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New method to understand superconductors

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Dec. 12, 2012 — Researchers at The Open University have devised a new method to understand the processes that happen when atoms cool which could lead to new materials for superconducting power grids and widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

In a paper, "Bilayers of Rydberg atoms as a quantum simulator for unconventional superconductors" just published in Physical Review Letters, Dr Jim Hague and Dr Calum McCormick at The Open University's Department of Physical Sciences describe a new method to understand the cooling of atoms, which is to simulate a superconductor using a "quantum simulator" (a kind of bespoke quantum computer for examining specific problems) rather than a supercomputer.

The researchers...

Tiny compound semiconductor transistor could challenge silicon's dominance

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A cross-section transmission electron micrograph of the fabricated transistor. The central inverted V is the gate. The two molybdenum contacts on either side are the source and drain of the transistor. The channel is the indium gallium arsenide light color layer under the source, drain and gate. (Credit: Jesús del Alamo, Jianqian Lin and Dimitri Antoniadis)

Dec. 10, 2012 — Silicon's crown is under threat: The semiconductor's days as the king of microchips for...

Photonics: Graphene's flexible future

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Plots showing that surface plasmons are more confined when propagating along on a monolayer of graphene (G) than they are along a thin film of gold (Au). (Credit: © 2012 A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing)

Dec. 10, 2012 — Theoretical calculations show graphene's potential for controlling nanoscale light propagation on a chip.

Semiconductors have revolutionized computing because of their efficient control over the flow of electrical currents...

New '4-D' transistor is preview of future computers

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TechAndComputer (Dec. 5, 2012) — A new type of transistor shaped like a Christmas tree has arrived just in time for the holidays, but the prototype won't be nestled under the tree along with the other gifts.

"It's a preview of things to come in the semiconductor industry," said Peide "Peter" Ye, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University.

Researchers from Purdue and Harvard universities created the transistor, which is made from a material that...

These mini-bots were made for walking: Cells power biological machines

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Miniature “bio-bots” developed at the University of Illinois are made of hydrogel and heart cells, but can walk on their own. (Credit: Elise A. Corbin)

TechAndComputer (Nov. 15, 2012) — They're soft, biocompatible, about 7 millimeters long -- and, incredibly, able to walk by themselves. Miniature "bio-bots" developed at the University of Illinois are making tracks in synthetic biology.

Designing non-electronic biological machines has been a...