M254 Arts & Engineering/Science Research









The property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. It can be defined as a difference, when measured along different axes, in a material's physical or mechanical properties (absorbance, refractive index, conductivity, tensile strength, etc.) An example of anisotropy is the light coming through a polarizer. And another is wood, which is easier to split along its grain than against it.


A natural science that is the study of celestial objects (such as moons, planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies), the physics, chemistry, mathematics, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth, including supernovae explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic background radiation. A related but distinct subject, cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole.


Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior. Among the objects studied are galaxies, stars, planets, extrasolar planets, the interstellar medium and the cosmic microwave background. Their emissions are examined across all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, and the properties examined include luminosity, density, temperature, and chemical composition. Because astrophysics is a very broad subject, astrophysicists typically apply many disciplines of physics, including mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and atomic and molecular physics. In practice, modern astronomical research involves a substantial amount of physics. The name of a university's department ("astrophysics" or "astronomy") often has to do more with the department's history than with the contents of the programs. Astrophysics can be studied at the bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. levels in aerospace engineering, physics, or astronomy departments at many universities.


The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons (except in the case of hydrogen-1, which is the only stable nuclide with no neutrons). The electrons of an atom are bound to the nucleus by the electromagnetic force. Likewise, a group of atoms can remain bound to each other by chemical bonds based on the same force, forming a molecule. An atom containing an equal number of protons and electrons is electrically neutral, otherwise it is positively or negatively charged and is known as an ion. An atom is classified according to the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus: the number of protons determines the chemical element, and the number of neutrons determines the isotope of the element.

Atomic Force Microscope

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) or scanning force microscopy (SFM) is a very high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy, with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit. The precursor to the AFM, the scanning tunneling microscope, was developed by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer in the early 1980s at IBM Research - Zurich, a development that earned them the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1986. Binnig, Quate and Gerber invented the first atomic force microscope (also abbreviated as AFM) in 1986. The first commercially available atomic force microscope was introduced in 1989. The AFM is one of the foremost tools for imaging, measuring, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale. The information is gathered by "feeling" the surface with a mechanical probe. Piezoelectric elements that facilitate tiny but accurate and precise movements on (electronic) command enable the very precise scanning. In some variations, electric potentials can also be scanned using conducting cantilevers. In more advanced versions, currents can be passed through the tip to probe the electrical conductivity or transport of the underlying surface, but this is much more challenging with few research groups reporting consistent data (as of 2004).

Autonomous Agent

An autonomous agent is an intelligent agent operating on an owner's behalf but without any interference of that ownership entity.

Background Radiation

Cosmic background radiation is electromagnetic radiation from the sky with no discernable source. The origin of this radiation depends on the region of the spectrum that is observed. One component is the cosmic microwave background radiation. This component is redshifted photons that have freely streamed from an epoch when the Universe became transparent for the first time to radiation. Its discovery and detail observations of its properties are considered one of the major confirmations of the Big Bang.


A baryon is a composite subatomic particle made up of three quarks (as distinct from mesons, which comprise one quark and one antiquark). Baryons and mesons belong to the hadron family, which are the quark-based particles. The name "baryon" comes from the Greek word for "heavy" (βαρύς, barys), because, at the time of their naming, most known elementary particles had lower masses than the baryons.


Bioelectronics is a recently coined term for a field of research that works to establish a synergy between electronics and biology. One of the main forums for information about the field is the Elsevier journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics, published since 1990. The journal describes the scope of bioelectronics as follows:The emerging field of Bioelectronics seeks to exploit biology in conjunction with electronics in a wider context encompassing, for example, biological fuel cells, bionics and biomaterials for information processing, information storage, electronic components and actuators. A key aspect is the interface between biological materials and micro- and nano-electronics.

Bioimage Informatics

Bioimage informatics is a subfield of bioinformatics and computational biology. It focuses on the use of computational techniques to analyze bioimages, especially cellular and molecular images, at large scale and high throughput. The goal is to obtain useful knowledge out of complicated and heterogeneous image and related metadata.


Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops and improves on methods for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data. A major activity in bioinformatics is to develop software tools to generate useful biological knowledge. Bioinformatics uses many areas of computer science, mathematics and engineering to process biological data. Complex machines are used to read in biological data at a much faster rate than before. Databases and information systems are used to store and organize biological data. Analyzing biological data may involve algorithms in artificial intelligence, soft computing, data mining, image processing, and simulation. The algorithms in turn depend on theoretical foundations such as discrete mathematics, control theory, system theory, information theory, and statistics.


Biomineralization is the process by which living organisms produce minerals, often to harden or stiffen existing tissues. Such tissues are called mineralized tissues. It is an extremely widespread phenomenon; all six taxonomic kingdoms contain members that are able to form minerals, and over 60 different minerals have been identified in organisms. Examples include silicates in algae and diatoms, carbonates in invertebrates, and calcium phosphates and carbonates in vertebrates. These minerals often form structural features such as sea shells and the bone in mammals and birds. Organisms have been producing mineralised skeletons for the past 550 million years. Other examples include copper, iron and gold deposits involving bacteria. Biologically-formed minerals often have special uses such as magnetic sensors in magnetotactic bacteria (Fe3O4), gravity sensing devices (CaCO3, CaSO4, BaSO4) and iron storage and mobilization (Fe2O3¥H2O in the protein ferritin).


A biomolecule is any molecule that is produced by a living organism, including large macromolecules such as proteins, polysaccharides, lipids, and nucleic acids, as well as small molecules such as primary metabolites, secondary metabolites, and natural products. A more general name for this class of molecules is biogenic substances.

Black-Body Radiation

Black-body radiation is the type of electromagnetic radiation within or surrounding a body in thermodynamic equilibrium with its environment, or emitted by a black body (an opaque and non-reflective body) held at constant, uniform temperature. The radiation has a specific spectrum and intensity that depends only on the temperature of the body.


A bolometer is a device for measuring the power of incident electromagnetic radiation via the heating of a material with a temperature-dependent electrical resistance. It was invented in 1878 by the American astronomer Samuel Pierpont Langley. The name comes from the Greek word bole (βολή), for something thrown, as with a ray of light.

Bright-Field Microscopy

Bright-field microscopy is the simplest of all the optical microscopy illumination techniques. Sample illumination is transmitted (i.e., illuminated from below and observed from above) white light and contrast in the sample is caused by absorbance of some of the transmitted light in dense areas of the sample. Bright-field microscopy is the simplest of a range of techniques used for illumination of samples in light microscopes and its simplicity makes it a popular technique. The typical appearance of a bright-field microscopy image is a dark sample on a bright background, hence the name.


A cantilever is a beam anchored at only one end. The beam carries the load to the support where it is forced against by moment and shear stress. Cantilever construction allows for overhanging structures without external bracing. Cantilevers can also be constructed with trusses or slabs.

Carbon Fixation

Carbon fixation is the conversion of inorganic carbon (carbon dioxide) to organic compounds by living organisms. The most prominent example is photosynthesis, although chemosynthesis is another form of carbon fixation that can take place in the absence of sunlight. Organisms that grow by fixing carbon are called autotrophs. Autotrophs include photoautotrophs, which synthesize organic compounds using the energy of sunlight, and lithoautotrophs, which synthesize organic compounds using the energy of inorganic oxidation. Heterotrophs are organisms that grow using the carbon fixed by autotrophs. The organic compounds are used by heterotrophs to produce energy and to build body structures. "Fixed carbon", "reduced carbon", and "organic carbon" are equivalent terms for various organic compounds.


Catalysis is the increase in the rate of a chemical reaction due to the participation of a substance called a catalyst. Unlike other reagents in the chemical reaction, a catalyst is not consumed. With a catalyst, less free energy is required to reach the transition state, but the total free energy from reactants to products does not change. A catalyst may participate in multiple chemical transformations. The effect of a catalyst may vary due to the presence of other substances known as inhibitors or poisons (which reduce the catalytic activity) or promoters (which increase the activity). The opposite of a catalyst, a substance that reduces the rate of a reaction, is an inhibitor.

Charge Density

In electromagnetism, charge density is a measure of electric charge per unit volume of space, in one, two or three dimensions. More specifically: the linear, surface, or volume charge density is the amount of electric charge per unit length, surface area, or volume, respectively. The respective SI units are Cám−1, Cám−2 or Cám−3.

Classical Physics

What "classical physics" refers to depends on the context. When discussing special relativity, it refers to the Newtonian physics which preceded relativity, i.e. the branches of physics based on principles developed before the rise of relativity and quantum mechanics. When discussing general relativity, it refers to the result of modifying Newtonian physics to incorporate special relativity. When discussing quantum mechanics, it refers to non-quantum physics, including special relativity, and general relativity.

Compressible Flow

Compressible flow is the area of fluid mechanics that deals with fluids in which the fluid density varies significantly in response to a change in pressure. Compressibility effects are typically considered significant if the Mach number (the ratio of the flow velocity to the local speed of sound) of the flow exceeds 0.3, or if the fluid undergoes very large pressure changes. The most distinct differences between the compressible and incompressible flow models are that the compressible flow model allows for the existence of shock waves and choked flow.

Computer Vision

Computer vision is a field that includes methods for acquiring, processing, analyzing, and understanding images and, in general, high-dimensional data from the real world in order to produce numerical or symbolic information, e.g., in the forms of decisions. A theme in the development of this field has been to duplicate the abilities of human vision by electronically perceiving and understanding an image. This image understanding can be seen as the disentangling of symbolic information from image data using models constructed with the aid of geometry, physics, statistics, and learning theory. Computer vision has also been described as the enterprise of automating and integrating a wide range of processes and representations for vision perception.

Confocal Microscopy

Confocal microscopy is an optical imaging technique used to increase optical resolution and contrast of a micrograph by using point illumination and a spatial pinhole to eliminate out-of-focus light in specimens that are thicker than the focal plane. It enables the reconstruction of three-dimensional structures from the obtained images. This technique has gained popularity in the scientific and industrial communities and typical applications are in life sciences, semiconductor inspection and materials science.


Connectomics is a high-throughput application of neural imaging and histological techniques in order to increase the speed, efficiency, and resolution of maps of the multitude of neural connections in a nervous system. The principal focus of such a project is the brain, although any neural connections could theoretically be mapped by connectomics, including, for example, neuromuscular junctions. The map produced by such a project is called a connectome.

Cooling Flow

A cooling flow occurs according to the theory that the intracluster medium (ICM) in the centres of galaxy clusters should be rapidly cooling at the rate of tens to thousands of solar masses per year. This should happen as the ICM (a plasma) is quickly losing its energy by the emission of X-rays. The X-ray brightness of the ICM is proportional to the square of its density, which rises steeply towards the centres of many clusters. Also the temperature falls to typically a third or a half of the temperature in the outskirts of the cluster. The typical timescale for the ICM to cool is relatively short, less than a billion years. As material in the centre of the cluster cools out, the pressure of the overlying ICM should cause more material to flow inwards (the cooling flow).

Cosmic Microwave Background

The cosmic microwave background (CMB) is the thermal radiation left over from the "Big Bang" of cosmology. In older literature, the CMB is also variously known as cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) or "relic radiation." The CMB is a cosmic background radiation that is fundamental to observational cosmology because it is the oldest light in the universe, dating to the epoch of recombination. With a traditional optical telescope, the space between stars and galaxies (the background) is completely dark. However, a sufficiently sensitive radio telescope shows a faint background glow, almost exactly the same in all directions, that is not associated with any star, galaxy, or other object. This glow is strongest in the microwave region of the radio spectrum. The CMB's serendipitous discovery in 1964 by American radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson was the culmination of work initiated in the 1940s, and earned the discoverers the 1978 Nobel Prize.


Cosmology, is the study of the origins and eventual fate of the universe. Physical cosmology is the scholarly and scientific study of the origin, evolution, structure, dynamics, and ultimate fate of the universe, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order. Religious cosmology (or mythological cosmology) is a body of beliefs based on the historical, mythological, religious, and esoteric literature and traditions of creation and eschatology.


In physics, cryogenics is the study of the production of very low temperature (below −150 ¡C, −238 ¡F or 123 K) and the behavior of materials at those temperatures. A person who studies elements that have been subjected to extremely cold temperatures is called a cryogenicist. Rather than the relative temperature scales of Celsius and Fahrenheit, cryogenicists use the absolute temperature scales. These are Kelvin (SI units) or Rankine scale (Imperial and US units). The term cryogenics is often mistakenly used in fiction and popular culture to refer to the very different cryonics.

Dark Energy

In physical cosmology and astronomy, dark energy is a hypothetical form of energy that permeates all of space and tends to accelerate the expansion of the universe. Dark energy is the most accepted hypothesis to explain observations since the 1990s that indicate that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. According to the Planck mission team, and based on the standard model of cosmology, the total mass–energy of the universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy.

Dark Matter

Dark matter is a type of matter hypothesized in astronomy and cosmology to account for a large part of the mass that appears to be missing from the universe. Dark matter cannot be seen directly with telescopes; evidently it neither emits nor absorbs light or other electromagnetic radiation at any significant level. Instead, the existence and properties of dark matter are inferred from its gravitational effects on visible matter, radiation, and the large-scale structure of the universe. According to the Planck mission team, and based on the standard model of cosmology, the total mass–energy of the known universe contains 4.9% ordinary matter, 26.8% dark matter and 68.3% dark energy. Thus, dark matter is estimated to constitute 84.5% of the total matter in the universe and 26.8% of the total content of the universe.

Dielectric Resonator Antenna

A dielectric resonator antenna is a radio antenna mostly used at microwave frequencies and higher, that consists of a block of ceramic material of various shapes, the dielectric resonator, mounted on a metal surface, a ground plane. Radio waves are introduced into the inside of the resonator material from the transmitter circuit and bounce back and forth between the resonator walls, forming standing waves. The walls of the resonator are partially transparent to radio waves, allowing the radio power to radiate into space. An advantage of dielectric resonator antennas is they lack metal parts, which become lossy at high frequencies, dissipating energy. So these antennas can have lower losses and be more efficient than metal antennas at high microwave and millimeter wave frequencies. Dielectric waveguide antennas are used in some compact portable wireless devices, and military millimeter-wave radar equipment. The antenna was first proposed by Long, et al., in 1973.

Electromagnetic Radiation

Electromagnetic radiation (EM radiation or EMR) is one of the fundamental phenomena of electromagnetism, behaving as waves propagating through space, and also as photon particles traveling through space, carrying radiant energy. In a vacuum, it propagates at a characteristic speed, the speed of light, normally in straight lines. EMR is emitted and absorbed by charged particles. As an electromagnetic wave, it has both electric and magnetic field components, which oscillate in a fixed relationship to one another, perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy and wave propagation.

Electron Donor

An electron donor is a chemical entity that donates electrons to another compound. It is a reducing agent that, by virtue of its donating electrons, is itself oxidized in the process.


Electrostatics is a branch of physics that deals with the phenomena and properties of stationary or slow-moving electric charges with no acceleration.

Elementary Particle

In particle physics, an elementary particle or fundamental particle is a particle whose substructure is unknown, thus it is not known to be composed of other particles. Known elementary particles include the fundamental fermions (quarks, leptons, antiquarks, and antileptons), which generally are "matter particles" and "antimatter particles", as well as the fundamental bosons (gauge bosons and Higgs boson), which generally are "force particles" that mediate interactions among fermions. A particle containing two or more elementary particles is a composite particle.

Extragalactic Astronomy

Extragalactic astronomy is the branch of astronomy concerned with objects outside our own Milky Way galaxy. In other words, it is the study of all astronomical objects which are not covered by galactic astronomy, the next level of galactic astronomy.


Fibril is a fine fiber, such as a myofibril or neurofibril. Neurofilaments are about 10 nanometers in diameter.


Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. It is a form of luminescence. In most cases, the emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation. However, when the absorbed electromagnetic radiation is intense, it is possible for one electron to absorb two photons; this two-photon absorption can lead to emission of radiation having a shorter wavelength than the absorbed radiation. The emitted radiation may also be of the same wavelength as the absorbed radiation, termed "resonance fluorescence".

Fluorescence Microscopy

A fluorescence microscope is an optical microscope that uses fluorescence and phosphorescence instead of, or in addition to, reflection and absorption to study properties of organic or inorganic substances. The "fluorescence microscope" refers to any microscope that uses fluorescence to generate an image, whether it is a more simple set up like an epifluorescence microscope, or a more complicated design such as a confocal microscope, which uses optical sectioning to get better resolution of the fluorescent image.


Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient through the use of a fluoroscope. In its simplest form, a fluoroscope consists of an X-ray source and fluorescent screen between which a patient is placed. However, modern fluoroscopes couple the screen to an X-ray image intensifier and CCD video camera allowing the images to be recorded and played on a monitor.

Force Carriers

In particle physics, forces between particles arise from the exchange of other particles. These force carrier particles are bundles of energy (quanta) of a particular kind of field. There is one kind of field for every species of elementary particle. For instance, there is an electron field whose quanta are electrons, and an electromagnetic field whose quanta are photons. The force carrier particles that mediate the electromagnetic, weak and strong interactions are called gauge bosons.

Free Boundary Problem

In mathematics, a free boundary problem is a partial differential equation to be solved for both an unknown function u and an unknown domain ½. The segment Γ of the boundary of ½ which is not known at the outset of the problem is the free boundary.

Free Electron Laser

A free-electron laser (FEL), is a type of laser that shares the same optical properties as conventional lasers such as emitting a beam consisting of coherent electromagnetic radiation that can reach high power, but that uses some very different operating principles to form the beam. Unlike gas-, liquid-, or solid-state lasers such as diode lasers, in which electrons are excited in bound atomic or molecular states, free-electron lasers use a relativistic electron beam that moves freely through a magnetic structure, hence the term free electron as the lasing medium. The free-electron laser has the widest frequency range of any laser type, and can be widely tunable, currently ranging in wavelength from microwaves, through terahertz radiation and infrared, to the visible spectrum, ultraviolet, and X-ray.

Galilean Transformation

In physics, a Galilean transformation is used to transform between the coordinates of two reference frames which differ only by constant relative motion within the constructs of Newtonian physics. This is the passive transformation point of view. The equations below, although apparently obvious, are untenable at speeds that approach the speed of light. In special relativity the Galilean transformations are replaced by Lorentz transformations.

Gauge Symmetry

In mathematics, any Lagrangian system generally admits gauge symmetries, though it may happen that they are trivial. In theoretical physics, the notion of gauge symmetries depending on parameter functions is a cornerstone of contemporary field theory.

General Relativity

General relativity, or the general theory of relativity, is the geometric theory of gravitation published by Albert Einstein in 1916 and the current description of gravitation in modern physics. General relativity generalizes special relativity and Newton's law of universal gravitation, providing a unified description of gravity as a geometric property of space and time, or spacetime. In particular, the curvature of spacetime is directly related to the energy and momentum of whatever matter and radiation are present. The relation is specified by the Einstein field equations, a system of partial differential equations.


Genomics is a discipline in genetics that applies recombinant DNA, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics to sequence, assemble, and analyze the function and structure of genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism). The field includes efforts to determine the entire DNA sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping. The field also includes studies of intragenomic phenomena such as heterosis, epistasis, pleiotropy and other interactions between loci and alleles within the genome. In contrast, the investigation of the roles and functions of single genes is a primary focus of molecular biology or genetics and is a common topic of modern medical and biological research. Research of single genes does not fall into the definition of genomics unless the aim of this genetic, pathway, and functional information analysis is to elucidate its effect on, place in, and response to the entire genome's networks.


A heterojunction is the interface that occurs between two layers or regions of dissimilar crystalline semiconductors. These semiconducting materials have unequal band gaps as opposed to a homojunction. It is often advantageous to engineer the electronic energy bands in many solid state device applications including semiconductor lasers, solar cells and transistors ("heterotransistors") to name a few. The combination of multiple heterojunctions together in a device is called a heterostructure although the two terms are commonly used interchangeably. The requirement that each material be a semiconductor with unequal band gaps is somewhat loose especially on small length scales where electronic properties depend on spatial properties. A more modern definition of heterojunction is the interface between any two solid-state materials, including crystalline and amorphous structures of metallic, insulating, fast ion conductor and semiconducting materials.

Higgs Boson

The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is an elementary particle initially theorised in 1964, whose discovery was announced at CERN on 4 July 2012. The discovery has been called "monumental" because it appears to confirm the existence of the Higgs field, which is pivotal to the Standard Model and other theories within particle physics. It would explain why some fundamental particles have mass when the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and—linked to this—why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force. The discovery of a Higgs boson should allow physicists to finally validate the last untested area of the Standard Model's approach to fundamental particles and forces, guide other theories and discoveries in particle physics, and potentially lead to developments in "new" physics.


Holography is a technique which enables three-dimensional images to be made. It involves the use of a laser, interference, diffraction, light intensity recording and suitable illumination of the recording. The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing system changes in exactly the same way as if the object were still present, thus making the image appear three-dimensional.

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was carried into orbit by a Space Shuttle in 1990 and remains in operation. A 2.4-meter (7.9 ft) aperture telescope in low Earth orbit, Hubble's four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared. The telescope is named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble.

Ion Torrent Semiconductor Sequencing

Ion Torrent Semiconductor Sequencing is a method of DNA sequencing based on the detection of hydrogen ions that are released during the polymerization of DNA. This is a method of "sequencing by synthesis", during which a complementary strand is built based on the sequence of a template strand.

iPS Cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells, commonly abbreviated as iPS cells or iPSCs, are a type of pluripotent stem cell artificially derived from a non-pluripotent cell – typically an adult somatic cell – by inducing a "forced" expression of specific genes.


A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. The term "laser" originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers differ from other sources of light because they emit light coherently. Spatial coherence allows a laser to be focused to a tight spot, enabling applications like laser cutting and lithography. Spatial coherence also allows a laser beam to stay narrow over long distances (collimation), enabling applications such as laser pointers. Lasers can also have high temporal coherence which allows them to have a very narrow spectrum, i.e., they only emit a single color of light. Temporal coherence can be used to produce pulses of light—as short as a femtosecond.


A lepton is an elementary, spin-1Ú2 particle that does not undergo strong interactions, but is subject to the Pauli exclusion principle. The best known of all leptons is the electron, which governs nearly all of chemistry as it is found in atoms and is directly tied to all chemical properties. Two main classes of leptons exist: charged leptons (also known as the electron-like leptons), and neutral leptons (better known as neutrinos). Charged leptons can combine with other particles to form various composite particles such as atoms and positronium, while neutrinos rarely interact with anything, and are consequently rarely observed.

Light-Emitting Diode

A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor light source. LEDs are used as indicator lamps in many devices and are increasingly used for general lighting. Appearing as practical electronic components in 1962, early LEDs emitted low-intensity red light, but modern versions are available across the visible, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths, with very high brightness.


A macromolecule is a very large molecule commonly created by polymerization of smaller subunits. In biochemistry, the term is applied to the four conventional biopolymers (nucleic acids, proteins, and carbohydrates), as well as non-polymeric molecules with large molecular mass such as lipids and macrocycles. The individual constituent molecules of macromolecules are called monomers (mono=single, meros=part).

Magnetic Field

A magnetic field is a mathematical description of the magnetic influence of electric currents and magnetic materials. The magnetic field at any given point is specified by both a direction and a magnitude (or strength); as such it is a vector field. The term is used for two distinct but closely related fields denoted by the symbols B and H. B refers to magnetic flux density, and H to magnetic field strength. Magnetic flux density is most commonly defined in terms of the Lorentz force it exerts on moving electric charges.

Materials Science

Materials science, also commonly known as materials engineering, is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This relatively new scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates elements of applied physics and chemistry. With significant media attention focused on Nano science and nanotechnology in recent years, materials science is becoming more widely known as a specific field of science and engineering. It is an important part of forensic engineering (Forensic engineering is the investigation of materials, products, structures or components that fail or do not operate or function as intended, causing personal injury or damage to property.) and failure analysis, the latter being the key to understanding, for example, the cause of various aviation accidents. Many of the most pressing scientific problems that are currently faced today are due to the limitations of the materials that are currently available and, as a result, breakthroughs in this field are likely to have a significant impact on the future of technology.

Mesoscopic Physics

Mesoscopic physics is a sub-discipline of condensed matter physics which deals with materials of an intermediate length scale. The scale of such materials can be described as being between the size of a quantity of atoms (such as a molecule) and of materials measuring micrometres. The lower limit can also be defined as being the size of individual atoms. At the micrometre level are bulk materials. Mesoscopic and macroscopic objects have in common that they both contain a large number of atoms. Whereas average properties derived from its constituent materials describe macroscopic objects, as they usually obey the laws of classical mechanics, a mesoscopic object, by contrast, is affected by fluctuations around the average, and is subject to quantum mechanics.


Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to have properties that may not be found in nature. They are assemblies of multiple individual elements fashioned from conventional microscopic materials such as metals or plastics, but the materials are usually arranged in periodic patterns. Metamaterials gain their properties not from their composition, but from their exactingly-designed structures. Their precise shape, geometry, size, orientation and arrangement can affect the waves of light or sound in an unconventional manner, creating material properties which are unachievable with conventional materials. These metamaterials achieve desired effects by incorporating structural elements of sub-wavelength sizes, i.e. features that are actually smaller than the wavelength of the waves they affect.


A micrograph, or photomicrograph, is a photograph or digital image taken through a microscope or similar device to show a magnified image of an item. This is opposed to a macrographic image, which is at a scale that is visible to the naked eye.

Model Organisms

A model organism is a non-human species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms. Model organisms are in vivo models and are widely used to research human disease when human experimentation would be unfeasible or unethical. This strategy is made possible by the common descent of all living organisms, and the conservation of metabolic and developmental pathways and genetic material over the course of evolution. Studying model organisms can be informative, but care must be taken when extrapolating from one organism to another.

Modern Physics

The term modern physics refers to the post-Newtonian conception of physics. Put simply, modern physics deals with the underlying structure of the smallest particles in nature ("quantum" mechanics), as well as a rigorous understanding of the fundamental interaction of particles, understood as forces. Small velocities and large distances is usually the realm of classical physics. Modern physics often involves extreme conditions; quantum effects usually involve distances comparable to atoms (roughly 10−9 m), while relativistic effects usually involve velocities comparable to the speed of light (roughly 108 m/s).

Molecular Machine

A molecular machine, or nanomachine, is any discrete number of molecular components that produce quasi-mechanical movements (output) in response to specific stimuli (input). The expression is often more generally applied to molecules that simply mimic functions that occur at the macroscopic level. The term is also common in nanotechnology where a number of highly complex molecular machines have been proposed that are aimed at the goal of constructing a molecular assembler. Molecular machines can be divided into two broad categories; synthetic and biological.

Molecular Modelling

Molecular modeling encompasses all theoretical methods and computational techniques used to model or mimic the behaviour of molecules. The techniques are used in the fields of computational chemistry, drug design, computational biology and materials science for studying molecular systems ranging from small chemical systems to large biological molecules and material assemblies. The simplest calculations can be performed by hand, but inevitably computers are required to perform molecular modelling of any reasonably sized system. The common feature of molecular modelling techniques is the atomistic level description of the molecular systems. This may include treating atoms as the smallest individual unit (the Molecular mechanics approach), or explicitly modeling electrons of each atom (the quantum chemistry approach).

Molecular Wire

Molecular wires (or sometimes called molecular nanowires) are molecular-scale objects which conduct electrical current. They are the fundamental building blocks for molecular electronic devices. Their typical diameters are less than three nanometers, while their bulk lengths may be macroscopic, extending to centimeters or more.


A monochromator is an optical device that transmits a mechanically selectable narrow band of wavelengths of light or other radiation chosen from a wider range of wavelengths available at the input. The name is from the Greek roots mono-, single, and chroma, colour, and the Latin suffix -ator, denoting an agent.


Morphology is a branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features. This includes aspects of the outward appearance (shape, structure, colour, pattern) as well as the form and structure of the internal parts like bones and organs. This is in contrast to physiology, which deals primarily with function. Morphology is a branch of life science dealing with the study of gross structure of an organism or Taxon and its component parts.

Multiphase Flows

In fluid mechanics, multiphase flow is a generalisation of the modelling used in two-phase flow to cases where the two phases are not chemically related (e.g. dusty gases) or where more than two phases are present (e.g. in modelling of propagating steam explosions).


The multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of infinite or finite possible universes (including the historical universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. The term was coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes.


A nantenna (nanoantenna) is a nanoscopic rectifying antenna, an experimental technology being developed to convert light to electric power. The concept is based on the rectenna (rectifying antenna), a device used in wireless power transmission. A rectenna is a specialized radio antenna which is used to convert radio waves into direct current electricity. Light is composed of electromagnetic waves like radio waves, but of much smaller wavelength. A nantenna is a very small rectenna the size of a light wave, fabricated using nanotechnology, which acts as an "antenna" for light, converting light into electricity. It is hoped that arrays of nantennas could be an efficient means of converting sunlight into electric power, producing solar power more efficiently than conventional solar cells. The idea was first proposed by Robert L. Bailey in 1972. As of 2012, only a few nantenna devices have been built, demonstrating only that energy conversion is possible. It is unknown if they will ever be as cost-effective as photovoltaic cells.


Nanofluidics is the study of the behavior, manipulation, and control of fluids that are confined to structures of nanometer (typically 1-100 nm) characteristic dimensions (1 nm = 10−9 m). Fluids confined in these structures exhibit physical behaviors not observed in larger structures, such as those of micrometer dimensions and above, because the characteristic physical scaling lengths of the fluid, (e.g. Debye length, hydrodynamic radius) very closely coincide with the dimensions of the nanostructure itself.


Nanophotonics or Nano-optics is the study of the behavior of light on the nanometer scale. It is considered as a branch of optical engineering which deals with optics, or the interaction of light with particles or substances, at deeply subwavelength length scales. Technologies in the realm of nano-optics include near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM), photoassisted scanning tunnelling microscopy, and surface plasmon optics. Traditional microscopy makes use of diffractive elements to focus light tightly in order to increase resolution. But because of the diffraction limit (also known as the Rayleigh Criterion), propagating light may be focused to a spot with a minimum diameter of roughly half the wavelength of the light. Thus, even with diffraction-limited confocal microscopy, the maximum resolution obtainable is on the order of a couple of hundred nanometers. The scientific and industrial communities are becoming more interested in the characterization of materials and phenomena on the scale of a few nanometers, so alternative techniques must be utilized. Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) makes use of a ÒprobeÓ, (usually either a tiny aperture or super-sharp tip), which either locally excites a sample or transmits local information from a sample to be collected and analyzed. The ability to fabricate devices in nanoscale that has been developed recently provided the catalyst for this area of study.


A nanowire is a nanostructure, with the diameter of the order of a nanometer (10−9 meters).It can also be defined as the ratio of the length to width being greater than 20. Alternatively, nanowires can be defined as structures that have a thickness or diameter constrained to tens of nanometers or less and an unconstrained length. At these scales, quantum mechanical effects are important — which coined the term "quantum wires". Many different types of nanowires exist, including metallic (e.g., Ni, Pt, Au), semiconducting (e.g., Si, InP, GaN, etc.), and insulating (e.g., SiO2, TiO2). Molecular nanowires are composed of repeating molecular units either organic (e.g. DNA) or inorganic (e.g. Mo6S9-xIx).

Network Control System

A Networked Control System (NCS) is a control system wherein the control loops are closed through a real-time network. The defining feature of an NCS is that control and feedback signals are exchanged among the system's components in the form of information packages through a network.


Neurodegeneration is the umbrella term for the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, including death of neurons. Many neurodegenerative diseases including ParkinsonÕs, AlzheimerÕs, and HuntingtonÕs occur as a result of neurodegenerative processes. As research progresses, many similarities appear which relate these diseases to one another on a sub-cellular level. Discovering these similarities offers hope for therapeutic advances that could ameliorate many diseases simultaneously. There are many parallels between different neurodegenerative disorders including atypical protein assemblies as well as induced cell death. Neurodegeneration can be found in many different levels of neuronal circuitry ranging from molecular to systemic.


Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine and allied disciplines, philosophy, physics, and psychology. It also exerts influence on other fields, such as neuroeducation and neurolaw. The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system.

Nonlinear partial differential equations

In mathematics and physics, nonlinear partial differential equations are (as their name suggests) partial differential equations with nonlinear terms. They describe many different physical systems, ranging from gravitation to fluid dynamics, and have been used in mathematics to solve problems such as the PoincarŽ conjecture and the Calabi conjecture. They are difficult to study: there are almost no general techniques that work for all such equations, and usually each individual equation has to be studied as a separate problem.

Optical Coherence Tomography

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an optical signal acquisition and processing method. It captures micrometer-resolution, three-dimensional images from within optical scattering media (e.g., biological tissue). Optical coherence tomography is an interferometric technique, typically employing near-infrared light. The use of relatively long wavelength light allows it to penetrate into the scattering medium. Confocal microscopy, another similar technique, typically penetrates less deeply into the sample.

Optical Microscope

The optical microscope, often referred to as the "light microscope", is a type of microscope which uses visible light and a system of lenses to magnify images of small samples. Optical microscopes are the oldest design of microscope and were possibly invented in their present compound form in the 17th century. Basic optical microscopes can be very simple, although there are many complex designs which aim to improve resolution and sample contrast.


Optogenetics (from the Greek optos, meaning "visible") is a neuromodulation technique employed in neuroscience that uses a combination of techniques from optics and genetics to control and monitor the activities of individual neurons in living tissue—even within freely-moving animals—and to precisely measure the effects of those manipulations in real-time. The key reagents used in optogenetics are light-sensitive proteins. Spatially-precise neuronal control is achieved using optogenetic actuators like channelrhodopsin, halorhodopsin, and archaerhodopsin, while temporally-precise recordings can be made with the help of optogenetic sensors like Clomeleon, Mermaid, and SuperClomeleon.

Organic Semiconductor

An organic semiconductor is an organic material with semiconductor properties, that is, with an electrical conductivity between that of insulators and that of metals. Single molecules, oligomers, and organic polymers can be semiconductive. Semiconducting small molecules (aromatic hydrocarbons) include the polycyclic aromatic compounds pentacene, anthracene, and rubrene. Polymeric organic semiconductors include poly(3-hexylthiophene), poly(p-phenylene vinylene), as well as polyacetylene and its derivatives.

Organometallic Chemistry

Organometallic chemistry is the study of chemical compounds containing bonds between carbon and a metal. Since many compounds without such bonds are chemically similar, an alternative may be compounds containing metal-element bonds of a largely covalent character. Organometallic chemistry combines aspects of inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry. Organometallic compounds are widely used in homogeneous catalysis.

Particle Accelerator

A particle accelerator is a device that uses electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles to high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams.

Particle Physics

Particle physics is a branch of physics which studies the nature of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter and radiation. In current understanding, particles are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics. Although the word "particle" can be used in reference to many objects (e.g. a proton, a gas particle, or even household dust), the term "particle physics" usually refers to the study of the fundamental objects of the universe – fields that must be defined in order to explain the observed particles, and that cannot be defined by a combination of other fundamental fields. The current set of fundamental fields and their dynamics are summarized in a theory called the Standard Model, therefore particle physics is largely the study of the Standard Model's particle content and its possible extensions.


Photosensors or photodetectors are sensors of light or other electromagnetic energy.


Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide. Due to the increased demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.

Physical System

In physics, the word system has a technical meaning; namely, a physical system is the portion of the physical universe chosen for analysis. Everything outside the system is known as the environment, which in analysis is ignored except for its effects on the system. The cut between system and the world is a free choice, generally made to simplify the analysis as much as possible. An isolated system is one which is supposed to have negligible interaction with its environment.


Physics is the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.


Piezoelectricity is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure. It is derived from the Greek piezo or piezein (¹ιέζειν), which means to squeeze or press, and electric or electron (ήλεκτρον), which stands for amber, an ancient source of electric charge. Piezoelectricity was discovered in 1880 by French physicists Jacques and Pierre Curie.

Planck Satellite

Planck is a space observatory operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), and designed to observe anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) at microwave and infra-red frequencies, with high sensitivity and small angular resolution. The project, initially called COBRAS/SAMBA, is named in honour of the German physicist Max Planck (1858–1947), who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.


In physics, a plasmon is a quantum of plasma oscillation. The plasmon is a quasiparticle resulting from the quantization of plasma oscillations just as photons and phonons are quantizations of electromagnetic and mechanical vibrations, respectively (although the photon is an elementary particle, not a quasiparticle). Thus, plasmons are collective oscillations of the free electron gas density, for example, at optical frequencies. Plasmons can couple with a photon to create another quasiparticle called a plasma polariton.


A polymer is a large molecule composed of many repeated subunits, known as monomers. Because of their broad range of properties, both synthetic and natural polymers play an essential and ubiquitous role in everyday life. Polymers range from familiar synthetic plastics such as polystyrene (or styrofoam) to natural biopolymers such as DNA and proteins that are fundamental to biological structure and function. Polymers, both natural and synthetic, are created via polymerization of many monomers. Their consequently large molecular mass relative to small molecule compounds produces unique physical properties, including toughness, viscoelasticity, and a tendency to form glasses and semicrystalline structures rather than crystals.


A polyolefin is a polymer produced from a simple olefin (also called an alkene with the general formula CnH2n) as a monomer. For example, polyethylene is the polyolefin produced by polymerizing the olefin ethylene. An equivalent term is polyalkene; this is a more modern term, although polyolefin is still used in the petrochemical industry. Polypropylene is another common polyolefin which is made from the olefin propylene.

Quantitative Genetics

Quantitative genetics is the study of the inheritance of continuously measured traits (such as height or weight) and their mechanisms. It can be an extension of simple Mendelian inheritance in that the combined effects of one or more genes and the environments in which they are expressed give rise to continuous distributions of phenotypic values.

Quantum Dots

A quantum dot is a nanocrystal made of semiconductor materials that are small enough to display quantum mechanical properties, specifically its excitons are confined in all three spatial dimensions. The electronic properties of these materials are intermediate between those of bulk semiconductors and of discrete molecules. Quantum dots were discovered in the early 1980s by Alexei Ekimov in a glass matrix and by Louis E. Brus in colloidal solutions. The term "quantum dot" was coined by Mark Reed.

Quantum Field Theory

In theoretical physics, quantum field theory (QFT) is a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of subatomic particles in particle physics and quasiparticles in condensed matter physics, by treating a particle as an excited state of an underlying physical field. These excited states are called field quanta. For example, quantum electrodynamics (QED) has one electron field and one photon field, quantum chromodynamics (QCD) has one field for each type of quark, and in condensed matter there is an atomic displacement field that gives rise to phonon particles. Ed Witten describes QFT as "by far" the most difficult theory in modern physics.

Quantum Mechanics

Quantum mechanics (QM – also known as quantum physics, or quantum theory) is a branch of physics which deals with physical phenomena at microscopic scales, where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the quantum realm of atomic and subatomic length scales. Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It is the non-relativistic limit of Quantum Field Theory (QFT), a theory that was developed later that combined Quantum Mechanics with Relativity.


A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can be found only within hadrons, such as baryons (of which protons and neutrons are examples), and mesons. For this reason, much of what is known about quarks has been drawn from observations of the hadrons themselves.


In physics, redshift happens when light or other electromagnetic radiation from an object moving away from the observer is increased in wavelength, or shifted to the red end of the spectrum. In general, whether or not the radiation is within the visible spectrum, "redder" means an increase in wavelength – equivalent to a lower frequency and a lower photon energy, in accordance with, respectively, the wave and quantum theories of light.


In Big Bang cosmology, reionization is the process that reionized the matter in the universe after the "dark ages", and is the second of two major phase transitions of gas in the universe. As the majority of baryonic matter is in the form of hydrogen, reionization usually refers to the reionization of hydrogen gas. The primordial helium in the universe experienced the same phase changes, but at different points in the history of the universe, and is usually referred to as helium reionization.

Scanning Probe Microscopy

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is a branch of microscopy that forms images of surfaces using a physical probe that scans the specimen. SPM was founded with the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope in 1981.

Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

A scanning tunneling microscope (STM) is an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. Its development in 1981 earned its inventors, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer (at IBM ZŸrich), the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. For an STM, good resolution is considered to be 0.1 nm lateral resolution and 0.01 nm depth resolution. With this resolution, individual atoms within materials are routinely imaged and manipulated. The STM can be used not only in ultra-high vacuum but also in air, water, and various other liquid or gas ambients, and at temperatures ranging from near zero kelvin to a few hundred degrees Celsius.


Self-assembly is a type of process in which a disordered system of pre-existing components forms an organized structure or pattern as a consequence of specific, local interactions among the components themselves, without external direction. When the constitutive components are molecules, the process is termed molecular self-assembly.


A semiconductor is a material which has electrical conductivity to a degree between that of a metal (such as copper) and that of an insulator (such as glass). Semiconductors are the foundation of modern electronics, including transistors, solar cells, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), quantum dots and digital and analog integrated circuits.

Solar Cell

A solar cell (also called a photovoltaic cell or photocell) is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. It is a form of photoelectric cell (in that its electrical characteristics—e.g. current, voltage, or resistance—vary when light is incident upon it) which, when exposed to light, can generate and support an electric current without being attached to any external voltage source, but do require an external load for power consumption.

Special Relativity

In physics, special relativity (SR, also known as the special theory of relativity or STR) is the accepted physical theory regarding the relationship between space and time. It is based on two postulates: (1) that the laws of physics are invariant (i.e., identical) in all inertial systems (non-accelerating frames of reference); and (2) that the speed of light in a vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source. It was originally proposed in 1905 by Albert Einstein in the paper "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies". The inconsistency of classical mechanics with MaxwellÕs equations of electromagnetism led to the development of special relativity, which corrects classical mechanics to handle situations involving motions nearing the speed of light. As of today, special relativity is the most accurate model of motion at any speed. Even so, classical mechanics is still useful (due to its sheer simplicity and high accuracy) as an approximation at small velocities relative to the speed of light.

Stem Cell

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells, that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide (through mitosis) to produce more stem cells. They are found in multicellular organisms. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all the specialized cells—ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm (see induced pluripotent stem cells)—but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.

String Theory

In physics, string theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. In string theory, the different types of observed elementary particles arise from the different quantum states of these strings. In addition to the types of particles postulated by the standard model of particle physics, string theory naturally incorporates gravity, and is therefore a candidate for a theory of everything, a self-contained mathematical model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of matter. Aside from this hypothesized role in particle physics, string theory is now widely used as a theoretical tool in physics, and it has shed light on many aspects of quantum field theory and quantum gravity.


In physics, symmetry includes all features of a physical system that exhibit the property of symmetry—that is, under certain transformations, aspects of these systems are otherwise "unchanged", according to a particular observation. A symmetry of a physical system is a physical or mathematical feature of the system (observed or intrinsic) that is "preserved" under some change.

Synaptic Plasticity

In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the ability of synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, in response to increases or decreases in their activity. Plastic change also results from the alteration of the number of receptors located on a synapse. There are several underlying mechanisms that cooperate to achieve synaptic plasticity, including changes in the quantity of neurotransmitters released into a synapse and changes in how effectively cells respond to those neurotransmitters. Synaptic plasticity in both excitatory and inhibitory synapses has been found to be dependent upon postsynaptic calcium release. Since memories are postulated to be represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory.

Systems Biology

Systems biology is an emerging approach applied to biomedical and biological scientific research. Systems biology is a biology-based inter-disciplinary field of study that focuses on complex interactions within biological systems, using a more holistic perspective (holism instead of the more traditional reductionism) approach to biological and biomedical research. Particularly from year 2000 onwards, the concept has been used widely in the biosciences in a variety of contexts. One of the outreaching aims of systems biology is to model and discover emergent properties, properties of cells, tissues and organisms functioning as a system whose theoretical description is only possible using techniques which fall under the remit of systems biology. These typically involve metabolic networks or cell signaling networks.

Terahertz Radiation

In physics, terahertz radiation, also called submillimeter radiation, terahertz waves, terahertz light, T-rays, T-waves, T-light, T-lux, or THz, consists of electromagnetic waves at frequencies from 0.3 to 3 terahertz (THz). The term applies to electromagnetic radiation with frequencies between the high-frequency edge of the millimeter wave band, 300 gigahertz (3×1011 Hz), and the low frequency edge of the far-infrared light band, 3000 GHz (3×1012 Hz). Corresponding wavelengths of radiation in this band range from 1 mm to 0.1 mm (or 100 μm).

The Big Bang

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that describes the early development of the Universe. According to the theory, the Big Bang occurred approximately 13.798 ± 0.037 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the universe. At this time, the Universe was in an extremely hot and dense state and began expanding rapidly. After the initial expansion, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow energy to be converted into various subatomic particles, including protons, neutrons, and electrons. Though simple atomic nuclei formed within the first three minutes after the Big Bang, thousands of years passed before the first electrically neutral atoms formed. The majority of atoms that were produced by the Big Bang are hydrogen, along with helium and traces of lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies, and the heavier elements were synthesized either within stars or during supernovae.

Thermoelectric Materials

Thermoelectric materials show the thermoelectric effect in a strong or convenient form. The thermoelectric effect refers to phenomena by which either a temperature difference creates an electric potential or an electric potential creates a temperature difference. These phenomena are known more specifically as the Seebeck effect (converting temperature to current), Peltier effect (converting current to temperature), and Thomson effect (conductor heating/cooling). While all materials have a nonzero thermoelectric effect, in most materials it is too small to be useful. However, low-cost materials that have a sufficiently strong thermoelectric effect (and other required properties) could be used in applications including power generation and refrigeration.

Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of neurostimulation which uses constant, low current delivered directly to the brain area of interest via small electrodes. tDCS was originally developed to help patients with brain injuries such as strokes. Tests on healthy adults demonstrated that tDCS can increase cognitive performance on a variety of tasks, depending on the area of the brain being stimulated. tDCS has been utilized to enhance language and mathematical ability, attention span, problem solving, memory, and coordination.


A transistor is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals changes the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input) power, a transistor can amplify a signal. Today, some transistors are packaged individually, but many more are found embedded in integrated circuits.

Tunable Laser

A tunable laser is a laser whose wavelength of operation can be altered in a controlled manner. While all laser gain media allow small shifts in output wavelength, only a few types of lasers allow continuous tuning over a significant wavelength range.

Vacuum Energy

Vacuum energy is an underlying background energy that exists in space throughout the entire Universe. One contribution to the vacuum energy may be from virtual particles which are thought to be particle pairs that blink into existence and then annihilate in a timespan too short to observe. They are expected to do this everywhere, throughout the Universe. Their behavior is codified in Heisenberg's energy–time uncertainty principle. Still, the exact effect of such fleeting bits of energy is difficult to quantify.

Wave-Particle Duality

Wave–particle duality is a theory that proposes that all matter exhibits the properties of not only particles, which have mass, but also waves, which transfer energy. A central concept of quantum mechanics, this duality addresses the inability of classical concepts like "particle" and "wave" to fully describe the behavior of quantum-scale objects. Standard interpretations of quantum mechanics explain this paradox as a fundamental property of the Universe, while alternative interpretations explain the duality as an emergent, second-order consequence of various limitations of the observer. This treatment focuses on explaining the behavior from the perspective of the widely used Copenhagen interpretation, in which wave–particle duality serves as one aspect of the concept of complementarity, that one can view phenomena in one way or in another, but not both simultaneously.




[1] Definitions taken from http://www.wikipedia.org. Pronunciation guides and endnote indices were removed for consistency. Please click any term to view the definition on Wikipedia.