has Helped Unlock the Secrets of Magnetism

January 24, 2019

People have known about magnets since ancient times, but the physics of ferromagnetism remains a mystery. Now a familiar puzzle is getting physicists closer to the answer.

In Theory

How Complex Wholes Emerge From Simple Parts

December 20, 2018

Throughout nature, throngs of relatively simple elements can self-organize into behaviors that seem unexpectedly complex. Scientists are beginning to understand why and how these phenomena emerge without a central organizing entity.

Photo of Lisa Manning
Q&A

The Physics of Glass Opens a Window Into Biology

June 11, 2018

The physicist Lisa Manning studies the dynamics of glassy materials to understand embryonic development and disease.