David Kirkpatrick

October 17, 2008

Transformation optics promise big payoff

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged on the possibility of a “cloak of invisibility,” so this PhysOrg article caught my eye. It covers a research field known as transformation optics, and the promise there is great. We’re talking the aforementioned cloak, plusultra-powerful microscopes and computers. All this is done by harnessing nanotechnology and “metamaterials.”

From the second link:

The field, which applies mathematical principles similar to those in Einstein’s theory of general relativity, will be described in an article to be published Friday (Oct. 17) in the journal Science. The article will appear in the magazine’s Perspectives section and was written by Vladimir Shalaev, Purdue’s Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The list of possible breakthroughs includes a cloak of invisibility; computers and consumer electronics that use light instead of electronic signals to process information; a “planar hyperlens” that could make optical microscopes 10 times more powerful and able to see objects as small as DNA; advanced sensors; and more efficient solar collectors.

“Transformation optics is a new way of manipulating and controlling light at all distances, from the macro- to the nanoscale, and it represents a new paradigm for the science of light,” Shalaev said. “Although there were early works that helped to develop the basis for transformation optics, the field was only recently established thanks in part to papers by Sir John Pendry at the Imperial College, London, and Ulf Leonhardt at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and their co-workers.”

August 28, 2008

Self-assembling nanostructures through chemistry

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:09 pm

From KurzweilAI.net — this is quite a breakthrough in simplifying nanotech assembly:

Big step in tiny technology
PhysOrg.com, Aug. 27, 2008

University of St Andrews researchers have developed a method of creating self-assembling nanostructures just one molecule thick — no sophisticated equipment or special environment (such as a high vacuum) required — as an alternative to conventional lithography, which is imprecise on a scale of a few nanometers.

(Manfred Buck)

The solution-based chemistry method assembles molecules into tiny dimples, themselves created when molecules self-assemble into a honeycomb-shaped network on a gold surface.

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March 7, 2008

Artificial black hole created

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:59 pm

From KurzweilAI.net

Artificial black hole created in lab
physicswolrd, Mar. 6, 2008University of St Andrews physicists are the first to create an artificial black-hole system in which Hawking radiation could be detected.

The experiment used the refractive index of a fiber optic as the analogy for a gravitational field of a real black hole.
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