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May 2012
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July 2012

Rewriting Quantum Chips with a Beam of Light

Laser Technique Developed by CCNY and Berkeley Researchers Brings Ultrafast Computing Closer to Reality

The promise of ultrafast quantum computing has moved a step closer to reality with a technique to create rewritable computer chips using a beam of light. Researchers from The City College of New York (CCNY) and the University of California Berkeley (UCB) used light to control the spin of an atom’s nucleus in order to encode information.

The technique could pave the way for quantum computing, a long-sought leap forward toward computers with processing speeds many times faster than today’s. The group published their results on June 26 in “Nature Communications.”

Current electronic devices are approaching the upper limits in processing speed, and they rely on etching a pattern into a semiconductor to create a chip or integrated circuit. These patterns of interconnections serve as highways to shuttle information around the circuit, but there is a drawback.

“Once the chip is printed, it can only be used one way,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Reimer, UCB professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and the study co-author.

The team – including CCNY Professor of Physics Carlos Meriles and PhD graduate students Jonathan King of UCB and Yunpu Li of CCNY– saw a remedy for these problems in the emerging sciences of spintronics and quantum computing.

They have developed a technique to use laser light to pattern the alignment of “spin” within atoms so that the pattern can be rewritten on the fly. Such a technique may one day lead to rewritable spintronic circuits.

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Nano-infused paint can detect strain

Mike Williams

Rice University’s fluorescent nanotube coating can reveal stress on planes, bridges, buildings A new type of paint made with carbon nanotubes at Rice University can help detect strain in buildings, bridges and airplanes.

The Rice scientists call their mixture “strain paint” and are hopeful it can help detect deformations in structures like airplane wings. Their study, published online this month by the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters details a composite coating they invented that could be read by a handheld infrared spectrometer.

This method could tell where a material is showing signs of deformation well before the effects become visible to the naked eye, and without touching the structure. The researchers said this provides a big advantage over conventional strain gauges, which must be physically connected to their read-out devices. In addition, the nanotube-based system could measure strain at any location and along any direction.

Rice chemistry professor Bruce Weisman led the discovery and interpretation of near-infrared fluorescence from semiconducting carbon nanotubes in 2002, and he has since developed and used novel optical instrumentation to explore nanotubes’ physical and chemical properties.

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Is that really just a fly? Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

The kinds of drones making the headlines daily are the heavily armed CIA and U.S. Army vehicles which routinely strike targets in Pakistan - killing terrorists and innocents alike.

But the real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed.

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Biofuels patent marks milestone for Madison research hub

By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel

C5-6 Technologies of Middleton and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center in Madison are celebrating a milestone - the awarding of the first patent from the center's next-generation biofuels research.

The patent covers research into a heat-resistant enzyme that is well suited to break down the sugars contained inside the cells of plants.

C5-6 is the renewable fuels arm of the Middleton biotech firm Lucigen. The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center was founded in 2007 as one of three national centers created by the U.S. Department of Energy to focus on research and development for bioenergy. The center was awarded $125 million over five years.

"It's a good technology and, as much as anything, it makes an important milestone in terms of the center," said David Pluymers, the center's intellectual property manager. "We've been at this for about 4½ years now. We went through a start-up phase and moved to a point where our labs really got rolling."

The Madison center's mission is to find and develop breakthrough technologies that can enable transportation fuels to be made affordably from plants that aren't also food sources. Examples of these nonfood biofuel sources, known as cellulosic biomass, include the corn stalks and switch grass.

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New method generates cardiac muscle patches from stem cells

A cutting-edge method developed at the University of Michigan Center for Arrhythmia Research successfully uses stem cells to create heart cells capable of mimicking the heart’s crucial squeezing action.

The cells displayed activity similar to most people’s resting heart rate. At 60 beats per minute, the rhythmic electrical impulse transmission of the engineered cells in the U-M study is 10 times faster than in most other reported stem cell studies.

An image of the electrically stimulated cardiac cells is displayed on the cover of the current issue of Circulation Research, a publication of the American Heart Association.

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Vein Grown From Her Own Stem Cells Saves 10-Year-Old Swedish Girl

BY AMBER MOORE | JUNE 14, 2012

A ten year old girl became the first person in the world to get a major blood vessel replaced by one grown using her own stem cells.

The 10-year-old from Sweden had a blockage of a vein from her liver. The doctors decided to give her a new vein instead of a liver transplant or giving her a vein from her own body, Associated Press reported.

The team from University of Gothenburg first took 9 cm vein segment from a dead man and stripped all living cells from it, leaving behind only a protein structure. They later reconstructed the vein by using cells from the girl's own bone marrow. The new graft was then put in the girl's body two weeks later.

The surgery was successful. The girl recovered well with no major complications. In a year her height increased from 137cm to 143cm and weight increased by about 5 kg or about 11 pounds, according to a press release.

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