Breakthrough for quantum computers
Electrical engineers trying to develop a silicon quantum computer have cleared one of the last hurdles to building a simple device. Read more
Concrete buildings that heal themselves
A living concrete that self-repairs any cracks could change the way we maintain our homes and cities. A microbiologist in the Netherlands is set to revolutionise the building industry by placing spores of mineral-excreting bacteria in the concrete mix. Read more
What does an electron cloud really look like?
Chemists in Europe can now snap images of single molecules that are so sharp you can not only see the individual atoms within the molecule, but also make out the electrons that bond the atoms together. Read more
Invisibility becomes reality?
As far back as Plato people imagined the power of invisibility. Now the fantasy is being made real. Over the past decade researchers have developed cloaks, shields and other devices that seem to make fish, cats and even people vanish, and spinoff technologies that could shield objects from sonar, radar and our sense of touch. Read more
The most accurate clock ever made
Scientists have succeeded in making a clock so precise it could tick for 15 billion years – longer than the age of the Universe – without gaining or losing a second. The new research sets a world record for timekeeping and is a three-fold improvement over the previous record, and its applications go way beyond telling the time. Read more
Reality you can virtually touch
The groundbreaking Oculus Rift headset makes dinosaurs appear so real you want to stroke their spiky backs. From the screen to the gyroscope and compass, we take a look at the technology behind the Oculus Rift and its rivals. Read more
Radio interference wreaks havoc with telescopes
Short mysterious bursts of radiation picked up by the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales have baffled astronomers for years. But it turns out some, at least, were not intergalactic messages or a new kind of star. Wayward radiation from a microwave oven in a nearby building, released when the door was opened before the countdown finished, was picked up when the dish pointed in a specific direction. Read more
A self-healing plastic for astronauts
On Mars, if your spacesuit is punctured, you’ll almost certainly die – just ask Matt Damon, who stars in The Martian. But if future Mars colonists’ spacesuits were made from a new self-healing material, the terrifying whoosh of escaping oxygen might be just what saves their life. Read more
Ancient Japanese art boosts solar cell efficiency
The ancient Japanese paper-cutting art of kirigami has inspired a simple rooftop solar cell design that can track the Sun across the sky – they capture much more sunlight than conventional panels and look pretty too. Read more
Printed solar cells poised for a breakthrough
In one hour the Sun sends enough energy to the Earth to power civilisation for a year – if only we could capture it. More than 50 years after entering the market, costly silicon solar cells remain our leading solar technology. Could two cheap contenders finally topple silicon from its rooftop perch? Read more
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