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Outline image of the ETH lettering. Courtesy of Molerón M et al. Nature Communications 2015

Acoustic imaging with outline detection

September 22, 2015 2:03 pm | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | Comments

Scientists have developed a new method to differentiate very weak and short sound waves from longer ones. When used in acoustic imaging, their technology makes it possible to detect only the outline of objects. This type of measuring method delivers similar results to the edge detection filter in image-processing software, which allows the outline of prominent photo objects to be identified with the click of the mouse.  

Doctoral student Linxiao Zhu, electrical engineering professor Shanhui Fan and research associate Aaswath P. Raman have developed a thermal overlay to cool solar cells.  Courtesy of Stanford Engineering.

Engineers invent transparent coating that cools solar cells to boost efficiency

September 22, 2015 12:51 pm | by Glen Martin, Stanford University | Comments

Engineers have invented a transparent material that improves the efficiency of solar cells by radiating thermal energy (heat) into space. Every time you stroll outside, you emit energy into the universe: Heat from the top of your head radiates into space as infrared light. The researchers have developed a technology that improves on solar panel performance by exploiting this basic phenomenon.

To take a picture with this method, scientists fire an X-ray or extreme ultraviolet laser at a target. The light scatters off, and some of those photons interfere with one another and find their way onto a detector, creating a diffraction pattern. By anal

Pushing the limits of lensless imaging

September 22, 2015 12:37 pm | by The Optical Society | Comments

Using ultrafast beams of extreme ultraviolet light streaming at a 100,000 times a second, researchers have pushed the boundaries of a well-established imaging technique. Not only did they make the highest resolution images ever achieved with this method at a given wavelength, they also created images fast enough to be used in real time. Their new approach could be used to study everything from semiconductor chips to cancer cells.

The scientists were able to plot the exact coordinates of nine layers of atoms with a precision of 19 trillionths of a meter. Courtesy of Mary Scott and Jianwei (John) Miao/UCLA

Physicists determine three-dimensional positions of individual atoms for the first time

September 22, 2015 12:22 pm | by Katherine Kornei, UCLA | Comments

Atoms are the building blocks of all matter on Earth, and the patterns in which they are arranged dictate how strong, conductive or flexible a material will be. Now, scientists at UCLA have used a powerful microscope to image the three-dimensional positions of individual atoms to a precision of 19 trillionths of a meter, which is several times smaller than a hydrogen atom.


Researchers say new dinosaur found in northern Alaska

September 22, 2015 10:09 am | by Dan Joling, Associated Press | Comments

Researchers have uncovered a new species of plant-eating dinosaur in Alaska, according to a report published Tuesday.


Novel smartphone app monitors serious blood disorder

September 22, 2015 10:06 am | by Florida Atlantic Univ. | Comments

A researcher from Florida Atlantic University has come up with a unique way to monitor sickle cell disease -- a serious blood disorder -- using a smart phone.


Swiss plasma center to harness the sun's energy

September 22, 2015 9:49 am | by Ecole Polytechnique federale de laussane | Comments

At EPFL, the Center for Research in Plasma Physics (CRPP) has become the Swiss Plasma Center (SPC), and for good reason: the Center is upgrading its facilities and expanding its scope of activities.

(From left) Haidong Lu, postdoctoral researcher; Alexei Gruverman, professor of physics and astronomy; Evgeny Tsymbal, professor of physics and astronomy; and Tula R. Paudel, research assistant professor. The scientists are affiliated with the Nebraska Ce

Physicists defy conventional wisdom to identify ferroelectric nanomaterial

September 21, 2015 12:28 pm | by Leslie Reed, University of Nebraska–Lincoln | Comments

A team of physicists has defied conventional wisdom by inducing stable ferroelectricity in a sheet of strontium titanate only a few nanometers thick. The discovery could open new pathways to find new materials for nanotechnology devices. It also contradicts the expected behavior of ferroelectric materials, which normally lose stable ferroelectric polarization as they are made thinner.

The series of graphics above show a hypothetical structural problem: the component must hold up under the stress of an applied force, represented by the arrows. The top image represents the component before optimization, while the following images show th

Souped-up software reduces guesswork, tedium in computer-aided engineering

September 21, 2015 12:21 pm | by Will Cushman, University of Wisconsin-Madison | Comments

Researchers recently released a new CAE software program, and its users are already calling it a "gift from heaven." The software assists in optimizing the design of parts for just about anything—from bicycles and airplanes to bridges and furniture. It is intended to help designers quickly identify component shapes—known as topologies—that maintain their structural integrity while using the least amount of material possible.

Above: Schematic of photonic crystals consisting of cylinders in a honeycomb lattice viewed from above. Photonic crystals obtained by dividing the nearest neighboring cylinders into hexagonal clusters, and widening (left) or narrowing (right) the separati

Discovery of a new photonic crystal where light propagates through the surface without being scattered

September 21, 2015 12:11 pm | by National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) | Comments

Researchers elucidated a new principle whereby electromagnetic waves including light propagate on the surface in a photonic crystal without being scattered. By merely slightly adjusting positions of insulator or semiconductor cylinders (nanorods) in a honeycomb lattice, electromagnetic waves can propagate without being scattered even at corners of crystal or by defects.

PSI researchers have created a magnetic metamaterial made of long nanomagnets, arranged in a flat, honeycomb pattern. The arrangement of magnetization in the synthetic material assumed very different states at different temperatures—just like molecules in

Tiny magnets mimic steam, water and ice

September 21, 2015 11:31 am | by Laura Hennemann, Paul Scherrer Institute | Comments

Researchers created a synthetic material out of 1 billion tiny magnets. Astonishingly, it now appears that the magnetic properties of this so-called metamaterial change with the temperature, so that it can take on different states; just like water has a gaseous, liquid and a solid state. This material made of nanomagnets might well be refined for electronic applications of the future—such as for more efficient information transfer.

Canada’s Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment radio telescope could offer the first set of regular data from fast radio bursts.

Could fast radio bursts help astronomers chart the cosmos in 3-D?

September 21, 2015 11:19 am | by University of British Columbia | Comments

Canada’s Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment radio telescope could offer the first set of regular data from fast radio bursts. Researchers are proposing a new way to calculate distances in the cosmos using mysterious bursts of energy. The method allows researchers to position distant galaxies in three dimensions and map out the cosmos. CHIME has the potential of seeing tens to hundreds of these events per day.


Tests on brains of former NFL players continue CTE trend

September 21, 2015 9:45 am | by The Associated Press | Comments

Researchers studying a degenerative disease in former athletes say 11 of 12 brains of deceased former NFL players tested over the past year showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, continuing a trend they've been tracking.


Climate tests for forests

September 21, 2015 9:36 am | by Alvin Powell, Harvard Gazette | Comments

Harvard scientists are taking a hard look at northeastern forests for evidence of a potential springtime scramble, one that could be triggered if age-old growth cues are disrupted by climate change.


How to make large 2-D sheets

September 21, 2015 9:27 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | Comments

MIT-led team develops method for scaling up production of thin electronic material.



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