A new solar power device similar to a thin double-glazed window has been developed by Gavin Bell (Nano Physics) and Yorck Ramachers (Particle Physics). The device uses inert gas instead of vacuum to transport electrical energy, and is based on the photoelectric effect rather than conventional photovoltaic materials. The idea has been published in the journal Joule [Bell, G. R. and Ramachers, Y. A., Joule (2017) DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2017.11.007]. The key unknown is the photocathode material which must have highly optimised properties for the device to be efficient enough to compete with conventional photovoltaics. Possibilities include diamond thin films and special perovskite oxide materials.
Understanding gravity in the framework of quantum mechanics is one of the great challenges in modern physics. Along this line, a prime question is to find whether gravity is a quantum entity subject to the rules of quantum mechanics. It is fair to say that there are no feasible ideas yet to test the quantum coherent behaviour of gravity directly in a laboratory experiment. In a recent paper, Gavin Morley and colleagues introduce an idea for such a test based on the principle that two objects cannot be entangled without a quantum mediator.
Dan Bayliss, lead author of the research, commented: "The discovery of NGTS-1b was a complete surprise to us - such massive planets were not thought to exist around such small stars. This is the first exoplanet we have found with our new NGTS facility and we are already challenging the received wisdom of how planets form."
Peter Wheatley added, “Having worked for almost a decade to develop NGTS, it is thrilling to see it picking out new and unexpected types of planets."
Gold’s origin in the Universe has finally been confirmed, after a gravitational wave source was seen and heard for the first time ever by an international collaboration of researchers, with astronomers at the University of Warwick playing a leading role.
Direct bandgap photoluminescence in the 3–5 um wavelength window is demonstrated from GeSn microdisks, suggesting that GeSn alloys are well suited for mid-infrared integrated gas sensors on Si chips.
After the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 a key question is whether it is the only one. The minimal supersymmetric standard model (MSSM) includes five physical Higgs bosons, three of them neutral. ATLAS has just published a search for a second neutral one decaying to tau pairs, covering a wide mass range above that of the discovered one using data collected in the years 2015 and 2016. This is the most sensitve search for such an MSSM Higgs yet.