We currently transmit information electronically; in the future we will most likely use photons. However, these are not the only alternatives. Information can also be transmitted by means of chemical reactions.
George M. Whitesides and his colleagues at Harvard University in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) have now developed a concept that allows transmission of alphanumeric information in the form of light pulses with no electricity: the “infofuse”. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, it may be possible to use this principle to develop systems that function under conditions in which electronics or batteries do not work.
The researchers previously developed an infofuse made of nitrocellulose strips. The strips were covered with patterns of dots made of salts of the elements lithium, rubidium, and cesium. When the strip is ignited, the flame travels forward and reaches the dots one after the other. The heat causes the elements to emit light at characteristic wavelengths. The dots may contain combinations of three different salts, resulting in seven possible combinations. A combination of two dots thus allows for 7x7 = 49 different signals.
The problem was that the flame tended to go out. This can be avoided by using a different material as substrate that does not conduct heat away as efficiently, such as fiberglass. Alternatively, the strips can be placed over a “trench” or crimped, so that they no longer lie flat on the surface. This allows for less heat transfer to the substrate.
Another problem with the older system was that the flame front progressed far too quickly, allowing for only short transmission times. Nitrocellulose strips burn at a rate of several centimeters a second. Says Whitesides, “a fuse length of 2.6 km would be required to transmit for 24 hours.” The solution was a dual speed arrangement. Branches of the fast-burning infofuse are attached to a slow-burning central fuse. The distance between branches can be varied as needed, and the flame front progresses at only 1 to 2 m per second. This allows information to be repeated several times or different information to be transmitted periodically.
A color camera or fiber optic cable coupled to a spectrometer could receive the signal over a distance of 30 m in daylight. “We hope that it will be possible to develop a light, portable, non-electric system of information transmission that can be integrated into modern information technology,” says Whitesides. “For example, it could be used to gather and transmit environmental data or to send messages by emergency services.”
Author: George M. Whitesides, Harvard University, Cambridge (USA), http://gmwgroup.harvard.edu/contact.html
Title: Long-Duration Transmission of Information with Infofuses
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2010, 49, No. 27, 4571–4575, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201001582
Research team of the HAW Hamburg reanimated ancestral microbe from the depth of the earth
01.03.2017 | Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg
Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells
01.03.2017 | Universität Basel
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.
On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
01.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
01.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
01.03.2017 | Life Sciences