Digital Tbucket Tank (DTT)

A conceptual advance that gives microrobots legs

An exciting article appeared in Nature, 530-531 (2020); doi: 10.1038 / d41586-020-02421-2

Tiny devices have been developed that can act as the legs of laser-controlled microrobots. The compatibility of these devices with microelectronic systems suggests a route to mass production of autonomous microrobots.

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In 1959, Nobel laureate and nanotechnology visionary Richard Feynman suggested that it would be interesting to "swallow the surgeon" - that is, build a tiny robot that could move through blood vessels to perform surgery if necessary. This iconic vision of the future underscored the modern hopes in the field of micrometer robotics: to deploy autonomous devices in environments that their macroscopic counterparts cannot reach. However, building such robots presents several challenges, including the obvious difficulty of assembling a microscopic locomotive. In an article in Nature, Miskin et al. via electrochemically powered devices that propel laser-controlled microrobots through a liquid and that can be easily integrated with microelectronic components to create fully autonomous microrobots.

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Twelve qubit quantum computing for chemistry

Accurate electronic structure calculations are considered to be one of the most anticipated applications of the quantum computer, which will revolutionize theoretical chemistry and other related fields. Using the Google Sycamore quantum processor, Google AI Quantum and co-workers performed a Variational Quantum Eigenolver (VQE) simulation of two medium-scale chemical problems: the binding energy of hydrogen chains (as large as H12) and the isomerization mechanism of diazole (see Yuan's perspective ). The simulations were performed on up to 12 qubits with up to 72 two-qubit gates and show that it is possible to achieve chemical accuracy when VQE is combined with strategies to minimize errors. The key components of the proposed VQE algorithm are potentially scalable to larger systems that cannot be simulated in the classic way.

Science, P. 1084; see also p. 1054