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Investigating Spin and Chirality Interactions

Electronic devices known as spintronics employ an electron’s spin rather than its charge to produce an energy-efficient current that is used for computing, data storage, and communication.

Researchers have successfully measured the amount of charge generated in spin-to-charge conversion within a spintronic material at ambient temperature, thanks to a printable organic polymer that prints into chiral configurations. The polymer’s adjustable properties and adaptability make it appealing for use in understanding chirality and spin interactions more broadly, as well as for less costly, environmentally friendly, printed electronic applications.

The study can be found in Nature Materials. Co-first authors are Kyung Sun Park of Urbana-Champaign and Rui Sun of ORaCEL with the support of eight co-authors, including Zhi-Gang Yu of Washington State University.

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AZO Materials

Solar eclipse worth a look

This area won’t have a catbird seat for Saturday’s partial eclipse, but any glimpse is better than none.

The partial solar eclipse that is expected to be visible in this region Saturday morning won’t be the spectacular view that those living in the path of totality from Oregon to Texas will see. But even a partial solar eclipse is worth paying attention to, a Washington State University observational astronomer said.

“Where you are on Earth really changes what you will expect to see in the sky,” said Christopher M. Carroll, who works in the physics and astronomy department on the Pullman campus.

“If you happen to be at the exact right place on Earth, we call this area on Earth’s map the path of totality because the total area of the sun will be blocked out by the moon.

Carroll explained that a solar eclipse happens because the moon’s distance from the Earth makes it appear to be the same size in the sky as the sun.

“Because of the position of the moon and because the moon is a solid object,” he said, “we can see it more clearly. The sun is a ball of plasma, really hot gas, and doesn’t have such a defined surface. So when you put these things in the sky, the moon we see actually can be about the same size as the sun.

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The Lewiston Tribune

Dr. Universe: How do we know there are other planets?

I looked through a high-power telescope for the first time in college. I couldn’t believe how many stars I saw. It’s hard to imagine all the planets orbiting all those stars.

I talked about how we know those planets are out there with my friend Jose Vazquez. He’s an astronomer at Washington State University.

He told me that scientists look for planets outside our solar system using a number of instruments—like a photometer. That’s a tool that attaches to a telescope and measures light.

The sun and eight major planets make up our solar system. All the planets outside our solar system are called extrasolar planets or exoplanets. Some of them are called hot Jupiters. Exoplanets orbit other stars—just like we orbit the sun.

The closest exoplanet is nearly 25 trillion miles away. Scientists can’t point a telescope and look directly at a planet that distant. They can’t send a rover that far. Instead, they look for clues that a planet is there.

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Ask Dr. Universe

Nobel Prize in physics for probing electrons

Three scientists who experimentally probed the blurry realm of the electron have been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in physics. The scientists, hailing from the United States, Germany and Sweden, used extraordinarily short pulses of light to track the way electrons move in atoms and create the chemical bonds necessary for the formation of molecules.

The work honored Tuesday comes from a discipline known as attosecond physics, so called because the pulses of light used in the experiments last only an attosecond, a period so brief that scientists say there are as many attoseconds in one second as there have been seconds since the dawn of time roughly 13.8 billion years ago.

Earlier advances in the field allowed scientists to scrutinize the motion of atoms within molecules and gain a better understanding of conductivity, said Susan L. Dexheimer, professor emerita at Washington State University and chair of the American Physical Society division of laser science. Attosecond pulses allow scientists to probe even deeper into the submicroscopic realm, to monitor electrons within atoms.

“Shorter-duration light pulses make possible measurements on faster time scales, acting like a strobe light to ‘freeze’ fast motions,” Dexheimer said Tuesday in an email.

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Washington Post


Astrophysics graduate student Marlo Ramo Morales honored as DOE fellow

Computational research at Washington State University is getting a boost from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Marlo Ramo Morales, a physics doctoral student working on developing a greater understanding of black holes and gravitational waves, has been selected to receive a prestigious DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. He’s the first WSU student to receive the four‑year fellowship since it was established in 1991.

Morales’ research is in numerical relativity, which involves creating computer simulations of extreme-gravity events such as the collision and merging of two black holes, to predict the signal in gravitational waves detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory).

“My research at WSU involves improving higher-order boundary conditions in the Spectral Einstein Code,” said Morales. “The improvements are essential to study complex gravitational waves with higher harmonics derived from extreme space-time events.”

Morales chose to pursue his PhD at WSU specifically to work and study alongside astrophysicists working in the field, including Vivienne Baldassare and his doctoral advisor Matt Duez.

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WSU Insider