Research by Professor Yoshihiro Kubozono at Okayama University has potential for innovative applications of solid picene and organic superconductors, graphene and other functional materials.

7"We are using chemistry to produce new physics," says Professor Yoshihiro Kubozono at the Department of Chemistry of Okayama University. "Our recent discovery that solid picene—a wide-bandgap semiconducting hydrocarbon—doped with potassium becomes superconducting at 7 K and 18 K is a good example because physicists are investigating the role of alkali dopants in organic compounds. We are the only group in the world focusing on superconducting picene." These results may find applications in the development of superconducting devices that dissipate extremely low energy. 

Other areas of research being pursued by Kubozono and his group includes electrostatic carrier doping in two-dimensional  such as graphene, and liquid ammonia based synthesis of metal intercalated FeSe . Electrostatic carrier doping enables the control of electrons or holes at the interface between an 'ionic liquid gate' and the underlying material—analogous to the control of carrier channels in semiconducting gated field effect transistors.

cubrobot.jpgInserm and CNRS researchers and the Université Lyon 1 have succeeded in developing an “artificial neuronal network” constructed on the basis of a fundamental principle of the workings of the human brain, namely its ability to learn a new language. The model was developed after years of research in the Inserm 846 Unit of the Institut de recherche sur les cellules souches et cerveau, through studying the structure of the human brain and understanding the mechanisms used for learning.

One of the most remarkable aspects of language-processing is the speed at which it is performed. For example, the human brain processes the first words of a sentence in real time and anticipates what follows, thus improving the speed with which humans process information. Still in real time, the brain continually revises its predictions through interaction between new information and a previously created context. The region inside the brain linking the frontal cortex and the striatum plays a crucial role in this process.

A new Media Lab system turns LCD displays into giant cameras that provide gestural control of objects on-screen. And that’s just for starters.

by Larry Hardesty

The iPhone’s familiar touch screen display uses capacitive sensing, where the proximity of a finger disrupts the electrical connection between sensors in the screen. A competing approach, which uses embedded optical sensors to track the movement of the user’s fingers, is just now coming to market. But researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have already figured out how to use such sensors to turn displays into giant lensless cameras. On Dec. 19 at Siggraph Asia — a recent spinoff of Siggraph, the premier graphics research conference — the MIT team is presenting the first application of its work, a display that lets users manipulate on-screen images using hand gestures.

by Larry Hardesty

By designing chips that can be built using existing fabrication processes, MIT researchers show that computing with light isn’t so far fetched.

Computer chips that transmit data with light instead of electricity consume much less power than conventional chips, but so far, they’ve remained laboratory curiosities. Professors Vladimir Stojanović and Rajeev Ram and their colleagues in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and Microsystems Technology Laboratory hope to change that, by designing optical chips that can be built using ordinary chip-manufacturing processes.

by David Orenstein

Electronic devices can't work well unless all of the transistors, or switches, within them allow electrical current to flow easily when they are turned on. A team of engineers has determined why some transistors made of organic crystals don't perform well, yielding ideas about how to make them work better.

Providing insight into a frustrating inconsistency in the performance of electronics made with organic materials, Stanford researchers have shown that the way boundaries between individual crystals in a film are aligned can make a 70-fold difference in how easily current, or electrical charges, can move through transistors.

Alan GuzikGraphics processing units provide computational horsepower 

For a billion years after the Big Bang, the universe experienced its “dark ages,” a time when space was a vast sea of atomic hydrogen. That period ended with the birth of stars, galaxies, and black holes, ultimately leading to the brilliant skies above us at night. 

“The basic building blocks of our universe formed during the dark ages,” said Lincoln Greenhill, a senior research fellow and lecturer on astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “But our understanding of this incredibly important time is in fact based on very little hard data.”Greenhill, together with U.S., Australian, and Indian colleagues, is planning to map the dark ages in search of clues about this time. They’re building a revolutionary radio telescope — 8,000 antennas spread across 1.5 kilometers of desert — deep in the Australian outback. The antennas will generate so much data, however, that without a new kind of computing, running at faster speeds while requiring lower power, the project would be impossible.

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