Do electric neurons dream of…

This is getting out of hand. At LanzaLab they try to emulate the behavior of neuron synapses using multilayered hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) . An interesting paradigm states that a biologically inspired computing architecture, will overcome the energy and efficiency limitations of classic computing architectures. To carry it out will require the design of electronic neurons and synapses. There are several features to be copied from mother’s nature design: it has to be fast, energetically efficient and it has to have a long term/short term plasticity. And at Lanzalab, they’ve achieved most of them. Their h-BN devices consume between 0.1 fW and 600 pW and they have a truly fast response: around 10ns.

We made this image supervised by Prof. Mario Lanza to illustrate their work published in Nature Electronics.

SAMS-4

SAMS-4 is the 4th edition of the Workshop on Scattering of Atoms and Molecules from Surfaces, which is organized every three years. Previous editions were held in Rehovot (Israel, 2010), Postdam (Germany, 2013) and Bergen (Norway, 2016) with great success. This year, organized by Prof. Daniel Farías the event will be held in Madrid.

Stefan Bilan kindly asked me to make a picture for their website. And this is what I did.

Flying metal!

Imagine a bulk of metal (titanium, zirconium and nickel) at 1100ºC flowing from a crucible and getting in contact with a cold fast spinning wheel. In principle, it sounds like a bad idea. And it is also the way the team lead by Dr. Laurent Marot produces amorphous metallic ribbons. Their main areas of application are transformer cores and active solder foils.

The company Endress+Hauser came to the University of Basel, looking for a solder foil that met its requirements. Basel University developed and is still improving this production method, reaching high levels of quality and reducing the process energy cost. According to Laurent Marot: “The cooperation is beneficial for both sides. Endress Hauser gets high-quality metallic glasses that they can use in their production of pressure sensors, and the university can use the revenue to finance their research. “

We did this picture, supervised by Dr. Laurent Marot to illustrate the process.

Demoreel 2017-2018

This demo has taken two years… documentaries, advertising, covers, pictures… we’ve been pretty busy lately.

Cold DNA

Here we have another breakthrough in our understanding of the DNA molecule. And this time it comes from people we particularly like. Physicist at Basel University have been able to study the dynamics of DNA at low temperatures using atomic force microscopy: cryo-force spectroscopy. With this technique it is possible to measure the bare underlying forces and interactions that join the molecule together. Their findings have been published in Nature Communications

Prof. Enrst Meyer, together with researchers from Germany and Madrid contacted us to make this picture that illustrates the process of stretching while detaching the DNA molecule from a gold surface.

Nucleation of pseudo hard-spheres

I would love to be intelligent enough to say something smart about the research of Eva González Noya, but I can’t. I know it has to do with the simulation of nucleation processes… and that’s all I have.

What I know instead is that she always gets the cover. And this time was not different.

Single-Molecules remember!

Our story with Basel University and in particular with Prof. Thomas Jung, goes back a long way. They are not only really nice people. They always come to me with amazingly beautiful pieces of research.

This time, Prof. Jung, together with Aisha Ahsan, have reported a new method that allows to change the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network. Their efforts are focused in the manipulation of tiny molecules. The smaller the better. Why? Because this systems are perfect candidates for data storage. And the smaller the bits (molecules), the less energy it will take to modify them.


We did this picture to illustrate their research and also an animation that appeared in the video abstract of the paper.

You can read more here.

Bioinformática con Ñ

5 years ago now, several Spanish researchers, got together to write a book describing the principles of bioinformatics. Alberto Pascual-García and Álvaro Sebastián asked us to give a hand in this free, collaborative project by designing the cover of the book. And this is what we did, in the early days of Scixel.

Oldies

We are huge Tintin fans. There is just one thing we love more than Tintin covers, which is apocryphal Tintin covers. So we did our own six or seven years ago.

Internet out of thin air

We’ve already talked about the “quantum internet” in several occasions. The Netherlands is making a huge effort in this field. But this new update comes from Barcelona (Spain). Nicolas Maring etal. (ICFO) has transferred quantum information between a solid crystal and a cloud of cold atomic gas. The result was published in Nature in November 2017.
The transference of qubits between nodes is of key importance in the construction of the so called “quantum internet”. This nodes can be made out of different types of matter so they can perform different functions. While we now know how to transfer information between similar systems, it was not straightforward how to do that using radically different matter configurations.