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A quick switch for magnetic needles

Microscopically tiny ferromagnetic platelets exhibit a phenomenon which could be exploited in the future for particularly stable magnetic data storage: so-called magnetic vortex cores. Five years ago, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems found a way to reverse the magnetic field needles despite their stability using only a tiny amount of energy so that their tips pointed in the opposite direction. Such a switching process is necessary to enable the vortex cores to be used in data processing. The Stuttgart scientists have now discovered a new mechanism which makes this switching process at least 20 times faster and confines it to a far smaller region than before.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Nanostrukturierung mit Halbleiterlasern

Elektronenmikroskope nutzen einen fokussierten Elektronenstrahl, um winzige Objekte sichtbar zu machen. Wird das Instrument mit einem Gasinjektionssystem kombiniert, lassen sich Materialproben manipulieren und nanometerfeine Oberflaechenstrukturen darauf "schreiben". Empa-Forschende haben mit Wissenschaftlern der EPFL diese Methode nun genutzt, um Laser zu verbessern.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Molecular frameworks show potential for better solar cells

Solar cells made from organic materials are inexpensive, lightweight and flexible, but their performance lags behind cells that contain silicon or other inorganic materials. Cornell chemist William Dichtel and colleagues have found a way to synthesize ordered organic films that could be a major step toward solving this problem.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Controlled production of nanometric drops

A new study details the different physical conditions needed to destabilize a fluid and create droplets according to the wetting properties of the surface it is in contact with.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Barriers for researchers trying to bring their nanotechnology innovations to the market

An initiative that aims to complement the support provided by the offices of technology transfer is the European Commission-funded project ProNano - Promoting Technology Transfer of Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies. Ten companies from Spain, Germany, the UK, Italy, Denmark and France have joined forces within ProNano, to help 30 research groups develop attractive investment propositions and get in contact with interested investors.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Better lasers for optical communications

A new laser procedure could boost optical fiber communications. This technique could become essential for the future expansion of the Internet. It also opens up new frontiers in basic research.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Tissue engineers use new system to measure biomaterials, structures

As cells assemble into a doughnut shape and ascend a hydrogel cone, they do work and thereby reveal the total power involved in forming a three-dimensional structure. That measure not only could help tissue engineers understand their living building materials better, but could also add insight to the understanding of natural tissue formation.

Posted: Apr 12th, 2011

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Tandem catalysis in nanocrystal interfaces: Could be a boon to green energy

In a development that holds intriguing possibilities for the future of industrial catalysis, as well as for such promising clean green energy technologies as artificial photosynthesis, researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have created bilayered nanocrystals of ametal-metal oxide that are the first to feature multiple catalytic sites on nanocrystal interfaces. These multiple catalytic sites allow for multiple, sequential catalytic reactions to be carried out selectively and in tandem.

Posted: Apr 11th, 2011

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Caught red-handed - Detection of latent fingerprints through release of fluorescein from a nanofiber mat

When a forensic agent dusts a surface with powder or exposes it to the vapors of an iodine chamber, mystery fans know what is going on: This is how latent fingerprints are made visible so that they can be compared to those of a suspect. Scientists have now developed a new process for especially rapid and simple detection of fingerprints. All it takes is a special nanofiber mat that is pressed onto the suspect surface and briefly treated with hot air - the fingerprints appear as red ridge patterns.

Posted: Apr 11th, 2011

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