Spinach gave Popeye super strength, but it also holds the promise of a different power for a group of scientists: the ability to convert sunlight into a clean, efficient alternative fuel. Physicists are using spinach to study the proteins involved in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert the sun's energy into carbohydrates used to power cellular processes. Artificial photosynthesis could allow for the conversion of solar energy into renewable, environmentally friendly hydrogen-based fuels.
The discovery of a new material combination that could lead to a more efficient approach to computer memory and logic is the first promising indication that it may be possible to build a practical technology with a novel material known as a 'topological insulator.' The research team's results show that such a scheme can be 10 times more efficient for controlling magnetic memory or logic than any other combination of materials measured to date.
Researchers have succeeded in embedding nearly perfect semiconductor crystals into a silicon nanowire. With this new method of producing hybrid nanowires, very fast and multi-functional processing units can be accommodated on a single chip in the future.