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Chile's ALMA probes for origins of universe

October 29, 2012 11:08 am | by Luis Andres Henao, Associated Press | News | Comments

Earth's largest radio telescope is growing more powerful by the day on this remote plateau high above Chile's Atacama desert, where visitors often feel like they're planting the first human footprints on the red crust of Mars. So far, 43 of the 66 radio antennas have been set up and point skyward like 100-ton white mushrooms. When fully assembled, its vision will be up to ten times sharper than NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Carbon nanotube films show promise for touchscreens

October 29, 2012 10:44 am | by Mike Williams, Rice University | News | Comments

A Rice University team has hit upon a method to produce nearly transparent films of electrically conductive carbon nanotubes. Slides dipped into a solution of pure nanotubes in chlorosulfonic acid, the researchers found, left them with an even coat of nanotubes that, after further processing, had none of the disadvantages seen with other methods. The films may be suitable for flexible electronic displays and touchscreens.

Glass, characterized with precision and efficiency

October 26, 2012 1:54 pm | News | Comments

Glass can possess a quite diverse array of characteristics, depending on what ingredients one uses to modify it. A new process developed at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany now makes the analysis of glass characteristics up to five times faster than previous methods, and uses only 20% of the material. This system consists of an oven and a CMOS camera that enables researchers to observe the glass during the entire heating process.

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Robots in the home: Will older adults roll out the welcome mat?

October 26, 2012 10:08 am | News | Comments

Robots have the potential to help older adults with daily activities that can become more challenging with age. But are people willing to use and accept the new technology? A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates the answer is yes, unless the tasks involve personal care or social activities.

Treading carefully: Footwear forensics works with partial prints

October 26, 2012 9:57 am | News | Comments

A new computer algorithm developed at the University of Buffalo can analyze the footwear marks left at a crime scene according to clusters of footwear types, makes and tread patterns. The tool is able to group recurring patterns in a database of footwear marks, even if the imprint recorded by crime scene investigators is distorted or only a partial print.

Study reveals impact of public DNS services

October 26, 2012 9:31 am | News | Comments

A new study by Northwestern University researchers has revealed that public domain name services (DNS) could actually slow down users’ web-surfing experience. As a result, researchers have developed a solution to help avoid such an impact: a tool called “namehelp” that could speed web performance by 40%.

Versatile optomechanical sensors aid atomic force microscopy

October 25, 2012 2:25 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from NIST have developed on-chip optomechanical sensors for atomic force microscopy (AFM) that extend the range of mechanical properties found in commercial AFM cantilevers, potentially enabling the use of this technology to study a wide variety of physical systems.

Well-ordered nanorods could improve LED displays

October 25, 2012 2:16 pm | News | Comments

Synchrotron-based imaging has helped develop enhanced light-emitting diode (LED) displays using bottom-up engineering methods. Collaborative work between researchers from the University of Florida and Cornell University has produced a new way to make colloidal "superparticles" from oriented nanorods of semiconducting materials.

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Obstinate electrons “ignore” assumptions and follow another path

October 25, 2012 10:36 am | News | Comments

It is possible to make gold wires so thin that there is not even enough room for electrons to pass one another. But exactly what path do the electrons take? Measurements made by researchers have found that the electrons do not move through the nanowires themselves, but through the “troughs” between them.

Soundtrack to history: 1878 Edison audio unveiled

October 25, 2012 10:29 am | by Chris Carola, Associated Press | News | Comments

The modern masses can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first-ever capturing of a musical performance, thanks to digital advances that allowed the sound to be transferred from flimsy tinfoil to computer. The 78-second recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph, and features both music and the first recorded blooper.

Scientists aim to analyze whole mouse brain under electron microscope

October 25, 2012 10:21 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany are working to build a “circuit diagram” of the mouse brain using an instrument normally confined to study small sample areas. Neurons and axons are tiny in diameter, and can only be studied using electron microscopy. But they can also be very long, making them difficult to map. A new technique, called “serial block face” scanning electron microscopy, gets around this problem.

Soundtrack to history: 1878 Edison audio unveiled

October 25, 2012 3:25 am | by CHRIS CAROLA - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's scratchy, lasts only 78 seconds and features the world's first recorded blooper. The modern masses can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first-ever capturing of a musical performance, thanks to digital advances that allowed the sound...

VISTA creates largest ever catalogue of center of our galaxy

October 24, 2012 11:41 am | News | Comments

A new image of the Milky Way created by the survey telescope at the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory incorporates more than ten times more stars—84 million—than previous studies. The new 9-billion pixel image is so large it would be 7 by 9 m if printed.

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World’s most advanced mirror for giant telescope completed

October 23, 2012 5:06 pm | News | Comments

Optical scientists and engineers have recently been polishing an 8.4-m diameter mirror underneath the University of Arizona’s football stadium. Destined for the 25-m Giant Magellan Telescope, the giant slab of glass is, by a factor of ten, the most “difficult” mirror ever made, boasting a precision of 19 nm along its surface. The shape allows it to merge seamlessly with six other mirror to form the next generation of giant telescopes.       

Neutron experiments give unprecedented look at quantum oscillations

October 23, 2012 12:03 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found that nitrogen atoms in the compound uranium nitride exhibit unexpected, distinct vibrations that form a nearly ideal realization of a physics textbook model known as the isotropic quantum harmonic oscillator.

Training your robot the PaR-PaR way

October 23, 2012 11:47 am | News | Comments

PaR-PaR, a simple high-level, biology-friendly robot-programming language developed by researchers at JBEI and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, uses an object-oriented approach to make it easier to integrate robotic equipment into biological laboratories. Effective robots can increase research productivity, lower costs, and provide more reliable and reproducible experimental data.

Quantum computing with recycled particles

October 23, 2012 11:28 am | News | Comments

A research team from the University of Bristol has brought the reality of a quantum computer one step closer by experimentally demonstrating a technique for significantly reducing the physical resources required for quantum factoring. The team has shown how it is possible to recycle the particles inside a quantum computer, so that quantum factoring can be achieved with only one third of the particles originally required.

Researchers build spin-polarized contacts on silicon

October 23, 2012 9:56 am | News | Comments

Naval Research Laboratory scientists have demonstrated that graphene can serve as a low resistance spin-polarized tunnel barrier contact which successfully enables spin injection/detection in silicon from a ferromagnetic metal. The graphene provides a highly uniform, chemically inert and thermally robust tunnel barrier free of defects and trap states which plague oxide barriers.

Method to improve electric field intensity could boost Raman scattering

October 22, 2012 1:23 pm | News | Comments

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a sensitive technique used for the detection of trace amounts of chemicals. It is also one of the most promising for the nonlinear optical study of nanostructures. Researchers in China have identified a way to increase the sensitivity of this method by enhance local electrical fields around these structures. Single-molecule detection may be feasible.

Scientists find new route to large-scale quantum computing

October 22, 2012 1:14 pm | News | Comments

So far, quantum researchers have only been able to manipulate small numbers of qubits, not enough for a practical machine. But researchers at Princeton University have developed a method that may allow the quick and reliable transfer of quantum information throughout a computing device, potentially allowing engineers to build computers consisting of million of quantum bits.

Targeting solar geoengineering to minimize risk, inequality

October 22, 2012 9:30 am | News | Comments

By tailoring geoengineering efforts by region and by need, a new model promises to maximize the effectiveness of solar radiation management while mitigating its potential side effects and risks. The study explores the feasibility of using solar geoengineering to counter the loss of Arctic sea ice.

The nanomechanical signature of breast cancer

October 22, 2012 9:16 am | News | Comments

The spread of cancer cells from primary tumors to other parts of the body remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Using atomic force microscopy, a research group in Europe has recently shown how the unique nanomechanical properties of breast cancer cells are fundamental to the process of metastasis.

The minimal microbe

October 19, 2012 1:27 pm | News | Comments

To study microbes and the complex communities they form in the environment, Argonne National Laboratory and three other national laboratories are collaborating to build a research tool called the Systems Biology Knowledgebase, or KBase. KBase aims to help with current data issues facing systems biology, but its goal is larger than data integration. The team seeks to advance research in two broad, important areas: plants and microbes.

Optical vortices packaged on a chip

October 19, 2012 9:01 am | News | Comments

An international research group has recently demonstrated integrated arrays of emitters of so call “optical vortex beams” onto a silicon chip. The generation of these “twisted” light beams, which do not propagate in straight rays, have typically relied on bulk optical elements such as plates, lenses, and holograms. The new emitters, however, are thousands of times smaller than conventional elements.

NRI to lead five-year effort to develop post-CMOS electronics

October 19, 2012 8:17 am | News | Comments

NIST announced the selection of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), a collaboration of several key firms in the semiconductor industry, to support university-centered research for the development of after-the-next-generation "nanoelectronics" technology. NRI consists of participants from the semiconductor industry, including GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel, Micron Technology, and Texas Instruments.

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