Tech

A major milestone has been achieved in the completion of the UK's next-generation particle accelerator, ALICE, which is set to produce an intense beam of light that will revolutionise the way in which accelerator based light source research facilities will be designed in the future. To mark the occasion, ALICE was visited today, 13 November 2008, by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent as part of his visit to the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus.

Physicists in the USA and at the London Centre for Nanotechnology have found a way to extend the quantum lifetime of electrons by more than 5,000 per cent, as reported in this week's Physical Review Letters. Electrons exhibit a property called 'spin' and work like tiny magnets which can point up, down or a quantum superposition of both. The state of the spin can be used to store information and so by extending their life the research provides a significant step towards building a usable quantum computer.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Researchers have discovered that tiny structures called silicon nanowires might be ideal for manufacturing in future computers and consumer electronics because they form the same way every time.

The researchers use an instrument called a transmission electron microscope to watch how nanowires made of silicon "nucleate," or begin to form, before growing into wires, said Eric Stach, an assistant professor of materials engineering at Purdue University.

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a radical new method of focusing a stream of ions into a point as small as one nanometer (one billionth of a meter).* Because of the versatility of their approach—it can be used with a wide range of ions tailored to the task at hand—it is expected to have broad application in nanotechnology both for carving smaller features on semiconductors than now are possible and for nondestructive imaging of nanoscale structures with finer resolution than currently possible with electron microscopes.

Computers are getting smaller and smaller. And as hand-held devices — from mobile phones and cameras to music players and laptops — get more powerful, the race is on to develop memory formats that can satisfy the ever-growing demand for information storage on tiny formats.

Researchers at The University of Nottingham are now exploring ways of exploiting the unique properties of carbon nanotubes to create a cheap and compact memory cell that uses little power and writes information at high speeds.

A new workshop report from the National Research Council, SUMMIT ON AMERICA'S ENERGY FUTURE: SUMMARY OF A MEETING, recaps an energy summit held earlier this year by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering that brought together representatives of government, higher education, industry, and the nonprofit sector to discuss themes of energy security, energy and the economy, and energy and the environment. Speakers included Sen.

November 6, 2008, Providence, RI---New computer tools have thepotential to revolutionize the practice of mathematics by providingfar more-reliable proofs of mathematical results than have ever beenpossible in the history of humankind. These computer tools, based onthe notion of "formal proof", have in recent years been used toprovide nearly infallible proofs of many important results inmathematics.

COLLEGE PARK, MD, Nov. 6, 2008 -- Some of the tiniest solar cells ever built have been successfully tested as a power source for even tinier microscopic machines. An article in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE), published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP), describes an inch-long array of 20 of these cells -- each one about a quarter the size of a lowercase "o" in a standard 12-point font.

UPTON, NY -- Like astronomers tweaking images to gain a more detailed glimpse of distant stars, physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have found ways to sharpen images of the energy spectra in high-temperature superconductors — materials that carry electrical current effortlessly when cooled below a certain temperature. These new imaging methods confirm that the electron pairs needed to carry current emerge above the transition temperature, before superconductivity sets in, but only in a particular direction.

It sounds like a tale straight from "CSI": The bully invades a home and does away with the victim, then is ultimately found out with the help of DNA evidence.

Except in this instance the bully and the victim are two species of songbirds in northwest North America, and the DNA evidence shows conclusively that one species once occupied the range now dominated by the other.

Troy, N.Y. – No matter which way you look at it, the notion of harvesting energy from the sun to power our homes and businesses is more absorbing than ever.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Of all the conceivable problems that could lead to a miscount Election Day, there's one possibility that voters can do something about – avoid making election machine-related errors, says a University of Maryland researcher who led a comprehensive study of voter problems using touch screen and paper-based machines.

(Boston) ¬- Researchers at Boston University working with collaborators in Germany, France and Korea have developed a nanoscale torsion resonator that measures miniscule amounts of twisting or torque in a metallic nanowire. This device, the size of a speck of dust, might enable measurements of the untwisting of DNA and have applications in spintronics, fundamental physics, chemistry and biology.

Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in The Netherlands have managed to crack the so-called McEliece encryption system. This system is a candidate for the security of Internet traffic in the age of the quantum computer - the predicted superpowerful computer of the future.

LONDON -- Leaders of several African science academies are meeting next week at the Royal Society, the national science academy of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, to discuss how the independent, expert advice of science academies can be applied to policy and development issues in Africa. The gathering is the fourth annual conference of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI), a multiyear effort administered by the U.S. National Academies to strengthen the capacity of African academies to deliver such advice.