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Prairie' Silicon

‘Silicon Prairie’ Ready for Quantum Leap

June 9, 2021 — Nebraska is well known for corn and beef, but small towns in the area are also home to Charles Lindbergh’s first flying lessons and the invention of vise-grip locking pliers. Now, the National Science Foundation is betting on the Cornhusker State to help lead a high-stakes era of innovation as America…

June 9, 2021 — Nebraska is well-known for meat and corn, but small cities in the region will also be home to Charles Lindbergh’s first flying courses and the invention of vise-grip locking pliers. Now, the National Science Foundation is gambling on the Cornhusker State to help lead a high-stakes era of innovation as America gets prepared for next-generation pc and security technology.

That bet takes the form of a $20 million grant, spread over five years, to be shared by four universities in Nebraska. The base’s program was created to stimulate competitive research that targets scientists in certain areas — currently 25 states and three U.S. lands — who possess the ambition and expertise to conduct field-changing research but that have been typically overlooked in favor of bigger centers on the coasts.

A global race is underway from the emerging field of materials science and engineering that will alter the way we view and measure our world and change the way people communicate, bank, and protect data.

The award is”one of the biggest achievements” in the livelihood of Christian Binek, PhD, professor in the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and director of the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience.

“Quantum science and technology is the next big thing. Missing out on this is not an option,” he says. Staples of modern life, like computers, smartphones, light-emitting diode (LED) lights, and lasers, are based on quantum mechanics, Binek describes.

And a few of the jobs the grant will support will probably lead to medical advances, ” he adds.

Medicine Turning to Quantum

Quantum science is enabling the development of new drugs and assisting to improve diagnostic tools, such MRI machines which photograph the interior of the human body.

Among the projects the Nebraska scientists are operating on is low-field MRI. If they could eliminate the superconducting coils which need liquid nitrogen for heating, today’s big, bulky, exceptionally costly MRI machines could become obsolete, Binek describes.

Patients would still need to be scanned, but that could happen with a handheld device, he says. Advances could also pave the way for 3D X-rays in vivid detail and colour.

The Possible workforce in Nebraska is part of”the missing millions” involving the coasts

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