May 15/22 , 2006


Molecular traffic control

A biochip sorts molecules by using an electric field to push microtubules into one branch or the other of a Y junction. The technique could be used to transport substances at the molecular level in biochips and for assembling nanoscale devices. (Molecular Sorting by Electrical Steering of Microtubules in Kinesin-Coated Channels, Science, May 12, 2006)

DNA tweezer machine

A molecular machine uses DNA tweezers on a DNA track to join a pair of molecules so they form a new molecule. The technique allows for close control of chemical reactions, which is key to producing new substances and studying biomolecular interactions. (Addressable Molecular Tweezers for DNA-Templated Coupling Reactions, Nano Letters, May 10, 2006)

Tricks of light

Two teams of scientists have produced materials that cause the peaks of light pulses fired into them to travel backwards, though the pulses as a whole always travel forward. The research could lead to faster optical communications systems. (Observation of Backward Pulse Propagation Through a Medium with a Negative Group Velocity, Science, May 12, 2006)

Nanotube LEDs

Thin, transparent sheets of carbon nanotubes make flexible electrodes for organic light-emitting diodes, which improves the devices' durability. Light-emitting diodes with nanotube electrodes could be used for flexible displays that can handle a real-world use. (Carbon nanotube sheets as electrodes in organic light-emitting diodes, Applied Physics Letters, May 1, 2006)

Nanowires stand tall

Field effect transistors made with vertical silicon nanowires perform as well as transistors made with horizontal silicon nanowires. Vertical nanowires allow more transistors to be packed in the same space, opening a route to faster computer chips. (Silicon Vertically Integrated Nanowire Field Effect Transistors, Nano Letters, May 10, 2006)

Superconductor etch-a-sketch

A way of switching special metal oxides from superconducting to normal conductivity allows researchers to write superconducting features like lines and dots into films of the materials. The method could be used to make superconducting circuits and devices for scientific instruments, and prototype quantum computers. (Local Switching of Two-dimensional Superconductivity Using the Ferroelectric Field Effect, Nature, May 11, 2006)


View from the High Ground: Cornell's Jon Kleinberg
Six degrees of separation, buying gasoline by the molecule, the science of popularity, all just getting along online, intellectual prosthetics, Big Science, making up questions, and telling stories.

How It Works: Quantum computing: qubits
Photons, electrons and atoms, oh my! These particles are the raw materials for qubits, the basic building blocks of quantum computers.

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May 15, 2006
The pain of waiting for pain
Few people enjoy the anticipation of a painful experience, but some people are willing to suffer worse pain sooner rather than linger in a state of dread. It turns out that they are not simply more anxious or fearful than others

May 10, 2006
Sense-able network

April 12, 2006
Toward implantable sensors

April 5, 2006
Kurzweil keynote

"In most areas of science and technology, the origins of new breakthroughs can still be found in the work of a small number of people -- or even a single person -- working at their own pace on their own questions, pursuing things that interest them. "
- Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University

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