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Smarter window materials can control light, energy

July 23, 2015 7:19 am | by Sandra Zaragoza, The Univ. of Texas at Austin | Comments

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The Univ. of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.


The light of fireflies for medical diagnostics

July 22, 2015 1:15 pm | by Nik Papageorgiou, EPFL | Comments

In biology and medicine, we often need to detect biological molecules. For example, in cancer diagnostics, doctors need quick and reliable ways of knowing if tumor cells are present in the patient's body. Although such detection methods exist, they often require a lot of time, work and money.


New battery technologies take on lithium-ion

July 22, 2015 12:15 pm | by American Chemical Society | Comments

Lithium-ion batteries remain the technology-of-choice for today’s crop of electric cars, but challengers are revving up to try to upset the current order. An article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) takes a look at two of the top contenders vying to erode lithium-ion’s dominance.


3-D model could solve supernova mystery

July 22, 2015 11:30 am | by Tom Oswald, Media Communications, Michigan State Univ. | Comments

Giant stars die a violent death. After a life of several million years, they collapse into themselves and then explode in what is known as a supernova. How these stars explode remains a mystery. However, recent work led by Michigan State Univ. may bring some answers to this astronomical question.


Researchers make scalable arrays of “building blocks” for ultra-thin electronics

July 22, 2015 11:15 am | by Dawn Levy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | Comments

Semiconductors, metals and insulators must be integrated to make the transistors that are the electronic building blocks of your smartphone, computer and other microchip-enabled devices. Today’s transistors are miniscule—a mere 10 nm wide—and formed from 3-D crystals.


Experimental Alzheimer's drug shows some benefit

July 22, 2015 10:05 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer, Associated Press | Comments

Eli Lilly & Co. is reporting that its experimental medication might slow mild Alzheimer's if people take it early enough, one of a handful of drugs in late-stage testing in the frustrating hunt for a better treatment. The new findings don't prove that Lilly's solanezumab really works; a larger study is underway that won't end until late 2016.


Drawing a line between quantum and classical world

July 22, 2015 8:12 am | by Leonor Sierra, Univ. of Rochester | Comments

Quantum theory is one of the great achievements of 20th-century science, yet physicists have struggled to find a clear boundary between our everyday world and what Albert Einstein called the “spooky” features of the quantum world, including cats that could be both alive and dead, and photons that can communicate with each other across space instantaneously.


Simulations lead to design of near-frictionless material

July 22, 2015 8:08 am | by Jim Collins, Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Argonne National Laboratory scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.


Nanoparticles can clean up the environment

July 22, 2015 7:56 am | by Jonathan Mingle, MIT News correspondent | Comments

Many human-made pollutants in the environment resist degradation through natural processes, and disrupt hormonal and other systems in mammals and other animals. Removing these toxic materials with existing methods is often expensive and time-consuming. However, recent research demonstrates a novel method for using nanoparticles and ultraviolet light to quickly isolate and extract a variety of contaminants from soil and water.


Spintronics just got faster

July 21, 2015 11:15 am | by EPFL | Comments

In a tremendous boost for spintronic technologies, EPFL scientists have shown that electrons can jump through spins much faster than previously thought. Electrons spin around atoms, but also spin around themselves, and can cross over from one spin state to another. A property which can be exploited for next-generation hard drives.

Jiajie Pei with crystals of black phosphorus. Courtesy of Stuart Hay, ANU

Sticky tape the key to ultrathin solar cells

July 21, 2015 11:06 am | by Australian National University | Comments

Scientists studying thin layers of phosphorus have found surprising properties that could open the door to ultrathin and ultralight solar cells and LEDs. The team used sticky tape to create single-atom thick layers, termed phosphorene, in the same simple way as the Nobel-prize winning discovery of graphene. Unlike graphene, phosphorene is a semiconductor, like silicon, which is the basis of current electronics technology.

An array of helical elements absorbs radiation of a certain frequency while casting no shadow in light over a range of other frequencies.

Researchers demonstrate first realization of invisible absorbers and sensors

July 21, 2015 10:56 am | by Aalto University | Comments

The manipulation of light has led to many applications that have revolutionized society through communications, medicine and entertainment. Devices consuming the energy of electromagnetic radiation, such as absorbers and sensors, play an essential role in the using and controlling of light. Researchers have demonstrated the first realization of absorbers that do not reflect light over a wide range of frequencies.


Could solar events have triggered birth defects on Earth?

July 21, 2015 8:01 am | by Univ. of Kansas | Comments

Studies find airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays. Neutrons which don't reach the ground do reach airline altitude. Flight crews get a lot more radiation dose from neutrons.


Pervoskite solar tech shows quick energy returns

July 21, 2015 7:52 am | by Megan Fellman, Northwestern Univ. | Comments

In the solar power research community, a new class of materials called perovskites is causing quite a buzz, as scientists search for technology that has a better “energy payback time” than the silicon-based solar panels currently dominating the market.  Now, a new study reports that perovskite modules are better than any commercially available solar technology when products are compared on the basis of energy payback time.


Property of non-stick pans improves solar cell efficiency

July 21, 2015 7:45 am | by Scott Schrage, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Communications | Comments

The same quality that buffers a raincoat against downpours or a pan against sticky foods can also boost the performance of solar cells, according to a new study from Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln engineers. Published in Nature Communications, the study showed that constructing a type of organic solar cell on a "non-wetting" plastic surface made it 1.5 times more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity.



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