Optical data carriers such as DVDs, Blu-rays and CD-RWs store data in layers of so-called "phase change materials". In the future, these materials will enable the development of fast, non-volatile and energy-saving main memories. A prerequisite for this is a low thermal conductivity. Phase change materials display a surprisingly low thermal conductivity even in the crystalline state.
Using various sensor-based measurement and characterisation methods, an online measurement unit will be developed for compounding processes. The data obtained will be integrated into the database of an expert system and further processed in an artificial neural network. Information from this network will be fed back into the processing equipment, and the manufacturing process will be adapted as necessary.
A data memory can hardly be any smaller: researchers working with Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching have stored quantum information in a single atom. The researchers wrote the quantum state of single photons, i.e. particles of light, into a rubidium atom and read it out again after a certain storage time.
The researchers in Luxembourg, in cooperation with scientists from the Netherlands, have studied the electrical percolation of carbon nanotubes in a polymer matrix and shown the percolation threshold - the point at which the polymer composite becomes conductive - can be considerably lowered if small quantities of a conductive polymer latex are added.
An international team under the leadership of chemists from Innsbruck succeeded in monitoring the S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) II-riboswitch in action. SAM is a cofactor which is involved in many metabolism processes by transferring methyl groups to other molecules.
Objects that are well separated in space but still cannot be understood separately belong to the profoundest mysteries of quantum physics. Pairs of photons are prominent examples of such systems. They allow the teleportation of quantum states or tap-proof data transfer using quantum cryptography. In future, such experiments will not be restricted simply to photons: at the Vienna University of Technology, a method has been developed to create correlated pairs of atoms using ultracold Bose-Einstein condensates.
High-performance nanotech materials arrayed on a flat panel platform demonstrated seven to eight times higher efficiency than previous solar thermoelectric generators, opening up solar-thermal electric power conversion to a broad range of residential and industrial uses.
Most of the body's cells communicate with each other by sending electrical signals through nano-thin membrane tubes. A sensational Norwegian research discovery may help to explain how cells cooperate to develop tissue in the embryo and how wounds heal.