In two separate studies, the world’s most powerful X-ray laser has been used to build the first atomic X-ray laser pulse, as well as to superheat and control a clump of 2-million-degree matter. The atomic laser could be used to watch biological molecules at work, while the creation of hot dense matter could be used to understand the processes of nuclear fusion.
Two atomic-scale studies announced in the past week could have major implications for the future of computing and information storage. Last Friday, IBM researchers in Zurich announced they had measured how long a single atom can store information. And Monday, Kiwi researchers announced they had trapped a single atom inside a tractor beam and taken its picture.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.