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New graphene discovery brings practical devices closer

July 25, 2011

Graphene Electrons

Interactions between electrons significantly enhance the already high velocity of electrons in graphene, researchers at The University of Manchester have found.

They anticipate their findings will accelerate building graphene-based devices such as touchscreens, ultrafast transistors, and photodetectors.

The researchers used extremely high-quality graphene devices, prepared by suspending sheets of graphene in a vacuum. This eliminated most of the unwanted scattering mechanisms for electrons in… read more

Flexible E-Paper on Its Way

May 8, 2003

“In a step toward electronic newspapers and wearable computer screens, E Ink scientists have created an ultra-thin screen that can be bent, twisted and even rolled up and still display crisp text. The material, less than 0.3 mm thick, displays black text on a whitish-gray background with a resolution similar to that of a typical laptop computer screen,” at 96 pixels per inch.

A sprinkling of nanotubes makes plants shoot up

October 5, 2009

Tomato seeds planted in growth medium that contained carbon nanotubes germinated sooner and seedlings grew faster, University of Arkansas researchers have found.

The nanotubes appear to penetrate the thick seed coat, which would allow water to enter the dry seeds more rapidly.

Stem cells made to mimic disease

April 8, 2008

Harvard Medical School and Nottingham scientists have taken skin cells from patients with eight different diseases and turned them into stem cells, moving one step closer to using stem cells from patients themselves to treat disease.

Self-assembling silica microwires may herald new generation of integrated optical devices

January 24, 2013

This image shows self-assembled silica wires illuminated by HeNe (helium-neon) laser light from one end (credit: John Canning)

By carefully controlling the shape of water droplets with an ultraviolet laser, a team of researchers from Australia and France has found a way to coax silica (silicon dioxide) nanoparticles to self-assemble into highly uniform silica wires, hair-like slivers of silica.

Such silica microwires could enable applications and technology not currently possible with comparatively bulky optical fiber.

The international team describes the research in a paper… read more

3D plasma shapes created in thin air

February 28, 2006

The night sky could soon be lit up with gigantic three-dimensional ads, thanks to a Japanese laser display that creates glowing images in thin air.

The display uses an ionization effect which occurs when a beam of laser light is focused to a point in air.

Solar cells get a boost from bouncing light

August 1, 2011

Engineers from the University of Minnesota have improved the efficiency of a type of solar cell by as much as 26 percent.

These cells, known as dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC), are made of titanium dioxide (TiO2), a photosensitive material that is less expensive than the more traditional silicon solar cells, which are rapidly approaching the theoretical limit of their efficiency.… read more


May 21, 2003

Some tiny new machines may be biomedical devices that could deliver drugs to precise targets inside your body, or carry out internal repairs on the spot. Nanotechnologists are working at the level of individual atoms and molecules, either to create new materials with astonishing properties, or to build miniscule machines. Right now, prototypes of these miracle machines exist. Some are made of natural molecules; others are hybrids of molecules and… read more

One small step for neurons, one giant leap for nerve cell repair

October 8, 2009

Nerve cells will grow and generate synapses with an artificial component, in this case, plastic beads coated with a substance that encourages adhesion and attracts the nerve cells, McGill University researchers have found.

This approach bypasses the need to force nerve cells to artificially grow long distances and eliminates the demand for two neurons to make a synapse.

“We believe that within the next five years we will… read more

IBM creates working racetrack memory device

April 11, 2008

A “racetrack” memory device, a new type of computer memory that could provide faster, cheaper and higher capacity storage than RAM or hard disk storage, has been demonstrated by IBM researchers.

Bits in racetrack memory are stored in the tiny magnetic domains of a very thin U-shaped wire. A magnetic field is used to write data to the domains. Pulsing current through the wire pushes those domains along the… read more

Far Out, Man. But Is It Quantum Physics?

March 13, 2006

“What the Bleep, Down the Rabbit Hole,” a new sequel to the popular new-age film, “What the #$!%* Do We Know!?,” argues, based on the insights of modern quantum physics, that reality is just a mental construct that we can rearrange and improve.

The films raise a disturbing question about the muddled intersection between science and culture: do we have to indulge in bad physics to feel good?

Nanodiamond circuits for extreme environments

August 8, 2011

Scanned Electron Microscope image of a triode made from nanodiamond thin film that shows how the diamond components are cantilevered over a silicon dioxide substrate (credit: Davidson Laboratory, Vanderbilt University)

Electrical engineers at Vanderbilt University have developed all the basic components needed to create microelectronic devices out of thin films of nanodiamond, including diamond versions of transistors and, most recently, logical gates.

Diamond-based devices have the potential to operate at higher speeds and require less power than silicon-based devices, the engineers said. The nanodiamond circuits are a hybrid of old fashioned vacuum tubes and modern… read more

Imagine Machines That Can See

June 5, 2003

Robotics experts are turning to biomimetics (machines are designed to function like biological systems) for guidance in making machines that see, hear, smell and move like living creatures.

For example, one system imitates small eye movements that humans use to gather 3-D information about objects in their visual fields and improve overall visual sensitivity.

Smallest Electronic Component: Researchers Create Molecular Diode

October 19, 2009

(Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University)

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute researchers and collaborators have found a way to make single-molecule diodes, which could surpass silicon limits.

New microscope creates near-real-time videos of nanoscale processes

December 15, 2015

A new high-speed microscope produces images of chemical processes taking place at the nanoscale, at a rate that is close to real-time video. This closeup shot of the microscope shows transparent tubes used to inject various liquids into the imaging environment. This liquid can be water, acid, buffer solution for live bacteria, cells, or electrolytes in an electrochemical process. Researchers use one as an inlet and the other as an outlet to circulate and refresh the solutions throughout an experiment. (credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT)

MIT | Microscope creates near-real-time videos of nanoscale processes

MIT engineers have designed an atomic force microscope (AFM) that scans images 2,000 times faster than existing commercial models. Operating at near-real-time-video speed, it can capture structures as small as a fraction of a nanometer from single strands of DNA down to individual hydrogen bonds.

Existing AFMs have similar spatial resolution but function… read more

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