Mel's Picks

Semiconductor Materials for Sensing Volume 828 from the Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings Series (2004 MRS Fall Meeting, Boston, MA)
Editors: Sudipta Seal, Marie-Isabelle Baraton, Clyde Parrish, and Norimitsu Murayama
Publisher: Materials Research Society
ISBN: 1-55899-776-8

 Melanie Martella
Melanie Martella

This collection of 53 papers from the 2004 Materials Research Society's Fall 2004 meeting deals with both the development of new or improved semiconductor materials and the physical/chemical/biological phenomena involved in the sensing mechanism. The book organizes the papers by broad category: advanced materials and processing; nanotubes and nanowires; solid-state ionics-based sensors; modeling, mechanism, and structure-properties relationships; biochemical sensors; integration; and physical sensors as well as a section of poster-session papers.

Because of the nature of the material, this book is aimed at researchers or others who need this kind of in-depth academic material. In other words, it's not for the faint of heart. However, it's interesting to see how the use of nanoscale materials offers new or improved sensing ability.

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Should you lack the shelf space for the book it is also available electronically on the MRS Web site,

Texas Instruments is offering a free circuit-simulation program based on a SPICE engine. The software, from DesignSoft, is called TINA-TI and it comes loaded with a library of macro models of TI's analog parts. It provides the conventional DC, transient, and frequency domain analysis of SPICE as well as post processing, virtual instruments, and schematic drawing and capture. You can experiment with your own circuits (this version is limited to simulating two ICs and 20 nodes) or see how various TI analog parts will behave in a circuit.

The Foresight Nanotech Institute, founded in1986, started out educating society about the possible benefits and drawbacks of nanotechnology. Now it has shifted its focus and is concentrating on the beneficial application of nanotechnology. To this end, the institute has posed several challenges: to use nanotechnology—on a global scale—to achieve clean energy, abundant clean water, increased human health and longevity, and improved agriculture as well as for space and electronics development. Make sure you check out the weekly news digest to stay up-to-date on what's happening in the nanotechnology sphere.

If you're looking for educational toys, crossbows, science hobbyist things, and all kinds of other strange and wonderful products, you may want to check out Information Unlimited. The company, dedicated to the experimenter and technology enthusiast, offers many of its products as plans or kits. The company's site is worth a visit if only to see the sheer variety of products available.

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Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.

—Edward Abbey (1927–1989)

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