science + technology news

Nanotubes Form Along Atomic Steps

December 22, 2004

Weizmann Institute of Science researchers have developed a new approach to aligning carbon nanotubes by forming the nanotubes on a sapphire wafer surface.

The orientation of nanotubes on these wafers follows the surfaces’ crystal planes at the atomic level. Changing how the sapphire surface is cut would produce different nanowire arrangements.

The research may eventually make it possible to assemble nanowires in ordered arrays for the production of… read more

Dr Raj Reddy makes PCs talk the masses language

December 22, 2004

Raj Reddy, Head of the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Lab, is using AI and speech recognition software to empower illiterates in villages in India to use computers.

The computer will also serve as a low-cost TV, DVD player/recorder and conferencing unit.

New Clue to Nerve Growth May Help Regeneration Efforts

December 21, 2004

Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered how one family of proteins repels growing nerves and keeps them properly on track during development.

The discovery may provide a chance to overcome the proteins’ (chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, or CSPGs) later role in preventing regrowth of injured nerves.

Johns Hopkins Medicine news release

The Ultimate Gift: 50 Years of Organ Transplants

December 21, 2004

Thursday, December 23, will be the 50th anniversary of the first successful organ transplant.

Over the last five decades, surgeons have learned how to transplant virtually every vital organ in the human body. They have also branched out to transplant an array of nonvital body parts including, most recently, the hand. Advances in surgery, medicine, anesthesia and intensive care have extended patients’ longevity and quality of life: the world’s… read more

Stem Cells Might Make Biological Pacemaker

December 21, 2004

Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence that genetically engineered heart cells derived from human embryonic stem (ES) cells might one day be a biological alternative to the electronic pacemakers used by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Human ES cells were grown in the lab and encouraged to become heart cells. The researchers then selected clusters of the cells that beat on their own accord, indicating the presence of… read more

Translation of DNA Signals into Polymer Assembly Instructions

December 20, 2004

Researchers have built a DNA nanomechanical device that mimics the translational capabilities of the ribosome.

In response to a DNA signal, it aligns a series of molecules in specific positions; these molecules are then fused together in a specific order.

Its potential applications include designer polymer synthesis, encryption of information, and as the basis for a finite-state machine with variable input, whose output can be used for DNA-based… read more

Building Programmable Jigsaw Puzzles with RNA

December 20, 2004

Researchers have achieved reliable prediction and design of the three-dimensional structure of artificial RNA building blocks to generate molecular jigsaw puzzle units called tectosquares.

This shows that small RNA structural motifs can code the precise topology of large molecular architectures. With its underlying modular and hierarchical construction displaying a minimal set of primitive operations, the tectosquare system could possibly be a Turing-universal computing molecular system.

The tectosquares can… read more

Silicon Device Scaling to the Sub-10-nm Regime

December 20, 2004

In the next decade, advances in complementary metal-oxide semiconductor fabrication will lead to devices with gate lengths below 10 nanometers (current gate lengths in chips are about 50 nm).

Technologies being pursued include device geometries such as ultrathin channel structures to control capacitive losses and multiple gates to better control leakage pathways; improvement in device speed by enhancing the mobility of charge carriers; using strain engineering; and different crystal… read more

‘Polymeal’ could reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75%

December 20, 2004

Researchers suggest that a diet heavy in the “Polymeal” — a set of foods known to reduce cardiovascular disease events or modify risk factors — could lower cardiovascular disease by 75% or more.

The combination of the components of the Polymeal — wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits and vegetables, almonds, and garlic — would reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease events by 76%. For men, taking the Polymeal daily… read more

Pliable solar cells are on a roll

December 20, 2004

Researchers have built a light, flexible solar panel that is a little thicker than photographic film and can be applied to everyday fabrics.

Their H-Alpha Solar (H-AS) cells are currently only about 7% efficient. They hope to reach 10% efficiency, priced about 1 euro per watt.

Molecular Chains Line Up to Form a New Chemical State, a ‘Protopolymer’

December 17, 2004

Penn State researchers have observed a new chemical state, designated a “protopolymer,” in chains of phenylene molecules on a crystalline copper surface at low temperature.

Protopolymers form when monomers, small molecules that link together chemically to form long chains, align and interact without forming chemical bonds. This type of alignment could be used to control growth and assembly of molecules and for manipulation of nanostructured materials.… read more

Nanodiamond technology could yield better flat panel displays

December 17, 2004

A research collaboration between the University of Bristol and Advance Nanotech to develop new display technology made from Bristol’s nanodiamond technology could lead to cheaper and more power efficient flat panel displays for use in wide screen digital TVs and other applications.

University of Bristol news release

UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering Awards First Ph.D. Degrees in Nanoscale Science

December 17, 2004

The world’s first Ph.D. degrees in nanoscience from a college devoted exclusively to the study of nanoscale scientific concepts were awarded to Drs. Spyridon Skordas and Wanxue Zeng at College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany – State University of New York.

Skordas’s Ph.D. dissertation examined metal organic chemical vapor deposition of aluminum oxide ultra-thin films for advanced transistor applications. Zeng explored plasma- assisted… read more

Rapid Progress Reported in Molecular Electronics

December 17, 2004

Progress toward incorporating molecules as the active components in electronic circuitry has advanced rapidly over the past five years. Caltech professor James Heath describes the progress as “real and rapid” in the Dec. 17 issue of the journal Science.

“We have published 64-bit random access memory circuits using bistable rotaxane molecules as the memory elements, and we are in the process of fabricating a 16-kilobit memory circuit at a… read more

Bipedal robot learns to run

December 17, 2004

The latest version of Honda’s humanoid robot Asimo can perform several new tricks, including the ability to run where during each stride both its feet are in the air at the same time.

Sony’s Qrio robot was the first biped bot to demonstrate the ability to run, in December 2003. It is also capable of mimicking human dance maneuvers with remarkable skill.

Walking on two legs has some… read more

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