Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have reported a way to measure the amount of laser light needed to shift the electrons in a type of quantum dot between two discrete states—a low energy, ground state and a higher energy, excited state. Quantum dots may be able to serve as the ones and zeros in a quantum computer, once physicists have the ability to turn them "on" and "off". NIST's and NREL's new technique measures the dipole moment directly by enclosing the dots in a cavity, a dimming laser light pulse passing over them repeatedly. This in turn helps measure the dipole moment, indicating how easy the dots are to excite. For details, go to http://nist.gov.
Two different shape-shifting polymers have been announced from two different universities: Wyss Institute at Harvard University and Zhejiang University in eastern China. Both of them change their shapes when immersed in water, and the one from Wyss Institute was made with 3D-printing techniques.
When you think of the DARPA Robotics Challenge, you may imagine complex humanoid contraptions made of metal and wires that move like a Terminator Series T-90. But what actually happened at the much-vaunted event was something just a bit different.
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