A New Way to Build Nanotechnology

Combining top-down and bottom-up approaches, a new low-cost method could enable the creation of three-dimensional nanostructured materials that serve a variety of functions.

What's the Latest Development?

By combining top-down and bottom-up approaches, a team of M.I.T. researchers has found a new way to create three-dimensional nanostructures—ones that have distinctive shapes and structures at scales of a few billionths of a meter—which have become a fertile area of research, producing materials that are useful for electronics, photonics, phononics and biomedical devices. A top-down approach is called phase-shift lithography, "in which a two-dimensional mask shapes the intensity of light shining onto a layer of photoresist material." The bottom-up approach uses "self-assembling colloidal nanoparticles that form themselves into certain energetically favorable close-packed arrangements."

What's the Big Idea?

This new way to form nanostructures will enable researchers to create a greater variety of forms and, eventually, uses for the budding technology. "Team members, whose specialty is in optics, say the first structures they plan to make are photonic crystals, whose structure can manipulate the behavior of light beams passing through them. But the method can also be used to make phononic materials, which control waves of heat or sound, or even to make filters with precisely controlled porosity, which might have biomedical applications."

NYTimes exposé reveals how Facebook handled scandals

Delay, deny and deflect were the strategies Facebook has used to navigate scandals it's faced in recent years, according to the New York Times.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The exhaustive report is based on interviews with more than 50 people with ties to the company.
  • It outlines how senior executives misled the public and lawmakers in regards to what it had discovered about privacy breaches and Russian interference in U.S. politics.
  • On Thursday, Facebook cut ties with one of the companies, Definers Public Relations, listed in the report.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

What would happen if America defaulted on its debt?

Sure we know it would be bad, but what do all of these scary numbers really mean?

Politics & Current Affairs
  • At the press time, the value was $21.7 trillion dollars.
  • Lots of people know that a default would be bad, but not everybody seems to get how horrible it would be.
  • While the risk is low, knowing what would happen if a default did occur is important information for all voters.
Keep reading Show less