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Science

Far-infrared image of a building at night (Image: Robert Gubbins/Shutterstock)

Harvard Professor of Applied Physics Federico Capasso and his collaborators have invented a nearly perfect optical absorber. By coating a piece of sapphire with an exceedingly thin (180 nm) layer of vanadium dioxide (VO2), a surface is created that absorbs 99.75 percent of infrared light with a wavelength of 11.6 micron wavelength. Such optical absorbers can be tailored to enable a wide range of applications.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have built what they claim is the most accurate ...

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have built what they claim is the most accurate simulation of a functioning brain to date. Despite a seemingly unimpressive count of only 2.5 million neurons, Spaun (Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network) is able to process visual inputs, compute answers and write them down using a robotic arm, performing feats of intelligence that up to this point had only been attributed to humans.  Read More

The internal structure of cork (above) has inspired the creation of three-dimensional grap...

Imagine how limiting it would be if steel, wood or plastic only existed in the form of thin sheets. Well, that’s been the case so far when it comes to graphene. While its incredible strength and high conductivity make it very useful in things like semiconductors, batteries and solar cells, there’s no doubt that it would be even more useful if it could be produced in three-dimensional blocks. Scientists at Australia’s Monash University have now managed to do just that – by copying the structure of cork.  Read More

The research could lead to contact lenses which superimpose an image onto the wearer's nor...

New research conducted at Ghent University, Belgium, has resulted in the development of a curved LCD display which can be integrated within a contact lens. While still in its infancy, the project lays the foundation for future fully-pixelated contact lens displays which could be used for both medical and cosmetic purposes, in addition to a heads-up-display (HUD) further into the future.  Read More

Researchers at Canada’s Western University have found a way to effectively block certain t...

We’re all carrying around some cringe-inducing memories that we’d rather forget. But for those suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), recalling certain memories can provoke fearful, emotional experiences. By the same token, some memories can remind those battling drug addiction of the rewarding effects of the drug and trigger a relapse. Researchers at Canada’s Western University have found a way to effectively block these types of memories that could lead to better treatments for both conditions.  Read More

Electrons bent into a circular path by moving through a magnetic field (Photo: Marcin Bial...

Left to its own ways, light will follow the same path through an optical system whether the system is being used as a camera lens or as a projector. This is called time-reversal symmetry, or reciprocity. As many new applications and methods would be enabled by access to a non-reciprocal optical system, it is unfortunate that they have been so difficult to come by. But now researchers at Stanford University have discovered how to make such non-reciprocal systems by generating an effective magnetic field for photons.  Read More

A smooth muscle cell, trapped between the fiber-optic spanner's two offset optical fibers ...

If you were a scientist looking at a cell with a microscope, what would you do if you wanted get a look at the far side of that cell? You could try reaching in with a very fine-tipped pair of tweezers, but ... you’d probably be better off using something known as a fiber-optic spanner.  Read More

Scoop marks left behind by Curiosity's soil sampling (Photo: NASA)

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has used its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments to analyze its first scoop of Martian soil. These instruments allowed Curiosity to perform a wide range of chemical and structural tests which found signs of a complex and active soil chemistry – but no sign of life.  Read More

MIT engineers have devised a way to stack neurons to form three-dimensional brain tissue (...

A team of researchers from MIT and Harvard Medical School have devised a cheap way of artificially growing three-dimensional brain tissues in the lab. Built layer by layer, the tissues can take on just about any shape and closely mimic the cellular composition of the tissue found in the living brain. The advance could allow scientists to get a closer look at how neurons form connections, predict how cells of individual patients will respond to different drugs, and even lead to the creation of bioengineered implants to replace damaged brain tissue.  Read More

Full-color image of Mercury from MESSENGER's first flyby (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Ap...

The MESSENGER spacecraft has made a compelling case for the presence of water in the form of ice on the surface of the Solar System's smallest and innermost planet, Mercury. The case is supported by three independent groups of evidence from different sensors aboard the Mercury orbiter.  Read More

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