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June 2004

Seeing the Light in Spain

Kim Douglass

The Institut de Ciències Fotòniques (ICFO) in Barcelona, Spain, is two years old. Already it has drawn a team of 40 faculty, post-docs and doctoral students. By 2007, organizers hope to more than triple the number. Here’s how a group of scientists is trying to turn this Mediterranean community into one of Europe’s most sophisticated photonics centers.

Nanocomputing With Nanoclusters

Metallic nanoclusters ranging from 1 nanometer to approximately 100 nanometers in size exhibit size tunable electrical and optical properties that may offer ways to make computers run faster. In particular, the combination of elevated stability, robustness and ease of fabrication makes the concept of nanocomputing based on electroluminescent silver nanoclusters an appealing possibility.

A Blue Sky History

Although ideas about the origins of the sky’s blue color can be traced back to Greek antiquity, the first concerted effort to reach a plausible explanation is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. The Italian master was followed by Newton, and later by Bouguer and de Saussure. Tyndall wrestled with the problem around 1869, but the definitive explanation was proposed only in 1899, by Lord Rayleigh.

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