Matter & Energy 

World’s fastest water heater — 100,000 degrees in 0.000 000 000 000 075 seconds

Scientists have used a powerful X-ray laser to heat water from room temperature to 100,000 degrees Celsius in less than a tenth of a picosecond (millionth of a millionth of a second). The experimental set-up, that can be seen as the world’s fastest water heater, produced an exotic state of water, from which researchers hope to learn more about the peculiar characteristics of Earth’s most important liquid. The observations also have practical use for the probing biological and many other samples with X-ray lasers. The team of Carl Caleman from the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) at DESY and Uppsala University (Sweden) reports its findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Matter & Energy 

Engineers on a roll toward smaller, more efficient radio frequency transformers

The future of electronic devices lies partly within the “internet of things” — the network of devices, vehicles and appliances embedded within electronics to enable connectivity and data exchange. University of Illinois engineers are helping realize this future by minimizing the size of one notoriously large element of integrated circuits used for wireless communication — the transformer.

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Space & Time 

Frequency-stable laser systems for space

For the first time a frequency reference based on molecular iodine was successfully demonstrated in space! What sounds a bit like science fiction is an important step towards laser interferometric distance measurements between satellites as well as for future global navigation satellite systems based on optical technologies. The frequency reference tests were carried out on 13 May on board the sounding rocket TEXUS54. The centerpiece of the payload, a compact laser system, which was primarily developed by HU Berlin and the Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, demonstrated its suitability for space.

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