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One Atom + Two Photons = Quantum Computing Switch
17 Jul | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"A scheme that uses a single atom to switch the direction of a single photon could pave the way toward quantum computers much more powerful than today’s machines." By Neil Savage
Perovskite Is the New Black in the Solar World
26 Jun | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"All the cool solar-cell scientists are working on perovskite photovoltaics". By Mark Peplow
Quantum Cascade Laser at the Heart of Spectrometer on a Chip
19 Jun | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"Mid-infrared spectrometry can assist chemical sensing, environmental monitoring, and disease diagnosis. Conventional mid-infrared spectrometers are highly developed, but sometimes bulky, assemblies: a broadband thermal emitter, an interferometer, a separate broadband detector, external optics, and a sample cell, feeding in to Fourier-transform analyzer to break the signal down and analyze absorption at a variety of frequencies.

Sometimes, though, you need quick answers when far from the laboratory. A research team at the Technical University of Vienna (TU Wien) is designing a single-chip device to meet what the leader of the team calls the “challenging task” of making “mid-infrared spectroscopy accessible to remote areas, where conventional power supply and laboratory equipment” are rare or nonexistent.

Benedikt Schwarz, lab chief Gottfried Strasser, and their colleagues at the university’s Institute for Solid State Electronics and Center for Micro- and Nanostructures have built an easy-to-fabricate lab-on-a-chip that integrates a mid-infrared (6.5-micrometers wavelength) laser, a plasmonic waveguide (which also functions as a sample chamber), and a detector into a device that can identify components in gases or liquids by their absorption signatures." By Douglas McCormick
Error Correction Moves Quantum Computing Closer to Reality
30 May | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"A new superconducting system operates with 99 percent accuracy." By Jeremy Hsu
Quantum Cryptography with Ordinary Equipment
30 May | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"Researchers in Japan have come up with a way of doing quantum cryptography that could overcome two of the technology's big problems. The new protocol is designed to work with off-the-shelf equipment and use less bandwidth than existing methods. It’s just a mathematical proposal, but it could help make quantum key distribution more commercially viable." By Martin LaMonica
Quantum Cryptography Done Over Shared Data Line
01 May | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"Researchers have sent quantum keys over a "lit" fiber-optic network, a step towards using quantum cryptography on the networks businesses and institutions use every day." By Martin LaMonica
Supercapacitor-Enhanced Hybrid Storage to Earn Cash for Subways
17 Apr | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"A moving train represents a significant amount of energy, which is often lost as carriages slow to stop at a station. Trains in the Philadelphia subway are not only capturing that energy in banks of batteries but also selling it to the local grid operator. This fall, it’ll be capturing even more energy—maybe earning more money from grid operators—because it plans to upgrade the system with a hybrid of both lithium ion batteries and supercapacitors." By Martin LaMonica
Quantum Computing Experiment Adds "Control Knob" for D-Wave Machine
04 Apr | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"D-Wave's claim to having built the world's first commercial quantum computers depends upon the workings of helium-cooled machines chilled to just 20 millikelvin (-273 degrees C).That frigid temperature is necessary to prevent thermal "noise" from overwhelming any quantum effects that might be present in the machines. But now researchers have come up with a "tunable noise knob" that allows them to collect a wider range of experimental data to test whether D-Wave's machines actually harness the spooky effects of quantum mechanics in their computing processes" Jeremy Hsu
Graphene Gives You Infrared Vision in a Contact Lens
20 Mar | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"It sounds like something from a spy thriller movie: putting on a contact lens that gives you infrared vision without the need for a bulky contraption that covers your face. But now, thanks to research at the University of Michigan, such a contact lens is a real possibility." By Dexter Johnson