457 research outputs found

    The strange case of Dr. Petit and Mr. Dulong

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    The Dulong-Petit limiting law for the specific heats of solids, one of the first general results in thermodynamics, has provided Mendeleev with a powerful tool for devising the periodic table and gave an important support to Boltzmann's statistical mechanics. Even its failure at low temperature, accounted for by Einstein, paved the way to the the quantum mechanical theory of solids. These impressive consequences are even more surprising if we bear in mind that, when this law was announced, thermal phenomena were still explained using Lavoisier's concept of caloric and Dalton's atomic theory was in its infancy. Recently, however, bitter criticisms charging Dulong and Petit of `data fabrication' and fraud, have been raised. This work is an attempt to restore a more balanced view of the work performed by these two great scientists and to give them back the place they deserve in the framework of the development of modern science.Comment: Submitted to "Quaderni di Storia della Fisica", SIF (Italian Physical Society) publishe

    EDACs and test integration strategies for NAND flash memories

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    Mission-critical applications usually presents several critical issues: the required level of dependability of the whole mission always implies to address different and contrasting dimensions and to evaluate the tradeoffs among them. A mass-memory device is always needed in all mission-critical applications: NAND flash-memories could be used for this goal. Error Detection And Correction (EDAC) techniques are needed to improve dependability of flash-memory devices. However also testing strategies need to be explored in order to provide highly dependable systems. Integrating these two main aspects results in providing a fault-tolerant mass-memory device, but no systematic approach has so far been proposed to consider them as a whole. As a consequence a novel strategy integrating a particular code-based design environment with newly selected testing strategies is presented in this pape

    Financial innovation and risk: the role of information

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    Financial innovation has increased opportunities for diversification and lowered investment costs, but has not reduced the relative cost of active (informed) investment strategies compared with passive (less informed) strategies. What are the consequences? I have studied an economy with linear production technologies, some more risky than others. Investors can use low quality public information or collect high quality, but costly, private information. Information helps in avoiding excessively risky investments. Financial innovation lowers the incentives for private information collection and causes a deterioration in public information: the economy more often invests in excessively risky technologies. This changes the properties of the business cycle and can reduce welfare by increasing the likelihood of “liquidation crises".Financial innovation, information collection, great moderation, liquidation crisis

    Biopolymer gels with "physical" cross-links: gelation kinetics, aging, heterogeneous dynamics, and macroscopic mechanical properties

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    Alginate is a natural biopolymer that forms, in the presence of divalent cations, ionic-bound gels typifying a large class of biological gels stabilized by non-covalent cross-links, and displaying a consistent restructuring kinetics. We investigate the kinetics of formation and aging of alginate gels by slow permeation of a curing CaCl2 agent by means of photon correlation imaging, a novel optical technique that allows obtaining the microscopic dynamics of the sample, while retaining at the same time the spatial resolution of imaging techniques. Specifically, the gelling kinetics displays a peculiar non-diffusive behavior, and the subsequent restructuring of the gel structure shares several features in common with the aging of colloidal gels, in particular for what concerns the occurrence of heterogeneous dynamics effects. A comparative analysis of the gel macroscopic mechanical properties at different aging stages further highlights distinctive effects arising from the non-permanent nature of the bonds

    Optothermal crystallization of hard spheres in an effective bidimensional geometry

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    Using colloids effectively confined in two dimensions by a cell with a thickness comparable to the particle size, we investigate the nucleation and growth of crystallites induced by locally heating the solvent with a near-infrared laser beam. The particles, which are "thermophilic," move towards the laser spot solely because of thermophoresis with no convection effects, forming dense clusters whose structure is monitored using two order parameters that gauge the local density and the orientational ordering. We find that ordering takes place when the cluster reaches an average surface density that is still below the upper equilibrium limit for the fluid phase of hard disks, meaning that we do not detect any sign of a proper "two-stage" nucleation from a glass or a polymorphic crystal structure. The crystal obtained at late growth stage displays a remarkable uniformity with a negligible amount of defects, arguably because the incoming particles diffuse, bounce, and displace other particles before settling at the crystal interface. This "fluidization" of the outer crystal edge may resemble the surface enhanced mobility giving rise to ultra-stable glasses by physical vapor deposition

    Thermal Lens Measurements of Thermal Expansivity in Thermosensitive Polymer Solutions

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    The weak absorption of a laser beam generates in a fluid an inhomogeneous refractive index profile acting as a negative lens. This self-effect on beam propagation, known as Thermal Lensing (TL), is extensively exploited in sensitive spectroscopic techniques, and in several all-optical methods for the assessment of thermo-optical properties of simple and complex fluids. Using the Lorentz–Lorenz equation, we show that the TL signal is directly proportional to the sample thermal expansivity a, a feature allowing minute density changes to be detected with high sensitivity in a tiny sample volume, using a simple optical scheme. We took advantage of this key result to investigate the compaction of PniPAM microgels occurring around their volume phase transition temperature, and the temperature-driven formation of poloxamer micelles. For both these different kinds of structural transitions, we observed a significant peak in the solute contribution to a, indicating a decrease in the overall solution density—rather counterintuitive evidence that can nevertheless be attributed to the dehydration of the polymer chains. Finally, we compare the novel method we propose with other techniques currently used to obtain specific volume changes

    Colloidal swarms can settle faster than isolated particles

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    Colloid sedimentation has played a seminal role in the development of statistical physics thanks to the celebrated experiments by Perrin, which gave a concrete demonstration of molecular reality. Recently, the investigation of sedimentation equilibrium has provided valuable information on a wide class of systems, ranging from simple colloids to active particles and biological fluids [1]. Yet, many aspects of the sedimentation kinetics deserve to be further investigated. Here we present some rather surprising results concerning the effect of interactions on particle settling [2]. Usually, the settling velocity of a colloidal suspension decreases with concentration: this well-known effect is called “hindered’’ settling. By experimenting on model colloids in which depletion forces can carefully be tuned, we conversely show that attractive interactions consistently “promote particle settling, so much that, close to a phase-separation line, the sedimentation velocity of a moderately concentrated dispersion can even exceed its single-particle value. At larger particle volume fraction , however, hydrodynamic hindrance eventually takes over. Hence, v() actually displays a non-monotonic trend that may threaten the stability of the settling front to thermal perturbations. By discussing a representative case, we show that these results are relevant to the investigation of protein weak association effects by ultracentrifugation. References. [1] R. Piazza, Reports of Progress in Physics, 2014, 77, 056602. [2] E. Lattuada, S. Buzzaccaro, R. Piazza, Phys. Rev. Lett. 2016, 116, 03830

    Stretched--exponential relaxation in arrays of coupled rotators

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    We consider the non--equilibrium dynamics of a chain of classical rotators coupled at its edges to an external reservoir at zero temperature. We find that the energy is released in a strongly discontinuous fashion, with sudden jumps alternated with long stretches during which dissipation is extremely weak. The jumps mark the disappearance of strongly localized structures, akin to the rotobreather solutions of the Hamiltonian model, which act as insulating boundaries of a hot central core. As a result of this complex kinetics, the ensemble--averaged energy follows a stretched exponential law until a residual pseudo--stationary state is attained, where the hot core has reduced to a single localized object. We give a statistical description of the relaxation pathway and connect it to the properties of return periods of rare events in correlated time series. This approach sheds some light into the microscopic mechanism underlying the slow dynamics of the system. Finally, we show that the stretched exponential law remains unaltered in the presence of isotopic disorder.Comment: 13 Figure

    Spatially: Resolved heterogeneous dynamics in a strong colloidal gel

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    We re-examine the classical problem of irreversible colloid aggregation, showing that the application of Digital Fourier Imaging (DFI), a class of optical correlation methods that combine the power of light scattering and imaging, allows one to pick out novel useful evidence concerning the restructuring processes taking place in a strong colloidal gel. In particular, the spatially-resolved displacement fields provided by DFI strongly suggest that the temporally-intermittent local rearrangements taking place in the course of gel ageing are characterized by very long-ranged spatial correlations

    Revisiting the countercyclicality of fiscal policy

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    This paper provides a novel dataset of time-varying measures on the degree of countercyclicality of fiscal policies for advanced and developing economies between 1980 and 2021. The use of time-varying measures of fiscal stabilization, with special attention to potential endogenity issues, overcomes the major limitation of previous studies and alllows the analysis to account for both country-specific as well as global factors. The paper also examines the key determinants of countercyclicality of fiscal policy with a focus on factors as severe crises, informality, financial development, and governance. Empirical results show that (i) fiscal policy tends to be more counter-cyclical during severe crises than typical recessions, especially for advanced economies; (ii) fiscal counter-cyclicality has increased over time for many economies over the last two decades; (iii) discretionary and automatic countercyclicality are both strong in advanced economies but acyclical (at times procyclical) in low-income countries, (iv) fiscal countercyclicality operates primarily through the expenditure channel, particularly for social benefits, (vi) better financial development, larger government size and stronger institutional quality are associated with larger countercyclical effects of fiscal policy. Our results are robust to various specifications and endogeneity checks.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio
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