Physics in Pictures by Topic

Quantum Mechanics

Low-pressure helium gas glows an eerie, soft pink color

Metastable Helium

Low-pressure helium gas glows an eerie, soft pink.


Dark Matter Simulation

Simulations help bring the mysterious, invisible matter to light.


Quantum Cyberattack

Future quantum cryptography could be foiled by a laser attack


Double Slit X-Rays

A modern-day take on the classic double-slit experiment


Topological Insulator

A close-up of a promising material you may find in future electronics


Radioactive Uranium Marbles

These marbles glow neon under blacklight, but they're safe


Chocolate Physics

Take a closer look at chocolatey treats


Underground Neutrino Detector

A detector once searched for exotic physics 6,800 feet underground


STAR Collision

What happens when two gold ions collide

Particle Quilt-001

Particle Quilt

One artist has captured the beauty of the LHC's particle detectors in a new form: quilts.

superconducting nanowires

Superconducting Nanowires

A scanning electron microscope image of superconducting nanowires.

protecting privacy

Protecting Privacy with Quantum Computing

A schematic of a blind quantum computer that could protect user's privacy.

superconductor secrets

New Phase of Matter in Superconductor

High temperature superconductor spills secrets: a new phase of matter.


Quantum Reality

A thirty foot model of a buckyball is suspended in the tree tops, taking physics and making art.


Striped Superconductors

This psychedelic image is a graphical summary of a theory describing striped superconductors.

entangling qubits

Entangling Qubits

This small grey crystal of silicon inside a glass test tube contains 10 billion pairs of entangled spin qubits


A Coil for Colliders

Superconducting coil for future energy colliders

computer chip

Four Qubits, One Chip

This computer chip includes four superconducting qubits that make up a version of a computer microprocessor.


It’s Raining Antimatter… Upward?

The electrons produce so many gamma rays that they shoot electrons and positrons out of the atmosphere and NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope intercepts these particles, showing evidence that thunderstorms may be producing antimatter.


LaserFest Photons

Photons are the particles that make up light. Who knew that they were also soft and cuddly? Welcome to LaserFest 2010!


Supernovae Surprise

There's no avoiding the tragic end of a large star's life; it dies in a catastrophic explosion called a supernova.


Speed Trap

Like traffic cops with radar guns, physicists can now gauge the speed of electrons in a current.


Smashing Ions

Brookhaven National Laboratory's new Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) smashes two high-energy beams of gold nuclei together head-on, in an attempt to create a state of matter, called quark-gluon plasma, that last existed only ten millionths of a second after the Big Bang.


Crystal Clear

When an all-electron Wigner crystal (top) is squeezed too tightly, the electron wave functions begin to overlap (middle), and then create a quantum liquid (bottom).


Radioactive Hotdog?

A spark flying between a metal doorknob and your hand is an intricate chain of electrical events.


Tiny Tubes

Entangled pairs of particles, in which measuring the state of one simultaneously determines the state of the other, are a central part of proposed schemes for quantum cryptography and teleportation.


Tracking Traveling Excitons

Researchers have tracked their first exciton. A team of researchers recently reported that they imaged the wave-like motion of the particle, which is essential to the operation of lasers in CD players and grocery scanners.



MiniBooNE (mini booster neutrino experiment), a new experiment at Fermilab, has just begun its search for neutrino oscillations.


Mesoscopic Mystery

Researchers continue to push rival interpretations of a vexing problem in mesoscopic physics, the size scale where quantum and classical worlds co-exist.


The World's Largest Cyclotron

If you are asked how a watch works, one of the first things you might do is open one up and look at the parts inside.


In Synch

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.


T-ray Vision

X-rays may be as familiar as your local dentist's office or airport security checkpoint, but it's unlikely that you've ever encountered a powerful T-ray, a beam of terahertz radiation.


Turning Circles

Quantum communication schemes using light normally rely on the two types of photon polarization to encode information a bit at a time.


The Incredible Shrinking Nucleus

Objects in nucleus may be smaller than they appear. At least, that's what current research suggests.


Photonic Phocus

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute today unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind.


Doo-Wop Deuteron

The simplest nucleus in nature is that of the hydrogen isotope, deuterium.


The Circle Game

Like a planet orbiting the sun, some ideas keep coming around. In the 1920s, the inventors of quantum mechanics scuttled the notion that an atom behaves like a tiny solar system.


Catching Neutrinos

The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Ontario, Canada has been designed to "catch" neutrinos from the sun.


Transparent Nuclei

A two-quark particle shot into a large nucleus is ordinarily absorbed, as its quarks interact with the nuclear quarks. But in some cases it can sail right through. Now a research team has reported that they have observed this so-called color transparency in the lower energy realm, where such quark-scale effects aren't normally seen. The results—which are somewhat controversial—could help theorists who hope to bring the clean calculations of high energy, particle physics down into the messy world of lower energy nuclear physics.