The Neurogrid board uses 16 of these Neurocore chips to simulate one million neurons with six billion synaptic connections. (Credit: Stanford University)
Over the past decade, nanoscientists have succeeded in pushing the limits of nanoscale instrumentation. Today, researchers can detect the charge and spin of individual electrons and image catalytic reactions that occur within tens of femtoseconds. Recent advances in optical microscopy make it possible to view living biomolecules and other nanoscale objects at sizes once thought impossible to see. Emerging nanoscale implants will play an important role in understanding communication among nerve cells in the brain, while other researchers hope to use the same technology to probe chemical signaling in microbial communities. At the nanoscale, however, scientific instruments must do more than simply measure. They must also manipulate nanostructures, molecules and even atoms. This enables researchers to run controlled experiments, where they hold some structures and properties constant while changing others to see how the alteration changes behavior. Researchers are applying this technique to everything from DNA and proteins to nanotubes and semiconductors. The resulting measurements have altered dramatically our understanding of nanoscale interactions, and have provided new insights into altering material properties. Nanoscale manipulation is also making it possible to combine artificial structures with biochemicals and inorganic materials to create new materials with unusual and desirable properties.
The Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge will provide $1 million in grants for innovative tools to investigate how microbes live in complex communities. Three scientists - Tim Donohue, Julie Biteen and Terry Hwa - discuss why it matters.
The Unified Microbiome Initiative proposes to unlock the power of the microbial communities that shape our world and influence our health. Janet Jansson, Rob Knight and Jeff Miller talk about why it's urgent.
How should the BRAIN Initiative evolve to unite and synergize the hundreds of individual laboratories it currently funds? Six researchers now propose a national network of neurotechnology centers, or “brain observatories.” Paul Alivisatos, Miyoung Chun, Michael Roukes and Rafael Yuste — four of the paper’s authors — answer your questions about this new idea and how it might affect the future of neuroscience.
To understand the language of the brain, we will need to monitor thousands and then tens and even hundreds of thousands of neurons networked across the brain. Nanotechnology promises to make this – and more – possible.
Cornell University researchers, including KIC’s J.C. Séamus Davis and post-doctoral fellow Mohammad Hamidian, deliberately create atomic-level disorder in order to probe the workings of heavy fermion compounds.
At a recent Kavli Futures Symposium, nineteen experts from a diverse range of fields discussed the promise of using the lab to understand and exploit the evolution of organisms -- an advance that may one day be used to develop new vaccines or other biotechnology products.
In advance of the Kavli Futures Symposium, “Plenty of Room in the Middle: Nanoscience – The Next 50 Years,” four participants and extraordinary researchers -- David Awschalom, Angela Belcher, Don Eigler and Michael Roukes -- join in a roundtable discussion.
In nanoscience, researchers are truly limited by the technology of their field. Directors of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, Paul McEuen and David A. Muller, discuss their mission to push the technology of observation, measurement and control to ever-smaller dimensions.