Photo-induced Force Microscopy Measures Nanoparticles With Light

A new technique called “photo-induced force microscopy,” which probes the optical properties of nanomaterials by measuring the physical force imparted by light, is being tested by scientists at Rice University. Isabell Thomann’s primary research centers on using nanoparticles and sunlight to reduce the carbon footprint of power plants. A major focus is photocatalysis, a class of processes in which light interacts with high-tech materials to drive chemical reactions. says Thomann, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, materials science, nanoengineering, and chemistry at Rice University. [Read More]

NASA Satellites Solve A Mystery About Earth's Magnetic Field

In the first major results of NASA’s [Magnetospheric Multiscale](http://Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission) (MMS) mission, a new study contains a groundbreaking look at the interaction between the magnetic fields of Earth and the sun. The Earth’s magnetic field presents an invisible but critical barrier which protects Earth from the sun’s magnetic field. That force drives a stream of charged particles known as the solar wind outward from the sun’s outer layers. [Read More]

Nearby Cluster Of Massive Stars Source For Earth’s Cosmic Rays

The majority of the cosmic rays coming at us on Earth from our galaxy originate from nearby clusters of massive stars, according to new observations from the Cosmic Ray Isotope Spectrometer (CRIS), an instrument aboard NASA’s Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft. In the 17 years CRIS has been in space, it detected about 300,000 galactic cosmic-ray nuclei of ordinary iron, but just 15 of the radioactive 60Fe. The distance from the galactic cosmic rays’ point of origin to Earth is limited by the survival of a very rare type of cosmic ray that acts like a miniature clock. [Read More]