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Science & Technology News Bulletin

Every week, we editorially select the best S&T stories released from major news outlets. These stories are then ranked and posted (with appropriate credit and references to the originals) on our Blog by Friday afternoon. Hema Viswanath curates this content and has been doing so for ASDR&E's Office of Net Technical Assessments and Office of Technical Intelligence for over seven years before performing the same work for us. Currently, we are experimenting with distributing this content through a free, advertising-supported model. We intend to continue experimenting using paywalls, direct e-mail subscriptions and donations. Hosting this content is important to us and we would like to retain it on at least a revenue-neutral basis. We are also experimenting with enriching the content to make it more relevant to our Government clients.

Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of April 3, 2020

01. Physicist from Hannover develops new photon source for tap-proof communication
02. Extreme high-frequency signals enable terabits-per-second data links
03. Quantum copycat: Researchers find a new way in which bosons behave like fermions
04. Quantum-entangled light from a vibrating membrane
05. Researchers catch light in a funnel
06. Smaller scale solutions needed for rapid progress towards emissions targets
07. World record transmission of 172 Tb/s over 2040km distance coupled-3-core multi-core fiber
08. An all-organic proton battery energized for sustainable energy storage
09. Scientists electrify aluminum to speed up important process
10. Graphene-based actuator swarm enables programmable deformation

And others…

Does relativity lie at the source of quantum exoticism?
Energy-harvesting design aims to turn Wi-Fi signals into usable power
How to Design a Perpetual Energy Machine
“Living drug factories” might treat diabetes and other diseases
Novel graphene-based filters to make gas purification more effective

Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of March 27, 2020

01. An MIT team hopes to publish open-source designs for a low-cost ventilator
02. Graphene underpins a new platform to selectively ID deadly strains of bacteria
03. Solitonics in molecular wires could benefit electronics
04. Creating stretchable thermoelectric generators
05. Novel MOF is potential next-gen semiconductor
06. Special blend of circuits and memristive devices created for brain-mimicking processing systems
07. Here’s a Blueprint for a Practical Quantum Computer
08. Scientists Find Yet Another Way to Get Qubits Working at Room Temperature
09. Study unveils dependence of spin memory loss in a variety of interfaces
10. Towards an unhackable quantum internet

And others…

ACM launches industry-focused journal on digital threats
Buildings grown by bacteria: New research to turn cells into mini-factories for materials
COVID-19 needs a Manhattan Project
Forecasting COVID-19’s Trajectory
Scientific infrastructure for virus research

Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of March 20, 2020

01. BAA for COVID-19 Diagnostics, Vaccines and Therapeutics
02. Qubits that operate at room temperature
03. Research team presents novel transmitter for terahertz waves
04. Chip-based devices improve practicality of quantum-secured communication
05. Leaf-inspired surface prevents frost formation
06. Novel error-correction scheme developed for quantum computers
07. Study shows widely used machine learning methods don’t work as claimed
08. Pathways toward realizing the promise of all-solid-state batteries
09. Stretchable supercapacitors to power tomorrow’s wearable devices
10. Chasing the Antidote for Deadly Nerve Agents

And others…

For 75 Years, The US Had an ‘Endless Frontier’ of Science. Now It’s Coming to an End
Li-Fi Scrubs Into the Operating Room
Over 24,000 coronavirus research papers are now available in one place
Publishers try out alternative pathways to open access
Scientists Recommend These 4 ‘Weapons’ in Our War Against Climate Change

Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of March 13, 2020

And others…

RECENT POSTS

Top 10 Science and Technology Inventions for the Week of April 3, 2020

01. Physicist from Hannover develops new photon source for tap-proof communication
02. Extreme high-frequency signals enable terabits-per-second data links
03. Quantum copycat: Researchers find a new way in which bosons behave like fermions
04. Quantum-entangled light from a vibrating membrane
05. Researchers catch light in a funnel
06. Smaller scale solutions needed for rapid progress towards emissions targets
07. World record transmission of 172 Tb/s over 2040km distance coupled-3-core multi-core fiber
08. An all-organic proton battery energized for sustainable energy storage
09. Scientists electrify aluminum to speed up important process
10. Graphene-based actuator swarm enables programmable deformation

And others…

Does relativity lie at the source of quantum exoticism?
Energy-harvesting design aims to turn Wi-Fi signals into usable power
How to Design a Perpetual Energy Machine
“Living drug factories” might treat diabetes and other diseases
Novel graphene-based filters to make gas purification more effective

An all-organic proton battery energized for sustainable energy storage

EurekAlert  April 2, 2020
Researchers in Sweden have developed a battery using quinones, which occurs in photosynthesis, as the active material. It has the ability to absorb or emit hydrogen ions during charging and discharging. An acidic aqueous solution was used as an electrolyte. They demonstrated the battery can be easily charged using a solar cell without the help of advanced electronics and it is unaffected by ambient temperature. The battery retains properties such as capacity down to as low as -24°C… read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Schematic representation of the all‐organic battery concept, chemical structures/naming and polymerization method. Credit: Angewandte Chemie International edition, 17 March 2020

Does relativity lie at the source of quantum exoticism?

Phys.org  April 2, 2020
In quantum mechanics inherent randomness happens without any cause. Randomness that appears in non-relativistic quantum theory tacitly respects relativity, for example, it makes instantaneous signaling impossible. An international team of researchers (Poland, Singapore, UK) argues that this is because the special theory of relativity can itself account for such a random behavior. They show that the full mathematical structure of the Lorentz transformation, the one which includes the superluminal part, implies the emergence of non-deterministic dynamics, together with complex probability amplitudes and multiple trajectories. This indicates that the connections between the two seemingly different theories are deeper and more subtle than previously thought…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE

The evolution of probabilities and the “impossible” phenomena of quantum mechanics may have their origins in the special theory of relativity, as suggested by physicists from universities in Warsaw and Oxford. Credit: FUW

Energy-harvesting design aims to turn Wi-Fi signals into usable power

Phys.org  March 30,2020
Existing rectifiers are mostly based on semiconductor diodes, with limited applicability to small-voltage or high-frequency inputs. Researchers at MIT
present an alternative approach to current rectification that uses the intrinsic electronic properties of quantum crystals without using semiconductor junctions. They identified a previously unknown mechanism for rectification from skew scattering due to the inherent chirality of itinerant electrons in time-reversal invariant but inversion-breaking materials. Their calculations reveal large, tunable rectification effects in graphene multilayers and transition metal dichalcogenides. Their work demonstrates the possibility of realizing high-frequency rectifiers by rational material design and quantum wave function engineering…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

A cellphone add-on that passively soaks up ambient T-rays and uses their energy to charge your phone. Credit: José-Luis Olivares, MIT

Extreme high-frequency signals enable terabits-per-second data links

Phys.com  March 31, 2020
A team of researchers in the US (Brown University, industry) tested sending extremely high-frequency 200 GHz signals through a device with two wires running parallel inside a sheath with a large diameter that facilitates increased mixing of the waveguide modes. These mixtures enable the transmission of parallel noninterfering data channels. They demonstrated that the waveguide could support a data rate of 10 terabits per second. Their work demonstrates the feasibility of this approach to high-rate data transmission…read more.

A 13- by 13-millimeter measurement for each of the 169 possible locations of the signal input location of the waveguide. These measurements reveal multiple maxima in each 13×13 spot… Credit: The authors

Graphene-based actuator swarm enables programmable deformation

Nanowerk  April 1, 2020
Graphene-based actuators featuring fast and reversible deformation under various external stimuli are promising for soft robotics. However, these bimorph actuators are incapable of complex and programmable 3D deformation, which limits their practical application. Researchers in China fabricated a moisture-responsive graphene actuator swarm that has programmable shape-changing capability by programming the SU-8 patterns underneath with specific geometries and orientations on a continuous graphene oxide film, forming a swarm of bimorph actuators. They achieved predictable and complex deformations including bending, twisting, coiling, asymmetric bending, 3D folding and the combination of them due to the collective coupling and coordination of the actuator swarm. This work expands the capabilities of existing bimorph actuators for applications in various smart devices…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE 

Schematic illustration of the fabrication of patterned SU-8/GO bilayer film using UV lithography. Credit: Image: Science China Press

How to Design a Perpetual Energy Machine

Quanta Magazine  April 1, 2020
It is a tradition among puzzle columnists to pay homage to April Fools’ Day by testing the credulity of their readers with outrageous propositions. The late (and great) Martin Gardner, who authored the famous monthly column Mathematical Games in Scientific American for a quarter century, once used an April column to describe a thought experiment that purported to falsify the special theory of relativity. It was a version of the bar and ring paradox. Special relativity is still hale and hearty, but the thought experiment seems convincing at first glance. In the spirit of this tradition, here are two delicious paradoxes for you to get to the bottom of…read more.
IMAGE
https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2020/04/Impossible-System_2880x1620_Lede.jpg

“Living drug factories” might treat diabetes and other diseases

MIT News  March 30, 2020
To have a living drug factory that you can implant cells in patients, which could secrete drugs as-needed a team of researchers in the US (MIT, Boston Children’s Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center, UMass Worcester) devised a way to protect the transplanted cells from the immune system by housing them inside a device built out of a silicon-based elastomer (polydimethylsiloxane) and a special porous membrane. The device contains a porous membrane that allows the transplanted cells to obtain nutrients and oxygen from the bloodstream but the pores are small enough so that immune cells such as T cells can’t get in and attack the transplanted cells. They showed that transplanted rat islets inside microdevices maintained normal blood glucose levels in the mice for more than 10 weeks. Human embryonic kidney cells that were engineered to produce erythropoietin survived in mice for at least the 19-week duration of the experiment…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

MIT researchers have devised a way to encapsulate therapeutic cells, such as pancreatic islet cells, to treat diabetes, in a flexible protective device. Image: Felice Franke

Novel graphene-based filters to make gas purification more effective

Nanowerk  March 27, 2020
Precise molecular sieving is potentially possible using graphene oxide‐based membranes, if the porosity can be matched with the kinetic diameters of the gas molecules, which is possible via the tuning of graphene oxide interlayer spacing to take advantage of gas species interactions with graphene oxide channels. An international team of researchers (Australia, South Korea) have shown highly effective separation of gases from their mixtures by using uniquely tailored porosity in mildly reduced graphene oxide (rGO) based membranes. The study will lead to new avenues for the applications of graphene for efficiently separating CO2 from N2 and other gases…read more. TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Physicist from Hannover develops new photon source for tap-proof communication

EurekAlert  March 27, 2020
Sources of entangled photons have been realized mainly in the near-infrared 700- to 1550-nm spectral window. Using custom-designed lithium niobate crystals for spontaneous parametric down-conversion and tailored superconducting nanowire single-photon detectors an international team of researchers (UK, Japan, Germany) has demonstrated two-photon interference and polarization-entangled photon pairs at 2090 nm. These results open the 2- to 2.5-μm mid-infrared window for the development of optical quantum technologies such as quantum key distribution in next-generation mid-infrared fiber communication systems and future Earth-to-satellite communications much more secure in the future….read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Generation of polarization entangled photon pairs at a wavelength of 2.1 micrometres. Credit: Michael Kues/PQT