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Professor brings access to previously untapped higher frequency bandwidth

February 19, 2013 8:26 am | News | Comments

Society's increasing technology use and data consumption is causing an information bottleneck, congesting airwave frequencies and sending engineers searching for access to higher capacity bandwidths. Until now, no technology has existed to tap into and successfully use these frequencies, which span 30 to 100 GHz.

Quantum cryptography put to work for electric grid security

February 15, 2013 11:25 am | News | Comments

Recently, a Los Alamos National Laboratory quantum cryptography (QC) team successfully completed the first-ever demonstration of securing control data for electric grids using quantum cryptography. The project, says experts, shows that quantum cryptography is compatible with electric-grid control communications, providing strong security assurances rooted in the laws of physics, without introducing excessive delays in data delivery.

Engineers show feasibility of superfast materials

February 13, 2013 1:44 pm | News | Comments

University of Utah engineers demonstrated it is feasible to build the first organic materials that conduct electricity on their edges, but act as an insulator inside. These materials, called organic topological insulators, could shuttle information at the speed of light in quantum computers and other high-speed electronic devices.

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Metamaterials provide active control of slow-light devices

February 13, 2013 10:49 am | News | Comments

Wireless communications and optical computing could soon get a significant boost in speed, thanks to “slow light” and specialized metamaterials through which it travels. Researchers have made the first demonstration of rapidly switching on and off “slow light” in specially designed materials at room temperature. This work opens the possibility to design novel, chip-scale, ultrafast devices for applications in terahertz wireless communications and all-optical computing.

Creating new quantum building blocks

February 8, 2013 8:00 am | News | Comments

Scientists have long dreamed of creating a quantum computer—a device rooted in the bizarre phenomena that transpire at the level of the very small, where quantum mechanics rules the scene. It is believed that such new computers could process currently unsolvable problems in seconds. Researchers have tried using various quantum systems, such as atoms or ions, as the basic, transistor-like units in simple quantum computation devices. Now Caltech researchers are laying the groundwork for an on-chip optical quantum network.

For superionic material, smaller is better

February 7, 2013 10:07 am | News | Comments

A material that could enable faster memory chips and more efficient batteries can switch between high and low ionic conductivity states much faster than previously thought, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University researchers have determined. The key is to use extremely small chunks of it.

Corrosive behavior? There's an app for that

February 4, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

It may not be as popular as Angry Birds, but the Corrosion iPhone app developed by University of Toronto engineering student Jason Tam is finding a grateful audience among professional engineers and engineering students.

U.S. satellite lost in failed launch from Pacific

February 1, 2013 4:44 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Sea Launch AG says a U.S. communications satellite was lost after a booster rocket carrying it into space failed shortly after its launch from a floating platform in the Pacific. The company said in a statement Friday the Intelsat 27 satellite was lost 40 seconds after the launch due to the failure of the Zenit-3SL rocket.

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New device electrically steers and focuses terahertz waves

January 29, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Japan and Germany have recently demonstrated a device that can focus and steer terahertz beams electrically. Based on an array of metal cantilevers which can be micromechanically actuated by electrostatic forces, the device can create tunable gratings that may be crucial in future terahertz wavelength communication systems.

Report: Cuba using undersea fiber-optic cable

January 21, 2013 2:15 pm | by PETER ORSI - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Cuba apparently has finally switched on the first undersea fiber-optic cable linking it to the outside world nearly two years after its arrival, according to analysis by a company that monitors global Internet use. In a report posted Sunday on the website of Renesys, author Doug Madory wrote that Cuba began using the ALBA-1 cable on Jan. 14.

Multiple steps toward the “quantum singularity”

January 18, 2013 7:41 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

In early 2011, a pair of theoretical computer scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology proposed an optical experiment that would harness the weird laws of quantum mechanics to perform a computation impossible on conventional computers. The experiment involves generating individual photons—particles of light—and synchronizing their passage through a maze of optical components so that they reach a battery of photon detectors at the same time.

Aerial platform supports development of lightweight sensors for UAVs

January 17, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing an airborne testing capability for sensors, communications devices, and other airborne payloads. This aerial test bed, called the GTRI Airborne Unmanned Sensor System (GAUSS), is based on an unmanned aerial vehicle made by Griffon Aerospace and modified by GTRI.

Chips that can steer light

January 9, 2013 1:18 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a 4,096-emitter array that fits on a single silicon chip. Chips that can steer beams of light could enable a wide range of applications, including cheaper, more efficient, and smaller laser rangefinders; medical-imaging devices that can be threaded through tiny blood vessels; and even holographic televisions that emit different information when seen from different viewing angles.

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Telescope gives researchers a glimpse of the beginning of time

January 9, 2013 9:27 am | News | Comments

Where do we come from? What is the universe made of? Will the universe exist only for a finite time or will it last forever? These are just some of the questions that University of California, San Diego physicists are working to answer in the high desert of northern Chile.

“Standard quantum limit” smashed

January 8, 2013 4:27 pm | News | Comments

Communicating with light may soon get a lot easier, hints recent research from NIST and the University of Maryland's Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), where scientists have potentially found a way to overcome a longstanding barrier to cleaner signals.

Counting the twists in a helical light beam

January 8, 2013 1:21 pm | by Caroline Perry, Harvard University | News | Comments

At a time when communication networks are scrambling for ways to transmit more data over limited bandwidth, a type of twisted light wave is gaining new attention. Called an optical vortex or vortex beam, this complex beam resembles a corkscrew, with waves that rotate as they travel. Now, applied physicists at the Harvard University have created a new device that enables a conventional optical detector—which would normally only measure the light's intensity—to pick up on that rotation.

DARPA selects SwRI’s K-band space crosslink radio

January 7, 2013 9:16 am | News | Comments

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently selected Southwest Research Institute to provide the flight low-rate crosslink wireless communications platform for the System F6 Program.

Cell phone data helps pinpoint source of traffic tie-ups

December 20, 2012 11:36 am | by Denise Brehm, Civil and Environmental Engineering | News | Comments

Researchers tracked traffic in Boston and San Francisco with cell tower and GPS data and analyzed bottlenecks. Their computer analysis suggested a possible strategy for relieving traffic tie-ups: Instead of asking all drivers to reduce their driving during commute hours, target those communities whose drivers contribute most to congestion.

Reducing electrons' effective mass to nearly zero

December 18, 2012 3:39 pm | News | Comments

The field of metamaterials involves augmenting materials with specially designed patterns, enabling those materials to manipulate electromagnetic waves and fields in previously impossible ways. Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have come up with a theory for moving this phenomenon onto the quantum scale, laying out blueprints for materials where electrons have nearly zero effective mass.

Got food allergies? Test your meal on the spot

December 14, 2012 9:48 am | News | Comments

Are you allergic to peanuts and worried there might be some in that cookie? Now you can find out using a rather unlikely source: your cell phone. A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles has developed a lightweight device called the iTube, which attaches to a common cell phone to detect allergens in food samples.

New forecast system helps transoceanic flights avoid storms

December 12, 2012 9:00 am | News | Comments

A new NASA-funded prototype system developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research now is providing weather forecasts that can help flights avoid major storms as they travel over remote ocean regions. The eight-hour forecasts of potentially dangerous atmospheric conditions are designed for pilots, air traffic controllers and others involved in transoceanic flights.

A new tool for secret agents—and the rest of us

December 10, 2012 7:39 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | News | Comments

A secret agent is racing against time. He knows a bomb is nearby. He rounds a corner, spots a pile of suspicious boxes in the alleyway, and pulls out his cell phone. As he scans it over the packages, their contents appear onscreen. In the nick of time, his handy smartphone application reveals an explosive device, and the agent saves the day. Sound far-fetched? In fact it is a real possibility, thanks to tiny inexpensive silicon microchips developed at the California Institute of Technology.

Smartphones might soon develop emotional intelligence

December 4, 2012 12:10 pm | News | Comments

If you think having your phone identify the nearest bus stop is cool, wait until it identifies your mood. New research by a team of engineers at the University of Rochester may soon make that possible.

'Quantum tornadoes' pave the way for ultra-precise measuring, control

December 4, 2012 11:57 am | News | Comments

Tornado-like vortexes can be produced in bizarre fluids that are controlled by quantum mechanics, completely unlike normal liquids. New research demonstrates how massed ranks of these quantum twisters line up in rows, and paves the way for engineering quantum circuits and chips measuring motion ultra-precisely.

Georgia Tech awarded $2.7 million from DARPA

November 30, 2012 7:25 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has received a $2.7 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop technology intended to help address the challenges of "big data"—data sets that are both massive and complex.

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