Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of March 5, 2021

01. Pushing computing to the edge by rethinking microchips’ design 02. A quantum internet is closer to reality, thanks to this switch 03. Researchers introduce a new generation of tiny, agile drones 04. Adapting solar energy technology to detect chemical warfare agents and pesticides 05. Heat-free optical switch would enable optical quantum computing chips 06. Intriguing particles emerge when two photons couple 07. Magnetic whirls in confined spaces 08. Automated next generation sequencing platform can accurately screen thousands for COVID-19 09. Chemists develop a new technology to prevent lithium-ion batteries from catching fire 10. Engineering the boundary between 2D and […]

Adapting solar energy technology to detect chemical warfare agents and pesticides

Nanowerk  March 4, 2021 The wrong amounts or incorrect use of these fumigants like methyl iodide can be harmful to people and degrade the ozone layer. Researchers in Australia borrowed a new technology that is being used to improve solar power – synthetic nanocrystals based on a perovskite structure – and turned it into a detection method. The presence of methyl iodide causes the nanocrystal emission to shift from green to yellow, and then on to orange, red, and finally deep red, depending on the amount of fumigant present. They demonstrated that the change in colour is dependent on the […]

Automated next generation sequencing platform can accurately screen thousands for COVID-19

EurekAlert  March 3, 2021 Researchers in Canada have developed a multiplexed, scalable, readily automated platform “Systematic Parallel Analysis of RNA coupled to Sequencing for Covid-19 screening” (C19-SPAR-Seq), for SARS-CoV-2 detection that can analyze tens of thousands of patient samples in a single run. To address strict requirements for control of assay parameters and output demanded by clinical diagnostics, they employed a control-based Precision-Recall and Receiver Operator Characteristics (coPR) analysis to assign run-specific quality control metrics. C19-SPAR-Seq coupled to coPR on a trial cohort of several hundred patients performed with a specificity of 100% and sensitivity of 91% on samples with […]

Chemists develop a new technology to prevent lithium-ion batteries from catching fire

EurekAlert  March 3, 2021 Researchers in Russia have developed a new approach to overcharge protection of Li-ion cells, which is provided by use of electrically conductive polymer that change electrical conductivity from conductive to insulating stage. A layer of the polymer deposited between the LiFePO4 -based cathode material and current collector acts as a chemical circuit breaker increasing the electrode resistance more than 20 times when the cell voltage exceeds 4.2 V. At 5 V overcharge it allows reversible charge-discharge of the cell without developing adverse process, while at 6 V overcharge it terminates the cell operation before electrolyte decomposition […]

Dresden scientists help setting new standards for cutting-edge genetic research

Science Daily  February 24, 2021 Over the course of the next five years, a team of researchers in Germany are working on a project funded by the German Research Foundation to shape international standards for the exchange of human omics data. The initial focus is on developing, harmonizing, and optimizing processes of data collection. To address the legal and ethical questions researchers are working closely with lawyers who specialize in national and international privacy regulations. They will use state-of-the-art HPC, Cloud and storage technologies to build a distributed infrastructure accessible for all interested researchers and clinicians. The platform will integrate […]

Engineering the boundary between 2D and 3D materials

MIT News  February 26, 2021 The atomic structure at the interface between 2D and 3D materials influences properties such as contact resistance, photo-response, and high-frequency electrical performance. An international team of researchers (USA – MIT, Harvard University, Canada) used epitaxially aligned MoS2/Au as a model system to demonstrate the use of advanced scanning transmission electron microscopy combined with a geometric convolution technique in imaging the crystallographic moiré pattern at the 2D/3D interface. This moiré period is often hidden in conventional electron microscopy, where the Au structure is seen in projection. They showed that charge density is modulated according to the […]

Heat-free optical switch would enable optical quantum computing chips

Nanowerk  March 3, 2021 In quantum integrated photonics integrated detectors offer optical readout and when interfaced with reconfigurable circuits, allow feedback and adaptive control, crucial for deterministic quantum teleportation, training of neural networks, and stabilization of complex circuits. However, the heat generated by thermally reconfigurable photonics is incompatible with heat-sensitive superconducting single-photon detectors, and thus their on-chip co-integration remains elusive. An international team of researchers (Sweden, Austria) has designed low-power microelectromechanical reconfiguration of integrated photonic circuits interfaced with superconducting single-photon detectors on the same chip. They demonstrated three key functionalities for photonic quantum technologies: 28 dB high-extinction routing of classical […]

Intriguing particles emerge when two photons couple

EurekAlert  March 2, 2021 An international team of researchers (UK, Russia) has reported a way to create quasiparticles that bind together two differently coloured particles of light. They have named these formations photon-photon polaritons. They tuned a laser to the specific resonance frequency where a photon is expected to be absorbed, yet no resonance absorption happened. Instead, the photon-photon interaction made up two new resonance frequencies away from the old one. The microresonator provided a whole set of split resonances, where each photon-photon pair displayed its own momentum and energy, allowing the researchers to apply the quasiparticle concept and calculate […]

Magnetic whirls in confined spaces

Nanowerk  March 4, 2021 An international team of researchers (Germany, China) experimentally probed the dramatic influence of confinement on diffusion and study the skyrmion diffusion in confined geometries varying both the symmetry of the elements and the number of skyrmions within the element, studying the evolution from a sparse population to a fully lattice‐like situation and skyrmion population. In the triangular geometry, they found that the dynamics varies drastically for numbers of skyrmions that can form a regular order, thus being commensurate with the geometry, as compared to numbers of skyrmions that are incommensurate with the geometry. The findings confirm experimentally […]

On calm days, sunlight warms the ocean surface and drives turbulence

Science Daily  March 1, 2021 Over land, afternoon warming can lead to atmospheric convection and turbulence resulting in thunderstorms. Over the ocean, the afternoon convection also draws water vapor from the ocean surface to moisten the atmosphere and form clouds. The warming over the ocean is more subtle and gets stronger when the wind is weak. A team of researchers in the US (Oregon State University, NOAA Boulder Co) gathered lidar data around the clock for about two months. At one point, surface temperatures warmed each afternoon for four straight days with calm wind speeds, giving researchers the right conditions […]