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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.

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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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Modeling feat sheds light on protein channel's function

October 19, 2012 7:39 am | News | Comments

Chemists at the California Institute of Technology have managed, for the first time, to simulate the biological function of a channel called the Sec translocon, which allows specific proteins to pass through membranes. The feat required bridging timescales from the realm of nanoseconds all the way up to full minutes, exceeding the scope of earlier simulation efforts by more than six orders of magnitude.

Spin-orbit qubits are right at home in electrical circuits

October 18, 2012 8:08 am | News | Comments

Qubit-based computing that exploits spooky quantum effects like entanglement and superposition will speed up factoring and searching calculations far above what can be done with mere zero-or-one bits. A Princeton University and Joint Quantum Institute collaboration has made strides in domesticating this quantum weirdness with the announcement of the successful excitation of a spin qubit using a resonant cavity, which senses the presence of the qubit as if it were a bit of electrical capacitance.

Developing the next generation of microsensors

October 18, 2012 8:01 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier | News | Comments

Thanks to an ultrasensitive accelerometer—a type of motion detector—developed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, a new class of microsensors is a step closer to reality. Instead of using an electrical circuit to gauge movements, this accelerometer uses laser light and is so sensitive it could be used to navigate shoppers through a grocery aisle or even stabilize fighter jets.

Google opens window into secretive data centers

October 17, 2012 3:40 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Through a new website unveiled Wednesday, Google is opening a virtual window into the secretive data centers where an intricate maze of computers process Internet search requests, show YouTube video clips, and distribute email for millions of people. The photographic access to Google's data centers coincides with the publication of a Wired magazine article about how the company builds and operates them.

Training light to cool the material it strikes

October 17, 2012 9:30 am | News | Comments

Light might one day be used to cool the materials through which it passes, instead of heating them, thanks to a breakthrough by engineers at Lehigh and Johns Hopkins Universities. The discovery could lead to smaller, lighter, and cheaper communication devices with faster switching times, increased output, and higher operating voltages.

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Dark matter filament studied in 3D for the first time

October 17, 2012 8:29 am | News | Comments

Extending 60 million light-years from one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, the filament of dark matter examined recently by the Hubble Space Telescope is part of the cosmic web that constitutes the large-scale structure of the Universe, and is a leftover of the very first moments after the Big Bang. If the high mass measured for the filament is representative of the rest of the Universe, then these structures may contain more than half of all the mass in the Universe.

Physicists crack another piece of the glass puzzle

October 16, 2012 12:24 pm | by Carol Clark, Emory University | News | Comments

When it comes to physics, glass lacks transparency. No one has been able to see what’s happening at the molecular level as a super-cooled liquid approaches the glass state—until now. Emory University physicists have made a movie of particle motion during this mysterious transition.

How Huygens landed on Titan

October 16, 2012 12:10 pm | by Jia-Rui Cook/JPL and Daniel Stolte/UANews | News | Comments

Scientists have pieced together the sequence of events of the farthest touchdown a man-made spacecraft has ever made on an alien world. Their work in tracking the bounces, wobbles, and skids the probe made before coming to rest on Titan reveals new clues about the Saturn moon’s surface and helps plan future missions to moons and planets.

Freezing electrons in flight

October 16, 2012 8:58 am | by Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona | News | Comments

Using the world’s fastest laser pulses, which can freeze the ultrafast motion of electrons and atoms, physicists have caught the action of molecules breaking apart and electrons getting knocked out of atoms. Their most recent accomplishment is a real-time series of snapshots documenting what happens to an oxygen molecule when it pops apart after absorbing too much energy to maintain the stable bond between its two atoms.

Tracking offshore wind

October 16, 2012 7:30 am | News | Comments

The University of Maine and the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative (USOWC) have announced a partnership to co-develop WindHUB, USOWC's new online resource for stakeholders interested in the emerging U.S. offshore wind industry.

Complex logic circuits can be made from bacterial genes

October 12, 2012 5:07 pm | by Diana Lutz, Washington University in St. Louis, Tae Seok Moon, logic circuit, gene circuit | News | Comments

Logic circuits can be built from just about anything, including billiard balls, pipes of water, or animals in a maze. Tae Seok Moon, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, intends to build logic gates out of genes, and has already built the largest such device yet reported. But the purpose of these circuits is not to crunch numbers.

Earth sunblock only needed if planet warms easily

October 11, 2012 6:00 pm | by Mary Beckman, PNNL | News | Comments

To combat the effects of climate change, some scientists have proposed temporarily reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the earth. These various geoengineering schemes have typically thought as a standalone fix, but a new computer analysis of future climate change considers emissions reductions together with sunlight reduction. The model shows that such drastic steps to cool the earth would only be necessary in certain scenarios.

Researchers help make Sudoku puzzles less puzzling

October 11, 2012 4:54 pm | News | Comments

For anyone who has ever struggled while attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle, University of Notre Dame researchers are riding to the rescue. They can not only explain why some Sudoku puzzles are harder than others, they have also developed a mathematical algorithm that solves Sudoku puzzles very quickly, without any guessing or backtracking.

New Web-based model for sharing research data sets could have huge benefits

October 11, 2012 2:59 pm | News | Comments

A group of researchers have proposed creating a new Web-based data network to help researchers and policymakers worldwide turn existing knowledge into real-world applications and technologies and improve science and innovation policy.

Nearby super-Earth likely a diamond planet

October 11, 2012 11:58 am | News | Comments

Located by Yale University researchers, a new planet—called 55 Cancri e—has a radius twice Earth’s, and a mass eight times greater, making it a “super-Earth.” Forty light-years away, the placement and chemical signature suggest to planetary scientists that it is composed primarily of carbon, iron, silicon carbide, and silicates. Much of that carbon would in the form of graphite or diamond.

Bacterial life, filmed in multicolor

October 11, 2012 9:11 am | News | Comments

An international team of scientists has discovered a new method for coloring the cell wall of bacterial cells to determine how they grow. Multicolored probes target cell wall synthesis, labeling them with nontoxic dyes. The technique provides a new, much-needed tool for the development of new antibiotics.

October 2012 Issue of R&D Magazine

October 10, 2012 1:15 pm | Digital Editions | Comments

In this month's issue of R&D Magazine the editors explore the instrumentation and business strategies that help bring nanotechnology to the marketplace. Other features on dynamic light scattering, reverse engineering, click chemistry, product development, rapid prototyping, and simulation software are also included.

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