When it comes to Moore’s law these days, it seems like everyone’s a cynic. However, now there’s one more reason to be optimistic about the future of miniaturization, as researchers have published a paper describing a lithography technique which may provide a new means of producing chip features smaller than 32nm.
The technique involves the use of quasiparticles called plasmons to focus light at an incredibly high resolution. Chris Lee at Ars Technica describes the technology: “A lens, based on plasmons, can be created by a set of concentric metal rings. The fields from the plasmons in each ring act in such a way as to create a tightly focused spot of light. In principle, these lenses could focus light tightly enough to create features about five to ten nanometers in size.”
The problem with plasmon lenses is that they must be positioned at just 20 nm away from the wafer. The scientists claim to have overcome this hurdle with their new technique, which uses air pressure to control the lens’s distance from the wafer.
Significantly, the new technique eliminates the need to create a new photomask for each revision to the chip, potentially lowering costs and speeding up development.
In what may be the biggest thing to happen to cryptography in a very long time, the world’s first computer network built with working quantum encryption technology has been demonstrated in Vienna. The network connects six locations with a total 200 km of fiber optic cable and the encryption system is said to be completely unbreakable, according to the BBC.
The network transmits a stream of millions of individual photons a second through the cable, and can detect if anyone has attempted to listen in on the stream.
Gilles Brassard, of Montreal University explained to the BBC how the system can be unbreakable: “All quantum security schemes are based on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, on the fact that you cannot measure quantum information without disturbing it. Because of that, one can have a communications channel between two users on which it’s impossible to eavesdrop without creating a disturbance. An eavesdropper would create a mark on it.”
If an intrusion is detected, the data transfer is immediately rerouted through different nodes.
Pretty cool, huh? Let us know what you think of this new technology after the break.
In one second, the nuclear fusion process taking place inside the sun produces enough energy to satisfy the needs of the earth’s population for nearly 500,000 years. Photovoltaic cells are capable of capturing some of that energy and converting it into usable electricity; unfortunately, today’s technology can’t do this very efficiently.
French physicist Edmond Becquerel first described the photovoltaic effect in 1839. He discovered that some materials were capable of producing small amounts of electricity when exposed to sunlight. The first photovoltaic cell, however, wasn’t created until 1883, and more than 70 years passed before the next major scientific advance took place, when researchers at Bell Labs developed the first crystalline silicon photovoltaic cell in 1954.
Anyone that likes to blow things up, dissolve it in acid, or make death rays to burn things to ashes, has to like Mythbusters. They take all those dreary science principles and turn them into something destructive and interesting, all while trying to answer that nagging question…”is it possible”? What geek wouldn’t like that stuff?
It seems your chance may be here if you are interested in helping the Mythbusters attempt to re-bust a myth that they have tried before. They are going to make attempt number three on the Archimedes Death Ray myth. Basically the myth is that the Greek army defended themselves from invading Roman ships by using 300 soldiers with mirrored shields to focus the sun's rays on the invading ships so they could set them on fire and stop the invaders before they even land. Any kid that played with a magnifying glass can appreciate the sort of fun Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage can create with that myth.
So if standing in the hot sun all day, holding a mirror, somewhere in southern California for a MythBusters T-shirt, a signed autograph card and maybe a group photo with Jamie and Adam sounds like fun, head over to Makezine.com to check out the details to try and sign up. I’m going to take a pass on that one and catch it from the cool comfort of my living room.