January 3/10, 2001   

   Gels make micro plumbing
Taking a tip from living beings, researchers have fashioned tiny channels and valves out of soft materials that shrink and swell. The microfluidic systems, made from responsive hydrogels, can control flow based on pH level. The first application of the technology could save you from food poisoning.
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Security comes one photon at a time
Cracking the world's best encryption schemes will likely be child's play for quantum computers, but quantum cryptography could render those schemes unnecessary. Two single-photon emitters set the stage for the ultimate in security.

Shining a new light on electron spin
When colored lights shine, there's electricity in the air. A proposal to get electrons dancing in laser light could go a long way toward making practical quantum computers.

Network similarities run deep
Networks, from the Web to who knows who in Hollywood to the inner workings of cells, look remarkably alike, mathematically speaking. And in every case, there are those special few individuals who get all the attention.

Transistor lights up
In the ongoing quest to coax laser light from organic materials, researchers at Bell Labs have made a transistor that shines.

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