Europhysics News, Vol. 47/1 – January/February 2016 can be downloaded on the magazine’s website.
Silicene: silicon conquers the 2D world
by , and Published online: 10 February 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/epn/2016101
We live in the digital age based on the silicon chip and driven by Moore’s law. Last July, IBM created a surprise by announcing the fabrication of a 7 nm test chip with functional transistors using, instead of just silicon, a silicon-germanium alloy. Will silicon be dethroned?
In defence of basic research
by J Published online: 10 February 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/epn/2016102
Soft Janus, wrinkles and all
by , , , and Published online: 10 February 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/epn/2016103
Right now you are probably sitting on a comfy cushion. This is most likely filled with polyurethane (PU) foam. PUs are very long molecules made up of many repeating units. If the repeating units are prepolymers – intermediate-mass building blocks – with more than two reactive end groups, a three-dimensional network will form – a rubber, or elastomer, which can behave elastically depending on the degree of network cross-linking.
Physics of rapid movements in plants
by , , and Published online: 10 February 2016, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/epn/2016104
Plants move, and not only under the action of the wind or during growth. Although they lack muscle, some have developed mechanisms to generate surprisingly fast movements, with speeds (about 10 m/s) and accelerations (thousands of g) that compete and even surpass those encountered in the animal kingdom.