Nature Physics January Issue

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Nature Physics

Black holes from prediction to detection

This Collection showcases the presence of black holes in scientific research published by Nature Research over the last 50 years and the evolution of our understanding of black holes in astronomy and astrophysics over that time. 

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January 2017 Volume 13, Issue 1

Books and Arts
Research Highlights
News and Views
Progress Article
Measure for Measure
Recommend to library



To boldly go   p1
China is investing in big astronomy and astrophysics projects, but is still debating the way forward in experimental particle physics.

A new launch   p1
This month we officially welcome our new sister journal, Nature Astronomy.



Maxwell–Thomson–Loschmidt reversal   p2
Philip L. Marston



Best of both worlds   pp3 - 4
Eleni Diamanti and Elham Kashefi
Secure communication is emerging as a significant challenge for our hyper-connected data-dependent society. The answer may lie in a clever combination of quantum and classical cryptographic techniques.



Economists must broaden their horizons   p5
Mark Buchanan

Books and Arts


Unreasonably beautiful   p6
Mathematics and Art: A Cultural History by Lynn Gamwell

Exhibition: Mathematics everywhere   p7
Iulia Georgescu

Research Highlights


Black holes: Death star | Phase transitions: Frozen in a tube | Bismuth: Not a trivial matter | Biophysics: Pole dancing | Philosophy of science: Toy story

News and Views


Valleytronics: Stark control   pp9 - 10
Xiaoqin Li and Galan Moody
By exploiting the optical Stark effect, the valley degree of freedom in monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides can be selectively manipulated and detected using all-optical methods.

See also: Letter by Ye et al.

Collective motion: Disorder in the wild   pp10 - 11
C. J. Olson Reichhardt and C. Reichhardt
Simple models have given us surprising insight into how animals flock, but most assume they do so through a homogeneous landscape. Colloidal experiments now suggest that a little disorder can have unexpected — and spectacular — effects.

See also: Letter by Morin et al.

Cavity quantum electrodynamics: Beyond strong   pp11 - 12
Kater Murch
When light and matter are strongly coupled, they lose their distinct character and merge into a hybrid state. Three experiments explore this exotic regime using artificial atoms, with promise for quantum technologies.

See also: Letter by Forn-Diaz et al. | Letter by Yoshihara et al. | Letter by Liu & Houck

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Correction   p12

See also: Thesis by Buchanan

Progress Article


New frontiers for quantum gases of polar molecules   pp13 - 20
Steven A. Moses, Jacob P. Covey, Matthew T. Miecnikowski, Deborah S. Jin and Jun Ye
Recent progress in engineering quantum gases of polar molecules brings closer their application in fundamental tests, ultracold chemistry and the study of new quantum phases of matter.



Universality of pseudogap and emergent order in lightly doped Mott insulators   pp21 - 25
I. Battisti, K. M. Bastiaans, V. Fedoseev, A. de la Torre, N. Iliopoulos et al.
Surprising observations in the evolution of electronic states in electron-doped iridates provide fresh insight into the melting of the Mott state and might lead to a fuller understanding of corresponding processes in copper-oxide superconductors.

Optical manipulation of valley pseudospin   pp26 - 29
Ziliang Ye, Dezheng Sun and Tony F. Heinz
Valleys in momentum space provide a degree of freedom that could be exploited for applications. A demonstration of valley pseudospin control now completes the generation–manipulation–detection paradigm, paving the way for valleytronic devices.

See also: News and Views by Li & Moody

One-dimensional spinon spin currents   pp30 - 34
Daichi Hirobe, Masahiro Sato, Takayuki Kawamata, Yuki Shiomi, Ken-ichi Uchida et al.
Spin currents can be carried by electrons and by magnons. Experiments now show that, in one-dimensional spin chains, spin currents can also be carried by particle-like excitations known as spinons.

Directly probing anisotropy in atom–molecule collisions through quantum scattering resonances   pp35 - 38
Ayelet Klein, Yuval Shagam, Wojciech Skomorowski, Piotr S. ┼╗uchowski, Mariusz Pawlak et al.
Atom–molecule interactions are orientation-dependent. Now the anisotropy of He–H2 interactions has been probed by measuring how the associated quantum scattering resonances respond to tuning of the H2 rotational state.

See also: News and Views by Wester

Ultrastrong coupling of a single artificial atom to an electromagnetic continuum in the nonperturbative regime   pp39 - 43
P. Forn-Díaz, J. J. García-Ripoll, B. Peropadre, J.-L. Orgiazzi, M. A. Yurtalan et al.
A superconducting artificial atom coupled to a 1D waveguide tests the limits of light–matter interaction in an unexplored coupling regime, which may enable new perspectives for quantum technologies.

See also: Letter by Yoshihara et al. | News and Views by Murch

Superconducting qubit–oscillator circuit beyond the ultrastrong-coupling regime   pp44 - 47
Fumiki Yoshihara, Tomoko Fuse, Sahel Ashhab, Kosuke Kakuyanagi, Shiro Saito et al.
A circuit that pairs a flux qubit with an LC oscillator via Josephson junctions pushes the coupling between light to matter to uncharted territory, with the potential for new applications in quantum technologies.

See also: Letter by Forn-Diaz et al. | News and Views by Murch

Quantum electrodynamics near a photonic bandgap   pp48 - 52
Yanbing Liu and Andrew A. Houck
Using a superconducting transmon qubit coupled to a microwave photonic crystal one can study intriguing strong-coupling effects such as the emergence of localized cavity modes within the photonic bandgap.

See also: News and Views by Murch

Stokes solitons in optical microcavities   pp53 - 57
Qi-Fan Yang, Xu Yi, Ki Youl Yang and Kerry Vahala
Solitonic modes that are redshifted due to a Raman-related effect are reported in optical microcavities, and termed Stokes solitons.

Topological defects in confined populations of spindle-shaped cells   pp58 - 62
Guillaume Duclos, Christoph Erlenkämper, Jean-François Joanny and Pascal Silberzan
Spindle-shaped cells readily form nematic structures marked by topological defects. When confined, the defect distribution is independent of the domain size, activity and type of cell, lending a stability not found in non-cellular active nematics.

Distortion and destruction of colloidal flocks in disordered environments   pp63 - 67
Alexandre Morin, Nicolas Desreumaux, Jean-Baptiste Caussin and Denis Bartolo
Our understanding of collective animal behaviour generally assumes that flocks and herds move through homogeneous environments. Colloidal experiments suggest that flocking can be distorted or even suppressed by the introduction of disorder.

See also: News and Views by Reichhardt & Reichhardt



Dynamical observations of self-stabilizing stationary light   pp68 - 73
J. L. Everett, G. T. Campbell, Y.-W. Cho, P. Vernaz-Gris, D.B. Higginbottom et al.
Light propagating through a cloud of cold atoms can be slowed down by exciting a certain type of spin wave in the atomic ensemble. This stationary light could find applications in quantum technologies.

Superfluid Brillouin optomechanics   pp74 - 79
A. D. Kashkanova, A. B. Shkarin, C. D. Brown, N. E. Flowers-Jacobs, L. Childress et al.
An optomechanical system made of an optical cavity filled with superfluid liquid helium provides the means to study phenomena involving different degrees of freedom than those in traditional solid-state resonators.

Nanotextured phase coexistence in the correlated insulator V2O3   pp80 - 86
A. S. McLeod, E. van Heumen, J. G. Ramirez, S. Wang, T. Saerbeck et al.
A near-field optical microscopy study provides nanoscale insight into an insulator-to-metal transition and the interplay with a neighbouring structural phase transition in a prototypical correlated electron material.

Controlled finite momentum pairing and spatially varying order parameter in proximitized HgTe quantum wells   pp87 - 93
Sean Hart, Hechen Ren, Michael Kosowsky, Gilad Ben-Shach, Philipp Leubner et al.
The interplay between spin physics and superconductivity is examined in HgTe quantum wells, revealing a tunable momentum of the Cooper pairs that drives changes in their superconducting behaviour.

Universal dynamics and deterministic switching of dissipative Kerr solitons in optical microresonators   pp94 - 102
H. Guo, M. Karpov, E. Lucas, A. Kordts, M. H. P. Pfeiffer et al.
A study of the dynamics of so-called Kerr solitons in optical microresonators reports the discovery of a simple mechanism that permits the step-wise reduction of soliton states, one by one.

Measure for Measure


Extra points for thermometry   p104
Jonathan Pearce
Temperature measurement standards rely on highly reproducible states of matter — including eutectic points, as Jonathan Pearce explains.

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