2022 Impact factor 1.0
Historical Perspectives on Contemporary Physics

EPJ Plus Highlight - Building a computer with a single atom

How small can a computer get? As small as an atom new research suggests. Credit: Robert Lea (created with Canva)

New research opens the horizons regarding what a “computer” can be and how small a computational unit can get

Considering a “computer” as anything that processes information by taking an input and producing an output leads to the obvious questions, what kind of objects could perform computations? And how small can a computer be? As transistors approach the limit of miniaturisation, these questions are more than mere curiosities, their answers could form the basis of a new computing paradigm.

In a new paper in EPJ Plus by Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, researcher Gerard McCaul, and his co-authors demonstrate that even one of the more basic constituents of matter — atoms — can act as a reservoir for computing where all input-output processing is optical.


EPJ Plus Focus Point on Memristive Chaotic Circuits and Systems

Guest Editors: Qiang Lai, Xiao-Wen Zhao & Jacques Kengne

The memristor was theoretically postulated by Chua in 1971 and physically realized by the HP Labs team in 2008. Its unique nonlinear features actively promote the generation of chaos and other interesting dynamical behavior and sets new challenges in applications. This topical issue aims to collect some new ideas, methods, and recent results so as to shed some light on the future research directions concerning the design, analysis, and novel applications of related chaotic systems. Overall it makes a timely and valuable contribution to broadly advancing science and technology using memristors and memristive circuits.

All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 18 March 2023. For further information, read the Editorial.

EPJ Plus Highlight - Citizen Science: From the cosmos to the classroom

Map of Italy showing the locations of schools participating in the EEE Project. Red dots show schools with telescopes and cyan dots show participating schools without telescopes.

An extensive network of cosmic ray detectors allows high school students in Italy to contribute to cutting-edge particle physics research

Citizen science projects offer the general public, or segments of that public such as school students, an opportunity to take part in scientific research. The Extreme Energy Events (EEE) Project in Italy is a cooperation between particle physicists studying cosmic rays and school students, and their teachers, throughout the country.

This has the twin aims of bringing cosmic ray research into schools and setting up a country-wide ‘open laboratory’ of particle detectors. One of the lead researchers from the EEE Project consortium, Silvia Pisano of the Italian Centro Fermi and Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati of INFN, Rome, Italy, has summarised the results from about 20 years of this project in a new paper in EPJ Plus.


EPJ Plus Focus Point on Uncertainty Quantification of Modelling and Simulation in Physics and Related Areas: From Theoretical to Computational Techniques

Guest Editors: Juan Carlos Cortés, Tomás Caraballo, Carla M.A. Pinto

The main goal of this topical article collection is to present new advances on theoretical and computational techniques for uncertainty quantification of modelling and simulation in relevant problems appearing in physics sciences. Many important laws in Physics are formulated by means of equations -mainly differential equations- whose input data is set after experimental measurements, therefore containing uncertainties. Apart from this fact, there often are model parameters whose nature is not known deterministically but randomly because of ignorance and inherent complexity of the physical phenomenon under study. This approach motivates the necessity of treating classical equations in Physics by considering uncertainties in their formulations. This approach is currently a cutting-edge topic whose rigorous analysis requires to masterly combine Physics, Probability and Computing, not just to solve exact or numerically the corresponding equations but also to correctly estimate model parameters, perform accurate simulations and interpret the results.

All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 16 March 2023. For further information, read the Editorial.

EPJ Plus Focus Point High-Energy Accelerators: Advances, Challenges, and Applications

Guest Editors: R. B. Appleby, A. Bazzani, M. Giovannozzi & E. Levichev

In this Focus point issue we look at the frontiers of beam dynamics in particle accelerators. These machines are unique scientific tools that provide focused high-density beams of sub-atomic particles such as electrons, protons or ions, at energies unparalleled in any other areas of laboratory-based science. They have been applied to vast range of problems in the last century or so, with circular colliders playing a special role in discovering new particles and new physics, with energy and particle collision rates of several orders of magnitude higher than those of pioneer colliders in the early 1960s. This Focus Point issue covers the field of particle beam physics, with a loose classification into the categories of advances in the field, challenges, and broader applications. This includes exciting topics such as non-linear beam dynamics, the Large Hadron Collider, the SuperKEKB, and the Future Circular Collider, the physics that occurs when two beams collide and some papers on the future advances of the field. We hope this issue is both exciting and inspiring for our community, and of interest beyond our community as well.

All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 16 March 2023. For further information, read the Editorial.

EPJ Plus Focus Point on New Technologies for Detection, Protection, Decontamination and Developments of the Decision Support Systems in Case of CBRNe Events

Guest Editors: Andrea Malizia, Parag Chatterjee, Marco D’Arienzo

The global crisis related to the reduction of energy fossil resources, the reduction of potable water resources and the war for the control of energy sources are part of the causes which can lead to an intentional CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive) event. These kinds of events could also be the consequence of an intentional or unintentional release of substances (i.e., an accident of a truck containing a toxic industrial chemical), or of natural events like a tsunami or an earthquake. Especially in today’s global scenario, a sharp rise in the potential risks puts seminal importance on the development of new solutions to prevent such events, handle the emergency situations and restore normalcy.

This special issue highlights some innovative and novel solutions to several CBRNe emergencies scenarios. All articles are available here and are freely accessible until 7 January 2023. For further information, read the Editorial

EPJ Plus Highlight - Assessing the environmental impact of future ‘Higgs factories’

The abandoned tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider in 2019 during a shutdown. Eventually, the accelerator will have to be replaced and a new paper considers the environmental impact of its replacement. Credit: Robert Lea

New research looks at planned particle accelerators that will follow the retirement of the Large Hadron Collider— the world’s most powerful particle accelerator

In 2012 CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) revolutionised particle physics when it was announced that the Higgs boson had been created and detected by the world’s most powerful particle accelerator.

Yet, the work of the LHC isn’t done. It is currently in its third run and being prepared for a high luminosity upgrade that will lead to more collisions and thus the creation of more Higgs particles. But eventually the accelerator will need to be retired and replaced.

The comparisons of power consumptions or luminosity delivered for a given power for future Higgs-producing colliders have been widely considered, but a new paper in EPJ Plus by CERN researcher Patrick Janot and the University of Geneva’s Alain Blondel considers the environmental impact of future ‘Higgs factories’ that could replace the LHC.


EPJ Plus Focus Point on Advances in Photonics for Heritage Science: Developments, Applications and Case Studies

Guest Editors: Daniela Comelli, Austin Nevin & Gianluca Valentini

Photonics is the science of light and is considered one of the key enabling technologies for innovation in all industries. New photonic applications are emerging in various fields, such as environmental monitoring and medicine. The same technological innovation is being adopted in the field of heritage science, where photonics is the foundation for the application of a range of non-invasive, non-contact, and often portable devices for studying works of art and artistic materials.

In this Focus Point on “Advances in Photonics for Heritage Science: Developments, Applications and Case Studies”, the guest editors have selected seventeen papers that present a range of optical and photonics-based techniques, highlighting their advantages and limitations, as well as current and future applications to study our heritage.


EPJ Plus Highlight - How advanced optical tweezers revolutionized cell manipulation

A ‘tug of war’ set of optical tweezers — separated beams of light that can trap bacterium. Credit: Hu. S., et al, [2022]

A new review looks at devices called optical tweezers and how they are used to better uncover the natural secrets of human life at the single-cell level.

Optical tweezers (OTs), also known as optical traps, are highly focused laser beams that can be used to trap and manipulate microscopic objects with a noncontact force. Employed in a wide range of nano and micro-scale operations, OTs have become particularly useful in the manipulation of biological objects including human cells.

A new review published in EPJ Plus conveys the latest achievements in OTs over recent decades. The review is authored by researchers from the College of Information Science and Engineering, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China — Sheng Hu, Jun-yan Ye, Yong Zhao and Cheng-Liang Zhu .


EPJ Plus Highlight - Modelling the use of Beta Radiation in cancer treatment

An illustration of beta decay proceeding against the backdrop of a Monte Carlo simulation. Credit: Robert Lea

New research pits the simulation of beta radiation doses in tumour treatment against an analytical method.

Treating superficial skin tumours especially when they are located above cartilage or bone with beta radiation can help protect sensitive structures during the delivery of treatment.

The use of short-range beta radiation in cancer treatment is not without its disadvantages, however, especially when it comes to the measurement of radiation exposure — dosimetry. When experimental dosimetry is not feasible, researchers use simulations and calculations to study the interaction of the ionizing radiation with matter and estimate the radiation dose delivered to a target organ.

A new paper published in EPJ Plus and authored by Eduardo De Paiva, from the Division of Medical Physics at the Institute of Radiation Protection and Dosimetry, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and his colleagues, pits the gold standard of simulation techniques — Monte Carlo (MC) simulation — against an alternative analytic method, the Loevinger formula.


M. Eckert and J.D. Wells
ISSN (Print Edition): 2102-6459
ISSN (Electronic Edition): 2102-6467

© EDP Sciences and Springer-Verlag