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Aug 8, 2020

Coronavirus severely restricts Antarctic science

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, science

Keeping Covid out of Antarctica means little research will be done on the continent in 2020–2021.

Aug 8, 2020

New Quantum Approach for Sharing Secrets Sets a Record With 11 Dimensions

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Wits Researchers have demonstrated a new quantum approach for sharing a secret amongst many parties, setting a new record for the highest dimensions and parties to date.

Researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, have demonstrated a record setting quantum protocol for sharing a secret amongst many parties. The team created an 11-dimensional quantum state and used it to share a secret amongst 10 parties. By using quantum tricks, the secret can only be unlocked if the parties trust one another. The work sets a new record for the dimension of the state (which impacts on how big the secret can be) and the number of parties with whom it is shared and is an important step towards distributing information securely across many nodes in a quantum network.

Laser & Photonics Reviews published online the research by the Wits team led by Professor Andrew Forbes from the School of Physics at Wits University. In their paper titled: Experimental Demonstration of 11-Dimensional 10-Party Quantum Secret Sharing, the Wits team beat all prior records to share a quantum secret.

Aug 8, 2020

Materials science researchers develop first electrically injected laser

Posted by in categories: computing, science

Materials science researchers, led by electrical engineering professor Shui-Qing “Fisher” Yu, have demonstrated the first electrically injected laser made with germanium tin.

Used as a semiconducting material for circuits on , the could improve micro-processing speed and efficiency at much lower costs.

In tests, the laser operated in pulsed conditions up to 100 kelvins, or 279 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

Aug 8, 2020

Doctors experiment with stem cell therapy on COVID-19 patients

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Doctors are hoping stem cell therapy could be a weapon in the fight against coronavirus. On Friday, regenerative medicine company Mesoblast announced a 300-person trial to determine whether stem cell treatments will work in COVID-19 patients suffering from severe lung inflammation.

One hospital in New York tried it as an experiment with 12 patients, 10 of whom were able to come off of ventilators.

“What we saw in the very first patient was that within four hours of getting the cells, a lot of her parameters started to get better,” Dr. Karen Osman, who led the team at Mount Sinai, told CBS News’ Adriana Diaz.

Aug 8, 2020

Mysterious ‘fast radio burst’ detected closer to Earth than ever before

Posted by in category: space

Most FRBs originate hundreds of millions of light-years away. This one came from inside the Milky Way.

Aug 8, 2020

Hacker posts confidential Intel specs online

Posted by in category: security

Intel suffered a massive breach Thursday as 20 GB of internal documents were published online.

The confidential documents contain data on the internal designs of chipsets dating back to 2016.

The data were sent by an anonymous source to a Swiss software engineer, Till Kottmann, who specializes in uploading hacked documents. He does so, he has said, to encourage companies to exercise more caution concerning security and “to better find and assess potential issues.” But he admits he is also motivated to release unauthorized documents obtained from hackers “to free information” for all to see.

Aug 8, 2020

New reconfigurable circuits for a wide range of applications

Posted by in categories: computing, electronics

Electronic components that can process information with high levels of efficiency are crucial for the development of most contemporary devices and computational tools. Reconfigurable electronics, flexible systems that can change configurations to best utilize available hardware resources, are a possible solution for enhancing processing efficiency.

Researchers at Nanjing University and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan have recently designed new reconfigurable circuits with advanced shape-morphing and information processing capabilities. These logic and neuromorphic circuits, presented in a paper published in Nature Electronics, were fabricated using 2-D tungsten diselenide, an commonly used in the development of electronics.

“Current mainstream reconfigurable circuits (such as the field programmable gate array, FPGA) are based on traditional silicon circuits, using P-type or N-type field effect transistors with ‘fixed’ electrical characteristics,” Feng Miao, the researcher who led the study, told TechXplore. “For example, PN junction is always reverse-biased, and varying the drain polarity does not add new switching functionalities. Thus, these reconfigurable circuits need to use a lot of transistor resources to build complex circuit structures and eventually realize reconfigurable computing capabilities at the circuit level.”

Aug 8, 2020

30-year-old file format behind MacOS hack

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, privacy

A security expert revealed this week that an exploit commonly used against Windows users who own Microsoft Office can sneak into MacOS systems as well.

A former NSA security specialist who addressed the Black Hat security conference this week summarized his research into the new use for a very old exploit.

Patrick Wardle explained that the exploit capitalizes on the use of macros in Microsoft Office. Hackers have long used the approach to trick users into granting permission to activate the macros, which in turn surreptitiously launch .

Aug 8, 2020

Tiniest secrets of integrated circuits revealed with new imaging technique

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

The life-givers of integrated circuits and quantum devices in silicon are small structures made from patches of foreign atoms called dopants. The dopant structures provide charge carriers that flow through the components of the circuit, giving the components their ability to function. These days the dopant structures are only a few atoms across and so need to be made in precise locations within a circuit and have very well-defined electrical properties. At present manufacturers find it hard to tell in a non-destructive way whether they have made their devices according to these strict requirements. A new imaging paradigm promises to change all that.

The imaging mode called broadband electric force microscopy, developed by Dr. Georg Gramse at Keysight technologies & JKU uses a very sharp probe that sends into a silicon chip, to image and localize structures underneath the surface. Dr. Gramse says that because the microscope can use waves with many frequencies it can provide a wealth of previously inaccessible detail about the electrical environment around the dopant structures. The extra information is crucial to predicting how well the devices will ultimately perform.

The imaging approach was tested on two tiny dopant structures made with a templating process which is unique in achieving atomically sharp interfaces between differently doped regions. Dr. Tomas Skeren at IBM produced the world’s first electronic diode (a circuit component which passes current in only one direction) fabricated with this templating process, while Dr. Alex Kölker at UCL created a multilevel 3D with atomic scale precision.

Aug 8, 2020

Programmable synthetic materials

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing

Artificial molecules could one day form the information unit of a new type of computer or be the basis for programmable substances. The information would be encoded in the spatial arrangement of the individual atoms—similar to how the sequence of base pairs determines the information content of DNA, or sequences of zeros and ones form the memory of computers.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have taken a step towards this vision. They showed that atom probe tomography can be used to read a complex spatial arrangement of ions in multivariate metal-organic frameworks.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline porous networks of multi-metal nodes linked together by organic units to form a well-defined structure. To encode information using a sequence of metals, it is essential to be first able to read the metal arrangement. However, reading the arrangement was extremely challenging. Recently, the interest in characterizing metal sequences is growing because of the extensive information such multivariate structures would be able to offer.