NIST researchers used trigonometry to make these detector chips for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile. Most integrated circuits are designed using "Manhattan" geometry, meaning squares and rectangles. The rhomboidal (flattened square) tiles that make up the hexagonal detector chips will make the scope’s camera about 20 percent more efficient at collecting light and help it get a better picture of the early universe and dark energy.
Illustration of the quantum physics concept known as “quantization.” A firefighter experiences a smooth continuous range of gravitational potential energy while sliding down a pole. A tiny particle such as an electron can make abrupt “quantum” jumps between energy levels in an atom.