Silicon's crown is under threat: The semiconductor's days as the king of microchips for computers and smart devices could be numbered, thanks to the development of the smallest transistor ever to be built from a rival material, indium gallium arsenide. The compound transistor, built by a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, performs well despite being just 22 nm in length.
As technology advances, it tends to shrink. From cell phones to laptops—powered by increasingly faster and tinier processors—everything is getting thinner and sleeker. And now light beams are getting smaller, too. Engineers at the California Institute of Technology have created a device that can focus light into a point just a few nanometers across—an achievement they say may lead to next-generation applications in computing, communications, and imaging.
Apple’s newest iMac computer line, which went on sale last week, has something in common with world of shipbuilding. Refined for use in constructing vessels by the Office of Naval Research, friction-stir welding is responsible for the enabling the design of the iMacs. The process uses heat and pressure to join metals, and is used to achieve an extra-thin aluminum-bodied computer.
Many design and construction companies are frustrated by a lack of strategic information when it comes time for them to decide whether to expand their efforts globally. John E. Taylor, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech has created a unique lab at Virginia Tech that can identify systemic changes in engineering networks of industrial and societal importance, and could help guide these companies.
For the first time, a silicon-based optical fiber with solar cell capabilities has been developed that has been shown to be scalable to many meters in length. The research opens the door to the possibility of weaving together solar cell silicon wires to create flexible, curved, or twisted solar fabrics.
Dell Inc. has named a new executive to run its technology consulting service as the company intensifies its focus on more profitable operations outside its struggling personal computer business. Suresh Vaswani is taking over as president of Dell Services as part of a reshuffling announced Wednesday.
Using a new method for estimating greenhouse gases that combines atmospheric measurements with model predictions, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have found that the level of nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas, in California may be 2.5 to 3 times greater than the current inventory. At that level, total nitrous oxide emissions would account for about 8% of California's total greenhouse gas emissions.
The Siemens Foundation announced the winners of its annual science competition for high school students during a ceremony in Washington on Tuesday. The winner was a high school student from Texas who earned a scholarship for a developing a computer algorithm that helps robots navigate around obstacles, an algorithm that could be used in applications like driverless cars.
A microscale technique known as optical trapping uses beams of light as tweezers to hold and manipulate tiny particles. Stanford University researchers have found a new way to trap particles smaller than 10 nm, which until now have escaped light's grasp.
A new type of transistor shaped like a Christmas tree has arrived just in time for the holidays, but the prototype won't be nestled under the tree along with the other gifts. Researchers from Purdue and Harvard universities created the transistor, which is made from a material that could replace silicon within a decade.
IBM Corp. has completed its $1.3 billion acquisition of human-resources-management company Kenexa Corp. to expand its line of cloud-based software services. The deal was first announced in late August. About 2,800 Kenexa workers scattered across the U.S. and 20 other countries are now joining IBM, which is based in Armonk, N.Y. Kenexa is based in Wayne, Pa.
In a discovery that helps clear a new path toward quantum computers, University of Michigan physicists have found elusive Dirac electrons in a superconducting material. The combination of properties the researchers identified in a shiny, black material called copper-doped bismuth selenide adds the material to an elite class that could serve as the silicon of the quantum era.
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.
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.
Solvents are omnipresent in the chemical industry, and are a major environmental and safety concern. “Mechanochemistry” offers a possible green, energy-efficient alternative that avoids using bulk solvents. The technique, now being researched at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, relies on high-frequency milling to drive reactions. Until now, however, the underlying chemistry of this method has eluded observation.
A team at Wake Forest University has used a nano-engineered polymer matrix to convert electrical charge charge into light, creating an entirely new bulb based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent technology. Unlike conventional fluorescent bulbs, these new lights will not flicker, hum, or shatter, and they offer a soft, white light.
By comparing simulations from 20 different computer models to satellite observations, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory climate scientists and colleagues from 16 other organizations have found that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature changes are clearly related to human activities.
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.
Intelligent radio-over-fiber (I-ROF) systems combine the advantages of flexible wireless access and fiber-optic broadband transmission, using methods of microwave photonics to generate microwave signals in the optical domain. A research group in China has built an experimental I-ROF platform that may offer a way to significantly increase the availability of broadband wireless.
Using an enhanced form of "chemical microscopy" developed at NIST, researchers there have shown that they can peer into the structure of blended polymers, resolving details of the molecular arrangement at sub-micrometer levels. The capability has important implications for the design of industrially important polymers like the polyethylene blends used to repair aging waterlines.
A jet of X-rays from a supermassive black hole 12.4 billion light years from Earth has been detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This is the most distant X-ray jet ever observed and gives astronomers a glimpse into the explosive activity associated with the growth of supermassive black holes in the early universe.
New combinations of medical imaging technologies hold promise for improved early disease screening, cancer staging, therapeutic assessment, and other aspects of personalized medicine, according to a new Virginia Tech report. The integration of multiple major tomographic scanners into a single framework involves the fusion of many imaging modalities known as "omni-tomography”.
Scientists in Switzerland have found that reorganizing the inner architecture of the processors used in massive data processing centers can yield significant energy savings. They argue that using a greater number of less-powerful cores would be a more appropriate to current usage, which involves memory retrieval far more than complicated analysis.
Engineers at Oregon State University and other leading institutions have made important advances that may dramatically change how machines get built, with a concept that could turn the approaches used by modern industry into a historic relic. Instead of old prototyping and testing approaches, virtually all of the design, testing, error identification, and revisions of products will be done on a computer up to the point of commercial production.
A collaboration of several government and academic research organizations are hard at work on a design and manufacturing concept called “model-based design and verification”. Instead of building prototypes and discarding them, manufacturers would conduct virtually all of the design, testing, error identification, and revisions on a computer up to the point of commercial production.