MIT Studies Nanostructures for Building Smaller Chips

Today's topics include MIT researchers studying self-stacking nanogrids, Google's 1 billion dollar deal with Apple, a new Surface laptop and tablet have officially gone on sale, and Microsoft opens its Office Early-Access Program to Mac users.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology have been studying whether molecules called block copolymers can be used as a new way to manufacture processors for memory and optical chips, and possible processors for computers.

Now, the researchers are outlining a technique for creating what they call "mesh structures." They're doing this by using block copolymers that can spontaneously self-assemble into particular shapes, a process that could be used to build future chips. The team from MIT published its findings in a new paper in the journal Nature Communications.

Reports last week that Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to make its search bar the default choice on iPhones confirms previous speculation about an existing revenue-sharing agreement between the two technology giants. It also sheds some light on the enormity of the revenues and profits at stake for search engine companies and Internet firms in general in the mobile space. The claims come from Bloomberg Business, which reports that it had seen the transcript of a court document, which is no longer publicly available, showing that Apple had received $1 billion from Google in 2014.

Microsoft announced Jan. 22 that it has started selling 1TB versions of its Surface Book two-in-one laptop and Surface Pro 4 tablet in the United States and Canada. When Microsoft announced the Surface Book during October's Windows 10 device event in New York City, the company not only surprised attendees by unveiling its first laptop, but also by revealing that select models would ship with additional hardware-based graphics acceleration.

The 1TB Surface Book Pro model comes with an optional Nvidia GeForce GPU and sells for $3,199 with an estimated ship date of Feb. 5. The 1TB version of the Surface Pro 4 costs $2,699 and is available now.

Microsoft announced it is making room for Apple Mac users in its Office 365 testing program. In November, the company introduced Office Insider, a preview program that allows Office 365 consumer subscribers to get early access to the latest Office innovations. Now, Mac users can also get early access to Office innovations. The Office Insider program grants members access to Office 365 updates before they are made generally available.

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