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Nanopillars reverse optical behaviour

November 29, 2005

Scientists in the UK and Russia have succeeded in fabricating a material that has a negative permeability at visible wavelengths.

The development is important because it could lead to “left-handed” materials, which exhibit a negative refractive index and function as a perfect lens, focusing light to a smaller spot than is usually possible.

Brighter Nanotubes

November 29, 2005

IBM researchers have fabricated nanotube devices around 1,000 times more efficient than previous ones at emitting light.

Such light-emitting nanotubes could find applications in creating faster transistor interconnections and in telecommunications. The tubes emit light in the wavelengths used by the telecom industry to send information through optical fibers.

The nanotubes, which produce tightly focused light, could also be used for optical probing, manipulation, and spectroscopic analysis at… read more

Google makes data free for all

November 29, 2005

Google has launched a new service called Google Base. It allows anyone to upload files for free to its massive server farms, making the data instantly searchable.

Although mainly aimed at online markets for such things as homes and jobs, scientists say the facility could have important implications for data-sharing in science, and perhaps boost efforts to make the web more “intelligent,” bringing structured web pages to the masses… read more

Nanotube forest does concertina scrunch

November 29, 2005

A film of upright carbon nanotubes can be compressed like a spring, making the material ideal padding for tiny objects, or to form components for microscopic mechanical devices.

Air guitarists’ rock dreams come true

November 29, 2005

The Virtual Air Guitar project, developed at Helsinki University of Technology, uses a computer to monitor the hand movements of a “player.” The system adds riffs and licks to match mid-air finger work.

Scientists embrace technology for cyberhugs

November 29, 2005

Singapore scientists have devised a vibration jacket for chickens controlled with a computer that gives the animal the feeling of being touched by its owner.

The next step would be to use the same concept to transmit hugs over the Internet, researchers at Nanyang Technological University said.

Pardon Me, but the Art Is Mouthing Off

November 28, 2005

Digital-media artist Lynn Hershman Leeson’s latest project is an AI known as DiNA, designed to chat with visitors about current affairs using voice-recognition software and a talking head on a flat-screen monitor.

Living camera uses bacteria to capture image

November 28, 2005

A “living camera” that uses light to switch on genes in a genetically modified bacterium can take a picture at a resolution of 100 megapixels per square inch over a period of four hours.

The researchers used genetic engineering techniques to shuttle genes from photosynthesising blue-green algae into the cell membrane of the E. coli.

It could lead to the development of “nano-factories” in which minuscule amounts of… read more

Holographic-memory discs may put DVDs to shame

November 28, 2005

A disc that can hold 300 gigabytes of data — 60 times more than a DVD — and can be used to read and write data 10 times faster is set to go on sale with compatible drives in late 2006 by InPhase Technologies and Hitachi.

The disc stores information in holographic memory.

InPhase says the technique could theoretically be used to store up to 1.6 terabytes of… read more

Breakthrough for quantum measurement

November 23, 2005

Two teams of physicists have measured the capacitance of a Josephson junction for the first time. The methods could be used to measure the state of quantum bits in a quantum computer without disturbing the state.

Butterflies master photonics

November 23, 2005

Exeter University researchers have found that the nanoscale structure of the wings of the African Princeps nireus butterflies closely matches the most advanced photonic materials under development in laboratories around the world.

Its fluorescent blue patches are formed from two-dimensional photonic crystal positioned above distributed Bragg reflectors. Fluorescent pigment in the photonic crystal structure of the butterfly wing absorbs light from blue skies and emits darker blue light.… read more

Growing Biofuels

November 23, 2005

A new biofuel production method converts biomass (organic leftovers) into a fuel called “syngas” that outperforms both petroleum and plant oil-based biodiesel.

It also produces 85 to 90 percent less climate-changing carbon dioxide than motoring on fossil diesel, and generates less soot and smog because the fuel contains none of the sulfur found in conventional diesel and few aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene.

Neat package takes gamers to the next level

November 23, 2005

The Xbox 360 takes graphics another step toward cinematic realism and improves artificial intelligence, which can make taking out a bad guy hiding behind a barrier more difficult.

Computer R&D rocks on

November 22, 2005

Experts see important computer breakthroughs and whole new fields of investigation just opening up. Advances will come in natural-language searches, machine learning, computer vision and speech-to-text, as well as new computing architectures to handle those hefty tasks.

Beyond the decade mark, Edward D. Lazowska, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington, expects computers based on quantum physics.

Scientists Discover How to Flip a Molecular Switch

November 22, 2005

A means for controlling single-molecule switches by engineering their design and surrounding environment has been developed by a research team led by scientists at Penn State, Rice University, and the University of Oregon. The research demonstrates that single-molecule switches can be tailored to respond in predictable and stable ways, depending on the direction of the electric field applied to them.

The discovery, which is an essential step in the… read more

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