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How to use DNA to assemble a transistor from graphene

September 10, 2013

Stanford chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao and her co-authors have revealed a plan to build smaller field-effect transistors (FETs) that use less power but operate faster,* using ribbons of single-layer graphene laid side-by-side to create semiconductor circuits.

(Graphene, laterally confined within narrow ribbons less than 10 nanometers in width, exhibits a bandgap, meaning it can function as a semiconductor.)

Given the material’s tiny dimensions… read more

Cellphone Payments Offer Alternative to Cash

April 30, 2010

Several companies have developed small credit card scanners that plug into a cellphone and for a small fee enable any individual or small business to turn a phone into a credit card processing terminal.

NYU chemists create ‘nanorobotic’ arm to operate within DNA sequence

December 8, 2006

New York University chemistry professor Nadrian C. Seeman and his graduate student Baoquan Ding have developed a DNA binding site through which a nanomechanical device can be inserted and function within a DNA array, allowing for the motion of a nanorobotic arm.

The results, reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, pave the way for creating nanoscale “assembly lines” in which more complex maneuvers could be executed,… read more

Monolithic comb drive — a nanoscale manipulator with atomic-scale precision

August 21, 2008

Purdue University engineers have created a “monolithic comb drive,” which can precisely move or sense nanoscale movement and forces and might be used as a high-precision nanopositioner for such uses as biological sensors and computer hard drives.

Do plants act like computers?

January 21, 2004

Plants appear to “think”: green plants may regulate their uptake and loss of gases by distributed computation.

By studying the distributions of these patches of open and closed stomata in leaves of the cocklebur plant, Utah State University researchers found specific patterns reminiscent of distributed computing. Patches of open or closed stomata sometimes move around a leaf at constant speed, for example.

The statistics of the size of… read more

Gene switch rejuvenates failing mouse brains

May 7, 2010

An acetyl “cap” genetic switch that causes memory impairment in aging mice when it goes into “off” mode has been flicked on by European Neuroscience Institute scientists.

The result was increased activity of a cluster of more than 1500 genes that make proteins needed for the creation of new neurons, thus restoring failing brains to a more youthful state.

Drugs to treat cancer in people also promote acetyl… read more

New approach to producing 3D microchips

February 29, 2012


MIT researchers have come up with a new approach to MEMS design that enables engineers to design 3-D configurations, using existing fabrication processes: a MEMS device that enables 3-D sensing on a single chip.

Microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, are small devices with huge potential. Typically made of components less than 100 microns in size — the diameter of a human hair — they have been used as tiny biological… read more

NASA Ames Schedules Briefing to Discuss Google Agreement

December 17, 2006

NASA Ames Research Center plans to announce a NASA/Google collaboration Monday to make NASA’s vast collection of data and imagery more easily available to the world.

Researchers Report Advances in Cell Conversion Technique

August 28, 2008

Biologists at Harvard have converted cells from a mouse’s pancreas into the insulin-producing cells that are destroyed in diabetes, using master proteins called transcription factors that control which sets of genes are active in a cell and thus what properties the cell will possess.

The research suggests that the natural barriers between the body’s cell types may not be as immutable as supposed. This and other recent experiments raise… read more

Scientists embed nanotubes in hybrid semiconductors

February 6, 2004

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen claim to have made the first electronic hybrid nanotube-semiconductor devices. They encapsulated single-walled carbon nanotubes in epitaxially grown semiconductor structures.

The development opens up possibilities for designing hybrid nanotube/semiconductor devices, where nanotubes act as interconnects in traditional semiconductor integrated circuits or as active devices.

College for all? Experts say not necessarily

May 17, 2010

With rising student debt, stagnant graduation rates, a struggling job market flooded with overqualified degree-holders, and unemployment rate for college graduates trailing the rate for high school graduates, the notion that a four-year degree is essential for real success is being challenged by a growing number of economists, policy analysts and academics.

Can We Live Longer?

December 28, 2006

As more people hit the century mark and beyond, scientists search for the key. Genes, diet and inflammation are just some of the clues.

How big can a black hole grow?

September 3, 2008

Colossal black holes with a mass of up to 50 billion suns could be lurking out there, but that’s the limit, two astronomers have found.

The used the properties of X-rays and visible light emitted by matter as it is devoured by black holes to estimate a black hole’s mass and how quickly it is gobbling up its surroundings.

Communicating with machines: What the next generation of speech recognizers will do

February 16, 2004

“If we want to communicate with a machine as we would with a human, the basic assumptions underlying today’s automated speech recognition systems are wrong,” said former AT&T Bell Labs scientist B.H. “Fred” Juang, now professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“To have real human-machine communication,… read more

A synthetic creation story

May 25, 2010

With last week’s announcement of the “chemical synthesis of a living organism,” what Craig Venter and his colleagues have achieved is not so much a “synthesis of life” as a semi-synthetic recreation of what we currently deem life to be, says Phillip Ball, consultant editor for Nature.

“‘Life’ in biology, rather like ‘force’ in physics, is a term carried over from a time when scientists thought quite differently, when… read more

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