Bruce Wessels wants to increase the data transmission connection on your computer. The Northwestern University professor of material science and engineering patented a device and material for integrated optic circuits. He says his thin-film electro-optical modulator provides a faster way to transmit information. Wessels uses a metal-organic molecular beam epitaxy apparatus for the thin-film deposition. In addition to the modulators, Wessels and associate professor Seng-Tiong Ho developed wave guides and optical amplifiers using ferroelectric material. They point out that bulk crystals used in optical circuits now have limits and their thin film is superior because it enables high-speed operations with low voltage for less expense. The researchers demonstrated that their thin-film modulators work at frequencies up to 20 gigahertz. SVT Associates is working with Wessels to develop and commercialize the technology. For more information, go to www.northwestern.edu.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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