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Digital metamaterial bits for simpler optical elements
15 Dec | MRS BulletinFull Text External Link Indicator
In this Information Age, digital electronics have become a crucial part of our everyday lives. Binary, or Boolean, logic has become ubiquitous in a society so closely affi liated with personal
electronics. The deceptively simple nature of the mathematical structure that uses 1s and 0s has enabled applications across a range of varied scientific fields.

In the September 14 issue of Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038/NMAT4082), researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have proposed new methods of producing optical system designs
using digital metamaterial “bits” and “bytes.” Using simulations constructed with the COMSOL Multiphysics software, the researchers simulated the effective permittivity of two-component structures they label as metamaterial bytes; these were generated in both two-dimensional (2D) rectangular and concentric core–shell configurations. Each byte consisted of two bits, here comprising Ag and SiO2. It was seen that by altering factors such as bit order,
relative bit size, and orientation of the incident wave’s electric-field polarization, significant changes in the effective permittivity of the byte could be achieved. Additionally, permittivity values could be produced anywhere between the values of the two bits or even outside that range. Thus, it was demonstrated that, given the right conditions, a wide range of effective permittivity values could be produced from just two materials. Furthermore, the electromagnetic wave scattering from the digital bytes was found to be comparable to analogous homogenized structures." Ian McDonald
Authorea Nabs $610k For Its Bid To Become A ‘Google Docs For Scientists’
23 Sep | TechCrunchFull Text External Link Indicator
"Authorea, a startup that’s aiming to shake up the staid scientific publication process — of learned journals and lengthy peer reviews — with a digital collaboration platform that encourages more immediate knowledge-sharing in the scientific research community, has closed a $610,000 seed round, jointly led by ff Venture Capital and NY Angels." by Natasha Lomas
Photonic router is a step toward quantum computing
11 Sep | MRS BulletinFull Text External Link Indicator
"Weizmann Institute scientists take another step down the long road
toward quantum computers as they demonstrate a photonic router: a quantum device based on a single atom that enables routing of single photons by single photons. At the core of the device is an atom that can switch between two states, as reported in the July 10 online edition of Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1254699). The state is set just by sending a single particle of light—or photon—from the right or the left through an optical fiber. The atom, in response, then reflects or transmits the next incoming photon accordingly. For example, in one state, a photon coming from the right continues on its path to the left, whereas a photon coming from the left is refl ected backwards, causing the atomic state to fl ip. In this reversed state, the atom lets photons coming from the left continue in the same direction, while any photon coming from the right is refl ected backwards, flipping the atomic state back again. This atom based
switch is solely operated by single photons—no additional external fields are required."
Mechanical metamaterials produce ultralight, ultrastiff lattices
11 Sep | MRS BulletinFull Text External Link Indicator
"The word “metamaterial” conjures up visions of matter interacting with electromagnetic waves to bend the waves around objects, producing a “cloaking device” that hides the object from detection.
But the “mechanical metamaterials” that Chris Spadaccini’s group at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Nicholas Fang’s team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on aim to avoid bending as much as possible—mechanical bending, that is.
Instead, by causing forces to distribute only in stretching or compression modes along the struts of an octet truss, they have
fabricated ultralight, ultrastiff materials from polymers, metals, and ceramics. These materials could have applications in automobiles and aircraft, among other applications, where lightweighting could help conserve fuel without giving up strength." Tim Palucka
Sizing Solar Energy Harvesters for Wireless Sensor Network
01 Sep | EEWebFull Text External Link Indicator
"This application note presents Energy Harvesting as a means to power Wireless Sensing Network (WSN) device. The document describes the energy available, which only comes from only four choices namely temperature differential, vibration light (indoor and out) and the RF energy. It also presents the choice of PV cells, how much energy can be extracted, which is shown through calculations, the energy storage and the amount of storage and harvesting that is required."
Emerging Metamaterials Offer Remarkable Properties, Will Go Mainstream in 2024
29 Aug | Lux ResearchFull Text External Link Indicator
"Cost-effective manufacturing will be key to commercial adoption of novel materials that can help create devices like superlenses and improved antennas, says Lux Research" Carole Jacques
How D-Wave Built Quantum Computing Hardware for the Next Generation
17 Jul | IEEE SpectrumFull Text External Link Indicator
"One second is here and gone before most of us can think about it. But a delay of one second can seem like an eternity in a quantum computer capable of running calculations in millionths of a second. That's why engineers at D-Wave Systems worked hard to eliminate the one-second computing delay that existed in the D-Wave One—the first-generation version of what the company describes as the world's first commercial quantum computer.

Such lessons learned from operating D-Wave One helped shape the hardware design of D-Wave Two, a second-generation machine that has already been leased by customers such as Google, NASA, and Lockheed Martin. Such machines have not yet proven that they can definitely outperform classical computers in a way that would support D-Wave's particular approach to building quantum computers. But the hardware design philosophy behind D-Wave's quantum computing architecture points to how researchers could build increasingly more powerful quantum computers in the future." By Jeremy Hsu
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

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