Human devices, from light bulbs to iPods, send information using electrons. Human bodies and all other living things, on the other hand, send signals and perform work using ions or protons. Materials scientists at the University of Washington have built a novel transistor that uses protons, creating a key piece for devices that can communicate directly with living things.
Inducing and controlling magnetization in ferromagnetic semiconductors using electric rather than magnetic fields could lead to smaller and more energy-efficient spintronic devices. Until now, however, this electrical control has only been achieved at cryogenic temperatures in magnetic semiconductors. Scientists in Japan have now extended electrical control all the way up to ambient temperature in cobalt-doped titanium dioxide, paving the way for room-temperature spintronics.
A radical new way of making structures visible at the nano level has been developed at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. This new method makes it possible to determine with precision the arrangement of atoms and molecules in a diverse range of materials from cement to pharmaceuticals.
To cost-effectively protect the climate, not only an emissions trading scheme but also financial support for new technologies is needed. Economising on targeted funding, for example for renewable energies, makes climate protection more expensive - as scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research now calculated for the first time, using a complex computer simulation that spans the entire 21st century.
Controlling the behavior of nanoparticles can be just as difficult trying to wrangle a group of teenagers. However, a new study has given scientists insight into how tweaking a nanoparticle's attractive electronic qualities can lead to the creation of ordered uniform supraparticles'.
Australian researchers have engineered one of the world's smallest ever nanowires for the next generation of telecommunication technology, bringing them one step closer to the holy grail of optics - the creation of a 'photonic chip' which would lead to a faster, more sustainable internet.
Stephen Curry has made a film by interviewing six scientists who are at different stages of their careers. They were kind enough to share their stories of how they got into science and to talk about why they like doing it and what they think it takes to be a good scientist.