Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of September 18, 2020

01. First Photonic Quantum Computer on the Cloud 02. Highly sensitive trigger enables rapid detection of biological agents 03. New algorithm signals a possible disease resurgence 04. Physicists ‘trick’ photons into behaving like electrons using a ‘synthetic’ magnetic field 05. Single atom-thin platinum makes a great chemical sensor 06. Space communication: developing a one photon-per-bit receiver using near-noiseless phase-sensitive amplification 07. Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller 08. Physicists discover new magnetoelectric effect 09. Collaboration yields promising material for quantum computing 10. Engineers improve signal processing for small fiber optic cables    And others… Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Is in Serious […]

Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Is in Serious Danger, New Research Confirms

Science Alert  September 17, 2020 The Thwaites, a Britain-sized glacier in western Antarctica, is melting at an alarming rate: It is retreating by about half a mile per year. Scientists estimate the glacier will lose all its ice in about 200 to 600 years. When it does, it will raise sea levels by about 1.6-2 feet. Right now, the glacier acts as a buffer between the warming sea and other glaciers. Its collapse could bring neighbouring ice masses in western Antarctica down with it. Added up, that process would raise sea levels by nearly 10 feet, permanently submerging many coastal […]

Anti-reflective nanocoating inspired by fly eyes

Nanowerk  September 16, 2020 Insect eyes have an anti-reflective coating which has been shown to provide anti-adhesive functionality. Researchers in Switzerland demonstrated a clear link between the morphology and function of the nanocoatings on Drosophila corneas. They found that nanocoatings that consist of individual protrusions have better anti-reflective properties, whereas partially merged structures have better anti-adhesion properties. Using biochemical analysis and genetic modification techniques they reverse engineered the protein Retinin and corneal waxes as the building blocks of the nanostructures and established low-cost production of Retinin. Mixing this synthetic protein with waxes they forward engineered various artificial nanocoatings with insect-like […]

Collaboration yields promising material for quantum computing  September 16, 2020 A one-dimensional topological superconductor with Majorana states bound to its ends can be realized by coupling a semiconductor nanowire to a superconductor in the presence of a strong magnetic field. However, the applied magnetic fields are detrimental to superconductivity, and constrain device layout, components, materials, fabrication, and operation. Using a ferromagnetic insulator instead of an applied field was theoretically proposed. Researchers in Denmark report transport measurements in hybrid nanowires using epitaxial layers of superconducting Al and the ferromagnetic insulator EuS on semiconducting InAs nanowires. They infer a remanent effective Zeeman field exceeding 1 T and observe stable […]

Engineers improve signal processing for small fiber optic cables

Science Daily  September 16, 2020 A team of researchers in the US (Michigan Technological University, Argonne National Laboratory) explain the quantum and crystallographic origins of a novel surface effect in nonreciprocal optics that improves the processing of optical signals. They found significant differences in the ionic structure between surface and bulk in bismuth-substituted iron garnet materials. They found that the unit cell is elongated normal to the surface, thus enlarging the separation between Fe3+ ions. These ions play a central role in the magneto-optic response of this material. A marked displacement of Fe ions creates gaps at the surface that […]

First Photonic Quantum Computer on the Cloud

IEEE Spectrum  September 9, 2020 A Canadian company working with their US partners has made a quantum computing platform publicly available. Applicants can access 8, 12, and soon 24 qubit machines over the cloud. In the coming months, the company will release a blueprint for photonic quantum computing that is essentially a primer on how to scale to millions of qubits in a fault-tolerant manner. They use continuous variable quantum computing which relies on “squeezed states” consisting of superpositions of multiple photons. Squeezed states take advantage of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle reducing the uncertainty in the measurements of a given variable […]

Highly sensitive trigger enables rapid detection of biological agents

MIT News  September 16, 2020 Researchers at MIT Lincoln Laboratory have developed Rapid Agent Aerosol Detector (RAAD) for the U.S. military’s early warning system for biological warfare agents. It pulls aerosol to cull out the small particles. NIR laser diode creates a structured trigger beam that detects the presence, size, and trajectory of an individual aerosol particle. If the aerosol article is roughly 1 to 10 micrometers a UV laser is activated to illuminate the particle. If the particle seems threat-like, it is vaporized to collect atomic emission to characterize the particle’s elemental content. The steps are integrated into a […]

New algorithm signals a possible disease resurgence

Medical Express  September 16, 2020 Researchers at the University of Georgia used computer simulations to train a supervised learning algorithm to detect the dynamical footprints of (re-)emergence present in epidemiological data. They challenged their algorithm to forecast the slowly manifesting, spatially replicated reemergence of mumps in England in the mid-2000s and pertussis post-1980 in the United States. Their method successfully anticipated mumps reemergence 4 years in advance, during which time mitigation efforts could have been implemented. From 1980 onwards, the model identified resurgent states with increasing accuracy, leading to reliable classification starting in 1992. They successfully applied the detection algorithm […]

New way of controlling conductivity of materials at the nanoscale

Science Daily  September 16, 2020 Scientists routinely manipulate the flow of electrons to make possible smaller components in computers and mobile phones that use barely any electricity. However, some of the most promising concepts seem mutually exclusive inhibiting the creation of a network. An international team of researchers (Norway, Spain, Switzerland, USA – Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UK, Finland) has developed a new approach based on exploiting ‘hidden’ irregularities at the atomic level, anti-Frenkel defects. Anti-Frenkel defects can be manipulated in such a way that changes in the conductivity do not affect the actual structure of the material or change […]

Physicists discover new magnetoelectric effect

Science Daily  September 14, 2020 An international team of researchers (Austria, Russia, the Netherlands) found that in langasite made of lanthanum, gallium, silicon and oxygen, doped with holmium atoms even small changes in the direction of the magnetic field can switch the electrical properties of the material to a completely different state even though it has a crystal structure that is so symmetrical that it should actually not allow any magnetoelectric effect for theoretical reasons. In the case of weak magnetic fields there is no coupling whatsoever with the electrical properties of the crystal. But if the strength of the […]