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August 31st, 2004
Not-so-spotty material breakthrough
Using pulsed lasers, researchers have coaxed the metal nickel to self-assemble into arrays of nanodots – each spot a mere seven nanometers (seven billionths of a meter) across – one-tenth the diameter of existing nanodots.
Because the method works with a variety of materials and may drastically reduce imperfections, the new procedure may also bolster research into extremely hard materials and efforts to develop ultra-dense computer memory.
The researchers are working with an industry partner to apply the technique to development of next-generation light-emitting diodes (LEDs) – the small, bright lights seen in traffic signals and luxury automobile brake lights. The experimental LEDs are already more efficient than existing devices, potentially lasting decades and using a fraction of the power of fluorescent bulbs.
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