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Tracking the Future
Explore the most important technology and science trends! News, Analysis, Interviews, Presentations, Documentaries. All in one place at Tracking the future magazine
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Magnetic behavior discovery could advance nuclear fusion

Magnetic behavior discovery could advance nuclear fusion | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Inspired by the space physics behind solar flares and the aurora, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan and Princeton has uncovered a new kind of magnetic behavior that could help make nuclear fusion reactions easier to start.

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For his next act, genome wiz Craig Venter takes on aging

For his next act, genome wiz Craig Venter takes on aging | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Craig Venter, the U.S. scientist who raced the U.S. government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease.
Venter has teamed up with stem cell pioneer Dr Robert Hariri and X Prize Foundation founder Dr Peter Diamandis to form Human Longevity Inc, a company that will use both genomics and stem cell therapies to find treatments that allow aging adults to stay healthy and functional for as long as possible.
"We're hoping to make numerous new discoveries in preventive medicine. We think this will have a huge impact on changing the cost of medicine," Venter said on a conference call announcing his latest venture.

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Tech Talk: John Martinis, "Design of a Superconducting Quantum Computer"

John Martinis visited Google LA to give a tech talk: "Design of a Superconducting Quantum Computer." This talk took place on October 15, 2013

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Andreas Pappas's curator insight, March 27, 9:42 PM

Although the video is quite long, it manages to thoroughly address the concepts and difficulties behind developing a quantum super computer. Nevertheless, the language used though-out the video is somewhat complex and without an understanding of the metalanguage used it is difficult to follow. Therefore, this a good resource for those with an advanced knowledge and understanding of quantum computers. 

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Building Artificial Cells Will Be a Noisy Business

Building Artificial Cells Will Be a Noisy Business | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Engineers like to make things that work. And if one wants to make something work using nanoscale components—the size of proteins, antibodies, and viruses—mimicking the behavior of cells is a good place to start since cells carry an enormous amount of information in a very tiny packet. As Erik Winfree, professor of computer science, computation and neutral systems, and bioengineering, explains, "I tend to think of cells as really small robots. Biology has programmed natural cells, but now engineers are starting to think about how we can program artificial cells. We want to program something about a micron in size, finer than the dimension of a human hair, that can interact with its chemical environment and carry out the spectrum of tasks that biological things do, but according to our instructions."

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Dave Kuhr's curator insight, February 26, 4:53 PM

Pretty interesting, while I am sure this is still a very long way off, being able to print a cure for a disease could be the ultimate medical advancement.

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Graphene nanoribbons could be the savior of Moore’s Law

Graphene nanoribbons could be the savior of Moore’s Law | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

With each new generation of microchips, transistors are being placed closer and closer together. This can only go on so long before there’s no more room to improve, or something revolutionary has to come along to change everything. One of the materials that might be the basis of that revolution is none other than graphene. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley are hot on the trail of a form of so-called nanoribbon graphene that could increase the density of transistors on a computer chip by as much as 10,000 times.

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Thierry Bodhuin's curator insight, February 18, 1:10 AM

Moore's law may continue ... 

 

Yaroslav Writtle's curator insight, February 18, 3:44 AM

Interesting stuff - wonder what could this mean for computing capacity 10 years down the line?

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We're One Step Closer to Nuclear Fusion Energy

We're One Step Closer to Nuclear Fusion Energy | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Scientists with the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced today that they have achieved a critical step in fusion research: For the first time, their hydrogen fuel has given off more energy than it took in.

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Stephanie Rudisill's comment, February 18, 1:53 PM
We Are One Step Closer To Fusion Energy // www.wired.com// Adam Mann; 02.12.14// ........... This article is about a new way to harness power- by use of fusion. This new power source could supply the entire grid once harnessed. They are trying to create a 'self sustaining ball of fusion' by using a plastic shell, a gold cylinder and multiple lasers. Until recently this experiment took in much more energy than it gave out, now it gives out more than it takes in. This discovery is actually pretty amazing, considering it relates so much to the sun's way of creating light and heat. This could actually create drama in the science world on how the sun was created.. which is not so bad.. in that state arguing or debating that topic could lead to improvement. Yet, even so, this article doesn't go into enough depth about how fusion happens and should include more detail. While reading this article (which this isn't such a bad thing) the author did not express any personal opinions about this usage of energy.
Austin R Stillwell's comment, February 23, 6:34 PM
{Title of Article}- We're one step closer to Nuclear Fusion Energy. {Author}- Adam Mann. {Main Idea}- Scientists have finally gotten Their hydrogen fuel to give off more energy than consumed. {Summary}- The NIF facility finally got their hydrogen fuel pellet to give off more energy in its fusion than it consumes.-Scientists fire 192 high powered lasers at a small BB like spherical pellet to make this possible.-So far they have managed to make it give off 2.6 times its energy. {Opinion?}-No, this article is based on facts and assumption gathered from data on the topic. {Important Info?}-Yes, this is actually a major breakthrough in the field of nuclear fusion which colud one day be a major energy source. {Sources}- NIF
Celest Ybarra's curator insight, March 29, 5:26 PM

Title: We're One Step Closer to Nuclear Fusion Energy

Author: Adam Mann

Main Idea: Scientists have a breakthrough and have discovered a new way to harness power through the use of fusion.

Summary:

1) The National Ignition Facility (NIF) have achieved a critical step in fusion research: hydrogen fuel has given off more energy than it took in.

2) Nuclear fusion is the energy source of the stars., and can now give off as much as 1.7 times more energy than it had taken in

3) Troubles came when scientists found it was extremely difficult to get their hydrogen fuel to compress in the right way, but  NIF scientists learned from their experiments, and tweaked their designs

Opinion: No, this article was based off of facts, research, and assumptions buy scientists.

Questions: How will nuclear energy effect the environment? Can it be used for war?

Is this article important to science?: Yes, because it was such a big breakthrough in science and can one day be a major energy resource.

Source: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/02/fusion-power-not-yet/

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Physicists correct quantum errors

Physicists correct quantum errors | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Scientists from the FOM Foundation and the Technical University Delft, working together at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience, have succeeded in detecting and correcting errors during the storage of quantum states in a diamond. This is an important step towards protecting fragile quantum information long enough to realize a functioning quantum computer.

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New form of quantum matter: Natural 3D counterpart to graphene discovered

New form of quantum matter: Natural 3D counterpart to graphene discovered | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The discovery of what is essentially a 3D version of graphene – the 2D sheets of carbon through which electrons race at many times the speed at which they move through silicon - promises exciting new things to come for the high-tech industry, including much faster transistors and far more compact hard drives.

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Michael Ravensbergen's curator insight, January 17, 12:58 AM

Counterpart graphene!!!

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Hyping Artificial Intelligence, Yet Again

Hyping Artificial Intelligence, Yet Again | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Some advances are genuinely exciting, but whether they will really produce human-level A.I. is unclear.

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luiy's curator insight, February 26, 3:23 AM

..... but, examined carefully, the articles seem more enthusiastic than substantive. As I wrote before, the story about Watson was off the mark factually. The deep-learning piece had problems, too. Sunday’s story is confused at best; there is nothing new in teaching computers to learn from their mistakes. Instead, the article seems to be about building computer chips that use “brainlike” algorithms, but the algorithms themselves aren’t new, either. As the author notes in passing, “the new computing approach” is “already in use by some large technology companies.” Mostly, the article seems to be about neuromorphic processors—computer processors that are organized to be somewhat brainlike—though, as the piece points out, they have been around since the nineteen-eighties. In fact, the core idea of Sunday’s article—nets based “on large groups of neuron-like elements … that learn from experience”—goes back over fifty years, to the well-known Perceptron, built by Frank Rosenblatt in 1957. (If you check the archives, the Times billed it as a revolution, with the headline “NEW NAVY DEVICE LEARNS BY DOING.” The New Yorker similarly gushed about the advancement.) The only new thing mentioned is a computer chip, as yet unproven but scheduled to be released this year, along with the claim that it can “potentially [make] the term ‘computer crash’ obsolete.” Steven Pinker wrote me an e-mail after reading the Timesstory, saying “We’re back in 1985!”—the last time there was huge hype in the mainstream media about neural networks.

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Graphene can host exotic new quantum electronic states at its edges

Graphene can host exotic new quantum electronic states at its edges | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Graphene has become an all-purpose wonder material, spurring armies of researchers to explore new possibilities for this two-dimensional lattice of pure carbon. But new research at MIT has found additional potential for the material by uncovering unexpected features that show up under some extreme conditions — features that could render graphene suitable for exotic uses such as quantum computing.

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Michael Ravensbergen's curator insight, December 28, 2013 4:23 AM

The beauty of graphene and research!!

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New drug approach could lead to cures for wide range of diseases

New drug approach could lead to cures for wide range of diseases | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A team led by a longtime Oregon Health & Science University researcher has demonstrated in mice what could be a revolutionary new technique to cure a wide range of human diseases -- from cystic fibrosis to cataracts to Alzheimer's disease -- that are caused by "misfolded" protein molecules.

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CRISPR technology leaps from lab to industry

CRISPR technology leaps from lab to industry | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Instead of taking prescription pills to treat their ailments, patients may one day opt for genetic 'surgery' — using an innovative gene-editing technology to snip out harmful mutations and swap in healthy DNA.
The system, called CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), has exploded in popularity in the past year, with genetic engineers, neuroscientists and even plant biologists viewing it as a highly efficient and precise research tool. Now, the gene-editing system has spun out a biotechnology company that is attracting attention from investors as well.

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Scientists improve human self-control through electrical brain stimulation

Scientists improve human self-control through electrical brain stimulation | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Neuroscientists at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and the University of California, San Diego, have successfully demonstrated a technique to enhance a form of self-control through a novel form of brain stimulation.

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60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035, new study says

60,000 miles up: Space elevator could be built by 2035, new study says | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Imagine a ribbon roughly one hundred million times as long as it is wide. If it were a meter long, it would be 10 nanometers wide, or just a few times thicker than a DNA double helix. Scaled up to the length of a football field, it would still be less than a micrometer across — smaller than a red blood cell. Would you trust your life to that thread? What about a tether 100,000 kilometers long, one stretching from the surface of the Earth to well past geostationary orbit (GEO, 22,236 miles up), but which was still somehow narrower than your own wingspan?

The idea of climbing such a ribbon with just your body weight sounds precarious enough, but the ribbon predicted by a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) will be able to carry up to seven 20-ton payloads at once. It will serve as a tether stretching far beyond geostationary (aka geosynchronous) orbit and held taught by an anchor of roughly two million kilograms. Sending payloads up this backbone could fundamentally change the human relationship with space — every climber sent up the tether could match the space shuttle in capacity, allowing up to a “launch” every couple of days.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Laura E. Mirian, PhD's curator insight, March 8, 9:49 PM

Think I will pass on this

Linda Liem's curator insight, March 9, 5:06 AM

Science fiction may be coming true.

Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, March 10, 7:41 PM

Hundreds of challenges remain to be solved but as even NASA struggles to maintain an edge, the pay-off of a Space Elevator has never been clearer. The original idea of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky which Arthur C. Clarke turned into a novel could be the revolution space exploration needs.

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How do you build a large-scale quantum computer?

How do you build a large-scale quantum computer? | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Physicists led by ion-trapper Christopher Monroe at the JQI have proposed a modular quantum computer architecture that promises scalability to much larger numbers of qubits. The components of this architecture have individually been tested and are available, making it a promising approach. In the paper, the authors present expected performance and scaling calculations, demonstrating that their architecture is not only viable, but in some ways, preferable when compared to related schemes.

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Andreas Pappas's curator insight, March 28, 1:40 AM

This article shows how scientists can increase the scale of quantum machine while still making them behave quantum mechanically by reading the qu-bits with lasers instead of conventional wiring.

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AR helps amputee experience first pain-free night in 48 years

AR helps amputee experience first pain-free night in 48 years | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

An augmented reality game has helped an amputee suffering from phantom limb pain (PLP) enjoy a good night's sleep for the first time in 48 years.

The system, which works by translating muscular electrical signals picked up by electrodes at the site of the amputation into movements onscreen, was developed by a team at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg and nearby Sahlgrenska University Hospital. It is an offshoot of work done by Max Ortiz Catalan, who in 2012 developed and trialled a groundbreaking technique for implanting thought-controlled robotic arms and their electrodes directly to the bones and nerves of amputees. He says the idea for the AR phantom pain system came from listening to the struggles of amputee patients at his own clinic. When he decided to trial it, there was one individual whose case was known to be particularly difficult. 

The effects of the trial, have been transformative for that individual. 

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Gabor Forgacs: "We live in a time when it is really difficult to say: "This is impossible!""

Dr. Gabor Forgacs is a theoretical physicist turned tissue-engineer turned entrepreneur. His companies are pioneering 3D bio-printing technologies that will produce tissues for medical and pharmaceutical uses, as well as for consumption, in the form of meat and leather.

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Nanotechnology needle arrays for drug delivery

Nanotechnology needle arrays for drug delivery | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The ultimate goal of nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery, especially with regard to cancer therapy, is to ferry most of the administered drug to the target, while eliminating the accumulation of the drug at any non-target tissues.
Nanomedicine applications with targeted nanoparticles are expected to revolutionize cancer therapy. The use of such nanoparticles to deliver therapeutic agents is currently being studied as a promising method by which drugs can be effectively targeted to specific cells in the body, such as tumor cells.

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CRISPR and Other Genome Editing Tools Boost Medical Research and Gene Therapy’s Reach

CRISPR and Other Genome Editing Tools Boost Medical Research and Gene Therapy’s Reach | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Over the last decade, as DNA-sequencing technology has grown ever faster and cheaper, our understanding of the human genome has increased accordingly. Yet scientists have until recently remained largely ham-fisted when they’ve tried to directly modify genes in a living cell. Take sickle-cell anemia, for example. A debilitating and often deadly disease, it is caused by a mutation in just one of a patient’s three billion DNA base pairs. Even though this genetic error is simple and well studied, researchers are helpless to correct it and halt its devastating effects.

Now there is hope in the form of new genome-engineering tools, particularly one called CRISPR. This technology could allow researchers to perform microsurgery on genes, precisely and easily changing a DNA sequence at exact locations on a chromosome. Along with a technique called TALENs, invented several years ago, and a slightly older predecessor based on molecules called zinc finger nucleases, CRISPR could make gene therapies more broadly applicable, providing remedies for simple genetic disorders like sickle-cell anemia and eventually even leading to cures for more complex diseases involving multiple genes. Most conventional gene therapies crudely place new genetic material at a random location in the cell and can only add a gene. In contrast, CRISPR and the other new tools also give scientists a precise way to delete and edit specific bits of DNA—even by changing a single base pair. This means they can rewrite the human genome at will.

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BigField GEG-tech.com's curator insight, February 15, 3:51 AM

In little more than a year, CRISPR has begun reinventing genetic research.


http://geg-tech.com

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Beyond the Moore's Law: Nanocomputing using nanowire tiles

Beyond the Moore's Law: Nanocomputing using nanowire tiles | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from The MITRE Corporation and Harvard University have taken key steps toward ultra-small electronic computer systems that push beyond the imminent end of Moore's Law, which states that the device density and overall processing power for computers will double every two to three years.

The ultra-small, ultra-low-power control processor—termed a nanoelectronic finite-state machine or "nanoFSM"—is smaller than a human nerve cell. It is composed of hundreds of nanowire transistors, each of which is a switch about ten-thousand times thinner than a human hair. The nanowire transistors use very little power because they are "nonvolatile." That is, the switches remember whether they are on or off, even when no power is supplied to them.

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James Jandebeur's curator insight, February 1, 9:57 AM

It mentions that the processors can now be made smaller than a neuron, I wonder how its power compares. Still, quite a breakthrough if it works out.

aanve's curator insight, February 1, 8:09 PM
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Christian Verstraete's curator insight, February 2, 10:29 PM

Will this address our needs when we reach the physical limits of our current chip technology?

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Computer science: The learning machines

Computer science: The learning machines | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Using massive amounts of data to recognize photos and speech, deep-learning computers are taking a big step towards true artificial intelligence.

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R Schumacher & Associates LLC's curator insight, January 15, 10:43 AM

The monikers such as "deep learning" may be new, but Artificial Intelligence has always been the Holy Grail of computer science.  The applications are many, and the path is becoming less of an uphill climb.  

luiy's curator insight, February 26, 3:19 AM

Deep learning itself is a revival of an even older idea for computing: neural networks. These systems, loosely inspired by the densely interconnected neurons of the brain, mimic human learning by changing the strength of simulated neural connections on the basis of experience. Google Brain, with about 1 million simulated neurons and 1 billion simulated connections, was ten times larger than any deep neural network before it. Project founder Andrew Ng, now director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University in California, has gone on to make deep-learning systems ten times larger again.

 

Such advances make for exciting times in artificial intelligence (AI) — the often-frustrating attempt to get computers to think like humans. In the past few years, companies such as Google, Apple and IBM have been aggressively snapping up start-up companies and researchers with deep-learning expertise. For everyday consumers, the results include software better able to sort through photos, understand spoken commands and translate text from foreign languages. For scientists and industry, deep-learning computers can search for potential drug candidates, map real neural networks in the brain or predict the functions of proteins.

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Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience

Brainlike Computers, Learning From Experience | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

Computers have entered the age when they are able to learn from their own mistakes, a development that is about to turn the digital world on its head.

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VendorFit's curator insight, December 31, 2013 12:27 PM

Artificial intelligence is the holy grail of technological achievment, creating an entity that can learn from its own mistakes and can (independently of programmer intervention) develop new routines and programs.  The New York Times claims that the first ever "learning" computer chip is to be released in 2014, an innovation that has profound consequences for the tech market.  When these devices become cheaper, this should allow for robotics and device manufacture that incorporates more detailed sensory input and can parse real objects, like faces, from background noise. 

Laura E. Mirian, PhD's curator insight, January 10, 10:16 AM

The Singularity is not far away

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Testing on revolutionary marine energy device begins

Testing on revolutionary marine energy device begins | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

The Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer (WITT) transmission system collects chaotic movement in water, wind, human, animal or vehicle motion and turns it into useable power.

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Geraldine Hamilton: Body parts on a chip

It's relatively easy to imagine a new medicine, a better cure for some disease. The hard part, though, is testing it, and that can delay promising new cures for years. In this well-explained talk, Geraldine Hamilton shows how her lab creates organs and body parts on a chip, simple structures with all the pieces essential to testing new medications -- even custom cures for one specific person.

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Richard Platt's curator insight, December 15, 2013 9:26 PM

We think this is an aweeome video, Geraldine Hamilton is totally awesome she is really geting at the heart of issues in the big pharma and healthcare field and addressing the issues intelligently, nothing but right on the lady, well worth every minute of this short video. Check it out it also has play in the semiconductor realm as well, (also why we like this too)

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Novel bio-inspired method to grow high-quality graphene for high-end electronic devices

Novel bio-inspired method to grow high-quality graphene for high-end electronic devices | Tracking the Future | Scoop.it

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), led by Professor Loh Kian Ping, who heads the Department of Chemistry at the NUS Faculty of Science, has successfully developed an innovative one-step method to grow and transfer high-quality graphene on silicon and other stiff substrates, opening up opportunities for graphene to be used in high-value applications that are currently not technologically feasible.
This breakthrough, inspired by how beetles and tree frogs keep their feet attached to submerged leaves, is the first published technique that accomplishes both the growth and transfer steps of graphene on a silicon wafer. This technique enables the technological application of graphene in photonics and electronics, for devices such as optoelectronic modulators, transistors, on-chip biosensors and tunneling barriers.

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