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Current information technologies are either charge-based or spin-based. Semiconductor microprocessors are prime examples among the large variety of charge-based devices. They utilize the possibility offered by semiconductors to easily electrically manipulate and detect their electronic charge states representing the zeros and ones. Spin-based devices operate on an entirely distinct principle. In some materials, like iron, electron spins spontaneously align their direction which generates magnetism.

Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has begun implementation of the Centre of functional materials for bio-applications (FUNBIO). This project is supported within 11th call of the OPPK (Operational Programme Prague Competitiveness) structural funds of the European Commission, which significantly complements the current project Centre for Analysis of Functional Materials (SAFMAT).

Importance and impact of methods and techniques developed for studying physical problems has outreached the realm of natural sciences. Methods of quantum physics and statistical mechanics find more and more applications in biology, economy, informatics, or sociology. Physics has become one of the most important components of a number of new interdisciplinary research fields. Econophysics utilises methods of statistical mechanics and theory of phase transitions to model and understand processes in economy and financial markets.

Current technologies for writing, storing, and reading information are either charge-based or spin-based. Semiconductor flash or random access memories are prime examples among the large variety of charge-based devices. They utilize the possibility offered by semiconductors to easily electrically manipulate and detect their electronic charge states representing the “zeros” and “ones”. The downside is that weak perturbations such as impurities, temperature change, or radiation can lead to uncontrolled charge redistributions and, as a consequence, to data loss.

In ferromagnetic materials, information can be stored in “zeros” and “ones” defined by the orientation of magnetic moments, which can be pictured as small compasses (see Fig. 1a). This technology is behind a range of memory applications from kilobyte magnetic stripe cards to terabyte computer hard disks. It is dangerous to place a parking ticket or a hard disk next to another magnet or device generating strong magnetic fields because the magnetic moments of the memory can be unintentionally reoriented and the information lost

Scientists from the Institute of Physics of the ASCR, together with colleagues from Spain and France presented in the journal Nature Communications new theory of the origin of polyaromatic hydrocarbon molecules in the universe. According to the new theory, these molecules are formed by hydrogen etching of the graphitic surface of the stardust particles.

Scientists from Institute of Physics ASCR contributed to development of a new approach to preparation of highly tunable microwave dielectrics exploring Srn+1TinO3n+1 with layered perovskite crystal structure. This material has in the form of 50 nm thin films and under mechanical strain excellent dielectric properties, which are promising for applications in microwave electronics, e.g. in cellular phones.

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded jointly to François Englert from Belgium and British physicist Peter Higgs for – as the official citation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences reads – „the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider“.

We meet friction forces in our everyday life; energy loss or wear of materials due to friction are causes of large financial losses. A quest for better understanding friction, which may help reducing the energy demands of our society, therefore counts among the research priorities in material sciences.

Czech physicists contributed to the discovery of new mechanisms for storing information

The Spintronics and Nanoelectronics group from the Institute of Physics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic has completed another successful research project which opens new oportunities for future information technologies.

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