Thursday, February 26, 2004

"CHIPS: Spin-valves open organic chip era"
A research technique for making organic spin-valve electronics could herald the coming of nonvolatile semiconductors melded with optical emitters, transducers and sensors. By using the spin of electrons, organic spin valves not only offer nonvolatile storage, but also enable emitters and sensors to share a chip with a processor, rather than requiring separate inorganic silicon or gallium arsenide chips for transducers. The proof-of-concept spin valve could enable "organic semiconductors that can not only store and process information, but can also emit light and detect radiation, air pollutants and magnetic fields," said Jing Shi, associate professor of physics at the University of Utah. He performed the work with Utah physics professor Valy Vardeny and postdoctoral researchers Zuhong Xiong and Di Wu. Conventional spin valves are made from superthin alternating layers of conducting metal and nonconducting insulators, rather than semiconductors, making them difficult to integrate onto conventional silicon or GaAs. However, by integrating so-called spintronics-based devices into organic semiconductors, Shi and Vardeny foresee an era of organic chips that put memory, processing, emitters and sensors on the same device.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"US-Erfindung r�ckt Optocomputer in Reichweite"
Forscher der Cornell University haben Komponenten f�r Silizium-Optocomputer entwickelt, die mit Licht arbeiten anstatt mit Elektronen. "Photonen-Mikrochips werden damit Realit�t," k�ndigt Assistenzprofessorin Michal Lipson an. Mit dieser Bekanntgabe anl�sslich der Konferenz der 'American Association for the Advancement of Science' (AAAS) in Seattle �ffnet sich nach Auffassung der Forscher die T�r zu praktikablen Opto-Mikrochips. Lipson und ihre Mitarbeiter ersetzten die Leiterbahnen auf einem Chip mit Lichtstrahlen, die durch die Luft verlaufen oder in Silizium-Lichtleitern gef�hrt werden. Die Verbindung vom Chip zur Umwelt erfolgt �ber winzige Linsen und Glasfasern. "Wir haben Nano-Fertigungstechnologien verwendet, um die Siliziumkomponenten f�r Opto-Router und Repeater zu erzeugen. Damit ist der optische Computer in greifbarer N�he ger�ckt," kommentierte Lipson. "Mit unserer Technologie ist die Verwendung von Glasfasern im Heimbereich durchaus m�glich."
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Monday, February 23, 2004

"OPTICAL: computer components tap slot waveguides"
Cornell University says it has fabricated the components necessary for silicon optical computers that use light instead of electrons. "Photonic microchips are now a reality," said assistant professor Michal Lipson. The announcement last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle opens the door to practical optical microchips, she said. Lipson and her associates replaced wires with beams of light routed on-chip, through the air, by silicon waveguides and routed off-chip by a "pinhole" lens connecting to normal optical fibers.
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Friday, February 20, 2004

"Des produits dot�s de mat�riaux optiques � 5 t�rabits de moins d'un volt, disponibles dans deux ans"
Des mat�riaux optiques nanoscopiques organiques sont pour la premi�re fois descendus en-dessous de la barre de 1 volt avec des vitesses cinq fois sup�rieures et d'autres caract�ristiques de performances � la pointe de la technologie, ont indiqu� des chercheurs lors de la conf�rence de l'American Association for the Advancement of Science � Seattle. Une vitesse cinq fois sup�rieure se traduit par des d�bits de 5 t�rabits/s ou de 625 gigaoctets, selon les chercheurs, qui ajoutent qu'ils ont par ailleurs pu obtenir une consommation �nerg�tique 10 fois inf�rieure et une diminution par dix des co�ts de fabrication par rapport aux mat�riaux standard r�alis�s sur des cristaux de niobate de lithium. � Nous savions que nous avions abouti � quelque chose il y a quelques ann�es lorsque nos mat�riaux �taient deux fois plus rapides � une tension deux fois inf�rieure � la tension normale, mais nous voulions attendre d'�tre en mesure de passer de la phase de la recherche � celle de la commercialisation �, explique Alvin Kwiram, professeur de chimie et directeur g�n�ral du Science & Technology Center on Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research � l'Universit� de Washington.
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Thursday, February 19, 2004

"MEMS-Sensor entdeckt Viruspartikel in Echtzeit"
Mit einem MEMS-basierenden Sensor wurde vor kurzem zum ersten Mal ein einzelnes Viruspartikel entdeckt. Der kleine Ausleger des MEMS (micro electromechanical system) mit den Abmessungen von 1 x 4 Mikron und einer 'Dicke' von nur 20 nm vibriert mit einer bestimmten Frequenz, bis ein Viruspartikel auf ihm 'landet' und damit seine Resonanzfrequenz ver�ndert. Ein Viruspartikel des Vaccinia-a Virus, der die Basis des Pockenimpfstoffes ist, wiegt zum Beispiel nur neun Femtogramm (9x10E-15 Gramm). "Unsere erste Aufgabe war es nachzuweisen, dass ein derart kleiner und empfindlicher Ausleger herstellbar ist und seine Resonanzfrequenz sich bereits durch ein Viruspartikel ver�ndert," erl�utert Rashid Bashir, ein Associate Professor f�r Elektro-, Computer- und biomedizinische Technik am Birck Nanotechnology Center der Purdue University in West Lafayette.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

"CHIPS: IBM claims SiGe speed records"
IBM Corp. is claiming its silicon-germainum chip technology earns top honors in both bits-per-second and clock-frequency metrics. The announcement is expected Tuesday (Feb.17) at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. Silicon bests indium phosphide, according to IBM, and its proof is an experimental multiplexor communicating at speeds of up to 132 Gbits/s. The company will also report on a 60-GHz silicon-germanium transceiver for wireless networks.
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Monday, February 16, 2004

"MEMS: sensor detects single virus particle in real-time"
Detection of a single virus particle was recently demonstrated for the first time in a sensor based on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The tiny cantilever, measuring just 1 x 4 microns x 20 nanometers thick, vibrates at a fixed frequency until a virus particle lands on it, which changes its resonance enough to be detected. A single particle of vaccinia-a virus that forms the basis for the smallpox vaccine-weighs only 9 femtograms, or quadrillionths of a gram.
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"OPTICAL: photonic computer components unveiled"
Photonic microchips were enabled Sunday (Feb. 15) by Cornell University's announcement at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle, of having fabricated all the components for silicon optical computers that use light instead of electrons. Wires were replaced by beams of light routed on-chip through air by silicon waveguides controlled by electro-optical switches, and off-chip by a "pin hole" lens connecting to normal optical fibers
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Thursday, February 12, 2004

"ROBOT: fliers promise bird's-eye view for surveillance"
If you'd watched the fumbling attempts to re-create the first airplane during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of human flight last year, you might have thought little progress had been made between 1903 and 2003. But if you had watched the real birds flocking around the robotic birds being flown over the University of Delaware recently, you'd think otherwise. The "birds" built by mechanical-engineering professor Sunil Agrawal and his team at Delaware advance the capabilities of unmanned aircraft, which until now have been fixed-wing designs.
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Monday, February 09, 2004

"NANOTECH: composite nanotubes grown at room temperatuure"
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel) have demonstrated composite nanotubes of gold, silver, palladium and copper that were created at room temperature-a claimed first-in a three-step process. The composite structures support the scientists' claim that their process enables application-specific formulations exhibiting electrical and optical properties tuned for use in sensors, catalysts and chemistry-on-a-chip devices.
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"SENSOR: Prof claims 5� device can sniff out ricin"
As government workers closed three Senate office buildings last week after intercepting a letter containing the deadly poison ricin, researchers at Pennsylvania State University said they have developed a cheap, wireless, ready-to-go sensor able to detect ricin and as many as nine other toxins simultaneously.
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Thursday, February 05, 2004

"NEURAL: software could become soldier's best friend"
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are using neural-network technology to create software that automatically offers individual real-time advice to soldiers and other government teams in the field. Akin to the promptings that newscasters get from their producers via earplugs during a broadcast, mentoring (as the technique is called) has already proved valuable to military teams in achieving mission goals. But instead of a human mentor, the Sandia group is looking to devise a software mentor that could offer advice like "take a deep breath and relax your upper body" or "pay attention to what Private Smith is about to say, his excitement level indicates it could be important." The researchers recently used a neural network to learn the signatures of abstract desirable traits like "leadership," as well as warning signs such as "nervous," "afraid" or "daydreaming," by analyzing the pulse, respiration, perspiration, facial expressions, head movements and other biometric data streams coming from sensors attached to group members. Goals could be achieved in a stressful virtual environment only if the group cooperated effectively. By perfecting their approach in virtual reality, the scientists hope to someday enable automatic advice and counsel from a virtual mentor.
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