News from the Physics Department
The weakest magnetic field in the solar system
2015-05-12 – Magnetic fields easily penetrate matter. Creating a space practically devoid of magnetic fields thus presents a great challenge. An international team of physicists has now developed a shielding that dampens low frequency external magnetic fields more than a million-fold. Using this mechanism, they have created a space that boasts the weakest magnetic field of our solar system. The physicists now intend to carry out precision experiments there.
First XXL GEM detector for ALICE at CERN
2015-05-07 – The largest detector ever built based on the GEM technology was assembled in the past few weeks by a group of scientists led by Prof. Laura Fabbietti from the Physik-Department of Technische Universität München (TUM). As part of a six-week project at the TUM and at CERN, 40 physicists, engineers and technicians from eleven institutes worldwide built the world’s largest prototype of this detector technology, the first sector of the outer readout chamber (OROC) for the Time Projection Chamber at the ALICE experiment at CERN. The workshop named “School of ROC” was initiated by Dr. Piotr Gasik from the group of Prof. Fabbietti, who is coordinating the assembly of the ROCs. In the coming months, a further 35 detector elements will be mounted and tested at the participating institutes. After the next big upgrade at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, these new ROCs will be implemented at the ALICE experiment, replacing the technology presently used in the Time Projection Chamber.
QS World University Rankings by Subject: Physik-Department among world's leading top 20
2015-04-30 – The current “QS World University Rankings by Subject” places TUM’s Physics Department at position 14 for the subject “Physics/Astronomy”. TUM was already ranked the 54th best university in the world in the QS World University Rankings published in September 2014.
Novel X-ray technology improves contrast in soft tissue
2015-04-30 – Soft tissue disorders like tumors are very difficult to recognize using normal X-ray machines. There is hardly any distinction between healthy tissue and tumors. Researchers at the Physik-Department of TUM have now developed a technology using a compact synchrotron source that measures not only X-ray absorption, but also phase shifts and scattering. Tissue that is hardly recognizable using traditional X-ray machines is now visible.
New office room for parents supervising their children
2015-04-27 – Working parents know this scenario: something unexpected happens and child care has to be reorganised quickly. The Physics Department supports parents with an office room for parents supervising their children. The room is available for all parents who study or work at the Physik-Department.
Willi Auwärter appointed as Heisenberg professor for Molecular Engineering at Functional Interfaces
2015-04-23 – The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Science Foundation) has awarded one of its prestigious Heisenberg professorships to Willi Auwärter at the Physik-Department. The Heisenberg programme aims to both stimulate progress in research and to maintain an outstanding pool of early career researchers for the scientific community.
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.
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”.
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
2015-02-26 – 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.