The phenomenon of cathodoluminescence gave geologists an easy way to identify quartz and other minerals in rock samples. Cathodoluminescence allows a piece of quartz to glow icy blue when put under an electron scanning microscope. Now, scientists have used this phenomenon to probe into nanostructures.
Silk is used by some insects and spiders to spin webs and cocoons, and now researchers have discovered a way to harness this supermaterial into electronic microchips. The silk is stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar, yet incredibly malleable and flexible. However that’s not all it can do.
After having put young adults with normal vision through a battery of tests, scientists were able to conclude that females are better at discriminating among colors, while males excel at tracking fast-moving objects and discerning detail from a distance. These evolutionary adaptations might be linked to the hunter-gatherer past of humans.
Most lasers are made up of silicon wafers using expensive processes, similar to the ones used to make microprocessors. Scientists have designed a new way to print a type of organic laser onto any surface, using technology similar to the one found in many homes.
Scientists have been able to generate the world’s fastest laser pulse with a beam shot for 67 attoseconds (0.000000000000000067 seconds). This breaks the previous record of 80 attoseconds that was established in 2008. This could help engineers see extremely rapid quantum mechanical processes, like the movements of electrons during chemical reactions.
It was previously thought that making a lens out of highly energetic light, gamma rays, was impossible. Physicists have created such a lens and think that it will allow the use of gamma-ray optics for medical imaging, detecting illicit nuclear material and disposing of nuclear waste.
Quantum physicists have constructed an elementary network for storing and exchanging quantum information. The network was setup with two all-purpose nodes, which can send, receive and store quantum information. The nodes were linked by fiber-optic cable, which carries the quantum information from node to node with a single photon.
Lasers beams have been used for the first time to trigger and divert lightning bolts. It was first postulated in the 1990s that lasers could be used to create a low-resistance pathway through the atmosphere, allowing lightning bolts to use the path of least resistance.
Together, the twin telescopes of the Gemini Observatory, which consists of two 8.1 m (27 ft) telescopes in Hawaii and Chile, provide almost complete coverage of both the northern and southern skies and have been lauded among the largest and most advanced optical and IR telescopes available to astronomers. However, in recent years, it has lagged in scientific productivity, as money was wasted on ambitious projects which never came to term. Last week at the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas, Frederic Chaffee, who was drafted out of retirement to become Gemini’s interim director less than a year ago, showed off results from new instruments.