Developments to Watch
-- AUSTRALIAN RESEARCHERS
at the CSIRO Division of Materials Science & Technology in Clayton, Victoria, have found a way to generate X-ray images while sparing patients high doses of X-ray radiation. The trick: The scientists measure diffraction to detect how various tissues slow the X-rays different-
ly, in addition to the traditional approach of measuring differences in absorption by
-- THE ARGONNE NATIONAL Laboratory says a bathtub-size "electrorefiner" could process a ton of spent nuclear fuel a day. The device uses electric current to separate plutonium from shorter-lived wastes such as cesium and strontium. To make it operate quickly, Argonne reduced electrical resistance by putting electrodes close together and increasing their surface area.
-- MULTICHIP MODULES MAKE computers faster and smaller by cramming several chips into one package. Trouble is, they're expensive. Dow Chemical says its new chemical, called Cyclotene, should make multichip modules cheaper to manufacture. Cyclotene can be coated into multiple layers of extremely thin films on which copper circuits can be laid out. Unlike polyimide, its nearest competitor, it doesn't corrode copper circuits or absorb water. And it goes on flat and smooth with one coat.
-- AT SIEMENS CORPORATE
Research in Princeton, N.J., they've developed a graphic language called Gestalt that makes it easier to spot bugs in big software projects. Gestalt helps designers create a master plan for their program. Then it checks whether connections between pieces of code are "permitted" by the architecture--and highlights them in red if they're verboten.EDITED BY PETER COY