Trapping photons to store data
In a classic example of how inspired minds produce “high science” with limited physical resources, researchers at Bhavnagar University in Gujarat have created devices that can store data by trapping normal light. The novel optical storage technique may be simple but can have profound practical applications. The physicists, led R.V. Mehta, have found that photons (particles of light) can be trapped in a non-magnetic fluid containing nano-sized (where 1 nanometre is equal to one-billionth of a metre) magnetic particles when a magnetic force is applied. More importantly, the photons thus stored in micro-cavities of nanoparticles can be retrieved at will in a steady fashion by switching off the magnetic field. The discovery, recently reported in the journal Physical Review Letters, is far simpler than the existing optical storage techniques.
Berry good for health
“Superfruit” sea buckthorn gets yet another thumbs up. A team of researchers at the Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences in New Delhi has found that oil extracted from the seeds of sea buckthorn, a kind of berry grown in high-altitude areas bordering China, is excellent for preventing cardiovascular diseases, particularly atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and hypercholesterolemia (or high blood cholesterol). The scientists demonstrated that while healthy rabbits who were fed one milligramme of sea buckthorn seed oil showed a significant decline in plasma cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol and an improved “good” HDL cholesterol level in 18 days, those put on a high-cholesterol diet for 60 days before the administration of the same quantity of the oil achieved normal values in less than 30 days. The study appears in today’s issue of the journal Phytomedicine.