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New Technologies

New Technologies

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Published by: sumanth on Jul 13, 2010
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10/12/2012

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A New Focus for Light ......................................................................................................................1Augmented Reality ............................................................................................................................2Digital Imaging, Reimagined ............................................................................................................3Invisible Revolution ..........................................................................................................................3 Nanocharging Solar ...........................................................................................................................5 Nanohealing ......................................................................................................................................6 Neuron Control ..................................................................................................................................8Peering into Video's Future ...............................................................................................................9Personalized Medical Monitors ......................................................................................................11Single-Cell Analysis ........................................................................................................................12A Smarter Web ................................................................................................................................14193nm immersion lithography: Status and challenges ...................................................................21Ultrafast laser fabricates high-index-contrast structures in glass ...................................................27 New approach allows integration of biosensors into electronics ...................................................29Shaping gold nanorods for plasmonic applications ........................................................................33Waveguiding by subwavelength arrays of active quantum dots .....................................................35Liquid-crystal-based devices manipulate ........................................................................................37terahertz-frequency radiation .........................................................................................................37 New molecules may improve the performance of optical devices .................................................39Optical wavefront measurement using a novel phase-shifting point-diffraction interferometer ...41A Mathematical Solution for Another Dimension ..........................................................................44A Single-Photon Server with Just One Atom .................................................................................45Double-negative metamaterial edges towards the visible ..............................................................46From Diatoms to Gas Sensors .........................................................................................................47Gamma-Ray Burst Challenges Theory ...........................................................................................50Magnifying superlenses show more detail than before ..................................................................51Physicists shine a light, produce startling liquid jet .......................................................................52Flexible Batteries That Never Need to Be Recharged ....................................................................54The LXI Standard: Past, Present and Future ..................................................................................55
 
A New Focus for Light
Researchers trying to make high-capacity DVDs, as well as more-powerful computer chips andhigher-resolution optical microscopes, have for years run up against the "diffraction limit." Thelaws of physics dictate that the lenses used to direct light beams cannot focus them onto a spotwhose diameter is less than half the light's wavelength. Physicists have been able to get around thediffraction limit in the lab--but the systems they've devised have been too fragile and complicatedfor practical use. Now Harvard University electrical engineers led by Kenneth Crozier andFederico Capasso have discovered a simple process that could bring the benefits of tightly focusedlight beams to commercial applications. By adding nanoscale "optical antennas" to a commerciallyavailable laser, Crozier and Capasso have focused infrared light onto a spot just 40 nanometerswide--one-twentieth the light's wavelength. Such optical antennas could one day make possibleDVD-like discs that store 3.6 terabytes of data--the equivalent of more than 750 of today's 4.7-gigabyte recordable DVDs.Crozier and Capasso build their device by first depositing an insulating layer onto the light-emitting edge of the laser. Then they add a layer of gold. They carve away most of the gold,leaving two rectangles of only 130 by 50 nanometers, with a 30-nanometer gap between them.These form an antenna. When light from the laser strikes the rectangles, the antenna has whatCapasso calls a "lightning-rod effect": an intense electrical field forms in the gap, concentratingthe laser's light onto a spot the same width as the gap."The antenna doesn't impose design constraints on the laser," Capasso says, because it can beadded to off-the-shelf semiconductor lasers, commonly used in CD drives. The team has alreadydemonstrated the antennas with several types of lasers, each producing a different wavelength of light. The researchers have discussed the technology with storage-device companies Seagate andHitachi Global Storage Technologies.Another application could be in photolithography, says Gordon Kino, professor emeritus of electrical engineering at Stanford University. This is the method typically used to make siliconchips, but the lasers that carve out ever-smaller features on silicon are also constrained by thediffraction limit. Electron-beam lithography, the technique that currently allows for the smallestchip features, requires a large machine that costs millions of dollars and is too slow to be used inmass production. "This is a hell of a lot simpler," says Kino of Crozier and Capasso's technique,which relies on a laser that costs about $50.But before the antennas can be used for lithography, the engineers will need to make them evensmaller: the size of the antennas must be tailored to the wavelength of the light they focus.Crozier and Capasso's experiments have used infrared lasers, and photolithography relies onshorter-wavelength ultraviolet light. In order to inscribe circuitry on microchips, the researchersmust create antennas just 50 nanometers long.Capasso and Crozier's optical antennas could have far-reaching and unpredictable implications,from superdense optical storage to superhigh-resolution optical microscopes. Enabling engineersto simply and cheaply break the diffraction limit has made the many applications that rely on lightshine that much brighter.http://www.techreview.com/Infotech/18295/
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Augmented Reality
Markus Kähäri wants to superimpose digital information on the real world.Finding your way around a new city can be exasperating: juggling maps and guidebooks, trying tofigure out where you are on roads with no street signs, talking with locals who give directions byreferring to unfamiliar landmarks. If you're driving, a car with a GPS navigation system can makethings easier, but it still won't help you decide, say, which restaurant suits both your palate andyour budget. Engineers at the Nokia Research Center in Helsinki, Finland, hope that a projectcalled Mobile Augmented Reality Applications will help you get where you're going--and decidewhat to do once you're there.Last October, a team led by Markus Kähäri unveiled a prototype of the system at the InternationalSymposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality. The team added a GPS sensor, a compass, andaccelerometers to a Nokia smart phone. Using data from these sensors, the phone can calculate thelocation of just about any object its camera is aimed at. Each time the phone changes location, itretrieves the names and geographical coördinates of nearby landmarks from an external database.The user can then download additional information about a chosen location from the Web--say, thenames of businesses in the Empire State Building, the cost of visiting the building's observatories,or hours and menus for its five eateries.The Nokia project builds on more than a decade of academic research into mobile augmentedreality. Steven Feiner, the director of Columbia University's Computer Graphics and User Interfaces Laboratory, undertook some of the earliest research in the field and finds the Nokia project heartening. "The big missing link when I started was a small computer," he says. "Thosesmall computers are now cell phones."Despite the availability and fairly low cost of the sensors the Nokia team used, some engineers believe that they introduce too much complexity for a commercial application. "In my opinion,this is very exotic hardware to provide," says Valentin Lefevre, chief technology officer andcofounder of Total Immersion, an augmented-reality company in Suresnes, France. "That's whywe think picture analysis is the solution." Relying on software alone, Total Immersion's system begins with a single still image of whatever object the camera is aimed at, plus a rough digitalmodel of that object; image-recognition algorithms then determine what data should be super-imposed on the image. The company is already marketing a mobile version of its system to cell- phone operators in Asia and Europe and expects the system's first applications to be in gaming andadvertising. Nokia researchers have begun working on real-time image-recognition algorithms as well; theyhope the algorithms will eliminate the need for location sensors and improve their system'saccuracy and reliability. "Methods that don't rely on those components can be more robust," saysKari Pulli, a research fellow at the Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto, CA.All parties agree, though, that mobile augmented reality is nearly ready for the market. "For mobile-phone applications, the technology is here," says Feiner. One challenge is convincingcarriers such as Sprint or Verizon that customers would pay for augmented-reality services. "If some big operator in the U.S. would launch this, it could fly today," Pulli says.http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?ch=specialsections&sc=emerging&id=18291
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