For those with not enough time on their hands, here’s a short overview of the top physics news with links to original articles. As always, if you would like to receive these weekly news straight to your email, register to our email newsletter here.
1. A New Planet Hunter by NASA (April 8)
One of the most successful NASA’s planet hunting telescopes — the Kepler space telescope — will have a colleague called TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite). TESS will be able to use an array of telescopes to scan the whole of the sky rather than just one patch. The aim of TESS is to find many more transiting exoplanets from gas giants like Jupiter right down to those the size of Earth. It is planned for launch in 2017. Full article here.
2. Another Step Towards Optical Transistors (April 9)
The need of optical transistors grows rapidly as the global communication infrastructure struggles to keep up with growing rates of transmitting information. An optical transistor would offer an increase in speed and functionality in information transmission. Now a new way to control light in semiconductor, developed by scientists at McGill’s Department of Chemistry, made another step towards optical transistors. “Our findings show that these nanocrystals can form a completely new platform for optical logic,” said one of the authors of the article Jonathan Saari. Read the full overview here.
3. Discussion of the Data Collected by AMS (April 11)
The AMS or the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is a cosmic ray detector mounted on the side of the International Space Station. As mentioned in the news last week, the findings of AMS were recently announced. In the video below, Michael Fincke and Andrei Kounine discuss the process of getting the AMS into space, its development and the previous results. Observations that would either confirm or disprove the existence of theoretical particles that might be a component of dark matter have yet to be made, however the scientist working with AMS are confident that once more data is collected, this discovery will surely be made. Read the full article here.