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From the College of Natural Sciences
Researchers Discover New Way to Split and Sum Photons with Silicon

Researchers Discover New Way to Split and Sum Photons with Silicon

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Riverside have found a way to produce a long-hypothesized phenomenon—the transfer of energy between silicon and organic, carbon-based molecules—in a breakthrough that has implications for information storage in quantum computing, solar energy conversion and...
Rethinking Brain-Inspired Computing from the Atom Up

Rethinking Brain-Inspired Computing from the Atom Up

If you wanted to deliver a package across the street and avoid being hit by a car, you could program a powerful computer to do it, equipped with sensors and hardware capable of running multiple differential equations to track the movement and speed of each car. But a young child would be capable of doing the same task with little effort, says Alex Demkov, professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin.

Twisted Physics: Magic Angle Graphene Produces Switchable Superconductivity

Twisted Physics: Magic Angle Graphene Produces Switchable Superconductivity

When the two layers of bilayer graphene are twisted relative to each other by 1.1 degrees -- dubbed the "magic angle" -- electrons behave in a strange and extraordinary way. The effect was first theorized by UT Austin physics professor Allan MacDonald and postdoctoral researcher Rafi Bistritzer. Illustration credit: David Steadman/University of Texas at Austin.

Last year, scientists demonstrated that twisted bilayer graphene — a material made of two atom-thin sheets of carbon with a slight twist — can exhibit alternating superconducting and insulating regions. Now, a new study in the journal Nature by scientists from Spain, the U.S., China and Japan shows that superconductivity can be turned on or off with a small voltage change, increasing its usefulness for electronic devices.

Feliciano Giustino Uses Quantum Mechanics to Create New Materials

Feliciano Giustino Uses Quantum Mechanics to Create New Materials

Feliciano Giustino recently joined the University of Texas at Austin faculty in the Department of Physics and is a Moncrief Chair in the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences, where he will direct the Center for Quantum Materials Engineering. He was previously a professor in the Department of Materials at Oxford University.

New Material Holds Promise for More Secure Computing

New Material Holds Promise for More Secure Computing

When the two atomically-thin sheets of this new material are rotated slightly with respect to each other, an interference pattern known as a moiré pattern appears. This feature appears to enable Li’s new material to act as a series of single photon emitters. Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

As computers advance, encryption methods currently used to keep everything from financial transactions to military secrets secure might soon be useless, technology experts warn. Reporting today in the journal Nature, a team of physicists and engineers led by University of Texas at Austin physics professor Xiaoqin Elaine Li report they have created a material with light-emitting properties that might enable hack-proof communications, guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics.

New Material Might Lead to Higher Capacity Hard Drives

New Material Might Lead to Higher Capacity Hard Drives

Over the past few decades, the cost of storing data on hard disk drives (HDDs) has fallen dramatically, enabling revolutions in personal, scientific and cloud computing and allowing for storage of ever-greater amounts of data. But even as data collection continues to skyrocket, the cost-per-bit trend has been flattening out, leading to calls for new innovations in technology.

Two UT Scientists Part of Project to Detect ‘Life As We Don’t Know It’

Two UT Scientists Part of Project to Detect ‘Life As We Don’t Know It’

Eric Anslyn and Andrew Ellington.

A nearly $7 million grant from NASA is supporting research to develop approaches to detecting extraterrestrial life, and two University of Texas at Austin faculty are part of the interdisciplinary scientific team.

UT Austin Launches $15.6 Million Center for Materials Research

UT Austin Launches $15.6 Million Center for Materials Research

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering and the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin have received a $15.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to discover and advance new types of materials for use in many applications including energy storage, medical devices and information processing.

Surprising Property of Ferroelectrics Might Lead to Smaller, Lighter Electronics

Surprising Property of Ferroelectrics Might Lead to Smaller, Lighter Electronics

In this artist’s conception, a needle from a scanning impedance microscope touches a domain wall in a ferroelectric material. Image credit: Ella Maru Studio.

A research team led by physics professor Keji Lai at the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that a material he studies has an unusual property that could one day lead to cell phones and other electronic devices that are smaller, lighter and more energy efficient.

A New Era for Physics? With Creation of New Form of Matter, a Time Crystal, It Just Might Be

A New Era for Physics? With Creation of New Form of Matter, a Time Crystal, It Just Might Be

Salt, snowflakes and diamonds are all crystals, meaning their atoms are arranged in 3-D patterns that repeat. Today scientists are reporting in the journal Nature on the creation of a phase of matter, dubbed a time crystal, in which atoms move in a pattern that repeats in time rather than in space.