Today’s physics news: How many carbon nanotubes can you fit onto a chip?; Space X capsule returns to Earth
Here is the physics news for Monday 29 October 2012.
Carbon nanotubes fit by the thousands onto a chip
Scientists have demonstrated methods that could see higher-performance computer chips made from tiny straws of carbon called nanotubes. The experiments, reported in Nature Nanotechnology, show a kind of two-part expoxy approach to individually place the nanotubes at high density. The race is on in the semiconductor chip industry to replace current silicon technology – methods to make smaller and therefore faster devices will soon come up against physical limits on just how small a silicon device can be.
SpaceX capsule returns to Earth
A space capsule has returned to Earth, ending the first commercially contracted re-supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The capsule was sent by the California-based company SpaceX, the first of 12 missions it will perform for US space agency Nasa. It landed in the Pacific Ocean west of Mexico at 12:22 local time (19:22 GMT).
Fusion project struggles to put the pieces together
The world’s largest scientific project is threatened with further delays, as agencies struggle to complete the design and sign contracts worth hundred of millions of euros with industrial partners, Nature has learned. ITER is a massive project designed to show the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a power source. The device consists of a doughnut-shaped reactor called a tokamak, wrapped in superconducting magnets that squeeze and heat a plasma of hydrogen isotopes to the point of fusion. The result should be something that no experiment to date has been able to achieve: the controlled release of ten times more energy than is consumed.