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The Lead

Sensor could improve one of nano research’s most useful microscopes

December 17, 2014 3:31 pm | by Chad Boutin, NIST | News | Comments

Spotting molecule-sized features may become both easier and more accurate with a sensor developed at NIST. With their new design, NIST scientists may have found a way to sidestep some of the problems in calibrating atomic force microscopes (AFMs). The AFM is one of the main scientific workhorses of the nano age.

Switching to spintronics

December 17, 2014 3:18 pm | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

In a development that holds promise for future magnetic memory and logic devices, researchers...

Technology advances eye tracking as biomarker for brain function

December 16, 2014 3:19 pm | by Stacey Harris, NYU Langone Medical Center | News | Comments

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have developed new technology that can assess the...

New law for superconductors

December 16, 2014 2:47 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have discovered a new mathematical...

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Researchers generate tunable photon-pair spectrum

December 16, 2014 9:14 am | by Univ. of California, San Diego | News | Comments

A team of researchers have demonstrated a way to emit and control quantum light generated using a chip made from silicon—one of the most widely used materials for modern electronics. The researchers say practical applications of quantum optics will seem more feasible if devices for generating and controlling these photons can be manufactured using conventional materials from the semiconductor industry.

The Next Big Things

December 15, 2014 3:38 pm | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

The Internet is a massive place, linking billions of devices which share data that should exceed the zettabyte mark by 2016. Even as data transfer grows, the number of devices connected to the Internet will soon experience a geometric rise as well.

Fraud-proof credit cards possible with quantum physics

December 15, 2014 3:11 pm | by Lyndsay Meyer, The Optical Society | News | Comments

Credit card fraud and identify theft are serious problems for consumers and industries. Though corporations and individuals work to improve safeguards, it has become increasingly difficult to protect financial data and personal information from criminal activity. Fortunately, new insights into quantum physics may soon offer a solution.

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New findings could point the way to “valleytronics”

December 15, 2014 1:41 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New findings could provide a pathway toward a kind of 2-D microchip that would make use of a characteristic of electrons other than their electrical charge, as in conventional electronics. The new approach is dubbed “valleytronics,” because it makes use of properties of an electron that can be depicted as a pair of deep valleys on a graph of their traits.

There is No Spoon

December 15, 2014 1:16 pm | by Alan Arnold, Vision Solutions | Articles | Comments

Reality isn’t always what it seems, as we learned in the groundbreaking film The Matrix. Neo, the movie’s hero, learns this lesson from a young monk who holds a spoon that bends and twists on its own, as if by magic. “Do not try and bend the spoon,” the boy tells Neo. “That’s impossible. Instead only try to realize the truth.”

How climate change could leave cities in the dark

December 15, 2014 11:30 am | by Jill Rosen, Johns Hopkins Univ. | News | Comments

Cities like Miami are all too familiar with hurricane-related power outages. But a Johns Hopkins Univ. analysis finds climate change will give other major metro areas a lot to worry about in the future. Johns Hopkins engineers created a computer model to predict the increasing vulnerability of power grids in major coastal cities during hurricanes.

App triggers horrible traffic for locals

December 15, 2014 10:17 am | by Associated Press, John Rogers | News | Comments

When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled. When word spread that the explosively popular new smartphone app Waze was sending many of those cars through their neighborhood in a quest to shave five minutes off a daily rush-hour commute, they were angry and ready to fight back.

Control on shape of light particles opens the way to quantum Internet

December 15, 2014 8:53 am | by Eindhoven Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

In the same way as we now connect computers in networks through optical signals, it could also be possible to connect future quantum computers in a quantum Internet. The optical signals would then consist of individual light particles or photons. One prerequisite for a working quantum Internet is control of the shape of these photons.

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3-D maps reveal the genome’s origami code

December 15, 2014 8:13 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

In a triumph for cell biology, researchers have assembled the first high-resolution, 3-D maps of entire folded genomes and found a structural basis for gene regulation—a kind of “genomic origami” that allows the same genome to produce different types of cells. The research appears online in Cell.

Team combines logic, memory to build “high-rise” chip

December 15, 2014 7:49 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

For decades, the mantra of electronics has been smaller, faster, cheaper. Today, Stanford Univ. engineers add a fourth word: taller. A Stanford team revealed how to build high-rise chips that could leapfrog the performance of the single-story logic and memory chips on today's circuit cards.

Robot 'shadow hand'

December 12, 2014 10:57 am | by ESA | News | Comments

ESA is developing technologies for advanced human–machine interaction to transfer the human sense of touch to space.                                       

New theory could yield more reliable communication protocols

December 12, 2014 7:54 am | News | Comments

Researchers have begun to describe theoretical limits on the degree of imprecision that communicating computers can tolerate, with very real implications for the design of communication protocols.                                   

Interstellar mystery solved by supercomputer simulations

December 11, 2014 2:48 pm | by Jorge Salazar, TACC | News | Comments

An interstellar mystery of why stars form has been solved thanks to the most realistic supercomputer simulations of galaxies yet made.                                 

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Baby steps toward molecular robots

December 11, 2014 8:32 am | News | Comments

A walking molecule, so small that it cannot be observed directly with a microscope, has been recorded taking its first nanometer-sized steps. It's the first time that anyone has shown in real time that such a tiny object – termed a "small molecule walker" – has taken a series of steps.

‘Electronic skin’ detects pressure from different directions

December 10, 2014 2:12 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

For the first time, scientists report the development of a stretchable “electronic skin” closely modeled after our own that can detect not just pressure, but also what direction it’s coming from.                

The gold standard

December 9, 2014 5:37 pm | News | Comments

Precious elements such as platinum work well as catalysts in chemical reactions, but require large amounts of metal and can be expensive. However, computational modeling below the nanoscale level may allow researchers to design more efficient and affordable catalysts from gold.

Detecting gases wirelessly, cheaply

December 8, 2014 3:54 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | Videos | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemists have devised a new way to wirelessly detect hazardous gases and environmental pollutants, using a simple sensor that can be read by a smartphone. These inexpensive sensors could be widely deployed, making it easier to monitor public spaces or detect food spoilage in warehouses.

New semiconductor could change face of consumer electronics

December 8, 2014 9:54 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Materials first developed at Oregon State Univ. more than a decade ago with an eye toward making “transparent” transistors may be about to shake up the field of consumer electronics; and the first uses are not even based on the transparent capability of the materials. In the continued work and in collaboration with private industry, certain transparent transistor materials are now gaining some of their first commercial applications.

Computers that teach by example

December 8, 2014 8:49 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Computers are good at identifying patterns in huge data sets. Humans, by contrast, are good at inferring patterns from just a few examples. In a recent paper, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers present a new system that bridges these two ways of processing information, so that humans and computers can collaborate to make better decisions.

Physics mystery shows path to quantum transistors

December 8, 2014 8:01 am | by Nicole Casal Moore, Univ. of Michigan | News | Comments

An odd, iridescent material that's puzzled physicists for decades turns out to be an exotic state of matter that could open a new path to next-generation electronics. Physicists at the Univ. of Michigan have discovered or confirmed several properties of the compound samarium hexaboride that raise hopes for finding the silicon of the quantum era. They say their results also close the case of how to classify the material.

Big step toward using light instead of wires inside computers

December 5, 2014 10:36 am | by Chris Cesare, Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. engineers have designed and built a prism-like device that can split a beam of light into different colors and bend the light at right angles, a development that could eventually lead to computers that use optics, rather than electricity, to carry data.

Wireless brain sensor could unchain neuroscience from cables

December 5, 2014 10:19 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

In a study in Neuron, scientists describe a new high data-rate, low-power wireless brain sensor. The technology is designed to enable neuroscience research that cannot be accomplished with current sensors that tether subjects with cabled connections. Experiments in the paper confirm that new capability.

Study makes case for RFID forensic evidence management

December 5, 2014 10:10 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags have become increasingly popular for tracking everything from automobiles being manufactured on an assembly line to zoo animals in transit to their new homes. Now, thanks to a new NIST report, the next beneficiaries of RFID technology may soon be law enforcement agencies responsible for the management of forensic evidence.

Studies look at long-term aging of electronics in nuclear weapons

December 4, 2014 9:09 am | by Sue Holmes, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories is studying how environments, including radiation that originates from a nuclear weapon itself, could affect the performance of electronics in the W76-1 warhead as they age. Sandia is helping replace W76 warheads in the U.S. stockpile with a refurbished version under the W76-1 Life Extension Program (LEP). The ballistic missile warhead is carried on the Trident II D5 missile aboard Ohio-class Navy submarines.

Smaller lidars could allow UAVs to conduct underwater scans

December 4, 2014 8:06 am | by Rick Robinson, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

Bathymetric lidars are used today primarily to map coastal waters. At nearly 600 lbs, the systems are large and heavy, and they require costly, piloted aircraft to carry them. A team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute has designed a new approach that could lead to bathymetric lidars that are much smaller and more efficient than the current full-size systems.

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