For quite a while now, researchers have been able to produce structures from single atoms. One of the first examples was presented by D. M. Eigler and E. K. Schweizer in 1990 in Nature: a tiny IBM logo formed from just a few xenon atoms was produced with a scanning probe microscope. But even today,

Children with autism spectrum conditions often have trouble recognizing the emotional states of people around them — distinguishing a happy face from a fearful face, for instance. To remedy this, some therapists use a kid-friendly robot to demonstrate those emotions and to engage the children in imitating the emotions and responding to them in appropriate

An international team of researchers, led by Harvard University, have developed a dynamic surface with reconfigurable topography that can sculpt and re-sculpt microscale to macroscale features, change its friction and slipperiness, and tune other properties based on its proximity to a magnetic field. Made by infusing a magnetic fluid in a solid microtexture, the researchers

MIT engineers have created soft, 3-D-printed structures whose movements can be controlled with a wave of a magnet, much like marionettes without the strings. The menagerie of structures that can be magnetically manipulated includes a smooth ring that wrinkles up, a long tube that squeezes shut, a sheet that folds itself, and a spider-like “grabber”

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are the first to successfully simulate an atomic nucleus using a quantum computer. The results, published in Physical Review Letters, demonstrate the ability of quantum systems to compute nuclear physics problems and serve as a benchmark for future calculations. Quantum computing, in which computations are

Rutgers University-New Brunswick engineers have created a 3D-printed smart gel that walks underwater and grabs objects and moves them. The watery creation could lead to soft robots that mimic sea animals like the octopus, which can walk underwater and bump into things without damaging them. It may also lead to artificial heart, stomach and other

Only a few decades ago, finding a particular channel on the radio or television meant dialing a knob by hand and then making small adjustments to hone in on the right signal. That’s no longer the case, thanks to something called a radio-frequency synthesizer, which generates accurate signal frequencies. While radio frequency control has long

In a new study, researchers showed that using sound waves to levitate droplets of water in midair can improve the detection of harmful heavy metal contaminants such as lead and mercury in water. Detecting small amounts of heavy metals in water is important because these contaminants are harmful to human health and the environment. The

Physicists from the University of Basel have observed the quantum mechanical Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in a system of several hundred interacting atoms for the first time. The phenomenon dates back to a famous thought experiment from 1935. It allows measurement results to be predicted precisely and could be used in new types of sensors and imaging

Perhaps the strangest prediction of quantum theory is entanglement, a phenomenon whereby two distant objects become intertwined in a manner that defies both classical physics and a “common-sense” understanding of reality. In 1935, Albert Einstein expressed his concern over this concept, referring to it as “spooky action at a distance.” Nowadays, entanglement is considered a

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