Technology

Sneaky Superconductivity

The electrical conductivity of a sheet of graphene under a magnetic field is depicted by the colors in these two images. As the magnetic field increases from the bottom to the top of the image, the conductivity decreases (brighter colors). Superconductivity should only exist at low magnetic fields, as seen in the left panel.

Golden Swirls Sort Cells

Treatments for devastating diseases like cancer and HIV sometimes begin with a single cell. These gold spirals, each thinner than a human hair, are part of a cell-sorting microchip developed by Benjamin Yellen’s team at the Pratt School of Engineering. When an electric field is applied, each spiral acts as a miniature antenna, producing electric forces that exert precise control on biological cells.

Genetic Code to Computer Code

Tiny spirals of DNA can encode more than just the color of your eyes or the shape of your nose. Using self-assembling DNA wires, Duke engineer Chris Dwyer is building optical computing chips so compact that you could cram 5,000 movies on a single CD-sized disc. The chromophores (red dots) absorb light and transform it into packets of energy called excitons. Then these excitons leap from chromophore to chromophore in a specific pattern.

Fossils, Now in 3-D

This 3D scan of the fossilized hand of Australopithecus sediba, a human ancestor whose two-million-year-old remains were discovered in a South African cave, is one of nearly 9,000 fossil scans available for download at MorphoSource.org. Visitors to the site can zoom in or out and rotate the fossil scans, download them and even make their own physical copies to hold in their hands using 3-D printing.

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