According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.
A frustrating flaw in a set of custom crystals for an instrument at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory inspired a solution for an important scientific challenge: how to accurately measure the colors of each individual pulse from a powerful X-ray laser.
Scientific deep sea drilling vessel “Chikyu” has set a world new record by drilling down and obtaining rock samples from deeper than 2,111 m (6,926 feet) below the seafloor off Shimokita Peninsula of Japan in the northwest Pacific Ocean. “Chikyu” is designed to reach the deeper part of the Earth such as the mantle, the plate boundary seisomogenic zones and the deep biosphere.
A new underwater explorer hit the seas this summer, armed with cameras, strobes and sonar and charged with being a protector of sorts to a half-billion dollar resource—the Atlantic scallop catch. Developed by a former scalloper and researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the stainless steel Seahorse gives marine scientists a look at the seafloor they’ve never had before and offers uses beyond policing scallop grounds.
Many lasers have linear polarization, in which the electric field of the beam is, for example, vertical everywhere. Radial and azimuthal polarizations, however, have a directional change of electric field. By combining a spatial light modulater, a 100 femtosec pulse laser source, and a wave plate, researchers in the U.K. have produced lasers that use these modes to machine materials with portentially greater process efficiency.
By modifying the rate at which chemical reactions take place, nanoparticle catalysts fulfill myriad roles in industry, the biomedical arena, and everyday life. Finding new and more effective nanoparticle catalysts to perform applications in these areas has become vital. Now, a researcher at Arizona State University has found a clever way to measure catalytical reactions of single nanoparticles and multiple particles printed in arrays, which will help to characterize and improve existing nanoparticle catalysts.
Members of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover ChemCam team have received the first photos from the instrument's remote microimager. The successful capture of ChemCam's first 10 photos sets the stage for the first test bursts of the instrument's rock-zapping laser in the near future.
More than three centuries ago, a French explorer's ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico, taking with it France's hopes of colonizing a vast piece of the New World—modern-day Texas. Like La Salle in 1685, researchers at Texas A&M University are in uncharted waters as they try to reconstruct his vessel with a gigantic freeze-dryer, the first undertaking of its size.
The new SMART position sensor provides a high level of accuracy needed for transportation and industrial applications, measuring values down to 0.01 degree. Potential transportation applications include steering angle, articulation angle, and boom arm detection, while industrial customers could use it in solar panels or wind turbines.
Traditional mechanical couplings and gears require lubrication, generate heat, emit vibrations and sound, suffer from structural wear and require significant maintenance. Correlated Magnetics Research has been tasked with a Small Business Innovation Research grant to design and develop high-torque magnetic couplings to produce quiet, maintenance free, power-transfer linkages for Naval systems and industrial applications.
The economics of offshore windpower are different from land-based turbines, due to installation and operational challenges. Vertical axis wind turbines could offer the best solution thanks to several factors, including a lower center of gravity and a bottom-mounted drivetrain. But Sandia National Laboratories engineers are looking how to scale up product of the turbines’ curved blades, which are difficult to manufacture.
More and more companies are turning to simplified procedures to help tackle complex product design tasks. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, work on Design Structure Matrix analysis is helping heavyweight companies improve their products, production lines and organizations by transforming product design into a productive routine.
R&D laboratories take on challenges of terrorism, energy, and communications in the new millennium.
Researchers recently published a report that compared the future sustainability of California high-speed rail with that of competing modes of transportation, namely automobile and air travel. They determined that, in terms of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, a mature high-speed rail system wins out when using greener electricity. This was true even after accounting for the emergence of more fuel-efficient airplanes and automobiles.
Students at Clemson University participated in an effort to retrofit a section of an airport runway that halts overrun aircraft. Because the task required the drilling of more than 80,000 holes in concrete, the students came up with a labor-saving solution: They successfully adapted a mobile drill press for the laborious task.
Humans and animals have evolved to consume energy very efficiently for movement. If robotic actuation can be made to approach the efficiency of human and animal actuation, the range of practical robotic applications will greatly increase. To help this progression, DARPA has created the M3 Actuation program with the goal of achieving a 2,000% increase in the efficiency of power transmission and application.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Spain has found a new mathematical approach to simulating the electronic behavior of noncrystalline materials, which may eventually play an important part in new devices including solar cells; organic LED lights; and printable, flexible electronic circuits.
Police and security teams guarding airports, docks, and border crossings from terrorist attack or illegal entry need to know immediately when someone enter a prohibited area. A network of surveillance cameras is typically used to monitor these at-risk locations. Now, a system being developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology can perform security analysis more accurately and in a fraction of the time it would take a human camera operator.
What do you get when you combine a slingshot, a fish tank, a stack of 2 by 4s, and five engineering students determined to help the United States Air Force? For Team CADET at Rice University, the answer is a device to stop high-velocity projectiles without destroying them.
While SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory's Linac Coherent Light Source was designed to push the limits as a high-energy X-ray laser, users' requests led staff at the facility to successfully step it back to a lower minimum energy for some experiments. And a successful test proved that the X-ray laser could dip more deeply into the so-called "water window," an energy regime useful for biological imaging.
Plans to create the world's first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive were unveiled this week by the Coalition for Sustainable Rail, which has the goal of proving the viability of solid biofuel—torrefied biomass—and modern steam locomotive technology. The first step in those plans is to break the world speed record for steam trains.
After spending nearly five months conducting experiments in one spot, the NASA rover moved for the first time this week, rolling off the rock outcrop where it hunkered down for the Martian winter. Engineers will check its power supply before directing it north to study dust and bedrock.
Mineral oil is typically used as a cooling lubricant for machining hard metals and for tool-making machinery on which tools are manufactured, but engineers are now offering an alternative to fossil fuel-based oils that often transport very little heat. The new aqueous biopolymer solutions are actually based on water, which is no worse a lubricant than oil if the right additives are used.
If errors creep in during the assembly of components for automobiles, costly post-processing is often the consequence. Automatic testing is difficult, especially where individual products are concerned. Now, researchers in Germany are new testing system that is flexible and economical, even for smaller production runs.
InterTech Development Company has designed an in-line solution around the versatility of their M1075 leak tester. The new system shortens test cycle time and saves costs for diesel engine production lines by finding leaks faster.