New ‘knobs’ can dial in control of materials

Designing or exploring new materials is all about controlling their properties. In a new study, Cornell scientists offer insight on how different “knobs” can change material properties in ways that were previously unexplored or misunderstood.

“The ultimate goal is to control electronic and magnetic properties of new materials using various knobs,” said Kyle Shen, associate professor of physics, who led the study published in Physical Review Letters in January. “What you want is to turn one knob, change some parameter, and turn a material from this to that.”

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Brendan Faeth An artist’s rendering of strontium iridate, an oxide whose properties can be controlled by applying spin-orbit interactions or changing molecular bond angles.

Brendan Faeth
An artist’s rendering of strontium iridate, an oxide whose properties can be controlled by applying spin-orbit interactions or changing molecular bond angles.

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IEEE PAST TC 2015 Awards

The PAST Awards are sponsored by the Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Technical Committee (PAST TC) of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.

IEEE is world’s largest professional association dedicated to technology innovation. The IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society awards the Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Awards to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the development of particle accelerator science and technology. Two Awards are granted in each occurrence of the Particle Accelerator Conferences held in North America (PAC or IPAC).

Two Awards are granted in each occurrence of the Particle Accelerator Conferences held in North America (PAC or IPAC). The 2015 awards will be given at the 6th International Particle Accelerator Conference May 3-8 Richmond, VA USA, during the Awards Session on Thursday May 7, 2015.

Prof. Ivan Bazarov of Cornell University is a winner of the IEEE NPSS Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award for 2015, “for contributions to science and technology of energy recovery lilacs and high-brightness photoinjectors”.

Ivan Bazarov is a Professor of Accelerator Physics at Cornell University. His research areas include high brightness photoinjectors, low emittance photocathodes, energy recovery linacs, and advanced optimization algorithms for enhancing accelerator performance. Ivan came to Cornell as a postdoc in the year 2000 and since then he has become one of the leaders in the field of low emittance photoemission sources and photocathodes. He led in the effort of designing and commissioning the world’s brightest high current photoinjector at Cornell, which demonstrated the theoretical minimum emittance in addition to the record average current beams. He also made numerous contributions to beam dynamics in energy recovery linacs and pioneered the use of multiobjective parallel optimizers for accelerator applications.

Dr. Sergey Belomestnykh of Brookhaven National Laboratory is a winner of the IEEE NPSS Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Award for 2015, “for achievements in the science and technology of RF and SRF for particle accelerators”.

Sergey Belomestnykh is a scientist and head of the Superconducting RF group in the Collider-Accelerator Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Brookhaven Professor at Stony Brook University. He has been at Brookhaven National Laboratory since 2010.

Sergey received his M.S. Degree in Engineering Electrophysics from Novosibirsk State Technical University in 1981 and Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences from Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics in Novosibirsk, Russia, in 1998.

In his early career Sergey Belomestnykh worked at Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics, where he contributed to design, development and commissioning of several normal conducting RF systems for circular accelerators. In 1994 he joined Laboratory for Elementary-Particle Physics at Cornell University and began working on superconducting RF (SRF) technology. Sergey was heavily involved in developing, installation, commissioning and operations of the SRF cavity cryomodules for electron-positron collider CESR, where he served as an RF group leader since 2000. He has participated in the Cornell Energy Recovery Linac (ERL) program, leading R&D and commissioning efforts on several sub-systems.

His main scientific and engineering interests are in developing new SRF cavities and photoemission electron sources for particle accelerators, such as heavy ion collider RHIC, electron-ion collider eRHIC, HiLumi LHC, future circular colliders, new electron cooling schemes and ERL test facilities. Sergey’s group is working on a wide variety of SRF structures covering frequency range from 56 MHz to 2.1 GHz. The structures include quarter wave resonators for high-beta particles, SRF guns, compact crab cavities, and elliptical cavities. In addition, Sergey’s research covers development of normal conducting RF cavities, high-power RF input couplers, higher-order mode dampers, RF power amplifiers, low-level electronics and synchronization for accelerators as well as studies of electromagnetic interactions of particle beams with accelerating structures.

Sergey’s contributions and expertise are widely recognized. Designs developed under his leadership have been adopted at other institutions. He has been invited to deliver talks and tutorials at many conferences and workshops, taught courses on SRF and accelerator physics and technology, written review papers, served on numerous committees. Sergey was elected as a Senior IEEE member in 2014.

PAST Doctoral Student Award

The IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society invites nominations for the Particle Accelerator Science and Technology Doctoral Student Award. Nominations should include a nomination letter from the thesis adviser containing a suggested award citation, a link to a web site containing the Ph.D. thesis, a brief curriculum vitae, a list of relevant publications and up to three letters of support from persons besides the nominator.

The objective of this award is to recognize significant and innovative technical contributions to the field of particle accelerator science and technology as demonstrated in a student’s doctoral thesis.

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Physicist Ernest Sternglass dies at 91

Ernest Sternglass ’44, M.S. ’51, Ph.D. ’53, whose correspondence as a young physicist with Albert Einstein led to an electron amplification discovery that – two decades later – allowed hundreds of millions to watch live video of Apollo 11 astronauts walking on the moon, died of heart failure Feb. 12 in Ithaca. He was 91.

Beyond the space program, his physics research led to safer X-ray equipment using digital imaging, which brings out greater detail than is possible with film, using computer image processing. These systems are now used by nearly every doctor and hospital.

As astronaut Neil Armstrong climbed down from the lunar module in July 1969 and walked on the moon, a television camera attached to the moon lander and made by Sternglass’s employer, Westinghouse, captured all the low-light lunar action. Inside the video camera was a highly sensitive TV camera tube, originating from Sternglass’s research. Sternglass had concluded that he had observed a phenomenon that was different from Einstein’s photoelectric effect – for which Einstein won a Nobel Prize in 1921.

To read the entire Cornell Chronicle article, click here.

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Professor Julia Thom-Levy Selected to Receive a 2015 Cook Award

On February 10, 2015 Professor Julia Thom-Levy was notified she was selected to receive a 2015 Cook Award.  She was nominated by Professor David Rubin in acknowledgement of her achievements and her contribution to the Cornell Community.

The Cook Award is named in honor of the late Constance E. Cook, Cornell’s first women vice president, and the late Professor Emeritus Alice E. Cook, founding member of the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women.  The Award honors individuals who deserve recognition for their commitment to women’s issues and their contributions for changing the climate for women at Cornell.  An award ceremony will be held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 with a luncheon.

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Impact of UK research revealed in 7,000 case studies

Science benefits society in myriad ways — but how to identify and encourage work with high impact is an obsession of funding agencies the world over. Last month, the United Kingdom brought new data to bear on the problem: almost 7,000 case studies chronicling the economic, cultural and social benefits of the nation’s scholarship, which were solicited as part of a unique assessment exercise. As policy-makers pore over the documents, Nature has commissioned its own analysis, revealing how researchers described the worth of their work to their paymasters, and hinting at buzzwords, including ‘million’ and ‘market’, that garnered high marks.

Many funding bodies ask academics to plan for the broader impacts of their work when they apply for grants. But the United Kingdom wanted to reward impact that had already been achieved, says Steven Hill, head of research policy at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The country already has an audit culture: it grades the quality of university research every few years, and hands out £2 billion (US$3 billion) annually on the basis of that assessment. For the 2014 audit, known as the Research Excellence Framework, or REF, HEFCE tweaked the rules. It added a requirement that universities send in case studies detailing their work’s wider impact during 2008–13, and announced that 20% of an institution’s final grade would be based on these contributions (see Nature; 2014).

To read the entire Nature article, click here.


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Trail of dust and gravitational waves tracked in arXiv papers

The trail of manuscripts posted to the preprint server arXiv shows how cosmologists rapidly embraced, then doubted and gradually lost interest in one of last year’s most sensational announcements: the discovery of gravitational waves generated at the birth of the Universe.

Soon after the announcement last March, papers questioning the result started to emerge. The final nail in the coffin came last week, when researchers officially conceded that dust in the Milky Way was responsible for the signal seen by the South Pole-based telescope BICEP2.

To read the full story on “Nature” click here

Source: Paul Ginsparg/arXiv

Source: Paul Ginsparg/arXiv

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Physics teacher training program going strong

A seven-year-old program that encourages undergraduate students to consider physics teaching careers and supports students in Cornell’s introductory physics courses has grown to over 60 participants this year, with no signs of slowing.

The Physics Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) program started with just eight students in 2007. It gives undergraduates teacher training through a seminar called Teaching and Learning Physics, taught by physics teacher-in-residence Jim Overhiser, of Owego Free Academy, and by placing them as teaching assistants in physics courses. UTAs receive course credit for both components.

To read the full article from The Cornell Chronicle click here


Former UTA Nolan Machado '14 is now teaching physics at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.

Former UTA Nolan Machado ’14 is now teaching physics at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.


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Self-destructive Effects of Magnetically-doped Ferromagnetic Topological Insulators

The discovery of “topologically protected” electrical conductivity on the surface of some materials whose bulk interior acts as an insulator was among the most sensational advances in the last decade of condensed matter physics—with predictions of numerous unusual electronic states and new potential applications. But many of these predicted phenomena have yet to be observed. Now, a new atomic-scale study of the surface properties of one of these ferromagnetic topological insulators reveals that these materials may not be what they had seemed. The research—conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and published in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—revealed extreme disorder in a fundamental property of the surface electrons known as the “Dirac mass.” Like the mass imparted to fundamental particles by their interactions with the recently confirmed Higgs field, Dirac mass results from surface particles’ interactions with magnetic fields. These fields are created by the presence of magnetic atoms substituted into the material’s crystal lattice to convert it into a ferromagnetic topological insulator.

To read the full article from CEMAG click here

Séamus Davis

Séamus Davis


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