Photokina 2014 highlights

Electrons

Researchers at Imperial College London have devised a method of achieving light to matter ...

In what could be a landmark moment in the history of science, physicists working at the Blackett Physics Laboratory in Imperial College London have designed an experiment to validate one of the most tantalizing hypotheses in quantum electrodynamics: the theory that matter could be created using nothing more than pure light.  Read More

A focused electron beam (in yellow) was used to characterize the structures and to probe t...

Researchers at the National University of Singapore (NUS) have designed and manufactured circuits that can reach speeds of up to 245 THz, tens of thousands of times faster than contemporary microprocessors. The results open up possible new design routes for plasmonic-electronics, that combine nano-electronics with the fast operating speed of optics.  Read More

Crystal structure of sodium bismuthide (Na3Bi), one of the newly discovered 3D topological...

Exciting times are ahead in the high-tech industries with the discovery by three independent groups that a new class of materials mimic the special electronic properties of graphene in 3D. Research into these superfast massless charge carriers opens up a wide range of potential applications in electronics, including smaller hard drives with more storage capacity, faster transistors and more efficient optical sensors.  Read More

HAARP operational site on the edge of Denali State Park northeast of Anchorage, Alaska (Ph...

Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Let's take a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future.  Read More

A ptychographic reconstruction of gold particles showing the atomic fringes (Image: Univer...

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created what sounds impossible - even nonsensical: an experimental electron microscope without lenses that not only works, but is orders of magnitude more powerful than current models. By means of a new form of mathematical analysis, scientists can take the meaningless patterns of dots and circles created by the lens-less microscope and create images that are of high resolution and contrast and, potentially, up to 100 times greater magnification.  Read More

Squids have provided the key ingredient for a proton-conducting transistor, that may allow...

When it comes to sending and receiving information, man-made devices utilize negatively-charged particles commonly known as electrons. Biological systems such as human bodies, on the other hand, use protons via positively charged hydrogen atoms or ions. This would indicate that there is something of a language barrier, when we try to develop electronic devices that can communicate with living systems. That barrier could be on its way down, however, as scientists from the University of Washington have developed a transistor that can conduct pulses of protons - and they've done it with some help from our friends the cephalopods.  Read More

Thijs van Oudheusden with his 'poor man's X-FEL' (Photo: Bart van Overbeeke)

If you want to obtain moving images of high-speed molecular processes at an atomic scale, one of the best facilities in the world is the X-ray Free Electron Laser (X-FEL) at Stanford University. Should you wish to use it, however, you’ll have get on a waiting list, then bring your materials to its California home once it’s your turn. If you’re thinking of building your own, you’d better start saving now – Stanford’s laser reportedly cost several hundred million dollars to build, and the cost of a new European X-FEL has been set at one billion euro (US$1.3 billion). Researchers from the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), however, have recently announced the development of a tabletop “poor man’s X-FEL.” It performs some of the same key functions as the big laser, but costs under half a million euro (US$656,006).  Read More

The University of Oregon's Michael G. Raymer has changed the color of individual photons w...

Physicists from the University of Oregon have successfully changed the color of individual photons within a fiber optic cable. They were able to do so by focusing a dual-color burst of light from two lasers onto an optical cable carrying a single photon of a distinct color. Through a process known as Bragg scattering, a small amount of energy was exchanged between the laser light and the photon, causing the photon to change color. The achievement could pave the way for transferring and receiving high volumes of secured electronic data.  Read More

A rendering of the nanoantenna

Scientists at Houston’s Rice University have successfully increased the intensity of laser light a thousand-fold by shining it into a “nanoantenna.” At the heart of the device are two gold tips, separated by a gap measuring about a hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair. At the point where it passed through that gap, the light was “grabbed” and concentrated. Condensed matter physicist Doug Natelson believes that the technology could be useful in the development of tools for optics and chemical/biological sensing, with applications in industrial safety, defense and homeland security.  Read More

The spintronics breakthrough by Hui Zhao could lead the way to the development of superior...

Spin electronics, or “spintronics” promises to revolutionize computing. We’ve covered numerous breakthroughs in the field including controlling the spin of electrons, manipulating single electrons independently, and the first plastic spintronic computer memory device. However, one major hurdle for spintronics researchers has been the difficulty in detecting the flow of spinning electrons in real time. The discovery of a new way to recognize currents of spinning electrons within a semiconductor changes that and could lead the way to the development of superior computers and electronics.  Read More

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