Research Highlights (AY2011 - 2012)

NUS physicists invented light-powered nanowalkers free of chemical wastes

The group of A/P Zhisong Wang at NUS Physics, in collaboration with colleagues A/P Johan van der Maarel and Asst/P Ruchuan Liu, have made and demonstrated a bipedal nanowalker that mimics biological counterparts in design but draws energy from light. This work appears in Physical Review Letters with a news highlight.


Suzi's SEM image of her mesocrystals selected for coverpage of NanoToday!

Suzi, a Research Fellow from the Nanomaterials Research Laboratory, submitted SEM image of her mesocrystals for NanoToday coverpage competition and her work was selected! It has now officially appeared as the coverpage image of the latest issue of NanoToday.


Quantum non-locality based on finite-speed causal influences leads to superluminal signalling

The experimental violation of Bell inequalities using space-like separated measurements precludes the explanation of quantum correlations through causal influences propagating at subluminal speed.


Anomalous heat conduction and anomalous diffusion in low dimensional nanoscale systems

Heat conduction is an important energy transport process in nature. Phonon is the major energy carrier for heat in semiconductors and dielectric materials. In analogy to Ohm's law of electrical conduction, Fourier's law is the fundamental law of heat conduction in solids.


Does noise improve a bird's spin-based compass?

According to the "radical pair" model, some migratory birds exploit the quantum phenomenon of electron spin to navigate using the Earth's magnetic field. This idea has now been bolstered by a new study from physicists in Singapore, who have shown that the spin-based process and the dynamics of a proposed "compass" molecule take place over similar timescales.


Quantized Adiabatic Transport In Momentum Space

Though topological aspects of energy bands are known to play a key role in quantum transport in solid-state systems, the implications of Floquet band topology for transport in momentum space (i.e., acceleration) have not been explored so far.


Higher order oligomerization is required for H-NS family member MvaT to form gene-silencing nucleoprotein filament

MvaT from Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a member of the histone-like nucleoid structuring protein (H-NS) family of nucleoid-associated proteins widely spread among Gram-negative bacteria that functions to repress the expression of many genes.


Nucleoprotein filament formation is the structural basis for bacterial protein H-NS gene silencing

H-NS is an abundant nucleoid-associated protein in bacteria that globally silences genes, including horizontally-acquired genes related to pathogenesis.


Fluoropolymer Drops Graphene's Resistance

It was reported that Assistant Professor Özyilmaz Barbaros from the Department of Physics at the NUS Faculty of Science and researchers from Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, South Korea worked together to develop a simple, more permanent strategy for boosting graphene's conductance.


Unveiling the Mystery of DNA overstretching transitions

When subjected to force at about 65 picoNewtons, DNA undergoes a perplexing structural transition. Referred to as overstretching, this transition abruptly extends the contour length of B-DNA around 1.7 times. Conflicting experimental findings have led to uncertainty about whether this overstretching produces a single-stranded DNA or S-DNA, a novel double-stranded DNA.


Quantum Information Motion Control Is Now Improved

It was reported that a team of physicists from the Centre for Computational Science and Engineering of the NUS Faculty of Science and China's Zhejiang University have devised a new method for handling the effect of the interplay between vibrations and electrons on electronic transport. The study could have implications for quantum computers due to improvements in the transport of discrete amounts of information, known as qubits, that are encoded in electrons. It was also mentioned that their paper is about to be published in The European Physical Journal B.

The research work has been highlighted by Science Daily and PhysOrg


Novel Metal Centered Oxalato Phosphate Open Framework 4 V Cathode Materials for Lithium Ion Batteries

Angew. Chemie Int. Ed. 51(2012)5866-5870 (I.F.: 12.73) Researchers from Dept.s of Chemistry (Prof. J. J. Vittal) and Physics (Dr. M .V. Reddy, Prof. B .V R. Chowdari) for the first time synthesized novel metal-organic phosphate open framework materials M2[(VO)2(HPO4)(C2O4)] (M= K, Na, Li,K) and demonstrated as a interesting hybrid cathode materials for Lithium Ion batteries.


Prof Gong's research collaboration with China researchers

1. Long-Lasting Exponential Spreading in Periodically Driven Quantum Systems
Jiao Wang, Italo Guarneri, Giulio Casati, and Jiangbin Gong Phys. Rev. Lett. 107, 234104 (2011) – Published November 30, 2011

2. Quantum Hyperdiffusion in One-Dimensional Tight-Binding Lattices
Zhenjun Zhang, Peiqing Tong, Jiangbin Gong, and Baowen Li Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 070603 (2012) – Published February 15, 2012

3. Preferred States of Decoherence under Intermediate System-Environment Coupling
Wen-ge Wang, Lewei He, and Jiangbin Gong Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 070403 (2012) – Published February 17, 2012


New Theory Explains How Objective Reality Emerges from the Strange Underlying Quantum World

Quantum theory is one of the most profound discoveries of humanity. In my view, it's on a par with Cuban cigars and single malt whiskey. The theory has been hugely successful in showing us the inner workings of the universe.


Gene silencing H-NS paralogue StpA forms a rigid protein filament along DNA that blocks DNA accessibility

Bacterial nucleoid associated proteins (NAPs) are involved in genomic DNA packaging and global gene regulation in bacteria cells. One of the widely-studied NAPs in E.coli is H-NS which is involved in global gene silencing.


How a quintessential quantum test was fooled

When it comes to pitting quantum theory against classical notions of the world, there's one experiment that physicists say can make a clear distinction: a test of Bell's inequalities. But in newly-published work, CQT researchers and their collaborators from Norway describe how they faked quantum results using classical physics in such a test, reminding scientists to be cautious about the assumptions in their experiments.


Real time in-situ neutron diffraction studies on lithium-ion batteries

Researchers from ANSTO, Australia (Neeraj Sharma etal.), National University of Singapore (M V Reddy etal.) and University of Wollongong performed a successful in-situ neutron diffraction experiment on a mock lithium-ion battery while it was charging and discharging to illustrate how the crystal-structure of a cathode material changes.


Photonics: Graphene's two-photon shuffle

Light absorption isn't always linear, however. In some cases, two photons combine together to initiate the absorption process — a phenomenon that offers unique advantages and which is used in a variety of technological applications from microfabrication to optical data storage.


Moment of magnetism

Asst/Prof Ariando's work on electronic phase separation has been highlighted in the News and Views of the Nature Physics by Andrew Millis. He has been invited for a talk at the APS March meeting 2012 on this topic.


Graphene gives protection from intense laser pulses

21 Aug 2011. Scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) , DSO National Laboratories and University of Cambridge have jointly announced a new world record in broadband non-linear optical absorption behavior using single-sheet graphene dispersions in a variety of heavy-atom solvents and film matrices


Simulation of Chemical Isomerization Reaction Dynamics on a NMR Quantum Simulator

Quantum simulation can beat current classical computers with minimally a few tens of qubits. Here we report an experimental demonstration that a small nuclear-magnetic-resonance quantum simulator is already able to simulate the dynamics of a prototype laser-driven isomerization reaction using engineered quantum control pulses.


Observation of Long Spin Relaxation Times in Bilayer Graphene at Room Temperature

We report on the first systematic study of spin transport in bilayer graphene (BLG) as a function of mobility, minimum conductivity, charge density and temperature.


Graphene used in biomedical applications can control the fate of stem cells

It is widely believed that stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of human diseases. The range of potentially ground-breaking therapies based on stem cells ranges from combating Alzheimer's Disease to regenerative medicine.


Evidence for subwavelength imaging with positive refraction

The resolution of lenses is normally limited by the wave nature of light. Imaging with perfect resolution was believed to rely on negative refraction, but here we present experimental evidence for subwavelength imaging with positive refraction.

Supplemental materials are available at
1. To invisibility and beyond
2. The laird of physics
3. The battle to find Maxwell's perfect image


Laser irradiation probes photocurrent in Nb2O5 nanowires

Global and local measurement comparison gives better understanding of nanowire photoconductivity.


Data storage: Carbon-ferroelectric memory

A fundamental component of a field-effect transistor (FET) is the gate dielectric, which determines the number of charge carriers—electrons or electron vacancies—that can be injected into the active channel of the device.


Electronic phase separation at the LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface

Almost a decade ago, it was shown that at the interface of two oxide insulators (LaAlO3 and SrTiO3) a 2 dimensional electron gas can form with desirable electronic properties making this a metallic interface. In this Nature Communication article, Ariando and co-workers (from NUSNNI-Nanocore, Department of Physics, ECE and MSE) show that this metallic interface when prepared under suitable conditions of oxygen pressure can become active, simultaneously exhibiting a number of interesting magnetic properties along with the metallic property of the electron gas.


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