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Squeezed light breaks quantum barrier

August 22, 2003

Physicists have made a new type of ultra-precise laser pointer by “squeezing” a beam in two directions. They are able to position the beam with a precision of 1.6 Angstroms, almost 1.5 times better than the theoretical limit for a conventional laser.

The team now hopes to exploit the technique in atomic force microscopy, measurements of refractive index and studies of molecules in living cells.

News tip: Walter… read more

Squid and zebrafish cells inspire camouflaging smart materials

May 2, 2012

chromatophores

Researchers from the University of Bristol announced May 2 they have created artificial muscles that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic the remarkable camouflaging abilities of organisms such as squid and zebrafish.

They demonstrate two individual transforming mechanisms that they believe could be used in “smart clothing” to trigger camouflaging tricks similar to those seen in nature.

The soft, stretchy, artificial muscles are based on… read more

Squid May Inspire New Nanolights

January 13, 2004

A Hawaiian squid has a built-in flashlight made up of a previously unknown type of protein that could help researchers design novel nanoreflectors.

Glowing bacteria provide the light source, which is surrounded by stacks of reflective plates. The team notes that the reflectins are “a marked example of natural nanofabrication of photonic structures” and should inspire bottom-up synthesis of new spectroscopic and optic devices.

Squirrel and bird deception techniques inspire military-robot design

December 5, 2012

Deceptive Robots (credit: Arkin et al./Georgia Institute of Technology)

Using deceptive behavioral patterns of squirrels and birds, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed robots that are able to deceive each other.

The research is led by Professor Ronald Arkin, a Regents Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, who suggests the applications could be implemented by the military in the future.

Animal deception tactics

Squirrels gather… read more

SRI International releases report on costs and benefits of online learning programs

March 21, 2012

A new SRI International report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education provides guidance to educational leaders as they work to implement successful, cost-effective online learning programs for secondary schools.

The report, “Understanding the Implications of Online Learning for Educational Productivity,” summarizes past research on the cost and outcomes associated with online learning programs in higher education and offers strategies for implementing such programs effectively… read more

Sri Lanka to be first country in the world with universal Internet access

July 29, 2015

(credit: Google)

Sri Lanka may soon become the first country in the world to have universal Internet access. On July 28, the government of Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Google to launch Project Loon, according to Sri Lanka Internet newspaper ColumboPage.

Google is providing high-altitude balloons, using the standard telco high-speed 4G LTE protocol, according to Project Loon project lead Mike Cassidy, in a… read more

St Lawrence of Google

January 13, 2006

Google is already working on a massive and global computing grid. Eventually, says Mr Saffo, “they’re trying to build the machine that will pass the Turing test,” in other words, an artificial intelligence that can pass as a human in written conversations. Wisely or not, Google wants to be a new sort of deus ex machina.

Stable polymer nanotubes may have a biotech future

February 3, 2006

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created polymer nanotubes that are unusually long (about 1 centimeter) as well as stable enough to maintain their shape indefinitely.

The nanotubes may have biotechnology applications as channels for tiny volumes of chemicals in nanofluidic reactor devices, for example, or as the “world’s smallest hypodermic needles” for injecting molecules one at a time.

References:

J.E. Reiner,… read more

Stable, self-renewing neural stem cells created

April 26, 2011

Stained Neuron

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco and colleagues have reported the creation of long-term, self-renewing, primitive neural precursor cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) that can be directed to become many types of neurons without increased risk of tumor formation.

To produce the neural stem cells, the researchers added small molecules… read more

Stacked graphene layers used to create novel electronic and photonic devices

October 17, 2012

Multilayer cake that works as a nanoscale electric transformer

Graphene and associated one-atom-thick crystals offer the possibility of a vast range of new materials and devices by stacking individual atomic layers on top of each other, new research from The University of Manchester shows.

In a report published in Nature Physics, a group led Dr Leonid Ponomarenko and Nobel prize-winner Professor Andre Geim has assembled individual atomic layers on top of each… read more

Staged cyber attack reveals vulnerability in power grid

September 27, 2007

Researchers who launched an experimental cyber attack on an electrical power plant caused a generator to self-destruct, alarming the federal government and electrical industry about what might happen if such an attack were carried out on a larger scale.

Economist Scott Borg projects that if a third of the country lost power for three months, the economic price tag would be $700 billion.

Computer experts have long warned… read more

Stamp out common virus to beat brain cancer

May 27, 2008
(Getty)

Duke University Medical Center treated brain tumors known as glioblastomas by taking white blood cells from 21 patients, exposing them to parts of the cytomegalovirus (often found in these cancers), and injecting the cells back into the patients. Their preliminary results suggest that this technique is safe and effective.

“Because the immune system kills both the virus and the cell it resides in, we are hoping that… read more

Stamp-Size Plastic Chip Provides New Approach to Cryptography

September 22, 2002

Modern encryption techniques are tested every time someone makes a purchase over the Internet or spends electronic cash stored in smart cards. These strategies rely on so-called one-way functions, which are easy to execute in one direction (for instance, multiplying two prime numbers) but difficult to reverse (factoring a large number into two primes). With ever-increasing computer power and advances in quantum computing, however, such methods may soon become breakable.… read more

Stamping out low-cost nanodevices

June 1, 2011

SEM Gold

A simple technique for stamping patterns invisible to the human eye onto a special class of nanomaterials has been developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

The new method works with porous nanomaterials that are riddled with tiny voids, which give them unique optical, electrical, chemical, and mechanical properties. There are nanoporous forms of gold, silicon, alumina, and titanium oxide, among others.

The technique involves the… read more

‘Stamping’ self-assembling nanowires

October 20, 2008

Cornell researchers have created an innovative way to make and pattern nanoscale wires and other devices without requiring expensive lithographic tools; uses include computer memory and circuits, and quantum dots.

They coated gold nanoparticles suspended in water with a synthetic-DNA-based ligand that adheres to the metal and to water. Adjusting the DNA lengths can precisely control the distance between the particles to make them assemble into orderly superlattices, rather… read more

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