ANN ARBOR, Mich.---The fastest quantum computer bit that exploits the main advantage of the qubit over the conventional bit has been demonstrated by researchers at University of Michigan, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the University of California at San Diego.

The scientists used lasers to create an initialized quantum state of this solid-state qubit at rates of about a gigahertz, or a billion times per second. They can also use lasers to achieve fundamental steps toward programming it.

Computer scientists at the UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering have proposed a new way to build data centers that could save companies money and deliver more computing capability to end-users.

The proliferation of solar, wind and even tidal electric generation and the rapid emergence of hybrid electric automobiles demands flexible and reliable methods of high-capacity electrical storage. Now a team of Penn State materials scientists is developing ferroelectric polymer-based capacitors that can deliver power more rapidly and are much lighter than conventional batteries.

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a collaborative center of the University of Maryland and NIST, have reported a new way to fine-tune the light coming from quantum dots by manipulating them with pairs of lasers. Their technique, published in Physical Review Letters,* could significantly improve quantum dots as a source of pairs of “entangled” photons, a property with important applications in quantum information technologies.

PHILADELPHIA –- Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have theorized a way to increase the speed of pulses of light that bound across chains of tiny metal particles to well past the speed of light by altering the particle shape. Application of this theory would use nanosized metal chains as building blocks for novel optoelectronic and optical devices, which would operate at higher frequencies than conventional electronic circuits.

Heads-up study of hair dynamics may lead to better hair-care products.

From frizzy perms to over-bleached waves, "bad hair days" could soon become a less frequent occurrence. Chemists report the first detailed microscopic analysis of what happens to individual hair fibers when they interact with each other, an advance in knowledge key to the development of improved shampoos, conditioners, and other products for repairing damaged hair, the researchers say.

A time-and-money-saving question shared by commuters in their cars and networks sharing ever-changing Internet resources is: "What's the best way to get from here to there?"

A new algorithm developed by computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego helps answer that question, at least for computer networks, and it promises to significantly boost the efficiency of network routing.

This release is also available in German.

An experiment carried out at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has realized spin torque switching of a nanomagnet as fast as the fundamental speed limit allows. Using this so-called ballistic switching future non-volatile magnetic memories could operate as fast as the fastest non-volatile memories. The experiments are described in the next issue of Physical Review Letters (22 August, 2008).

AMES, Iowa - John R. Clem, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, has developed a theory that will help build future superconducting alternating-current fault-current limiters for electricity transmission and distribution systems. Clem's work identifies design strategies that can reduce costs and improve efficiency in a bifilar fault-current limiter, a new and promising type of superconducting fault-current limiter.

When you make a new material on a nano scale how can you see what you have made? A team lead by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences research Council (BBSRC) fellow has made a significant step toward overcoming this major challenge faced by nanotechnology scientists. With new research published today (13 August) in ChemBioChem, the team from the University of Liverpool, The School of Pharmacy (University of London) and the University of Leeds, show that they have developed a technique to examine tiny protein molecules called peptides on the surface of a gold nanoparticle.