News

From the College of Natural Sciences

Fusion at Our Service

(L to R) Mike Kotschenreuther, Swadesh Mahajan, Prashant Valanju and Erich Schneider. Photo: Marsha Miller Fusion has long been pursued as a pure and virtually inexhaustible source of energy. It is fusion reactions, after all, that power the stars. When fusion—the joining of two similar atomic nuclei to form a heavier nucleus—occurs in an uncon...(L to R) Mike Kotschenreuther, Swadesh Mahajan, Prashant Valanju and Erich Schneider

Invisible Waves

This video still of particles suspended in water shows how internals waves can billow and mix water along the continental slope. Hidden beneath the surface of the sea, powerful “internal” waves are shaping the underwater edges of continents and contributing to ocean mixing and climate. Physicists Hepeng Zhang and Harry Swinney simulated such wave...This video still of particles suspended in water shows how internals waves can billow and mix water along the continental slope.
Nuclear Fusion-Fission Hybrid Could Destroy Nuclear Waste And Contribute to Carbon-Free Energy Future

Nuclear Fusion-Fission Hybrid Could Destroy Nuclear Waste And Contribute to Carbon-Free Energy Future

AUSTIN, Texas — Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a new system that, when fully developed, would use fusion to eliminate most of the transuranic waste produced by nuclear power plants. The invention could help combat global warming by making nuclear power cleaner and thus a more viable replacement of carbon-heavy energy...

Markert Wins Hamilton Book Award

AUSTIN, Texas — The winners of this year's University Co-op Robert W. Hamilton Book Awards, among the highest honors of literary achievement given to published authors at The University of Texas at Austin, were announced Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Four Seasons Hotel. Michael H. Granof, chairman of the University Co-operative Society, hosted the e...

Q & A with Michael Marder

Michael Marder is a physics professor a co-director of UTeach How long have you been interested in science education? In a way, since I was young. I grew up in Champaign-Urbana, and at the time, the University of Illinois was trying a number of radical education experiments, and I was part of them. In eighth and ninth grade, for instance, I was i...marder_illustration_web

Supersonic Sharpshooter

Mark Raizen and his research group can now stop over 85 percent of the atoms in the periodic table and many molecules. That means big-named, important elements can now be controlled, and in fact, Raizen has already proven it with molecular oxygen. “Our methods open up whole new avenues of research,” says Raizen, professor of physics. The tool he us...supersonic shooter
Invisible Waves Shape Continental Slope

Invisible Waves Shape Continental Slope

AUSTIN, Texas—A class of powerful, invisible waves hidden beneath the surface of the ocean can shape the underwater edges of continents and contribute to ocean mixing and climate, researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found. The scientists simulated ocean conditions in a laboratory aquarium and found that “internal waves” generat...

Splitting Light Could Improve Telecommunication Networks

AUSTIN, Texas--A new method for speeding and slowing a pulse of light simultaneously could lead to much faster optical telecommunication networks and more efficient optic-based computers. In a paper published in Physical Review A, University of Texas at Austin physicists Pablo Bianucci, Ken Shih and Gennady Shvets report the first ever demonstrati...

Most Powerful Laser In The World Fires Up

Dr. Todd Ditmire, director of the Texas Center for High-Intensity Laser Science.AUSTIN, Texas—The Texas Petawatt laser reached greater than one petawatt of laser power on Monday morning, March 31, making it the highest powered laser in the world, Todd Ditmire, a physicist at The University of Texas at Austin, said. The Texas Petawatt is the only o...Dr. Todd Ditmire, director of the Texas Center for High-Intensity Laser Science.
Controlling Most Atoms Now Possible

Controlling Most Atoms Now Possible

AUSTIN, Texas—Stopping and cooling most of the atoms of the periodic table is now possible using a pair of techniques developed by physicist Mark Raizen at The University of Texas at Austin. Raizen stopped atoms by passing a supersonic beam through an “atomic coilgun” and cooled them using “single-photon cooling.” The techniques are a major step ...

Liquid Bounce

Physics graduate student Matt Thrasher and Professor Harry Swinney recently explored the phenomenon of liquid bouncing, where a falling stream of liquid bounces off the surface of the same liquid. In the video, you will see a stream of silicone oil after it has dropped into a tank of the same oil. The long stream of oil stretches to the right und...
Atomic Coilgun Used to Slow and Stop Atoms

Atomic Coilgun Used to Slow and Stop Atoms

AUSTIN, Texas—An atomic coilgun that slows and stops atoms has been developed, report physicists from The University of Texas at Austin in the New Journal of Physics. Dr. Mark Raizen and his colleagues used the new coilgun to slow neon atoms, and Raizen said that the method could be used with a wide variety of atoms. “Our method will be applicabl...

Nanoparticle Technique Could Lead to Improved Semiconductors

AUSTIN, Texas—Devices made from plastic semiconductors, like solar cells and light-emitting diodes (LEDs), could be improved based on information gained using a new nanoparticle technique developed at The University of Texas at Austin. As electrical charges travel through plastic semiconductors, they can be trapped much like a marble rolling on a ...

Complex Flows of Turbulence Visualized

AUSTIN, Texas--The convoluted tangle describing turbulence has been visualized for the first time by a group of researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their work, published in the April 6 issue of Physical Review Letters, may ultimately help engineers design more efficient planes, ca...

Physicists Slow and Control Supersonic Helium Beam

AUSTIN, Texas—The speed of a beam of helium atoms can be controlled and slowed using an “atomic paddle” much as a tennis player uses a racquet to control tennis balls, physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have discovered. The slow helium beam technique—a breakthrough in the field of atom optics—could someday be used to better probe micr...