frequency identification tags promise to revolutionize
commerce by making real-time inventory tracking
cost-effective. Nailing the tags in place
opens up another possibility -- location-specific
made from single atom
The simplest possible laser -- a single atom --
has been on the drawing board for decades. Researchers
have finally achieved the extremely precise control
needed to make a laser from just one atom. The first
demonstration of a single-atom laser showed that
it's a different animal -- it produces quantum light.
searches tap databases
The mountains of data stored in relational databases
is largely inaccessible to the Web. A search tool
that allows free-text queries of databases could
change things. The key is mapping the data in databases
as though it were a series of links Web pages.
plastic holds proteins
One important task for biochips is sorting proteins,
but it's tricky business getting protein molecules
to be where you want them and stay away from where
you don't. A tiny, plastic-coated hot plate allows
scientists to trap and release proteins on command.