Molecules/Matter & Energy

3-D effects without the glasses, plus portable X-rays and linking qubits in this week’s news

Glasses-free 3-D
A new type of hologram provides a 3-D image without glasses. And unlike many traditional holograms, this one comes in color. Current 3-D television technologies rely on overlapping images to give the illusion of depth. But the new technique, developed by Japanese scientists and published in the April 8 Science, uses white light to energize electrons in a thin film of metal. This energy reveals a hologram pre-etched by lasers into a second, overlying layer. Colorful apples, roses and origami cranes created this way maintain their appearance when seen from different angles, unlike the kinds of holograms used on credit cards. —Devin Powell

IN BLOOM A new method reconstructs a three-dimensional red rose using white-light illumination instead of a laser. © Science/AAAS

X-rays rubbed out
A simple way to make X-rays could lead to portable devices for medics in the field. Seth Putterman of UCLA built a machine that bumps rubber against hardened epoxy up to 20 times a second. Every touch discharges X-ray energy, much in the way that touching a doorknob can release a lower-energy static shock. The mechanism behind this triboelectric effect, which also produces X-rays when Scotch tape is peeled from a surface, is still largely unknown. By testing different materials, Putterman hopes to boost the strength of the X-rays tenfold to create machines that could run on a 12-volt battery. —Devin Powell

Quantum bit record
A new world record for linking together quantum bits, or qubits, brings quantum computing one step closer to usefulness. An international team of researchers entangled 14 atoms so they behaved like a single quantum particle. This feat trumps the previous record of 10 quantum bits. Published in the March 31 Physical Review Letters, the experiment also uncovers a difficulty that quantum computing will face as the number of bits continues to rise: As the number of qubits increases, boosting the computing power, the stability of the special quantum state that allows these atoms to store information falls more rapidly than expected. —Devin Powell

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