Using a neutron detector to measure cosmic rays may sound odd, but this has been a common way to measure the level of cosmic ray levels since 1948. This is because if the primary cosmic ray that starts a cascade has an energy over 500 MeV, some of its secondary by-products are neutrons that will reach ground where they can be detected. These systems are commonly called a Neutron Monitor
Cosmic Ray Neutron Monitor - [Link]
Replacing electricity with light: First physical ‘metatronic’ circuit created – [via]
The technological world of the 21st century owes a tremendous amount to advances in electrical engineering, specifically, the ability to finely control the flow of electrical charges using increasingly small and complicated circuits. And while those electrical advances continue to race ahead, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are pushing circuitry forward in a different way, by replacing electricity with light.
Replacing electricity with light: First physical ‘metatronic’ circuit created - [Link]
Whoa! See that little bump in the middle of the micrograph? THAT’S A TRANSISTOR. From Ars Technica: [via]
a group of researchers has fabricated a single-atom transistor by introducing one phosphorous atom into a silicon lattice. Through the use of a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) and hydrogen-resist lithography, Martin Fuechsle et al. placed the phosphorous atom precisely between very thin silicon leads, allowing them to measure its electrical behavior. The results show clearly that we can read both the quantum transitions within the phosphorous atom and its transistor behavior. No smaller solid-state devices are possible, so systems of this type reveal the limit of Moore’s law—the prediction about the miniaturization of technology—while pointing toward solid-state quantum computing devices.
A Transistor From a Single Atom - [Link]
With the help of the most powerful X-ray laser in the world researchers of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy have heated a piece of aluminum to a temperature of two million degrees Celsius (3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit). They also managed to verify the temperature achieved. This work could be an important step to a better understanding of nuclear fusion processes that go on in the cores of stars and giant planets like Jupiter. [via]
3,600,000 F – The Hottest Thing on Earth - [Link]
Expedition 30 astronaut Don Pettit uses knitting needles and water droplets to demonstrate physics in space through ‘Science off the Sphere.’ This is part of the first video in a series for a partnership between NASA and the American Physical Society to share unique videos from the International Space Station with students, educators and science fans from around the world.
Science off the Sphere: Knitting Needle Experiment - [Link]
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– A new paradigm in quantum information processing has been demonstrated by physicists at UC Santa Barbara. Their results are published in this week’s issue of Science Express online.
UCSB physicists have demonstrated a quantum integrated circuit that implements the quantum von Neumann architecture. In this architecture, a long-lived quantum random access memory can be programmed using a quantum central processing unit, all constructed on a single chip, providing the key components for a quantum version of a classical computer.
The UCSB hardware is based on superconducting quantum circuits, and must be cooled to very low temperatures to display quantum behavior. The architecture represents a new paradigm in quantum information processing, and shows that quantum large-scale-integration is within reach.
Physicists Demonstrate a Quantum Processor – Memory on a Chip - [Link]
Smaller and more energy-efficient electronic chips could be made using molybdenite. In an article appearing online January 30 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, EPFL’s Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures (LANES) publishes a study showing that this material has distinct advantages over traditional silicon or graphene for use in electronics applications.
A discovery made at EPFL could play an important role in electronics, allowing us to make transistors that are smaller and more energy efficient. Research carried out in the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures (LANES) has revealed that molybdenite, or MoS2, is a very effective semiconductor. This mineral, which is abundant in nature, is often used as an element in steel alloys or as an additive in lubricants. But it had not yet been extensively studied for use in electronics.
New Transistors: An Alternative to Silicon and Better Than Graphene - [Link]
Seeing quantum mechanics with the naked eye – [via]
A Cambridge team have built a semiconductor chip that converts electrons into a quantum state that emits light but is large enough to see by eye. Because their quantum superfluid is simply set up by shining laser beams on the device, it can lead to practical ultrasensitive detectors. Their research is published today, 08 January in Nature Physics.
Seeing quantum mechanics with the naked eye - [Link]
Nanoscale wires defy quantum predictions @ Nature News & Comment – [via]
Microchips could keep on getting smaller and more powerful for years to come. Research shows that wires just a few nanometres wide conduct electricity in the same way as the much larger components of existing devices, rather than being adversely affected by quantum mechanics.
As manufacturing technology improves and costs fall, the number of transistors that can be squeezed onto an integrated circuit roughly doubles every two years. This trend, known as Moore’s law, was first observed in the 1960s by Gordon Moore, the co-founder of chip manufacturer Intel, based in Santa Clara, California. But transistors have now become so small that scientists have predicted that it may not be long before their performance is compromised by unpredictable quantum effects.
Nanoscale wires defy quantum predictions - [Link]
Researchers from Imperial College London have demonstrated that they can build logic gates out of harmless gut bacteria and DNA. These are the most advanced biological logic gates ever created by scientists. Logic gates are the fundamental building blocks in silicon circuitry on which the digital age is based. Now that it is possible to replicate these parts using bacteria and DNA, the researchers hope that their work will lead to a new generation of biological processors.
Although still a long way off, the team suggests that these biological logic gates could one day form the building blocks in microscopic biological computers. Devices may include sensors that swim inside arteries, detecting the build up of harmful plaque and rapidly delivering medications to the affected zone. Other applications may include sensors that detect and destroy cancer cells inside the body and pollution monitors that can be deployed in the environment, detecting and neutralizing dangerous toxins such as arsenic. [via]
Scientists create computing building blocks from bacteria and DNA - [Link]