At The Frontiers Of Science

September 15, 2014 6:00 AM

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

This article is supplied by Raytheon

Raytheon is thinking big by thinking small.

Working with the smallest building blocks of the universe, the company’s scientists are creating new substances and computing technology straight from the pages of science fiction.

“When you get to the nano scale, you’re actually changing the way the atoms and the molecules are interacting,” said lead scientist Teresa Clement. “You can really see the impact of single atoms interacting with each other.”

Clement and her colleagues are using nano composite optical ceramics to replace exotic and expensive materials. Nano-based ceramics reduce the size, weight and power requirements of Raytheon-built space and airborne sensors.

Meanwhile, the company’s quantum physicists are exploring another frontier of science by developing designs for the supercomputers of the future.

“Current computers throw away a lot of information and a lot of power we know is there in nature,” said lead scientist Zac Dutton. “If we build quantum computers, we’re essentially taking advantage of all the power and all the information we know is in natural systems.”

Quantum computers will be more powerful and use less energy than conventional computers. But as in nanotechnology, the implications of the science go far beyond our imaginations today.

“The promise of the technology is incredible,” said Raytheon physicist Tom Ohki. “It’s something where effectively, you create a game-changing technology that does not exist now.”

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