Tech

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.

UC San Diego computer scientists have built a software program that can perform key duplication without having the key. Instead, the computer scientists only need a photograph of the key.

A novel technique* under development at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) uses a relatively inexpensive optical microscope to quickly and cheaply analyze nanoscale dimensions with nanoscale measurement sensitivity. Termed “Through-focus Scanning Optical Microscope” (TSOM) imaging, the technique has potential applications in nanomanufacturing, semiconductor process control and biotechnology.