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INFERNOS project: Maxwell’s Demon in nanoscale systems

October 11, 2013


The European INFERNOS (Information, fluctuations, and energy control in small systems) project aims to realize experimentally Maxwell’s Demon* by developing electronic and biomolecular nanodevices that support this principle.

Project partners met earlier this week at the Faculty of Physics of the University of Barcelona. The project is centered on considering information as a thermodynamic parameter.

Its ideas may be applied to different… read more

A strange lonely planet found without a star

October 11, 2013

Multicolor image from the Pan-STARRS1 telescope of the free-floating planet PSO J318.5-22, in the constellation of Capricornus. The planet is extremely cold and faint, about 100 billion times fainter in optical light than the planet Venus. Most of its energy is emitted at infrared wavelengths. The image is 125 arcseconds on a side. Credit: N. Metcalfe & Pan-STARRS 1 Science Consortium

An international team of astronomers has discovered an exotic young planet that is not orbiting a star. This free-floating planet, dubbed PSO J318.5-22, is just 80 light-years away from Earth and has a mass only six times that of Jupiter. The planet formed a mere 12 million years ago — -a newborn in planet lifetimes.

It was identified from its faint and unique heat signature by the … read more

New one-dimensional form of carbon may be the strongest material ever

Carbyne nanorods may have uses in electronics and for energy storage
October 11, 2013

Rice University researchers have determined from first-principle calculations that carbyne would be the strongest material yet discovered. The carbon-atom chains would be difficult to make but would be twice as strong as two-dimensional graphene sheets. (Credit: Vasilii Artyukhov/Rice University)

Rice U. theorists calculate atom-thick carbyne chains may be the strongest material ever, if and when anyone can make it in bulk.

Carbyne is a chain of carbon atoms held together by either double or alternating single and triple atomic bonds. That makes it a true one-dimensional material, unlike atom-thin sheets of graphene, which have a top and a bottom, or hollow nanotubes, which … read more

Cell-detection system promising for medical research, diagnostics

October 10, 2013

This schematic depicts a new system that uses tiny magnetic beads to quickly detect rare types of cancer cells circulating in a patient's blood, an advance that could help medical doctors diagnose cancer earlier than now possible and monitor how well a patient is responding to therapy. (Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering image/ Bin-Da Chan)

Researchers are developing a system that uses tiny magnetic beads to quickly detect rare types of cancer cells circulating in a patient’s blood, an advance that could help medical doctors diagnose cancer earlier than now possible and monitor how well a patient is responding to therapy.

While other researchers have used magnetic beads for similar applications, the new “high-throughput” system has the ability to quickly process and… read more

3D-printed microscopic cages confine bacteria in tiny zoos for the study of infections

October 10, 2013

The researchers use a novel 3-D printing technology to build homes for bacteria at a microscopic level. The resulting structures (imaged in red through confocal fluorescence) can be of almost any shape or size, and can be moved around in relationship to other structures containing bacterial microcommunities (imaged in green).<br />
Credit: Courtesy of Jason Shear

By caging bacteria in microscopic houses, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin are studying how communities of bacteria, such as those found in the human gut and lungs, interact and develop infections.

In a recent experiment, they demonstrated that a community of Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause some skin infections, became more resistant to antibiotics when it was contained within a larger community of Pseudomonasread more

An e-ink-printed multitouch sensor customizable with scissors

October 10, 2013


Computer scientists at Saarland University in Germany and the MIT Media Lab have developed a printable multitouch sensor film that you can cut to any desired shape.

Electronic-ink wires are printed (using conductive inkjet printing) on flexible, thin film in one of two configurations.

Star topology has the controller in the center (supports basic forms like triangles, rectangles,… read more

First fully computer-designed superconductor

October 10, 2013

Crystal structure of FeB4 predicted from first principles and confirmed experimentally. The iron atoms (small spheres) are embedded in a rigid three-dimensional framework formed by boron atoms (small spheres)

The successful synthesis of the first superconductor designed entirely on a computer has been achieved by Binghamton University assistant professor of physics Aleksey Kolmogorov and his international colleagues.

The synthesized material — a novel iron tetraboride compound — has a novel crystal structure and exhibits an unexpected type of superconductivity for a material that contains iron, as predicted in the original computational study.

“Paradigm-shifting superconducting materials have… read more

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013

October 9, 2013

Martin Karplus

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013 was awarded jointly to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt and Arieh Warshel for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems.”


Carnegie Mellon-Disney motion tracking technology is extremely precise and inexpensive with minimal lag

Could mostly eliminate lag in existing video game systems, be integrated into mobile devices; applications include CGI and human-robot interaction
October 9, 2013

m-sequence projection

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh have devised a motion tracking technology that could eliminate much of the annoying lag that occurs in existing video game systems that use motion tracking, while also being extremely precise and highly affordable.

Called Lumitrack, the technology has two components — projectors and sensors. A structured pattern, which looks something like a very large barcode, is… read more

Research reveals timing role in biological pattern formation

A foundation for engineering patterned bacteria as a biological scaffold
October 9, 2013


Working with a synthetic gene circuit designed to coax bacteria to grow in a predictable ring pattern, Duke University scientists have revealed an under-appreciated contributor to natural pattern formation: time.

In a series of experiments published Oct. 8, 2013, in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, associate professor of biomedical engineering Lingchong You and his colleagues show that their engineered gene circuit functions as a timing… read more

Better robot vision

October 9, 2013

better robot vision

To improve robots’ ability to gauge object orientation, Jared Glover, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is exploiting a statistical construct called the Bingham distribution.

In a paper they’re presenting in November at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Glover and MIT alumna Sanja Popovic ’12, MEng ’13, who is now at Google, describe a… read more

Dogs are people, too

October 9, 2013


“After training and MRI-scanning a dozen dogs, my one inescapable conclusion is this: dogs are people, too,” says Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and the author of How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain at The New York Times.

“Many of the same things that activate the human caudate [part of the brain], which are associated… read more

Delayed aging is better investment than cancer, heart disease research, says study

October 9, 2013

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A new multi-university study shows that research to delay aging and the infirmities of old age would have better population health and economic returns than advances in individual fatal diseases such as cancer or heart disease.

With even modest gains in our scientific understanding of how to slow the aging process, an additional 5 percent of adults over the age of 65 would be healthy rather than… read more

Major silicon photonics breakthrough could allow for continued exponential growth in microprocessors

October 8, 2013

A silicon wafer containing the photonic-electronic microchips designed by the research team, which includes scientists from CU-Boulder, MIT, Micron and UC Berkeley. Introducing photonics into electronic microprocessors could extend Moore's Law well into the future. Courtesy of Milos Popovic.

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Micron Technology Inc. have developed a new technique in silicon photonics that could allow for exponential improvement in microprocessors to continue well into the future.

The technique allows microprocessors to use light instead of electrical wires to communicate with transistors on a single chip, a system that could also lead to energy-efficient… read more

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics

October 8, 2013

de these new siblings of electrons and quarks.<br />
François Englert and Peter Higgs meet for the first time,<br />
at CERN when the discovery of a Higgs particle was<br />
announced to the world on 4 July 2012.<br />
Photo: CERN, htt

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 has been awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.


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