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Intergranular embrittlement is one of the most dangerous effects responsible for catastrophic failure of construction metallic materials. The reason is that it proceeds very quickly and its occurrence is hardly predictable. However, it is known that this problem is closely connected to chemical composition of intergranular regions – grain boundaries. Solutes and impurities tend to accumulate – segregate – at grain boundaries at enhanced temperatures in such an extent that they can occupy all available atomic positions there.

A new insight into the characterization of chemical properties of the elements has been contributed by a method of Czech and Japanese researchers, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications. State-of-the-art scanning-probe microscopes already enable scientists to resolve individual atoms on surfaces, but thanks to the new method, they can also measure the ability of these atoms to attract electrons, i.e. their electronegativity.

The High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS), being developed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), recently completed a significant milestone: demonstration of continuous operation of an all diode-pumped, high-energy femtosecond petawatt laser system.

With completion of this milestone, the system is ready for delivery and integration at the European Extreme Light Infrastructure Beamlines facility project (ELI Beamlines) in the Czech Republic.

Scientists from the Institute of Physics of the CAS lead an international team, which developed a new method to analyze the scattering of electrons in nanocrystals. The method is so accurate that it can be used to detect the positions of even the lightest of all atoms – the hydrogens. The accuracy and reliability of the method was demonstrated in a publication, where hydrogen positions were determined in two different materials. The work was published in the journal Science in its January 13th, 2017 issue.

"DiPOLE 100" (alias "Bivoj"), a fully diode pumped solid state laser (DPSSL) designed and constructed at STFC's Central Laser Facility (CLF) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, was delivered under contract to the HiLASE Centre in the Czech Republic. In mid-December 2016, it achieved its full design performance, operating at an output energy of 100 J per pulse at 10 Hz (1 kW) for over 1 hour without operator intervention.

New biophysical laboratory equipped for a wide range of biological experiments, was opened at the Institute of Physics CAS on Wednesday, December 7th, 2016. Newly built cell culturing facility in conjunction with a new microscopic laboratory create a basic infrastructure for interdisciplinary biophysical workplace allowing to do a comprehensive research in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine fields.

The European Commission has officially announced that is to co-fund the creation of a new "Centre of Excellence" (CoE) for the industrial exploitation of new laser technology in partnership with the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Scientists from Czech Institute of Physics and the STFC's Central Laser Facility in Oxfordshire, UK, will work together on the 5.5 year / 45 MEuro project. This is the first time to be funded under the "Widespread Teaming" programme within Horizon 2020 that aims to improve the innovation performance of Member states.

Scientists from the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of Czech Academy of Sciences observed a chemical transformation of individual molecules on silver surface and demonstrated chirality transfer during the reaction. They employed the latest advances of scanning probe microscopy, which allows scientists to determine the chemical bond between individual atoms within molecules and thus determine their molecular structure and the chirality. The results were published in the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry.

A group of researchers from the Institute of Physics, together with an international team, studied the dynamics of water molecules in beryl crystals. As reported in their recent article in Nature Communications, they succeeded in proving for the first time that, at low temperatures, these localized water molecules tend to align, exhibiting so-called incipient ferroelectricity.

A team of researchers from the Institute of Physics and Institute of Thermomechanics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) recently published a study in the Science journal, which for the first time explained the mesomechanics of localized deformation in tensioned wire. Unlike other materials which deform homogenously, when NiTi wire is being stretched inelastic deformation proceeds via propagation of macroscopic transformation fronts separating transformed and untransformed regions.

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