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“Nanopixels” promise thin, flexible high-res displays

July 10, 2014 9:35 am | Comments

A team in the U.K. has found that by sandwiching a 7-nm thick layer of a phase change material between two layers of a transparent electrode they could use a tiny current to “draw” images within the sandwich “stack”. The discovery could make it possible to create pixels just a few hundred nanometers across and pave the way for extremely high-resolution and low-energy thin, flexible displays.

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Speeding up data storage by a thousand times with “spin current”

July 10, 2014 9:31 am | Comments

Spin current, in which an ultra-short laser pulse generates electrons all with the same spin, is a promising new technology which potentially allows data to be stored 1,000 times as fast as traditional hard drive. Researchers in The Netherlands have recently shown that generated spin current is actually able to cause a change in magnetization, hinting at practical application in the future.

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Study pushes limits of ultra-fast nanodevices

July 10, 2014 9:17 am | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

A recent study by researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides new insights on the physical mechanisms governing the interplay of spin and heat at the nanoscale, and addresses the fundamental limits of ultra-fast spintronic devices for data storage and information processing.

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New technologies fuel patient participation, data collection in research

July 10, 2014 9:06 am | by Duke Medicine News and Communications | Comments

The changing dynamic of health studies driven by “big data” research projects will empower patients to become active participants who provide real-time information such as symptoms, side effects and clinical outcomes, according to researchers at Duke Medicine. The analysislays out a new paradigm for health research, particularly comparative effectiveness studies that are designed to assess which therapies work best in clinical practice.

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NASA finds friction from tides could help distant Earths survive, thrive

July 10, 2014 8:56 am | by Elizabeth Zubritsky, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | Comments

As anybody who has started a campfire by rubbing sticks knows, friction generates heat. Now, computer modeling by NASA scientists shows that friction could be the key to survival for some distant Earth-sized planets traveling in dangerous orbits. The findings are consistent with observations that Earth-sized planets appear to be very common in other star systems.

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Urban heat is not a myth

July 10, 2014 8:40 am | by Kevin Dennehy , Yale Univ. | Comments

A new Yale Univ.-led study quantifies for the first time the primary causes of the “urban heat island” (UHI) effect, a common phenomenon that makes the world’s urban areas significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside and may increase health risks for city residents.

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Heads up, World Cup teams: The robots are coming

July 10, 2014 8:33 am | by Kathy Matheson, Associated Press | Comments

When robots first started playing soccer, it was a challenge for them just to see the ball. And to stay upright. But the machines participating in this month's international RoboCup tournament are making passes and scoring points. Their ultimate goal? To beat the human World Cup champs within the next 35 years.

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Figuring out methane’s role in the climate puzzle

July 10, 2014 8:30 am | Comments

The U.S. may be on the verge of an economy driven by methane, the primary component of natural gas, which burns cleaner than coal and is undergoing a production boom. It has poised the country as a top fuel producer globally, but recent research is casting serious doubts over just how climate friendly it is, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN).

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Postcards from the photosynthetic edge

July 10, 2014 7:54 am | by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Comments

A crucial piece of the puzzle behind nature’s ability to split the water molecule during photosynthesis that could help advance the development of artificial photosynthesis for clean, green and renewable energy has been provided by an international collaboration of scientists led by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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Technology illuminates colder objects in deep space

July 10, 2014 7:42 am | Comments

Too cool and faint, many objects in the universe are impossible to detect with visible light. Now a Northwestern Univ. team has refined a new technology that could make these colder objects more visible, paving the way for enhanced exploration of deep space. The new technology uses a type II superlattice material called indium arsenide/indium arsenide antimonide (InAs/InAsSb).

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Study cracks how the brain processes emotions

July 10, 2014 7:35 am | by Melissa Osgood, Cornell Univ. | Comments

Although feelings are personal and subjective, the human brain turns them into a standard code that objectively represents emotions across different senses, situations and even people. A Cornell Univ. team's findings provide insight into how the brain represents our innermost feelings and upend the long-held view that emotion is represented in the brain simply by activation in specialized regions for positive or negative feelings.

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Own your own data

July 10, 2014 7:28 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | Comments

Cell phone metadata has been in the news quite a bit lately, but the National Security Agency isn’t the only organization that collects information about people’s online behavior. Newly downloaded cell phone apps routinely ask to access your location information, your address book or other apps, and of course, Websites like Amazon or Netflix track your browsing history in the interest of making personalized recommendations.

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Study: Psych drug ER trips approach 90,000 a year

July 9, 2014 6:23 pm | by Lindsey Tanner - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Bad reactions to psychiatric drugs result in nearly 90,000 emergency room visits each year by U.S. adults, with anti-anxiety medicines and sedatives among the most common culprits, a study suggests. A drug used in some popular sleeping pills was among the most commonly involved sedatives, especially in adults aged 65 and older.

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Scientists turn to public to help pay for research

July 9, 2014 2:22 pm | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | Comments

Crowdfunding, the practice of using the Internet to raise relatively small amounts of money from a lot of people to finance a project, has been successful for projects like developing video games and publishing books. But for scientific experiments? It’s beginning to happen, and for researchers it's quite a departure from the normal sources of funding.

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Even geckos can lose their grip

July 9, 2014 2:17 pm | Comments

Geckos and spiders seem to be able to sit still forever upside down. But sooner or later the grip is lost, no matter how little force is acting on it. Engineers, using scanning electron microscopy, have recently demonstrated why this is so by showing how heat, and the subsequent movement of molecules at the nanoscale, eventually force loss of adhesion.

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