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15 Sep 2014


By Colin Jeffrey @ gizmag.com:

Scientists working at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) claim to have created a molecule-sized electronic component just a few nanometers long that conducts electricity in only the one direction. In essence, a rectifier diode, but one so small that it may one day help replace much bulkier diodes and other semiconductors found on today’s integrated circuits to produce incredibly compact, super-fast electronic devices.

Created using two unconventional types of carbon – Buckminsterfullerene (aka buckyballs, spherical molecules of carbon in a fused-ring structure) and diamondoids (microminiature nanoscale carbon cage molecules that are incredibly strong) – the resultant “buckydiamondoids” exhibit asymmetric conductance when an electric current is applied. That is, they act just like diodes in conducting electricity in one direction, but block it if it is applied from the other direction.

Buckyballs and diamondoids combined to create molecule-sized diode - [Link]

14 Sep 2014


Researchers say they have captured the sound of a single moving atom.

Researchers at Columbia University and Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology say that they have, for the first time, “captured” the sound a single atom makes when it moves around—a single “phonon,” as it were. It’s an achievement that could eventually be used as the basic science for new quantum computing devices.

Like everyone is taught in elementary school, anytime something moves or vibrates, it makes a sound. Scientists now know for sure that that principle extends down to the lowly atom.

“The sound amplitude, or strength, is very weak,” said Göran Johansson, a co-author of the paper published today in Science. “Basically, when you excite the atom, it creates a sound, one phonon at a time, according to theory. It’s the weakest possible sound possible at the frequency [that it vibrates].”

Scientists Have Captured the Sound One Atom Makes - [Link]

11 Sep 2014


Samsung funds Penn State to perfect the 3-D FinFET using III-V materials, which Samsung plans to use at the 5 nanometer node: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog

Samsung Finding U.S. Lab to Advance its 3-D FinFET to 5nm - [Link]

2 Sep 2014


By Richard Moss @ gizmag.com

Researchers at Rice University’s Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) have developed a new image sensor that mimics the way we see color by integrating light amplifiers and color filters directly onto the pixels. The new design enables smaller, less complex, and more organic designs for CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors and other photodetectors used in cameras.

Conventional image sensors work by first converting light into electrical signals, then combining that information with the red, green, and blue color data determined by separate filters (or, especially in low-end cameras, a single filter array that uses a mosaic pattern to interpret colors). But this approach adds bulk to the sensor, and the filters gradually degrade under exposure to sunlight.

Nature inspires color-sensitive, CMOS-compatible photodetector - [Link]

28 Aug 2014


By Colin Jeffrey:

Stanford University researchers claim to have created the first stable pure lithium anode in a working battery by using carbon nanospheres as a protective sheath to guard against degradation. As a result, the researchers predict that commercial developments may eventually result in anything up to a tripling of battery life in the not-too-distant future.

At a basic level, a battery is composed of three main elements: the anode (the positive terminal), the cathode (the negative terminal), and the electrolyte (a solid or liquid chemical that stores electrical energy) which fills the battery between these two terminals. In ordinary Lithium-ion batteries, it is an all too common problem that the lithium in the battery can crystallize into dendrites – microscopic fibers that expand into the electrolyte, and can eventually short-circuit the battery, significantly reduce battery life or, worse, causing the battery to catch fire.

Stable lithium anode may triple battery efficiency - [Link]

28 Jul 2014


By Ben Coxworth @ gizmag.com:

Efficient as fiber optic cables are at transmitting data in the form of light pulses, they do need to be physically supported, and they can only handle a finite amount of power. Still, what’s the alternative … just send those focused pulses through the air? Actually, that’s just what scientists at the University of Maryland have already demonstrated in their lab.

In a traditional optical fiber, light travels along a transparent glass core. That core is surrounded by a cladding material with a lower refractive index than the glass. As a result, when the light tries to spread out (as it would if it were traveling through the air), the cladding reflects it back into the core, thus retaining its focus and intensity.

“Air waveguides” used to send optical data through the air - [Link]

24 Jul 2014


By Ben Coxworth @ gizmag.com:

For people who don’t already know, here’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes: the body produces little or no insulin in the case of type 1, and isn’t able to utilize the insulin that it does produce in type 2. It’s a significant difference, so it’s important that patients are diagnosed correctly. Thanks to a new microchip developed by a team at Stanford University led by Dr. Brian Feldman, doing so could soon be quicker, cheaper and easier than ever before.

New microchip promises to streamline and simplify diabetes diagnoses - [Link]

22 Jul 2014


By Dario Borghino @ gizmag.com:

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have created a new high-temperature superconductor capable of trapping a magnetic field of 17.6 Tesla, improving on a record set over a decade ago. The advance is yet another step toward making superconductors viable for building effective large-scale smart electricity grids, maglev trains and flywheel energy storage.

New record brings superconductors closer to the mainstream - [Link]

9 Jul 2014


By Darren Quick @ gizmag.com:

Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand.

Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance - [Link]

5 Jul 2014


by Nancy Owano @ phys.org:

Thumb-size vacuum tubes that amplified signals in radio and television sets in the first half of the 20th century might seem nothing like the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) that dazzle us with their capabilities in today’s digital electronics, say two scientists, but it might be time for fresh thinking about vacuum tubes and even some mashing-up for surprising results. Jin-Woo Han, research scientist, and Meyya Meyyappan, chief scientist for exploration technology, at NASA Ames Research Center in California, wrote an article that appeared in IEEE Spectrum on Monday, which details their explorations of a vacuum channel transistor. Their article indicates “vacuum channel transistor” is a phrase to watch in the context of what’s next in transistor technology. The what’s-next conversation is certainly one that continues.

Scientists explore mash-up of vacuum tube and MOSFET - [Link]





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