Worlds Smallest LED is a Single Molecule
By coaxing light out of a single polymer molecule, researchers have made the world’s tiniest light-emitting diode.
This work is part of an interdisciplinary effort to make molecular scale electronic devices, which hold the potential for creating smaller but more powerful and energy-efficient computers. Guillaume Schull and his colleagues at the University of Strasbourg in France made the device with the conducting polymer polythiophene. They used a scanning tunneling microscope tip to locate and grab a single polythiophene molecule lying on a gold substrate. Then they pulled up the tip to suspend the molecule like a wire between the tip and the substrate.
The researchers report in the journalPhysical Review Letters that when they applied a voltage across the molecule, they were able to measure a nanoampere-scale current passing through it and to record light emitted from it.
(via First Single-Molecule LED - IEEE Spectrum)

Worlds Smallest LED is a Single Molecule

By coaxing light out of a single polymer molecule, researchers have made the world’s tiniest light-emitting diode.

This work is part of an interdisciplinary effort to make molecular scale electronic devices, which hold the potential for creating smaller but more powerful and energy-efficient computers. Guillaume Schull and his colleagues at the University of Strasbourg in France made the device with the conducting polymer polythiophene. They used a scanning tunneling microscope tip to locate and grab a single polythiophene molecule lying on a gold substrate. Then they pulled up the tip to suspend the molecule like a wire between the tip and the substrate.

The researchers report in the journalPhysical Review Letters that when they applied a voltage across the molecule, they were able to measure a nanoampere-scale current passing through it and to record light emitted from it.

(via First Single-Molecule LED - IEEE Spectrum)

(via joshbyard)

A Boy And His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie

Scientists are known for loving their work. Biologists tend to their cultures and animals. Physicists polish their exquisite machines like sports car entusiasts treat vintage Ferraris. So do chemists love atoms? Apparently they do. At least enough to write a love story with, and about them.

IBM scientists have created the world’s smallest movie using individual atoms. It’s the story of a boy and his playful atom buddy, drawn in stop motion and with each quantum pixel positioned using a scanning tunneling microscope. Every frame is magnified a stunning 100 million times!

This amazing feat was accomplished by using a charged atomic needle to drag single carbon monoxide molecules (the individual atoms we see are one side of that two-atom molecule) around on a copper substrate. I’ve posted a little bit about these feats of atomic art before, with these “quantum corrals” and “ferrous wheels”

See those ripples around each atom? They remind me of pebbles being tossed into a still pond. They are actually ripples in the electron field of the copper surface below! It’s a reminder that, contrary to many textbooks, electrons behave more like waves than particles following an orbit. And like any other wave, they can form intricate interference patterns. Check out this previous post for more on that.

The hope is that manipulating atomic structures like this may lead to even greater information storage capacity. Imaging all the world’s books and movies on your mobile phone at once!

Here’s a “making of” movie from IBM, featuring the sound of atoms being moved as well as the encouraging sight of several female team members.

This makes me as happy as atom boy there.

Organic transistors for brain mapping | KurzweilAI
To improve brain mapping, a group of French scientists have produced the world’s first biocompatible microscopic organic transistors that can amplify and record signals directly from the surface of the brain, building on prototypes developed at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF).
This is the first in vivo use of transistor arrays to record brain activity directly on the surface of the cortex using electrocorticography (ECoG). This is a ten-fold improvement in signal/noise quality compared with current ECoG electrode technology, the scientists say.
In epileptic patients, ECoG recordings help to scout brain regions responsible for seizure genesis. For patients with brain tumors, recordings help to chart the brain for tumor removal. In addition, electrical recordings of neuronal activity are being used in brain-machine interfaces to help paralyzed people control prosthetic limbs.
However, neurons and brain networks generate small electric potentials, which are difficult to extract from noise when recorded with classical electrodes made of metals. In addition, today’s ECoG amplifiers are bulky and placed outside the skull, where the signal degrades.
These new biocompatible microdevices are flexible enough to go inside the brain and follow the curvilinear shape of the brain surface.

Organic transistors for brain mapping | KurzweilAI

To improve brain mapping, a group of French scientists have produced the world’s first biocompatible microscopic organic transistors that can amplify and record signals directly from the surface of the brain, building on prototypes developed at the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility (CNF).

This is the first in vivo use of transistor arrays to record brain activity directly on the surface of the cortex using electrocorticography (ECoG). This is a ten-fold improvement in signal/noise quality compared with current ECoG electrode technology, the scientists say.

In epileptic patients, ECoG recordings help to scout brain regions responsible for seizure genesis. For patients with brain tumors, recordings help to chart the brain for tumor removal. In addition, electrical recordings of neuronal activity are being used in brain-machine interfaces to help paralyzed people control prosthetic limbs.

However, neurons and brain networks generate small electric potentials, which are difficult to extract from noise when recorded with classical electrodes made of metals. In addition, today’s ECoG amplifiers are bulky and placed outside the skull, where the signal degrades.

These new biocompatible microdevices are flexible enough to go inside the brain and follow the curvilinear shape of the brain surface.

Lockheed Martin Harnesses Quantum Technology - NYTimes.com
A powerful new type of computer that is about to be commercially deployed by a major American military contractor is taking computing into the strange, subatomic realm of quantum mechanics. In that infinitesimal neighborhood, common sense logic no longer seems to apply. A one can be a one, or it can be a one and a zero and everything in between — all at the same time.
It sounds preposterous, particularly to those familiar with the yes/no world of conventional computing. But academic researchers and scientists at companies like Microsoft, I.B.M. and Hewlett-Packard have been working to develop quantum computers.

Lockheed Martin Harnesses Quantum Technology - NYTimes.com

A powerful new type of computer that is about to be commercially deployed by a major American military contractor is taking computing into the strange, subatomic realm of quantum mechanics. In that infinitesimal neighborhood, common sense logic no longer seems to apply. A one can be a one, or it can be a one and a zero and everything in between — all at the same time.

It sounds preposterous, particularly to those familiar with the yes/no world of conventional computing. But academic researchers and scientists at companies like Microsoft, I.B.M. and Hewlett-Packard have been working to develop quantum computers.

A 3D PRINTED SPACESHIP ON THE SCALE OF A HUMAN HAIR? HELLO NANOSCRIBE 3D PRINTER
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3D printing has become one of the most exciting and talked about technologies of 2013. The ability for the masses to make almost any object not only fuels imagination but challenges modern consumerism and its supply chain. While some enthusiasts continue to showcase the technology by producing toys, cars, and even guns in their garage, others look to 3D printing to manufacture the next generation of electronics, whether for mobile applications, medical devices, or wearable computing.
Regardless of the application, the challenge in manufacturing at the submicron scale is fabricating structures in a precise, rapid, and consistent fashion. Even though 3D printing is just getting started, the race for the fastest, most capable printer is already on.
Last year, a group of researchers at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria refined a 3D printing technique that allowed the construction of sophisticated structures (an F1 racecar and a cathedral) smaller than dust mites in about 4 minutes. Now, a company called Nanoscribe GmbH that emerged from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany has made a 3D printer called the Photonic Professional GT which can produce detailed structures on a similar scale but faster.
In fact, the technique was able to produce a spaceship (from the Wing Commander line of video games) from a CAD file that measures 125µm x 81µm x 26.8µm (on the order of the width of a human hair) in less than 50 seconds. (via A 3D Printed Spaceship On The Scale Of A Human Hair? Hello Nanoscribe 3D Printer | Singularity Hub)

A 3D PRINTED SPACESHIP ON THE SCALE OF A HUMAN HAIR? HELLO NANOSCRIBE 3D PRINTER

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3D printing has become one of the most exciting and talked about technologies of 2013. The ability for the masses to make almost any object not only fuels imagination but challenges modern consumerism and its supply chain. While some enthusiasts continue to showcase the technology by producing toys, cars, and even guns in their garage, others look to 3D printing to manufacture the next generation of electronics, whether for mobile applications, medical devices, or wearable computing.

Regardless of the application, the challenge in manufacturing at the submicron scale is fabricating structures in a precise, rapid, and consistent fashion. Even though 3D printing is just getting started, the race for the fastest, most capable printer is already on.

Last year, a group of researchers at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria refined a 3D printing technique that allowed the construction of sophisticated structures (an F1 racecar and a cathedral) smaller than dust mites in about 4 minutes. Now, a company called Nanoscribe GmbH that emerged from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany has made a 3D printer called the Photonic Professional GT which can produce detailed structures on a similar scale but faster.

In fact, the technique was able to produce a spaceship (from the Wing Commander line of video games) from a CAD file that measures 125µm x 81µm x 26.8µm (on the order of the width of a human hair) in less than 50 seconds. (via A 3D Printed Spaceship On The Scale Of A Human Hair? Hello Nanoscribe 3D Printer | Singularity Hub)

(via republicofideas)

Taking transistors into a new dimension
A new breakthrough could push the limits of the miniaturization of electronic components further than previously thought possible. A team at the Laboratoire d’Analyse et d’Architecture des Systèmes (LAAS) and Institut d’Électronique, de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie (IEMN) has built a nanometric transistor that displays exceptional properties for a device of its size. To achieve this result, the researchers developed a novel three-dimensional architecture consisting of a vertical nanowire array whose conductivity is controlled by a gate measuring only 14 nm in length. Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-transistors-dimension.html#jCp

Taking transistors into a new dimension

A new breakthrough could push the limits of the miniaturization of electronic components further than previously thought possible. A team at the Laboratoire d’Analyse et d’Architecture des Systèmes (LAAS) and Institut d’Électronique, de Microélectronique et de Nanotechnologie (IEMN) has built a nanometric transistor that displays exceptional properties for a device of its size. To achieve this result, the researchers developed a novel three-dimensional architecture consisting of a vertical nanowire array whose conductivity is controlled by a gate measuring only 14 nm in length.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-03-transistors-dimension.html#jCp
Graphene Ultracapacitors Offer Blistering Performance and Charge in a Couple of Minutes
Researchers at the University of California are developing graphene supercapacitors that can charge and discharge in a couple of minutes. The ability to discharge in a couple of minutes means that they are extremely powerful. More importantly though, these researchers developed a technique for printing graphene supercapacitors using a DVD burner.
The researchers dissolved graphite oxide in water and heated it with a laser from a standard DVD burner to obtain flexible graphene sheets. These graphene sheets are one-atom thick, yet can hold a remarkable amount of energy, while being charged or discharged in very little time compared to standard batteries.
Ultracapacitors have tremendous advantages over typical lithium-ion batteries, some of which are of paramount importance to the adoption of electric cars, such as their ability to charge in as little as 1 second, and last 20 years (easily, and with very heavy usage).

Graphene Ultracapacitors Offer Blistering Performance and Charge in a Couple of Minutes

Researchers at the University of California are developing graphene supercapacitors that can charge and discharge in a couple of minutes. The ability to discharge in a couple of minutes means that they are extremely powerful. More importantly though, these researchers developed a technique for printing graphene supercapacitors using a DVD burner.

The researchers dissolved graphite oxide in water and heated it with a laser from a standard DVD burner to obtain flexible graphene sheets. These graphene sheets are one-atom thick, yet can hold a remarkable amount of energy, while being charged or discharged in very little time compared to standard batteries.

Ultracapacitors have tremendous advantages over typical lithium-ion batteries, some of which are of paramount importance to the adoption of electric cars, such as their ability to charge in as little as 1 second, and last 20 years (easily, and with very heavy usage).

Patented technique key to new solar power technology
For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power. The technology would be a vast improvement over the silicon solar panels in widespread use today. Even the best silicon panels collect only about 20 percent of available solar radiation, and separate mechanisms are needed to convert the stored energy to usable electricity for the commercial power grid. The panels’ limited efficiency and expensive development costs have been two of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power as a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels. But while nanosized antennas have shown promise in theory, scientists have lacked the technology required to construct and test them. The fabrication process is immensely challenging. The nano-antennas – known as “rectennas” because of their ability to both absorb and rectify solar energy from alternating current to direct current – must be capable of operating at the speed of visible light and be built in such a way that their core pair of electrodes is a mere 1 or 2 nanometers apart, a distance of approximately one millionth of a millimeter, or 30,000 times smaller than the diameter of human hair.

Patented technique key to new solar power technology

For years, scientists have studied the potential benefits of a new branch of solar energy technology that relies on incredibly small nanosized antenna arrays that are theoretically capable of harvesting more than 70 percent of the sun’s electromagnetic radiation and simultaneously converting it into usable electric power. The technology would be a vast improvement over the silicon solar panels in widespread use today. Even the best silicon panels collect only about 20 percent of available solar radiation, and separate mechanisms are needed to convert the stored energy to usable electricity for the commercial power grid. The panels’ limited efficiency and expensive development costs have been two of the biggest barriers to the widespread adoption of solar power as a practical replacement for traditional fossil fuels. But while nanosized antennas have shown promise in theory, scientists have lacked the technology required to construct and test them. The fabrication process is immensely challenging. The nano-antennas – known as “rectennas” because of their ability to both absorb and rectify solar energy from alternating current to direct current – must be capable of operating at the speed of visible light and be built in such a way that their core pair of electrodes is a mere 1 or 2 nanometers apart, a distance of approximately one millionth of a millimeter, or 30,000 times smaller than the diameter of human hair.