December 14, 2000

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Today's computer chips contain millions of elements with features that are engraved using masks and visible light.  To pack in more elements, smaller features are needed.  What's the best technique for defining features smaller than a wavelength of visible light?  Ion beam technology and a dot-matrix lithography technique that could eliminate masks  may offer the answer.

It is well established that both genetics and diet can strongly influence blood cholesterol patterns and heart disease risk.  Now it seems that the interaction between these two factors can have surprising effects.  In the case of some individuals, researchers have discovered that an extreme low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet can produce metabolic reactions that can cause a change in the cholesterol profile of their blood and actually increase the risk of heart disease.

Oxygen is big business.  Every year, oxygen worth billions of dollars is sold to hospitals, welding shops and other light industries, usually delivered by truck.  For every pound of oxygen delivered, five pounds of steel must be moved.  Lab researchers are working with industry to develop a quiet, self-contained electrochemical unit that can produce pure pressurized oxygen onsite.


Recent evidence shows that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate and that an unidentified, "dark energy" may be the cause of the acceleration. Now,  scientists propose to launch a satellite to discover the nature of this dark energy.

Genomic draft sequences of 15 economically and environmentally important bacteria have been produced in a single month by the Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute.

With a genome eight times more compact than a human, the Fugu fish has become the latest target for gene hunters.

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