Advertisement

Atoms

Physics

World's smallest engine powered by a single atom

A team of German physicists has just created the world's smallest working engine. Powered by a single electrically-charged calcium atom, the new device is claimed to have the equivalent thermodynamic efficiency (if scaled to size) of an average automobile engine. Basically a heat-exchange engine, its single-atom acts as both fuel and powerplant and is heated by electrical noise and cooled by laser beam.Read More

Electronics

World's smallest optical switch uses a single atom

The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom, and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.Read More

Science

New element is 40 percent heavier than lead

A new super-heavy element, temporarily called 117, may soon be making its way into the periodic table after being successfully created in a laboratory setting. Made up of 117 protons, the element matches some of the heaviest atoms ever observed and is around 40 percent heavier than a single atom of lead.Read More

Wearables

Bathys Hawaii unveils atomic wristwatch

With all the fuss over the recent influx of do-everything smartwatches, you would think that a new wristwatch that simply displays the time on an analog face wouldn't cause much of a stir. However, when that watch is described as "atomic" and is claimed to be "the world's most accurate wristwatch," people perk up and take notice. Kauai-based Bathys Hawaii Watch Company has just revealed its first prototype of such a watch, known as the Cesium 133. Read More

Science

IBM creates world's smallest movie using individual atoms

Anyone who’s tried their hand at stop animation will know it’s an incredibly time consuming and delicate job. But spare a thought for scientists at IBM Almaden in California who have produced the world’s smallest stop animation movie by using a scanning tunneling microscope to move individual atoms. Rather than competing with Aardman or Pixar for a slice of the international box office, the film is intended to make the public aware of new technology that could increase computer memories far beyond what is possible today.Read More

Science

World's smallest magnetic data storage unit created

If you’re impressed with how much data can be stored on your portable hard drive, well ... that’s nothing. Scientists have now created a functioning magnetic data storage unit that measures just 4 by 16 nanometers, uses 12 atoms per bit, and can store an entire byte (8 bits) on as little as 96 atoms – by contrast, a regular hard drive requires half a billion atoms for each byte. It was created by a team of scientists from IBM and the German Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL), which is a joint venture of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY research center in Hamburg, the Max-Planck-Society and the University of Hamburg.Read More

Science

CERN traps antimatter atoms for 1,000 seconds

Researchers involved in the ALPHA experiment at Switzerland’s CERN complex announced yesterday (June 5) that they have succeeded in using the facility's antiproton decelerator to trap antimatter atoms for 1,000 seconds – or just over 16 minutes. This was reportedly enough time to begin studying their properties in detail, which has been the goal of ALPHA since the project began in 2005.Read More

Science

Thorium: A safer alternative for nuclear power generation?

The world's growing need for energy, the limits of our supply of fossil fuels and concern about the effects of carbon emissions on the environment have all prompted interest in the increased use of nuclear power. Yet the very word "nuclear" carries with it an association of fear. People are concerned about the waste produced by reactors, the possibility of catastrophic accidents as highlighted by recent events in Japan and the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Yet what if there existed a means of nuclear power generation with which these risks were drastically reduced? Read More

    Advertisement
    Advertisement
    Advertisement

    See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning