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Physics tip sheet #13 May 15, 2002

ion of neutron stars from collapsing supernovae are some of the most dramatic processes in stellar evolution. In a neutron star, high densities cause matter to form a uniform liquid but just before that happens, nuclei form rod-like and slab-like structures and bubbles, termed nuclear pasta. The existence of pasta phases change the dynamics of neutron stars and how they behave astrophysically. New detailed simulations have shown how hot nucleic matter can form the various pasta phases as it cools. The matter seems to pass through a series of phases starting from uniform matter and heading through spherical, cylinder-like, slab-like phases and then as more uniform matter with holes that are cylindrical and then spherical before the whole lot becomes uniform again at a lower temperature.

Preprint: http://www.arxiv.org/abs/nucl-th/0205037

4) Electron liquid crystals
L. Radzihovsky and A. T. Dorsey
Physical Review Letters (Print issue: May 27, 2002)

Electrons don't normally know one direction from another, so researchers were perplexed a few years ago when they found a cold plane of electrons suddenly choosing to conduct many times better in one direction than in the perpendicular one. Maybe they could acquire a preferred orientation by acting like liquid crystals, theorists proposed. Now a group reports it has worked this theory out well enough that experimenters may finally have some detailed signs to search for.

Physical Review Focus: http://focus.aps.org/v9/st25.html
Journal article: http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v88/e216802

5) Chromium atoms on demand
S. B. Hill, J. J. McClelland
APS Division of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics meeting (May 28-June 1, 2002)

A NIST group can now supply chromium atoms on demand, one at a time, the first
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Contact: David Harris
harris@aps.org
301-209-3238
American Physical Society
15-May-2002


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