SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Electric current

165

Quasi-particle excitations in graphene exhibit a unique behavior concerning two key phenomena of mesoscopic physics: electron localization and the quantum Hall effect. A direct transition between these two states has been found in disordered two-dimensional electron gases at low magnetic field. It has been suggested that it is a quantum phase transition, but the nature of the transition is still debated. Despite the large number of works studying either the localization or the quantum Hall regime in graphene, such a transition has not been investigated for Dirac fermions. Here we discuss measurements on low-mobility graphene where the localized state at low magnetic fields and a quantum Hall state at higher fields are observed. We find that the system undergoes a direct transition from the insulating to the Hall conductor regime. Remarkably, the transverse magneto-conductance shows a temperature independent crossing point, pointing to the existence of a genuine quantum phase transition.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Condensed matter physics, Electric current, Hall effect, Quantum Hall effect

151

Electric eels have been the subject of investigation and curiosity for centuries [1]. They use high voltage to track [2] and control [3] prey, as well as to exhaust prey by causing involuntary fatigue through remote activation of prey muscles [4]. But their most astonishing behavior is the leaping attack, during which eels emerge from the water to directly electrify a threat [5, 6]. This unique defense has reportedly been used against both horses [7] and humans [8]. Yet the dynamics of the circuit that develops when a living animal is contacted and the electrical power transmitted to the target have not been directly investigated. In this study, the electromotive force and circuit resistances that develop during an eel’s leaping behavior were determined. Next, the current that passed through a human subject during the attack was measured. The results allowed each variable in the equivalent circuit to be estimated. Findings can be extrapolated to a range of different eel sizes that might be encountered in the wild. Despite the comparatively small size of the eel used in this study, electrical currents in the target peaked at 40-50 mA, greatly exceeding thresholds for nociceptor activation reported for both humans [9] and horses [10, 11]. No subjective sensation of involuntary tetanus was reported, and aversive sensations were restricted to the affected limb. Results suggest that the main purpose of the leaping attack is to strongly deter potential eel predators by briefly causing intense pain. Apparently a strong offense is the eel’s best defense.

Concepts: Psychology, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Electricity, Electric current, Eel, Volt, Electric eel

147

Slime mould Physarum polycephalum is a single cell visible by the unaided eye. Let the slime mould span two electrodes with a single protoplasmic tube: if the tube is heated to approximately ≈40 °C, the electrical resistance of the protoplasmic tube increases from ≈3 MΩ to ≈10,000 MΩ. The organism’s resistance is not proportional nor correlated to the temperature of its environment. Slime mould can therefore not be considered as a thermistor but rather as a thermic switch. We employ the P. polycephalum thermic switch to prototype hybrid electrical analog summator, NAND gates, and cascade the gates into Flip-Flop latch. Computing operations performed on this bio-hybrid computing circuitry feature high repeatability, reproducibility and comparably low propagation delays.

Concepts: Electric current, Heat, Slime mold, Electronic engineering, Resistor, Physarum polycephalum, Slime molds, Series and parallel circuits

146

Since the high transition temperature (High-Tc) superconductivity was discovered in the series of materials containing iron (Fe), their potential for the applications has been extensively scrutinized. In particular, a lot of effort has been made in achieving the high current-carrying ability by revealing the vortex pinning behavior. Here, we report on the critical current density (Jc) for the pristine Ba1-xKxFe2As2 single crystals with various K concentrations (0.25 ≤ x ≤ 0.52) determined by the magnetization hysteresis loop measurements. The x-dependence of Jc is characterized by a spike-like peak at x ~ 0.30, which corresponds to the under-doped region. This behavior is distinct from a moderate Tc dome with a broad maximum spanning from x ~ 0.3 to 0.5. For the under-doped samples, with increasing magnetic field (H), a second magnetization peak in Jc is observed, whereas for the optimally- and over-doped samples, Jc monotonically decreases with H. This result emphasizes that fine tuning of doping composition is important to obtain strong flux pinning. The origin of the characteristic doping dependence of Jc is discussed in connection with the orthorhombic phase domain boundary, as well as the chemical inhomogeneity introduced by the dopant substitutions.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Fundamental physics concepts, Condensed matter physics, Electric current, Magnetism, Ferromagnetism, Physical quantities, Permeability

144

Excitation of magnetization dynamics by pure spin currents has been recently recognized as an enabling mechanism for spintronics and magnonics, which allows implementation of spin-torque devices based on low-damping insulating magnetic materials. Here we report the first spatially-resolved study of the dynamic modes excited by pure spin current in nanometer-thick microscopic insulating Yttrium Iron Garnet disks. We show that these modes exhibit nonlinear self-broadening preventing the formation of the self-localized magnetic bullet, which plays a crucial role in the stabilization of the single-mode magnetization oscillations in all-metallic systems. This peculiarity associated with the efficient nonlinear mode coupling in low-damping materials can be among the main factors governing the interaction of pure spin currents with the dynamic magnetization in high-quality magnetic insulators.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Spin, Electric current, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Insulator

141

Lead halide perovskite solar cells (PSCs) appear to be the ideal future candidate for photovoltaic applications owing to the rapid development in recent years. The electron transport layers (ETLs) prepared by low-temperature process are essential for widespread implementation and large-scale commercialization of PSCs. Here, we report an effective approach for producing planar PSCs with Al(3+) doped SnO2 ETLs prepared by using a low-temperature solution-processed method. The Al dopant in SnO2 enhanced the charge transport behavior of planar PSCs and increased the current density of the devices, compared with the undoped SnO2 ETLs. Moreover, the enhanced electrical property also improved the fill factors (FF) and power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the solar cells. This study has indicated that the low-temperature solution-processed Al-SnO2 is a promising ETL for commercialization of planar PSCs.

Concepts: Electric charge, Photoelectric effect, Electric current, Solar cell, Photovoltaics, Energy conversion, Energy conversion efficiency, P-n junction

136

Spin-orbit torque has attracted considerable attention as a means to overcome limits of devices based on spin-transfer torque. However, a small magnetic field that is collinear to the current flow must be applied to break symmetry and induce deterministic current-induced magnetization switching. Recently, a junction utilizing interlayer coupling mediated by a Ru spacer layer between two CoFe layers was designed for symmetry breaking and exhibited current-induced magnetization switching without a magnetic field. Here, we demonstrate zero-field current-induced switching of the perpendicular magnetization of a Co layer that is indirectly coupled with a CoFe layer via a Ta spacer. The weak interlayer coupling exhibited by Ta allows the layer thickness to be relatively small (≈0.5 nm), enabling appropriate interlayer coupling to induce spin-orbit torque for current-induced magnetic switching. External magnetic field effects on switching characteristics show that the current switching process is quite stable against external environments.

Concepts: Electron, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Electric current, Magnetism, Magnetic moment, Permeability, Superparamagnetism

76

We derive two principal components (PCs) of temporal magnetic field variations over the solar cycles 21-24 from full disk magnetograms covering about 39% of data variance, with σ = 0.67. These PCs are attributed to two main magnetic waves travelling from the opposite hemispheres with close frequencies and increasing phase shift. Using symbolic regeression analysis we also derive mathematical formulae for these waves and calculate their summary curve which we show is linked to solar activity index. Extrapolation of the PCs backward for 800 years reveals the two 350-year grand cycles superimposed on 22 year-cycles with the features showing a remarkable resemblance to sunspot activity reported in the past including the Maunder and Dalton minimum. The summary curve calculated for the next millennium predicts further three grand cycles with the closest grand minimum occurring in the forthcoming cycles 26-27 with the two magnetic field waves separating into the opposite hemispheres leading to strongly reduced solar activity. These grand cycle variations are probed by α - Ω dynamo model with meridional circulation. Dynamo waves are found generated with close frequencies whose interaction leads to beating effects responsible for the grand cycles (350-400 years) superimposed on a standard 22 year cycle. This approach opens a new era in investigation and confident prediction of solar activity on a millenium timescale.

Concepts: Magnetic field, Mathematics, Sun, Electric current, Principal component analysis, Phase, Sunspot, Solar cycle

65

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is an emerging non-invasive neuromodulation technique that applies mA currents at the scalp to modulate cortical excitability. Here, we present a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique, which detects magnetic fields induced by tDCS currents. This technique is based on Ampere’s law and exploits the linear relationship between direct current and induced magnetic fields. Following validation on a phantom with a known path of electric current and induced magnetic field, the proposed MRI technique was applied to a human limb (to demonstrate in-vivo feasibility using simple biological tissue) and human heads (to demonstrate feasibility in standard tDCS applications). The results show that the proposed technique detects tDCS induced magnetic fields as small as a nanotesla at millimeter spatial resolution. Through measurements of magnetic fields linearly proportional to the applied tDCS current, our approach opens a new avenue for direct in-vivo visualization of tDCS target engagement.

Concepts: Brain, Electromagnetism, Magnetic field, Electricity, Spin, Electric current, Magnetic resonance imaging, Magnetism

54

In a lithium-ion battery, electrons are released from the anode and go through an external electronic circuit to power devices, while ions simultaneously transfer through internal ionic media to meet with electrons at the cathode. Inspired by the fundamental electrochemistry of the lithium-ion battery, we envision a cell that can generate a current of ions instead of electrons, so that ions can be used for potential applications in biosystems. Based on this concept, we report an ‘electron battery’ configuration in which ions travel through an external circuit to interact with the intended biosystem whereas electrons are transported internally. As a proof-of-concept, we demonstrate the application of the electron battery by stimulating a monolayer of cultured cells, which fluoresces a calcium ion wave at a controlled ionic current. Electron batteries with the capability to generate a tunable ionic current could pave the way towards precise ion-system control in a broad range of biological applications.

Concepts: Electron, Cathode, Electric current, Electrochemistry, Ion, Battery, Electrolysis, Anode