Smart lights, nonstick implants and 100th birthday of electronics at science & technology meeting

ters wide by 41 nanometers long. However, when the bits in traditional hard-drive designs become smaller than a few tens of nanometers, they will become unstable and flip back and forth between 0 and 1 values at room temperature. This is known as the "superparamagnetic" limit and researchers need to develop new technologies for magnetic data storage. Towards these ends, an Oak Ridge-University of Tennessee team (Maria Torija, mtorija@utk.edu, E.W. Plummer and J. Shen) has built an assembly of iron dots, each no more than a few nanometers across, which are magnetic. They have found that a magnetic interaction between the dots and their surroundings dramatically enhances the stability of the dots' magnetic properties. Their experimental data appears to indicate that the stabilizing interaction occurs between the dots and the metal (copper) surface on which the dots lie. The researchers will continue studying what appears to be a stable platform for future data storage. (Paper MI-WeM5, Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 9:40 AM, Room 304A)

[Lay-language version of meeting paper at http://www2.avs.org/symposium/anaheim/pressroom/torija.pdf]

Most synthetic surfaces just sit passively while active compounds flow around them. But what if a surface could respond, too, depending on what it's covered with? A group at the University of Manchester, headed by Rein Ulijn (R.Ulijn@umist.ac.uk), have been working on using proteases as keys to unlock surfaces. Proteases, such as chymotrypsin, the one Ulijn is studying, break open proteins and peptides. In some cases, breaking a protein changes its properties, just as an open door no longer keeps out the wind. If you want fresh air, that can be a good thing. So Ulijn's group covers a glass surface with peptides that only ca

Contact: Ben Stein
American Institute of Physics

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