News & Announcements
The Saint Louis University Department of Physics is now accepting applications for the Integrated and Applied Sciences (IAS) Ph.D. program in Nanomaterials and Condensed Matter Physics track. Please contact Dr. Kuljanishvili, Dr. Solenov, or Dr. Wisbey for more information.
The Physics of Animals
Dr. Potvin's research on the physics of animals has recently produced interesting results pertaining to the buoyancy of sharks and rays. It turns out that these animals don't regulate their buoyancy as efficiently as "regular" fish. This is why one finds very few sharks living in fresh water (Good for us, lake-swimming lovers). Those that do tend to be bottom feeders. More details can be found here:
Dr. Potvin's paper, written in collaboration with biologists from Stanford University and Murdoch University (in Australia) has appeared on-line in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Mouse over images to expand
In a collaboration with Dr. Mark McQuilling from the Dept. of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Potvin and his students are studying the hydrodynamic drag of cetaceans with the aim of understanding how much energy these animals spend to travel and feed. His team uses computer simulations of the flows about the body of these whales to figure out the forces that resist their motion through the water. The color picture in the top left shows a pressure map on the body (as represented by the so-called Cp - pressure coefficient). Here one sees the pressure to be highest near the head, and lowest over the middle third of the body. Here the fins and flukes have been removed. The effects of those are determined via water tunnel investigations. The simulations are based on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), where the equation of motions of the water particles (F = ma !) are calculated on each one of the tetrahedrons making up the mesh shown in the top middle photo. To save computer time, the mesh is at its highest resolution (ie with the smallest tetrahedrons) near the body where the flows are deflected the most (and where they are more complicated). These calculation are performed here at SLU, either on workstations or on a large computer cluster (top right).
Flux dynamics, ac losses, and activation energies in (Ba0.6K0.4)Fe2As2 bulk superconductor
M. Nikolo, X. Shi, E.S. Choi, J. Jiang, J.D. Weiss, E.E. Hellstrom, Journal of Low Temperature Physics, 178, 188 (2015).
Flux pinning and thermally assisted flux flow (TAFF) are studied in a (Ba0.6K0.4)Fe2As2 (Tc=38.3 K) bulk samples in magnetic fields up to 18 T via ac susceptibility measurements. Ac susceptibility curves shift to higher temperatures as the frequency is increased from 75 to 1997 Hz in all fields. The frequency (f) shift of the susceptibility curves is modeled by the Anderson-Kim Arrhenius law f = f0 exp(-Ea/kT) to determine flux activation energy Ea/k as a function of ac field Hac and dc magnetic flux density μ0 Hdc. Ea/k ranges from 8822 K (761 meV) at μ0 Hdc = 0 T to 1100 K (95 meV) at 18 T for Hac =80 A/m (1 Oe). The energies drop very quickly in a non-linear manner as μ0 Hdc increases from 0 T to 1 T, and more gradually, in a linear like manner, as μ0 Hdc increases further to 18 T, suggesting some kind of vortex transition. For ac fields of 400 A/m (5 Oe) and higher, the Arrhenius model starts breaking down, at around μ0 Hdc = 2 T. As dc magnetic flux density increases further, this breakdown becomes significant for μ0 Hdc = 15 and 18 T at ac fields of 400 A/m and higher. Extensive mapping of the de-pinning, or irreversibility, lines shows broad dependence on the magnitude of the ac field, frequency, in addition to the dc magnetic flux density.
Magneto-transport properties and thermally activated ﬂux ﬂow in Ba(Fe0.91Co0.09)2As2 superconductor
M. Nikolo, X. Shi, E.S. Choi, J. Jiang, J.D. Weiss, E.E. Hellstrom, Journal of Superconductivity and Novel Magnetism, 27, 2231 (2014).
Thermally assisted flux flow (TAFF) based on magneto-resistivity and ac susceptibility measurements is studied in a Ba(Fe0.91Co0.09)2As2 (Tc = 25.3 K) sample in magnetic fields up to 18 T. In addition to the upper critical field µ0Hc2 and the coherence length ξ(0), the flux flow activation energy U(T,H) has also been determined. The resistive transition width is proportional to µ0H, in contrast to Tinkham's theoretical prediction. By applying Fisher's model, the glass melting transition temperature Tg, which occurs in the upper TAFF state and not in the zero resistivity vortex solid regime, is calculated. The onset of TAFF temperature and the crossover temperature Tx from TAFF to flux flow are determined. By contrasting the ac susceptibility data with the resistivity data, considerable flux penetration appears even in the zero resistivity state, in addition to ac losses. The H-T phase diagram is drawn and shows weak pinning regime as the field approaches µ0Hc2, and the strength of the weak pinning decreases to zero with increasing magnetic field from 0 T to 18 T.
By KENNETH CHANG April 17, 2014
It is a bit bigger and somewhat colder, but a planet circling a star 500 light-years away is otherwise the closest match of our home world discovered so far, astronomers announced on Thursday.
The planet, known as Kepler 186f, named after NASA's Kepler planet-finding mission, which detected it, has a diameter of 8,700 miles, 10 percent wider than Earth, and its orbit lies within the "Goldilocks zone" of its star, Kepler 186 - not too hot, not too cold, where temperatures could allow for liquid water to flow at the surface, making it potentially hospitable for life.
"Kepler 186f is the first validated, Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star," Elisa V. Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., said at a news conference on Thursday. "It has the right size and is at the right distance to have properties similar to our home planet."
Who Is Hiring Physics Bachelor's? http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/states/state.html
A searchable state-by-state listing of many employers who recently hired physics bachelor's into science and engineering positions.
Latest Employment Data for Physicists http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/emptrends.html
Reports that provide the latest data on where physicists work and what they do throughout the economy and at different degree levels.
Statistical Research Center home page http://www.aip.org/statistics
Current data on education and employment in physics, astronomy and allied fields, including full reports as well as individual graphs and tables.