EU funding for information society technologies (IST) research under the Sixth Framework Programme has helped make Europe a world leader in a number of key areas, including high-speed networking and nano-electronics. Nevertheless, systemic changes are urgently needed to remove the remaining barriers to innovation which are preventing the full exploitation of research results.
Sales of the curlicue, energy-sipping bulbs, which previously had languished since they were introduced in the United States in 1979, reached nearly 300 million last year. There is just one catch to this energy conservation story: Each CFL contains a small amount (3 to 5 milligrams) of mercury, a neurotoxin that can be released as vapor when a bulb is broken.
Cornell researchers have developed a method to self-assemble metals into complex nanostructures. Applications include making more efficient and cheaper catalysts for fuel cells and industrial processes and creating microstructured surfaces to make new types of conductors that would carry more information across microchips than conventional wires do.
Scientists at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), collaborating collaborating with researchers from the German universities of Jena, Gottingen, and Bremen, have developed a new technique for fabricating nanowire photonic and electronic integrated circuits that may one day be suitable for high-volume commercial production.
As part of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), MIT and Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, are forming an energy research collaboration aimed at exploring new materials and concepts for efficient energy-conversion and energy-storage systems.
Recent findings by medical researchers indicate that naturally occurring nanotubes may serve as tunnels that protect retroviruses and bacteria in transit from diseased to healthy cells - a fact that may explain why vaccines fare poorly against some invaders.
Tiny particles of silver designed to kill germs are being put into socks to control odor. But as a recent story on ScienCentral explains, what happens to that nanosilver later is concerning some scientists.