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Speedy silicon sets world record

August 18, 2006

A simple tweak to the way common silicon transistors are made — adding fluorine implants to the silicon layers using a common ion-implantation manufacturing process — could allow them to operate at a speed of about 110GHz, using existing silicon manufacturing technology.

Sperm and eggs created in dish produce mouse pups

October 5, 2012


After producing normal mouse pups last year using sperm derived from stem cells, a Kyoto University team of researchers has now accomplished the same feat using eggs created the same way, Science Now reports. The study may eventually lead to new ways of helping infertile couples conceive.

The stem cells in both cases are embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The former are taken… read more

Sperm-inspired microrobots controlled by magnetic fields

May be useful for drug delivery, IVF, cell sorting, and nano/micro assembly
June 5, 2014


A team of researchers at the University of Twente (Netherlands) and German University in Cairo has developed sperm-inspired microrobots that can be controlled by weak oscillating magnetic fields.

Described in a cover article in AIP Publishing’s journal Applied Physics Letters, the 322 micron-long robots consist of a head coated in a thick cobalt-nickel layer and an uncoated tail.

When the microrobot is subjected to an oscillating field of… read more

Sperm-like cells made from human embryonic stem cells

July 8, 2009

Human embryonic stem cells have been coaxed into forming sperm-like cells, Karim Nayernia of the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and colleagues report.

They have also launched a project to produce sperm cells from induced pluripotent stem cells, which can be generated from adult cells. Such cells would make it easier to derive sperm cells from many individuals.

Sperm-like nanopropeller is smallest swimmer ever

May 27, 2009
(American Chemical Society)

Harvard University researchers have developed remote-controlled nano-devices that mimic the corkscrew motion of flagella and that may one day deliver drugs to where they are needed in the body.

The devices have a spherical head 200 to 300 nanometers across and a corkscrew-shaped tail 1 to 2 microns long. They are coated with cobalt, allowing an external magnetic field to make the propellers corkscrew through water at… read more

‘Spider pill’ used for scans

October 13, 2009

Italian doctors have developed a wirelessly controlled device with camera and moving legs for gastrointestinal examinations, replacing invasive endoscopes. (Video)

Spider silk delivers finest optical fibers

March 24, 2003

Delicate threads of spider’s silk are about to solve a major problem in photonics: how to make hollow optical fibres narrow enough — just two nanometers wide — to carry light beams around the fastest nanoscale optical circuits.

They will also make for a new breed of sensors that can detect single molecules of a particular chemical.

‘Spiderbots’ talk amongst themselves inside active volcano

August 12, 2009

A squadron of robust, self-healing, remotely controllable “spiderbots” inside Mount St. Helens is the first network of volcano sensors that can automatically communicate with each other via a mesh network and with satellites, route data around any sensors that break, and be dropped into volcanoes.

Similar networked robots could one day be used to study geological activity elsewhere in the solar system.

SpiderFab: low-cost kilometer-scale antennas in space

September 17, 2012


“We’d like someday to be able to have a spacecraft create itself entirely from scratch, but realistically that’s quite a ways out; that’s still science fiction,” says Robert Hoyt, CEO and chief scientist of Tethers Unlimited Inc. Instead, with his “SpiderFab” project, he proposes to use 3D printing technology aboard a tiny CubeSat to create a much larger structure in space.

The  project received $100,000 from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts… read more

Spiders, Grubbs’ and polymer-powered nanomotors

September 12, 2011

Chemical spider (credit: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.)

A chemical spider that spins a polymer thread using a simple organometallic polymerization catalyst could drive a nanomotor, according to researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

Ayusman Sen and colleagues say that these nanomotors have potential applications in the deposition of polymers in the channels of microdevices, for instance.

Click here to watch related videos from the Sen Group

Ref.: Pavlick, R. A., Sengupta, S., McFadden,… read more

Spielberg: Games consoles doomed

May 21, 2009

Steven Spielberg has suggested that game consoles will one day be replaced by in-home virtual reality entertainment.

Spies could hide messages in gene-modified microbes

September 27, 2011
Microbial messaging

A new encryption method, “steganography by printed arrays of microbes (SPAM),” uses a collection of Escherichia coli strains modified with fluorescent proteins that glow in a range of seven colors.

“You can think of all sorts of secret spy applications,” says David Walt, a chemist at Tufts University, who led the research.

Ref.: Manuel A. Palacios, et al., InfoBiology by printed arrays of microorganism colonies forread more

‘Spin’ Could Be Quantum Boost for Computers

August 21, 2001

Spintronics, based on magnetic properties of electrons, promises to make possible radical advances in computers and other electronic devices.Possible applications of spintronics include:

  • M-RAM, or magneto resistive memory, which will remember data after the power is turned off, eliminating boot-up time and possibly doing processing and storage in the same chip.
  • Quantum computers that can perform multiple computations simultaneously.
  • reprogrammable computer chips
  • Spin Doctors Create Quantum Chip

    January 13, 2006

    University of Michigan scientists have created the first quantum microchip, using an ion trap to isolate individual charged atoms and manipulate their quantum states.

    To isolate an ion, scientists confine it in the ion trap while applying electric fields. Laser light manipulates the spin of the ion’s free electron to flip it between quantum states.

    The new chip, which is made of gallium arsenide, should be easily scaled… read more

    Spin flip trick points to fastest RAM yet

    August 14, 2008

    Researchers in Germany have built a Magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) system that is 10 times faster than existing MRAM systems.

    MRAM is a faster and more energy efficient version of the RAM used in computers today, and hardware companies think it will in a few years dominate the market.

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