Archive for the ‘nanotechnology’ category

Jul 5, 2017

New 3D chip combines computing and data storage

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

As embedded intelligence is finding its way into ever more areas of our lives, fields ranging from autonomous driving to personalized medicine are generating huge amounts of data. But just as the flood of data is reaching massive proportions, the ability of computer chips to process it into useful information is stalling.

Now, researchers at Stanford University and MIT have built a new chip to overcome this hurdle. The results are published today in the journal Nature, by lead author Max Shulaker, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. Shulaker began the work as a PhD student alongside H.-S. Philip Wong and his advisor Subhasish Mitra, professors of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford. The team also included professors Roger Howe and Krishna Saraswat, also from Stanford.

Computers today comprise different chips cobbled together. There is a chip for computing and a separate chip for data storage, and the connections between the two are limited. As applications analyze increasingly massive volumes of data, the limited rate at which data can be moved between different chips is creating a critical communication “bottleneck.” And with limited real estate on the chip, there is not enough room to place them side-by-side, even as they have been miniaturized (a phenomenon known as Moore’s Law).

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Jul 5, 2017

Building Circuits Without Touching Them: Watch Carbon Nanotubes Self-Assemble

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Through Teslaphoresis, nanotubes can be directed to assemble themselves into wires within this force field, making it possible to build circuits without physical contact.

Scientists from Rice University found a way to conduct electricity without making physical contact between the circuit and the energy source. Using a Tesla coil’s antenna to project a gradient high-voltage forcefield into air, they were able to polarize carbon nanotubes within this Teslaphoretic (TEP) field, which then spring out like webs to assemble themselves into wires.

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Jul 5, 2017

Carbon nanotube reinforce Composites can reduce space vehicle mass

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, space, transportation

NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) is keenly interested in nanotechnology – an approach that can reduce the mass and improve the performance of aerospace systems. NASA computer modeling analysis has shown that composites using carbon nanotube reinforcements could lead to a 30 percent reduction in the total mass of a launch vehicle.

“No single technology would have that much of an impact to reduce the mass of a launch vehicle by that much,” explains Michael Meador, Program Element Manager for Lightweight Materials and Manufacturing at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tensile properties of a carbon nanotube fiber-based composite tank were tested in a May 16 test flight.

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Jul 3, 2017

Would human enhancement create Supermen or super tyrants?

Posted by in categories: computing, ethics, nanotechnology, neuroscience, transhumanism

The prospect of attaining superior intelligence or physical attributes may be tempting or appear liberating, but cybernetic enhancement could, theoretically, also be used as a means of control. Whoever manufactures the technologies that augment humans would be in a very powerful position and wield an immense degree of control over their human customers (or subjects). Moreover, cybernetically enhanced humans could see their microchips hacked, have their sensations detected by unwanted parties and stored in a database, or be at risk of receiving unsolicited or unpleasant impulses. Might we evolve from homo sapiens to homo servus?

The dream that we may one day transcend our physical and intellectual barriers through advancements in cybernetics and nanotechnology could became a reality during this century. But would this be a blessing or a curse?

As science expands its frontiers and technology continues to evolve, ideas once deemed fanciful or considered part of science fiction find themselves within the realm of possibility. New discoveries may give rise to unique potential and perils, as the field of ethics struggles to keep pace with the latest technological advancements. The dream that one day we humans may eclipse our physical and mental fetters through augmentation by cybernetics or nanotechnology could become a reality. Although transhumanism and posthumanism are considered modern concepts, the idea of improving or transcending the human condition has been explored in philosophy and literature since at least the mid-19th century.

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Jun 30, 2017

IBM has made Carbon nanotubes transistors smaller and faster than silicon

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, particle physics

IBM scientists have made carbon nanotube transistors smaller and faster silicon transistors. Carbon nanotube transistors have long had the potential to be better than silicon, but this is the first time when that promise has been realized. Now IBM and others will have to scale up superior carbon nanotube devices.

IBM scientists have been experimenting with carbon nanotubes, rolled-up sheets of carbon atoms just 1 nanometer, or a billionth of a meter, in diameter. But difficulties working with the material have meant that, for optimal performance, nanotube transistors have to be even larger than current silicon transistors, which are about 100 nanometers across. To cut that number down, a team of scientists used a new technique to build the contacts that draw current into and out of the carbon nanotube transistor. They constructed the contacts out of molybdenum, which can bond directly to the ends of the nanotubes, making them smaller. They also added cobalt so the bonding could take place at a lower temperature, allowing them to shrink the gap between the contacts. Another advance allowed for practical transistors. Carrying enough electrical current from one contact to another requires several nanotube “wires.

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Jun 23, 2017

Magnetic nanoknots evoke Lord Kelvin’s vortex theory of atoms

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, mathematics, nanotechnology

(—In the late 1800s when scientists were still trying to figure out what exactly atoms are, one of the leading theories, proposed by Lord Kelvin, was that atoms are knots of swirling vortices in the aether. Although this idea turned out to be completely wrong, it ushered in modern knot theory, which today is used in various areas of science such as fluid dynamics, the structure of DNA, and the concept of chirality.

Now in a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, mathematical physicist Paul Sutcliffe at Durham University in the UK has theoretically shown that nanoparticles called magnetic skyrmions can be tied into various types of knots with different magnetic properties. He explains that, in a sense, these nanoknots represent a “nanoscale resurrection of Kelvin’s dream of knotted fields.”

Skyrmions are the name of a general class of particles that are made by twisting a field. When this field is a magnetic field, the skyrmions are called magnetic skyrmions. Magnetic skyrmions have attracted a lot of attention recently due to their potential applications in spintronics, where electron spins (which are related to the electron’s magnetic properties) are exploited in the design of transistors, storage media, and related devices.

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Jun 22, 2017

Scientists Demonstrate “Liquid Light” at Room Temperature for the First Time

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, quantum physics

Researchers from Italy and Canada have made liquid light at room temperatures for the first time. The work paves the way for studying quantum hydrodynamics further and for future applications of this new type of matter in electronics devices.

Thanks to technological advances, scientists now have various ways of manipulating matter. Often times, these result in discovering new types of matter that posses unique properties — like the famous metallic hydrogen and the bizarre time crystal. The discovery of such materials leads to a wide range of potential applications in electronics. One of these is the so-called “liquid light,” a strange matter which researchers from the CNR NANOTECH Institute of Nanotechnology in Italy and the Polytechnique Montréal in Canada recently formed at room temperature for the first time.

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Jun 20, 2017

The Elite Want to Transfer Consciousness Into a New Body and Live Forever

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension, nanotechnology, neuroscience, Ray Kurzweil, transhumanism

A conspiracy theory article that I think is spreading semi-fake news (but it’s interesting to see how some people react to #transhumanism):

While the title of this article may sound like it belongs on a strange and dark science fiction movie, it doesn’t. Unfortunately, it seems that as the technological world continues to advance, the more the old adage ‘the truth is stranger than fiction’ becomes true.

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Jun 9, 2017

Nanotechnology reveals hidden depths of bacterial ‘machines’

Posted by in categories: energy, nanotechnology, sustainability

New research from the University of Liverpool, published in the journal Nanoscale, has probed the structure and material properties of protein machines in bacteria, which have the capacity to convert carbon dioxide into sugar through photosynthesis.

Cyanobacteria are a phylum of bacteria that produce oxygen and energy during photosynthesis, similar to green plants. They are among the most abundant organisms in oceans and fresh water. Unique internal ‘machines’ in cyanobacteria, called carboxysomes, allow the organisms to convert to sugar and provide impacts on global biomass production and our environment.

Carboxysomes are nanoscale polyhedral structures that are made of several types of proteins and enzymes. So far, little is known about how these ‘machines’ are constructed and maintain their organisation to perform carbon fixation activity.

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Jun 7, 2017

Research alliance builds new transistor for 5nm technology

Posted by in categories: computing, engineering, internet, mobile phones, nanotechnology, neuroscience

IBM, its Research Alliance partners Globalfoundries and Samsung, and equipment suppliers have developed an industry-first process to build silicon nanosheet transistors that will enable 5 nanometer (nm) chips. The details of the process will be presented at the 2017 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits conference in Kyoto, Japan. In less than two years since developing a 7nm test node chip with 20 billion transistors, scientists have paved the way for 30 billion switches on a fingernail-sized chip.

The resulting increase in performance will help accelerate cognitive computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other data-intensive applications delivered in the cloud. The power savings could also mean that the batteries in smartphones and other mobile products could last two to three times longer than today’s devices, before needing to be charged.

Scientists working as part of the IBM-led Research Alliance at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s NanoTech Complex in Albany, NY achieved the breakthrough by using stacks of silicon nanosheets as the device structure of the transistor, instead of the standard FinFET architecture, which is the blueprint for the semiconductor industry up through 7nm node technology.

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