News from the Physics Department
Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami
2015-03-27 – The latest DNA nanodevices created at the Physics Department of TUM – including a robot with movable arms, a book that opens and closes, a switchable gear, and an actuator – may be intriguing in their own right, but that's not the point. They demonstrate a breakthrough in the science of using DNA as a programmable building material for nanometer-scale structures and machines. Results published in the journal Science reveal a new approach to joining – and reconfiguring – modular 3D building units, by snapping together complementary shapes instead of zipping together strings of base pairs. This not only opens the way for practical nanomachines with moving parts, but also offers a toolkit that makes it easier to program their self-assembly.
Fascinating quantum transport on a surface
2015-03-27 – Topological insulators are an exceptional group of materials. Their interior acts as an insulator, but the surface conducts electricity extremely well. Scientists at Physik-Department have measured this now for the first time directly, with extremely high temporal resolution and at room temperature. In addition, they succeeded to influence the direction of the surface currents with a polarized laser beam.
Matthias Rief wird Mitglied der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
2015-03-21 – Die Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften hat elf Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aufgrund ihrer wissenschaftlichen Leistungen als neue Mitglieder gewählt – darunter auch Prof. Matthias Rief, Lehrstuhlinhaber für Molekulare Biophysik am Physik-Department.
ERC-Grant for Reinhard Kienberger
2015-03-20 – Reinhard Kienberger, Professor at the Physics Department, receives an ERC Consolidator Grant. The European Research Council will support his project "Attosecond ELectron Dynamics in Molecular Systems (AEDMOS)" for 5 years and will spend up to 2 Million Euros on it. Thus the Physik-Department at TUM continues to be one of Europe's most successful faculties in attracting ERC funding.
Unified theory for skyrmion-materials
2015-03-03 – Magnetic vortex structures, so-called skyrmions, could in future store and process information very efficiently. They could also be the basis for high-frequency components. For the first time, a team of physicists succeeded in characterizing the electromagnetic properties of insulating, semiconducting and conducting skyrmion-materials and developed a unified theoretical description of their behavior. This lays the foundation for future electronic components with purpose-designed properties.
TUM IdeAward zeichnet "High-End Algorithmen für die Computertomographie" aus
2015-02-27 – Ein neuer Algorithmus für eine verbesserte Computertomographie, der am Physik-Department entwickelt wird, wurde jetzt mit einem TUM IdeAward ausgezeichnet.
Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics
2015-02-27 – Magnetic nanoparticles can increase the performance of solar cells made from polymers – provided the mix is right. This is the result of an X-ray study carried out in collaboration with Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY). Adding about one per cent of such nanoparticles by weight makes the solar cells more efficient, according to the findings of a team of scientists headed by Prof. Peter Müller-Buschbaum from the Physik-Department. They are presenting their study in one of the upcoming issues of the journal “Advanced Energy Materials”.
Caging of molecules allows investigation of equilibrium thermodynamics
2015-02-26 – High performance materials for gas storage, thermal insulators or nanomachines need a thorough understanding of the behavior of the material down to the molecular level. Thermodynamics, which have been developed two hundred years ago to increase the efficiency of steam engines, typically observes and averages over a large number of molecules. Now a team of scientists has developed a methodology, to investigate the equilibrium thermodynamics of single molecules.
New result for the polarizability of pions supports standard model
2015-02-10 – Nuclear particles called pions contribute significantly to the strong interaction. This force is responsible for binding nuclei together and accounts for most of the mass of the visible matter surrounding us. Now, for the first time, physicists have succeeded in precisely determining the deformability of pions. The result, to which researchers from the Technische Universität München (TUM) contributed considerably, is in close agreement with the theoretical predictions. It also revises earlier measurements that were incompatible with the standard model of physics.
New study confirms the presence of dark matter in the inner part of the Milky Way
2015-02-09 – The Universe is pervaded by a mysterious form of matter, dubbed dark matter, about five times more abundant than the ordinary matter – made of atoms – we are familiar with. Its existence in galaxies was robustly established in the 1970s. Scientists now obtained for the first time a direct observational proof of the presence of dark matter in the innermost part our Galaxy, the Milky Way.
Internationales Symposium zur Röntgen-Phasenkontrast-Bildgebung
2015-02-09 – Insgesamt 120 Physiker, Mediziner und Vertreter der Industrie aus aller Welt trafen sich vom 29.-30.01.2015 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen zum vierten „International Symposium on Biomedical Applications of Phase Contrast Imaging, IMXP“, einem interdisziplinären Symposium zur Phasenkontrast-Bildgebung mit Röntgenstrahlen. Hauptthema waren Fortschritte in der Technologieentwicklung und Bildverarbeitung, sowie neue Entwicklungen in der biomedizinischen Anwendung.
Unexpected findings on the production of elements
2015-01-27 – Elements of cosmic origin on the floor of the Pacific Ocean provide new insights into supernova explosions. An international research team with participation of the Physics Department at Technische Universität München has analysed a deep-sea manganese crust on their content of particularly heavy elements thought to be from supernovae. It was found that the amount is much lower than expected. The researchers therefore assume that the heavy elements found may not be formed in standard supernovae.
Franz Pfeiffer appointed as Carl von Linde Senior Fellows at IAS
2015-01-23 – TUM's Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) awards one of its Carl von Linde Senior Fellowships to Professor Franz Pfeiffer. Pfeiffer will use the Fellowship to develop a novel prototype for X-ray computed tomography (CT): the up-scaling of recent advances in dark-field X-ray imaging from in-vivo studies on small animals to first clinical studies for human diagnostics. The novel techniques promise X-ray tomography with unprecedented detail and thus may greatly enhance early detection and screening of important diseases, including lung emphysema or cancer.
Electrons on a rapid journey through a crystal lattice
2015-01-14 – How fast do electrons whiz through the atomic layers of a crystal lattice? A team of scientists led by researchers from the Technische Universität München (TUM) joined by colleagues from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ), the Ludwig- Maximilians-Universität Munich and the Technical University of Vienna has now investigatigated this fundamental question. The researchers measured the time electrons needed to travel through a film consisting of a few layers a of magnesium atoms.
How long do antiparticles live in gummy bears?
2015-01-07 – Gelatin is used in the pharmaceutical industry to encapsulate active agents. It protects against oxidation and overly quick release. Tiny pores in the material have a significant influence on this, yet they are difficult to investigate. In experiments on gummy bears, researchers at Physik-Department of TUM have now transferred a methodology to determine the free volume of gelatin preparations.
Borexino results among top-10 breakthroughs of the year
2014-12-19 – The magazine “Physics World” has named the Borexino results on neutrinos from the sun as one of the ten breakthroughs of the year 2014 in physics. The Borexino collaboration has for the first time detected neutrinos from the main nuclear reaction that powers the sun. The experiment is installed at the Italian Gran Sasso underground laboratory with a large involment of physicists from the Physik-Department at Technische Universität München (TUM). One of its co-initiators is TUM professor emeritus Franz von Feilitzsch.