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]
IBM Research – Almaden physicist Andreas Heinrich explains the industry-wide need to examine the future of storage at the atomic scale and how he and his teammates started with 1 atom and a scanning tunneling microscope and eventually succeeded in storing one bit of magnetic information reliably in 12 atoms.
IBM researchers store one bit of magnetic information in just 12 atoms - [Link]
Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed a new and significantly cheaper method of manufacturing fuel cells. A noble metal nanoparticle catalyst for fuel cells is prepared using atomic layer deposition (ALD). This ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells requires 60 per cent less of the costly catalyst than current methods.
Fuel cells could replace polluting combustion engines that are presently in use. However, in a fuel cell, chemical processes must be sped up by using a catalyst. The high price of catalysts is one of the biggest hurdles to the wide adoption of fuel cells at the moment.
The most commonly used fuel cells cover anode with expensive noble metal powder which reacts well with the fuel. By using the Aalto University researchers’ ALD method, this cover can be much thinner and more even than before which lowers costs and increases quality. [via]
Reducing the production costs of fuel cells - [Link]
By using optical equipment in a totally unexpected way, MIT researchers have created an imaging system that makes light look slow.
MIT researchers have created a new imaging system that can acquire visual data at a rate of one trillion exposures per second. That’s fast enough to produce a slow-motion video of a burst of light traveling the length of a one-liter bottle, bouncing off the cap and reflecting back to the bottle’s bottom.
Media Lab postdoc Andreas Velten, one of the system’s developers, calls it the “ultimate” in slow motion: “There’s nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera,” he says.
Trillion-frame-per-second video - [Link]
[1112.5154] Observation of a new chi_b state in radiative transitions to Upsilon(1S) and Upsilon(2S) at ATLAS – [via]
The chi_b(nP) quarkonium states are produced in proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV and recorded by the ATLAS detector. Using a data sample corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 4.4 fb^-1, these states are reconstructed through their radiative decays to Upsilon(1S,2S) with Upsilon->mu+mu-. In addition to the mass peaks corresponding to the decay modes chi_b(1P,2P)->Upsilon(1S)gamma, a new structure centered at a mass of 10.539+/-0.004 (stat.)+/-0.008 (syst.) GeV is also observed, in both the Upsilon(1S)gamma and Upsilon(2S)gamma decay modes. This is interpreted as the chi_b(3P) system.
New particle indentified at LHC – The Chi-b 3P boson - [Link]
Scientists at Chalmers, Sweden, have succeeded in creating light from vacuum – observing an effect first predicted over 40 years ago. The results have been published in the journal Nature. In an innovative experiment, the scientists have managed to capture some of the photons that are constantly appearing and disappearing in the vacuum.
The experiment is based on one of the most counterintuitive, yet, one of the most important principles in quantum mechanics: that vacuum is by no means empty nothingness. In fact, the vacuum is full of various particles that are continuously fluctuating in and out of existence. They appear, exist for a brief moment and then disappear again. Since their existence is so fleeting, they are usually referred to as virtual particles.
Chalmers scientist Christopher Wilson and his co-workers have succeeded in getting photons to leave their virtual state and become real photons, i.e. measurable light. The physicist Moore predicted way back in 1970 that this should happen if the virtual photons are allowed to bounce off a mirror that is moving at a speed that is almost as high as the speed of light. The phenomenon, known as the dynamical Casimir effect, has now been observed for the first time in a brilliant experiment conducted by the Chalmers scientists. [via]
Light created from vacuum - [Link]
From the Cambridge Digital Library – [via]
Cambridge University Library holds the largest and most important collection of the scientific works of Isaac Newton (1642-1727). We present here an initial selection of Newton’s manuscripts, concentrating on his mathematical work in the 1660s. Over the next few months we will be adding further works until the majority of our Newton Papers are available on this site.
Newton was closely associated with Cambridge. He came to the University as a student in 1661, graduating in 1665, and from 1669 to 1701 he held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics. Under the regulations for this Chair, Newton was required to deposit copies of his lectures in the University Library. These, and some correspondence relating to the University, were assigned the classmarks Dd.4.18, Dd.9.46, Dd.9.67, Dd.9.68, and Mm.6.50.
Cambridge to put Isaac Newton Collection Online - [Link]
The honor of having your own Google Doodle is bestowed upon only a few very special individuals like Gregor Mendel, Alexander Calder and Lucille Ball. Today’s entrant celebrates the 82nd birthday of the late Robert “Bob” Noyce, co-inventor of the microchip. After co-founding Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, he mentored younger engineers to earn the nickname “the Mayor of Silicon Valley.” Surf on over to the Google homepage and you’ll see its logo imprinted over a microprocessor, which Bob helped to birth.
Google doodle celebrates Robert Noyce; Intel co-founder and ‘Mayor of Silicon Valley’ - [Link]
Nanostructure, fluorinated silica coating repels water and oil effectively – [via]
Eyeglasses need never again to be cleaned, and dirty windscreens are a thing of the past! Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz and the Technical University Darmstadt are now much closer to achieving this goal. They have used candle soot to produce a transparent superamphiphobic coating made of glass. Oil and water both roll off this coating, leaving absolutely nothing behind. Something that even held true when the researchers damaged the layer with sandblasting. The material owes this property to its nanostructure. Surfaces sealed in this way could find use anywhere where contamination or even a film of water is either harmful or just simply a nuisance.
A transparent coating that’s very good at repelling water and oil, as is now being presented by the Mainz-based researchers, could not only keep water and dirt away from the lenses in glasses and car windscreens, but also, for example, from the glass facades of skyscrapers. It could also prevent residues of blood or contaminated liquids on medical equipment.
Never wipe your glasses again - [Link]