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Graphene steps up to silicon’s challenge

March 1, 2007

University of Manchester researchers have created an atom-sized single electron transistor (SET) from a device etched out of a sheet of graphene (a two-dimensional form of carbon).

Current industry predictions suggest that by 2020 silicon devices will have shrunk to about 20 nanometres and have reached their limit in size and performance. It is only after this that materials such as graphene will come into their own. And that… read more

Teaching Robots to Herd Cats

April 22, 2004

Researchers are working on software to allow small robots to coordinate their actions, carry out commands from a single human operator, or take directions from a larger, smarter robot when performing complex tasks such as emergency rescue work.

The team is working on tiny robots called Scouts, equipped with a video camera, three infrared range finders, two light sensors and a pyroelectric sensor (for sensing body heat) — plus… read more

In New Space Race, Enter the Entrepreneurs

June 8, 2010

Bigelow Aerospace plans to launch the first private, inflatable space station in 2014.

Japan hopes to turn sci-fi into reality with elevator to the stars

September 23, 2008

Japan is hosting an international conference in November to draw up a timetable for a space-elevator machine to power carriages that climb 22,000 miles into space on a carbon nanotube fiber.

A space elevator could carry people, huge space-solar-power generators, or even casks of radioactive waste, at perhaps 100 times less energy than launching the Space Shuttle — at an estimated cost of just a trillion yen… read more

Will Biology Solve the Universe?

March 9, 2007

A new theory by Robert Lanza, vice president of research and scientific development at Advanced Cell Technology, asserts that biology, not physics, will be the key to unlocking the deepest mysteries of the universe, such as quantum mechanics.

“For the first time outside of complex mathematics, this theory explains the provocative new experiment that was just published in Science last month,” he said. “This landmark experiment showed that a… read more

NIST System Sets Speed Record

May 4, 2004

The fastest known cryptographic system based on transmission of single photons — the “quantum key distribution” (QKD) system — has been demonstrated by a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The system transmits a stream of individual photons to generate a verifiably secret key at a rate of 1 megabit/second — about 100 times faster than previously reported systems of this type.

The secret:… read more

Experience shapes the brain’s circuitry throughout adulthood

June 16, 2010

Research by scientists at Rockefeller University suggests that circuits in the adult brain are continually modified by experience.

They found that the primary visual or somatosensory cortices are involved in plasticity and capable of establishing new memories, which previously had been considered to be a specialized function of higher brain centers.

Applying Science to Alternative Medicine

September 30, 2008

With a budget of $122 million this year, The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is conducting clinical trials of alternative medicine methods in an effort to acquire scientific evidence for or against the claims.

Inkjet printers start cranking out microchips

March 15, 2007

Nanoident Technologies has opened a factory in Linz, Austria that produces organic semiconductors, which are chips made by spraying intricate patterns of specialized ink onto layers of foil and polymer.

The factory costs a fraction of a traditional silicon chip factory, but the chips, which are slower and degrade over time, will be used for one-time-only applications, such as water purity testers.

Proof that erasing information produces heat

March 12, 2012


Results of an experiment that validates an important principle for information theory and computer science have been published in Nature.

Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM) member Eric Lutz and his colleagues show that erasing information produces heat, as predicted by Rolf Landauer fifty years ago, and demonstrates the intimate link between information theory and thermodynamics.

Landauer’s principle applies thermodynamic reasoning to information processing and states… read more

Big Brother to Watch Over Island

May 10, 2004

In coming years, a comprehensive network of video cameras, motion detectors and sensors will spy upon visitors to Ayers Island in Maine.
An AI system will decide who can be trusted and who is deserving of greater scrutiny.

esearchers from the University of Maine want to demonstrate that AI may be able to provide civil authorities with comprehensive, real-time intelligence about the whereabouts of individuals and cars, and the… read more

Scientists grow new lungs from stem cells

June 25, 2010

University of Texas Medical Branch researchers have seeded mouse embryonic stem cells in rats into acellular* rat lungs to create lung-shaped scaffolds of structural proteins on which the mouse stem cells thrived and differentiated into new cells.

The results give the researchers hope that the concept could be scaled up to produce replacement tissues for humans — or used to create models to test therapies and diagnostic techniques for… read more

Wireless at Fiber Speeds

October 6, 2008

Battelle has demonstrated 20-gigabit-per-second wireless transmission in the lab, using 60 to 100 gigahertz signals.

The technique could be used to send huge files across college campuses, to quickly set up emergency networks in a disaster, and even to stream uncompressed high-definition video from a computer or set-top box to a display.

Bolt-on ‘superlens’ gives microscope nanoscale vision

March 23, 2007

A “superlens” that refracts light in unconventional ways to let an optical microscope see beyond the normal limit of its vision has achieved a resolution of 70nm, or one-seventh the wavelength of the light used. This is four times better than would be possible with light alone.

Marine worm rewrites theory of brain evolution

March 15, 2012


A study of “brainless” worms has shattered the theory that complex brains evolved entirely in vertebrates, long after they branched off from spineless species in the tree of life.

By tagging proteins with markers, biologists found that embryonic acorn worms express the three protein combinations in regions of the embryo comparable to that of vertebrates during the development of their three-part brains.

What’s more, Lowe’s team demonstrated that proteins… read more

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