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Physics tip sheet #21 July 10, 2002

1) Holographic plankton tracking
P. R. Hobson, J. Watson
Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics (Print issue: July 2002)

Knowledge of the distribution and dynamics of marine organisms and particles is crucial to understanding aquatic ecosystems. However, most measurement techniques disrupt the system and prevent collection of good data. Researchers have shown how to record the three dimensional structure and dynamics of a plankton colony by recording a series of holographic images. They can be analyzed later by moving a detector through a holographic reconstruction of the plankton swarm, frozen in time. A large-scale implementation of the recording scheme has been deployed in Loch Etive, Scotland, and analysis of the images is under way.

Journal article: http://stacks.iop.org/1464-4258/4/S34

2) Artificial leaves to remove carbon dioxide
L. G. Wang, S. J. Pennycook, S. T. Pantelides
Physical Review Letters (To appear)

Artificial leaves, made from semiconductors, might one day help to remove excess airborne carbon dioxide and maybe even turn it into fuel. Artificial CO2 fixation needs several ingredients: light, a catalyst (such as CdS), and organic molecules. A new study suggests how this process can be made more efficient, a necessary step if artificial fixation is ever to be practical on a large scale. The authors suggest the possibility that nanocrystal doping might obviate the need for light, which would allow some fixation to take place in dark smokestacks.

Physics News Update: http://www.aip.org/enews/physnews/2002/split/597-3.html
Journal article: Available on request

3) Measuring fundamental constants with BECs
S. Gupta, K. Dieckmann, Z. Hadzibabic, D. E. Pritchard
arXiv preprint server

The preci
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Contact: David Harris
harris@aps.org
301-209-3238
American Physical Society
10-Jul-2002


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