Physicists get a grip on slippery molecules, and learn how the shape of nanoscopic magnetic islands affect data storage.
Molecules of hydrogen are difficult to steer with electric fields because of the symmetrical way that charges are distributed within them. But now researchers at ETH Zurich have found a clever technique to get a grip on the molecules. Their findings are reported in Physical Review Letters and highlighted in the September 14 issue of Physics (http://physics.aps.org).
Electric fields can easily manipulate electrically asymmetric molecules like water, but electric forces can't overcome thermal motions for highly symmetric molecules like H2.
Also in Physics this week:
Guenter Ahlers writes a Trends article in Physics (physics.aps.org) on how the unexplored details of convection could hold the key to understanding nature's most impressive phenomena, such as sunspots and patterns in the sun's photosphere.
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