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Special episode

Tue, 27th Jan 2015

Nano-Scale Quill Pen

Quill pen (c) Jim Forest

Quill pens might be about to make a comeback - but not in a stationers! Researchers have developed a nano-scale ink pen that can be used to control the shapes of polymers that can be used to make superfast computers. Polymers are are giant chemical structures made by linking lots of smaller molecules together, and what Imperial College's Alex Perevedentsev and his colleagues have discovered is that, with a dab of nano-ink delivered in the right way from their nib-pen, they can make polymers adopt specific shapes that alter the way light passes through them. And as he explained to Kat, this is what we need to make a new generation of much faster microprocessors that use light rather than electricity…

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