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MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism

MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism
Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage. QSLs also exhibit a quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, which could lead to new types of communications systems, and more. Generally, when we talk about magnetism’s role in the realm of technology, there are just two types: Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism. In the case of quantum spin liquids, the material is a solid crystal — but the internal magnetic state is constantly in flux. The existence of QSLs has been theorized since 1987, but until now no one has succeeded in actually finding one. Moving forward, Lee says that the discovery of QSLs could lead to advances in data storage (new forms of magnetic storage) and communications (long-range entanglement). Now read: Quantum entangled batteries could be the perfect power source Related:  Better ComputersMisc.

Vanadium oxide microactuators: These are the nanobots you’re looking for Nanotechnology has promised us a fantastic world where miniature factories could build devices atom by atom. While semiconductor technology continues to deliver chips with features of ever greater precision, building nano devices that might fertilize this nanoworld — devices that move — have been a little tougher to come by. A recent report in Nano Letters describes a new kind of microactuator made from vanadium oxide. This material has some pretty incredible properties, and it might be able to fill in some of the gaps left by other microactuator technologies — such as piezoelectrics — that come up short. There was a period before the millennium when collecting beer cans was a legitimate hobby. Many an enterprising youth’s first experiment in chemical physics was freezing a dented can filled with water in an attempt to restore the original shape. Nitinol is a shape-shifting material more familiar to hobbyists that can be actuated at lower voltages.

Single Photon Optics Transmitter Slows the Speed of Light Quantum computers should theoretically be capable of performing certain kinds of complex calculations way faster than normal computers. Quantum-based communication could be impenetrable to eavesdropping. But producing quantum components for real-world devices has turned out to be loaded with discouraging challenges. Now, researchers at MIT and Harvard University have achieved a critical long-term goal of such efforts- the ability to convert a laser beam into a stream of single photons, or particles of light, in a controlled manner. Vladan Vuletić, senior author and MIT Professor of Physics, says the achievement “could enable new quantum devices” for example quantum gates, where a single photon switches the direction of travel or polarization of another photon. Encouraging such interactions necessitates atoms that work together strongly with photons as well as with other atoms that, in turn, can affect other photons. Electromagnetically Induced Transparency References: 1.

Researchers build 'perfect' invisibility cloak Duke University scientists say they've succeeded for the first time in building a truly effective invisibility cloak. When the team first developed a cloaking device back in 2006, one of the biggest problems was the appearance of minor reflections around the edges. These were similar to the reflections seen when looking through a clear piece of glass, and made the cloaking less than perfect. Now, though, they say they've cracked the problem. "In order to create the first cloaks, many approximations had to be made in order to fabricate the intricate meta-materials used in the device," says graduate student Nathan Landy. "One issue, which we were fully aware of, was loss of the waves due to reflections at the boundaries of the device." But he's now been able to reduce the occurrence of reflections by using a different fabrication strategy. "Each quadrant of the cloak tended to have voids, or blind spots, at their intersections and corners with each other. "We built the cloak, and it worked.

Solar Nanopaint - Paint With Quantum Dot Solar Cells Solar cells have been in the mainstream news for quite a while, almost since the initial discovery of the photovoltaic effect by French physicist A. E. Becquerel in 1839 and the subsequent explanation of the photoelectric law for which Albert Einstein received The Nobel Prize in Physics 1921. Credit: by argonne on Flickr The discovery of quantum dots was made in the 1980's by Alexei Ekimov but it is unlikely that the Russian solid state physicist foresaw their full potential when he first encountered the semiconductor nanocrystals while working at Valvilov State Optical Institute in St. But perhaps, the most impressive thing about quantum dot solar cells is that they can be included in a solar nanopaint solution that can be applied to any conductive surface with the use of commonplace materials in order to create ad hoc solar cells. It will be interesting to see which companies are able to bring such quantum dot solar cell coatings to market.

Ultrafast Chips that Run on Light: Nanoswitch Breakthrough Brings Us Closer When you think about microprocessors and chipsets and circuit boards, if you’re like me, you think in metaphors: tiny green-and-silver cities comprising dozens of chips — some with billions of transistors — on copper trace-linked highways, channeling information as digital 1′s and o’s through electrical signals on a microscopic scale. For this, I blame Tron. Now — keeping with the yes-I’m-an-’80s-child Tron metaphor — imagine that “city” instead channeling light. (MORE: Netatmo Home Weather Station Kit Brings Out Your Inner Meteorologist) It’s a research dream, to use bursts of light instead of electricity to move computer information around at unheard of speeds. And we’re now a step closer to that dream, thanks to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, who’ve managed to create the world’s first “all-optical photonic switch” — a switch that’s essentially run on light. How’d the Penn research team create their photonic switch? According to Penn News:

‘Frankenstorm’: Why climate change will not be denied in this election - Guest Voices Waves crash over Winthrop Shore Drive as Hurricane Sandy comes up the coast on Oct. 29, 2012 in Winthrop, Mass. The false controversy created by climate change deniers has stymied government action on environmental issues and is a contributing factor to the deafening silence on climate change in the presidential election debates for “the first time in a generation.” A Halloween week hurricane, dubbed a “Frankenstorm” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has just changed that. Deny it or not, violent, erratic climate events are happening and they are destroying lives and property. Climate Central a Web site devoted to the science and effects of climate change, observes this giant “Frankenstorm” hurricane named “Sandy” is blocked in to land and not being pushed out to sea because of “blocking patterns [which have appeared with greater frequency and intensity in recent years” due to changes in the jet stream. Politicians go where voters demand they go. Pay attention. Rev.

engineers weld nanowires with light | School of Engineering At the nano level, researchers at Stanford have discovered a new way to weld together meshes of tiny wires. Their work could lead to innovative electronics and solar applications. One area of intensive research at the nanoscale is the creation of electrically conductive meshes made of metal nanowires. Promising exceptional electrical throughput, low cost and easy processing, engineers foresee a day when such meshes are common in new generations of touch-screens, video displays, light-emitting diodes and thin-film solar cells. Standing in the way, however, is a major engineering hurdle: In processing, these delicate meshes must be heated or pressed to unite the crisscross pattern of nanowires that form the mesh, damaging them in the process. In a paper just published in the journal Nature Materials, a team of engineers at Stanford has demonstrated a promising new nanowire welding technique that harnesses plasmonics to fuse the wires with a simple blast of light. Self-limiting Transparency

Mystery Particle To Make Devices Even Tinier A strange, newly discovered particle could shrink a laptop computer's hard drive to the size of a peanut and an iPod's drive to the size of a rice grain. The particle, called a skyrmion, is more stable and less power-hungry than its conventional, magnetic cousin. Besides storing data in ultra compact media, skyrmions could lead to faster computers that combine storage with processing power and usher in smaller and smaller devices that have the same computing power as a desktop machine. NEWS: Tiny Robotic Compound Eyes Unveiled Kristen von Bergmann and her colleagues, led by Roland Wiesendanger at the University of Hamburg in Germany, report their findings in today's issue of Science. While the name sounds like an evil creature from a fantasy novel – it comes from Tony Skyrme, a British physicist who first theorized the particle's existence in 1962 -- skyrmions are tiny magnetic fields that surround groups of atoms. Magnetic fields are the basis for data storage.

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