Applied Physics

Computer chips with superconducting circuits would be 50 to 100 times as energy-efficient as today's chips due to a lack of electrical resistance.

That means less heat, less deformation and less energy cost.

Superconducting chips also promise greater processing power. Superconducting circuits that use so-called Josephson junctions have been clocked at 770 gigahertz, or 500 times the speed of the chip in the iPhone 6.

The Obama administration only recently banned incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs are getting all of the marketing due to generous government subsidies, so light emitting diodes (LEDs) are yet to even get off the cultural ground but researchers are already moving on to their successors. 

Enter carbon electronics.

Electronics based on carbon, especially carbon nanotubes (CNTs), are emerging as successors to silicon for making semiconductor materials. And they may enable a new generation of brighter, low-power, low-cost lighting devices that could challenge the dominance of LEDs in the future and help meet society's ever-escalating demand for greener bulbs. 

In the future, it may be possible to try on clothes even when the shop is closed, thanks to
semi-transparent mirrors in interactive systems presented at the ACM UIST 2014 human-computer interface conference.

The work, led by Professor Sriram Subramanian, Dr. Diego Martinez Plasencia and Florent Bethaut from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science, builds on a mirror’s ability to map a reflection to one unique point behind the mirror, independently of the observer’s location. 

When a sturdy material becomes soft and spongy, it's been damaged in some way. But when it comes to complex fluids and biological cells, things may be different.

By looking at the microscopic building blocks – known as "filaments" – of biopolymer networks, researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany and the FOM Institute AMOLF in the Netherlands, revealed (Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms5060)  that such materials soften by undergoing a transition from an entangled spaghetti of filaments to aligned layers of bow-shaped filaments that slide past each other. 

I've lost count of how many computers I've built over the years, but I think it is safe to say that the Kano Computer was the easiest build ever. So simple a child could do it. Kano founders, Yonatan Raz-Fridman, Alex Klein, and Saul Klein, wanted to figure out what the next generation’s computer would be like, so they asked Micah, Saul’s seven-year-old son.
Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura have been award the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources". Using blue LEDs, white light can be created in a new way and that means LED lamps, which are longer-lasting and more efficient than incandescent sources.

Electricity and magnetism rule our digital world but they are really 19th century advancements still being optimized in the 21st.

In our current scheme, semiconductors process electrical information while magnetic materials enable long-term data storage but research team has discovered a way to fuse these two distinct properties in a single material.

You can build a simple circuit using two 555 Timer ICs to create an H-bridge that will drive a single motor in forward or reverse. An H-bridge circuit is often used in robotics to reverse the polarity of a motor. For example, if the motor is spinning in the forward direction, the robot will move forward and when the polarity of the motor is reversed, the motor will spin in the opposite direction and the robot will move backward.

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The diagram of the circuit resembles the letter “H” where the motor is the cross-bar and four switches form the legs.

As has been predicted for some time, there is a physics train wreck coming at the semiconductor industry - a size and speed where atoms have reached their limits. Quantum computing has remained a dream for 20 years with little progress, which means chips will have to start getting bigger again, to get better performance - or we settle for playing Angry Birds.

The present size and speed limitations of computer processors and memory could be overcome by replacing silicon with phase-change materials, which are capable of reversibly switching between two structural phases with different electrical states – one crystalline and conducting and the other glassy and insulating – in billionths of a second. 

Can sound vibrations replace pesticides? Researchers are adapting different eco-friendly methods to try and boost harvests and open up a new chapter in sustainable farming.

Scientists in Northern Italy are experimenting with what they call eco-friendly sound and odor devices to fight off insects from their cultivated fields., though environmental activists don't accept the science of pesticides that have passed registration for 40 years and genetic modification almost as long so believing they will consider sound vibrations friendly is a stretch.