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Long-Sought Workaround to Helium Shortage?

Neutron Detection Method

12-Jun-2018

Doctors use X-rays to see inside people, and scientists use neutrons to peer inside advanced materials and devices such as fuel cells to better understand and improve them. But a critical shortage of a rare form of helium used for detecting neutrons—which are difficult to spot directly—threatens ...

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Psst! A whispering gallery for light boosts solar cells

17-Apr-2018

Trapping light with an optical version of a whispering gallery, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a nanoscale coating for solar cells that enables them to absorb about 20 percent more sunlight than uncoated devices. The coating, applied with a ...

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Unexpected effect could lead to lower-power memory, computing devices

20-Mar-2018

An unexpected phenomenon known as zero field switching (ZFS) could lead to smaller, lower-power memory and computing devices than presently possible. The image shows a layering of platinum (Pt), tungsten (W), and a cobalt-iron-boron magnet (CoFeB) sandwiched at the ends by gold (Au) electrodes on ...

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Superconducting synapse may be missing piece for 'artificial brains'

30-Jan-2018

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a superconducting switch that "learns" like a biological system and could connect processors and store memories in future computers operating like the human brain. The NIST switch is called a synapse, like its ...

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Atomic blasting creates new devices to measure nanoparticles

18-Dec-2017

Like sandblasting at the nanometer scale, focused beams of ions ablate hard materials to form intricate three-dimensional patterns. The beams can create tiny features in the lateral dimensions--length and width, but to create the next generation of nanometer-scale devices, the energetic ions must ...

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Channeling graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

12-Dec-2017

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells. ...

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Color me purple, or red, or green, or ...

10-Nov-2017

Imagine a miniature device that suffuses each room in your house with a different hue of the rainbow--purple for the living room, perhaps, blue for the bedroom, green for the kitchen. A team led by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has, for the first time, ...

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Need entangled atoms?

Get 'Em FAST! with NIST's new patent-pending method

09-Nov-2017

Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have come up with a way to link a group of atoms' quantum mechanical properties among themselves far more quickly than is currently possible, potentially providing a tool for highly precise sensing and quantum computer ...

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3-D quantum gas atomic clock offers new dimensions in measurement

09-Oct-2017

JILA physicists have created an entirely new design for an atomic clock, in which strontium atoms are packed into a tiny three-dimensional (3-D) cube at 1,000 times the density of previous one-dimensional (1-D) clocks. In doing so, they are the first to harness the ultra-controlled behavior of a ...

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New method for identifying carbon compounds derived from fossil fuels

15-Sep-2017

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laboratory instrument that can measure how much of the carbon in many carbon-containing materials was derived from fossil fuels. This will open the way for new methods in the biofuels and bioplastics ...

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