News from the Physics Department
Measuring forces in the DNA molecule
2016-09-12 – DNA, our genetic material, normally has the structure of a twisted rope ladder. Experts call this structure a double helix. Among other things, it is stabilized by stacking forces between base pairs. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded at measuring these forces for the very first time on the level of single base pairs. This new knowledge could help to construct precise molecular machines out of DNA. The researchers published their findings in the journal “Science”.
Physics and technology – made easy
2016-09-07 – Gemeinsam mit der Forschungsneutronenquelle der TUM und der Gerda-Stetter-Stiftung hat das Physik-Department vom 30. August bis 1. September 2016 ein neues Programm angeboten. Zwölf Mädchen im Alter von zehn bis zwölf Jahren waren eingeladen, drei Tage lang auf eine wissenschaftliche und technische Entdeckungsreise zu gehen. Dabei gab es viel Spaß und eine Menge neuer Erkenntnisse.
New constructions sites around the Physics Department building
2016-08-30 – The area around the physics department building will get a modern infrastructure as well as a new multi-storey car park offering space for more than 200 cars. These constructions are also a prerequisite for the new department building to be constructed later. The “Medienkanal” along Boltzmannstraße (between IAS, Mensa and physics buildings) will be continued all the way to the back of the physics buildings.
16.2 million Euros for neutron and positron research
2016-08-29 – The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has given 13.5 million Euros to fund a number of projects at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ). The projects are to be realized by ten different universities over the next three years, including seven projects at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The Ministry has also given 2.7 million Euros to support the integration of instruments in the new Neutron Guide Hall East at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz research neutron source (FRM II).
DNA dominos on a chip
2016-08-22 – Normally, individual molecules of genetic material repel each other. However, when space is limited DNA molecules must be packed together more tightly. This case arises in sperm, cell nuclei and the protein shells of viruses. An international team of physicists has now succeeded in artificially recreating this so-called DNA condensation on a biochip.
Time-resolved detection of a supernova signal in Earth’s microfossils
2016-08-10 – Physicists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have succeeded in detecting a time-resolved supernova signal in the Earth’s microfossil record. As the group of Prof. Shawn Bishop could show, the supernova signal was first detectable at a time starting about 2.7 Million years ago. According to the researcher’s analyses, our solar system spent one Million years to transit trough the remnants of a supernova.
Tiny works of art with great potential
2016-07-14 – Unlike classical crystals, quasicrystals do not comprise periodic units, even though they do have a superordinate structure. The formation of the fascinating mosaics that they produce is barely understood. In the context of an international collaborative effort, researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now presented a methodology that allows the production of two-dimensional quasicrystals from metal organic networks, opening the door to the development of promising new materials.
Two sensors and a controller - all within a single protein molecule
2016-06-20 – Modern heating systems use an indoor and an outdoor sensor in order to efficiently achieve homely temperatures. Now a team of scientists from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) discovered exactly such a dual sensor strategy realized by a protein of the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli.
Samantha Zimnik receives Laura Bassi award
2016-06-03 – Samantha Zimnik is granted with the Laura Bassi price for her outstanding scientific achievements in the field of surface physics at the positron source NEPOMUC.
A switch for light wave electronics
2016-06-02 – Light waves might be able to drive future transistors. The electromagnetic waves of light oscillate approximately one million times in a billionth of a second, hence at petahertz frequencies. In principle future electronics could reach this speed and become 100.000 times faster than current digital electronics. A team of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) at the Max-Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ), the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich (LMU) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in collaboration with theorists from the University of Tsukuba have optimized the interaction of light and glass in a way that facilitates its possible future usage for light wave driven electronics.
Christian Pfleiderer and Peter Böni receive Europhysics prize
2016-05-30 – Experimental physicists Prof. Christian Pfleiderer and Prof. Peter Böni from the physics department of TUM are awarded the European Physical Society’s prestigious Europhysics Prize. The prize is awarded for the “discovery of a skyrmion phase in manganese silicon” and shared with three theoretical physicists: Prof. Alex Bogdanov (Dresden), Prof. Achim Rosch (Cologne) and Prof. Ashvin Vishwanath (Berkeley).
Architekturwettbewerb für zwei neue Physik-Gebäude entschieden
2016-04-27 – Auf dem Weg zu modernen Laborflächen und neuer Infrastruktur für die Lehre ist das Physik-Department einen großen Schritt vorangekommen: Der Architekturwettbewerb für den Neubau zweier Institutsgebäude ist entschieden. Zunächst wird von 2018 bis 2020 ein futuristisches Laborgebäude entstehen; anschließend soll ein Neubau für Hörsäle und Praktika folgen.
Friedrich Simmel and Franz Pfeiffer receive ERC grants
2016-04-25 – Two scientists from the physics department of TUM won out in the latest round of ERC grants. The interdisciplinary projects are at the interfaces of physics and biology and physics and medical applications, respectively. Both projects would not have been possible just a few years ago. They are ambitious in trying to carve out new scientific grounds.
Mechanics of the cell
2016-04-21 – Living cells must alter their external form actively, otherwise functions like cell division would not be possible. At the physics department of TUM the biophysicist Professor Andreas Bausch and his team have developed a synthetic cell model to investigate the fundamental principles of the underlying cellular mechanics.
Confirmation of supernova explosion in the neighborhood of our solar system
2016-04-14 – Approximately two million years ago a star exploded in a supernova close to our solar system: Its traces can still be found today in the form of an iron isotope found on the ocean floor. Now scientists at the Physics Department of TUM, together with colleagues from the USA, have found increased concentrations of this supernova-iron in lunar samples as well. They believe both discoveries to originate from the same stellar explosion.
Neutrons help to save the cultural heritage from the Iron Age
2016-04-08 – An interdisciplinary collaboration of scientists studies ways to prevent the rapid corrosion of archeological iron finds.