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Researchers develop printable lasers

September 19, 2012 3:35 am | News | Comments

Scientists have designed a process to print a type of organic laser on any surface using everyday inkjet technology. The process involves developing lasers based on chiral nematic liquid crystals. These liquid crystals are a unique class photonic materials that, under the right conditions, can be stimulated to produce laser emissions.

New tool gives structural strength to 3D-printed works

September 18, 2012 9:46 am | News | Comments

Objects created using 3D printing have a common flaw: They are fragile and often fall apart or lose their shape. Researchers at Purdue University and Adobe's Advanced Technology Labs have jointly developed a program that automatically imparts strength to objects before they are printed, spurring on the trend of 3D printing.

Climate scientists put predictions to the test

September 18, 2012 6:30 am | News | Comments

A new study has found that climate-prediction models are good at predicting long-term climate patterns on a global scale, but lose their edge when applied to time frames shorter than three decades and on sub-continental scales.

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New class of materials discovered; could boost computer memory

September 18, 2012 4:08 am | News | Comments

An international team of scientists has discovered a new class of materials that could prove to be useful in developing new methods of creating computer memory. The research team explored layered heterostructures at the atomic scale, in which different materials were deposited in layers a few atoms thick. They discovered that the new class of materials boasts an attractive property—ferroelectricity.

Electrons caught in the act

September 18, 2012 3:34 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Topological insulators are exotic materials, discovered just a few years ago, that hold great promise for new kinds of electronic devices. The unusual behavior of electrons within them has been very difficult to study, but new techniques developed by a team of researchers could help unlock the mysteries of exactly how electrons move and react in these materials, opening up new possibilities for harnessing them.

Low-powered nanotweezers may benefit cellular-level studies

September 17, 2012 12:52 pm | News | Comments

Using ultralow input power densities, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated, for the first time, how low-power optical nanotweezers can be used to trap, manipulate, and probe nanoparticles, including fragile biological samples.

Physicists make discovery about temperature in convection

September 17, 2012 11:23 am | News | Comments

An international team of physicists is working to ascertain more about the fundamental physical laws that are at work in a process known as convection. The team's new finding specifies the way that the temperature of a gas or liquid varies with the distance from a heat source during convection. The research is expected to eventually help engineers with applications such as the design of cooling systems.

Ancient diatoms could make biofuels and electronics

September 17, 2012 8:51 am | News | Comments

Diatoms, tiny marine life forms that have been around since the dinosaurs, could finally make biofuel production from algae truly cost effective—because they can simultaneously produce other valuable products such as semiconductors, biomedical products, and even health foods. Engineers at Oregon State University concede that such technology is pushing the envelope a bit. But it's not science fiction.

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Astrophysicists get first images for Dark Energy Camera

September 17, 2012 7:08 am | News | Comments

When the Dark Energy Camera opened its giant eye last week and began taking pictures of the ancient light from far-off galaxies, more than 120 members of the Dark Energy Survey eagerly awaited the first snapshots. Those images have now arrived.

Chemists develop reversible method of tagging proteins

September 17, 2012 3:44 am | News | Comments

Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a method that, for the first time, provides scientists the ability to attach chemical probes onto proteins and subsequently remove them in a repeatable cycle. Their achievement will allow researchers to better understand the biochemistry of naturally formed proteins in order to create better antibiotics.

'Memristors' based on transparent electronics offer technology of the future

September 14, 2012 9:33 am | News | Comments

The transparent electronics that were pioneered at Oregon State University may find one of their newest applications as a next-generation replacement for some uses of non-volatile flash memory, a multi-billion dollar technology nearing its limit of small size and information storage capacity.

Physicists patent nuclear waste-burning technology

September 14, 2012 5:50 am | News | Comments

University of Texas at Austin physicists have been awarded a U.S. patent for an invention that could someday be used to turn nuclear waste into fuel, thus removing the most dangerous forms of waste from the fuel cycle. The researchers have patented the concept for a novel fusion-fission hybrid nuclear reactor that would use nuclear fusion and fission together to incinerate nuclear waste.

Researchers introduce method for imaging defects in magnetic nanodevices

September 14, 2012 5:24 am | News | Comments

An international team of researchers have demonstrated a microscopy method to identify magnetic defects in an array of magnetic nanostructures. The method represents an important step towards identifying, measuring, and correcting the magnetic properties of defective devices in future information storage technologies.

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Vanadium oxide bronze: A new material for the computing industry?

September 14, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Few modern materials have achieved the fame of silicon, a key element of computer chips. The next generation of computers, however, may not rely so much on silicon. University at Buffalo researchers are among scientists working to identify materials that could one day replace silicon to make computing faster. Their latest find: A vanadium oxide bronze whose unusual electrical properties could increase the speed at which information is transferred and stored.

Nanoengineers can print 3D microstructures in mere seconds

September 13, 2012 11:53 am | News | Comments

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a novel technology that can fabricate, in mere seconds, microscale 3D structures out of soft, biocompatible hydrogels. Near term, the technology could lead to better systems for growing and studying cells, including stem cells, in the laboratory. Long-term, the goal is to be able to print biological tissues for regenerative medicine.

Engineers mine big data to faster assess carbon footprints

September 13, 2012 11:28 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Columbia University have developed a new software that can simultaneously calculate the carbon footprints of thousands of products faster than ever before. The software complies with the latest product LCA guidelines sponsored by the World Resources Institute, and any carbon footprint it calculates can easily be audited against this standard.

Information theory helps unravel DNA's genetic code

September 13, 2012 6:39 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology have used techniques from information theory to identify DNA introns and exons an order-of-magnitude faster than previously developed methods. The researchers were able to achieve this breakthrough in speed by looking at how electrical charges are distributed in the DNA nucleotide bases.

No more bubbles when boiling

September 13, 2012 3:53 am | News | Comments

A theoretical physicist from Swinburne University of Technology and colleagues from Saudi Arabia and the U.S. have discovered a specialty-engineered surface that allows liquids to boil without bubbling. To suppress bubbling while boiling, the team of researchers used a highly water-repellent surface to control the boiling state of a liquid.

Radiation-enabled computer chip for low-cost security imaging systems

September 13, 2012 3:39 am | News | Comments

A professor from Tel Aviv University is reconfiguring existing complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) chips designed for computers and turning them into high-frequency circuits. The ultimate goal of this project is to produce chips with radiation capabilities that are able to see through packaging and clothing to produce an image of what may be hidden beneath.

Climate change likely to increase Lake Erie algae blooms and 'dead zones'

September 12, 2012 7:45 am | News | Comments

Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of intense spring rain storms in the Great Lakes region throughout this century and will likely add to the number of harmful algal blooms and "dead zones" in Lake Erie, unless additional conservation actions are taken, according to a University of Michigan aquatic ecologist.

Body heat, fermentation drive drug-delivery micropump

September 12, 2012 6:03 am | News | Comments

Purdue University researchers have created a new type of miniature pump activated by body heat that could be using in drug-delivery patches powered by fermentation. The micropump contains Baker's yeast and sugar in a small chamber, and when water is added and the patch is placed on the skin, the body heat and added water causes the yeast and sugar to ferment, generating a small amount of carbon dioxide gas, which pushes against a membrane and has been shown to pump for several hours.

How to clean up oil spills

September 12, 2012 3:38 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have developed a new technique for magnetically separating oil and water that could be used to clean up oil spills. They believe that, with their technique, the oil could be recovered for use, offsetting much of the cleanup cost.

High-temperature superconductivity induced in semiconductor with tape

September 11, 2012 11:30 am | News | Comments

An international team led by University of Toronto physicists has developed a simple new technique using Scotch poster tape that has enabled them to induce high-temperature superconductivity in a semiconductor for the first time. The method paves the way for novel new devices that could be used in quantum computing and to improve energy efficiency.

Sliding metals show fluid-like behavior, new clues to wear

September 11, 2012 11:10 am | News | Comments

Purdue University researchers have discovered a swirling, fluid-like behavior in a solid piece of metal sliding over another, providing new insights into the mechanisms of wear and generation of machined surfaces that could help improve the durability of metal parts.

More accurate method for predicting hurricane activity

September 11, 2012 7:37 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new method for forecasting seasonal hurricane activity that is 15% more accurate than previous techniques. The method, called the "network motif-based model", evaluates historical data for all variables in all places at all times in order to identify those combinations of factors that are most predictive of seasonal hurricane activity.

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