Improving Security, Preserving Privacy

Securing public places depends on the right mix of technology, well-trained personnel, and, eventually, security-enhanced building design

15 min read
Improving Security, Preserving Privacy

This is part of IEEE Spectrum's special report: Critical Challenges 2002: Technology Takes On

Present ID to suspicious guard. Step through metal detector while briefcase is X-rayed. Swipe keycard and enter PIN to access authorized areas. Once, this sequence of events was a good way to set the stage in a James Bond movie. But today, for an increasing number of employees, some or all of these checkpoints are the start to a regular workday.

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Why MXenes Matter

These novel nanomaterials tantalize with super-supercapacitance, electromagnetic impermeability, and sensor possibilities

5 min read
A gloved hand grips a square of plastic. Two coppery films connect to a sandwich of light and dark layers under the plastic.

Even though they were discovered only about a dozen years ago, MXenes (max-eens) have delighted materials engineers with their versatility. These conductive 2D layered nanomaterials are exceptionally durable, impermeable to electromagnetic radiation, and can store energy faster that materials currently used in batteries and supercapacitors.

MXenes are a large family of nitrides and carbides of transition metals, arranged into two-dimensional layers. Two or more metal layers (M) are interspersed by a carbon or nitrogen layer (X). To this is added a surface termination layer (T), giving a general formula of Mn+1XnTx, where n = 1, 2, 3 or 4.

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Designing a Silicon Photonic MEMS Phase Shifter With Simulation

Engineers at EPFL used simulation to design photonic devices for enhanced optical network speed, capacity, and reliability

4 min read
Designing a Silicon Photonic MEMS Phase Shifter With Simulation

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

The modern internet-connected world is often described as wired, but most core network data traffic is actually carried by optical fiber — not electric wires. Despite this, existing infrastructure still relies on many electrical signal processing components embedded inside fiber optic networks. Replacing these components with photonic devices could boost network speed, capacity, and reliability. To help realize the potential of this emerging technology, a multinational team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a prototype of a silicon photonic phase shifter, a device that could become an essential building block for the next generation of optical fiber data networks.

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