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The Lead

New micro-supercapacitor structure inspired by the intricate design of leaves

July 2, 2015 10:58 am | by Institute for Basic Science | News | Comments

Researchers have devised a new technique for creating a solid-state micro-supercapacitor (MSC) that delivers high electrochemical performance. Sometimes the best inspiration is one already found in nature. The team modeled their MSC film structure on natural vein-textured leaves in order to take advantage of the natural transport pathways which enable efficient ion diffusion parallel to the graphene planes found within them.

All-plastic solar cell could help power future flexible electronics

June 26, 2015 7:06 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

If you picture a solar panel, it’s most likely dark blue or black, and rigid and flat. Now...

New conductive ink for electronic apparel

June 25, 2015 10:45 am | by Univ. of Tokyo | News | Comments

Univ. of Tokyo researchers have developed a new ink that can be printed on textiles in a single...

Spintronics advance brings wafer-scale quantum devices closer to reality

June 24, 2015 4:00 pm | by Carla Reiter, Univ. of Chicago | News | Comments

An electronics technology that uses the "spin" of atomic nuclei to store and process information...

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World’s first full-color, flexible, skin-like display

June 24, 2015 12:30 pm | by Univ. of Central Florida | News | Comments

Imagine a soldier who can change the color and pattern of his camouflage uniform from woodland green to desert tan at will. Or an office worker who could do the same with his necktie. Is someone at the wedding reception wearing the same dress as you? No problem—switch yours to a different color in the blink of an eye.

Nanostructure design enables pixels to produce two different colors

June 24, 2015 10:30 am | by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore | News | Comments

Through precise structural control, A*STAR researchers have encoded a single pixel with two distinct colors and have used this capability to generate a 3-D stereoscopic image. Figuring out how to include two types of information in the same area was an enticing challenge for the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering team.

Mirror-like display creates rich color pixels by harnessing ambient light

June 23, 2015 10:03 am | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

Using a simple structure comprising a mirror and an absorbing layer to take advantage of the wave properties of light, researchers at Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. have developed a display technology that harnesses natural ambient light to produce an unprecedented range of colors and superior viewing experience.

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Toward tiny, solar-powered sensors

June 23, 2015 8:18 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The latest buzz in the information technology industry regards “the Internet of things”, the idea that vehicles, appliances, civil-engineering structures, manufacturing equipment and even livestock would have their own embedded sensors that report information directly to networked servers, aiding with maintenance and the coordination of tasks.

Discovery paves way for new superconducting electronics

June 22, 2015 12:15 pm | by Kim McDonald, Univ. of California, San Diego | News | Comments

Physicists have developed a new way to control the transport of electrical currents through high-temperature superconductors. Their achievement, detailed in two separate scientific publications, paves the way for the development of sophisticated electronic devices capable of allowing scientists or clinicians to non-invasively measure the tiny magnetic fields in the heart or brain, and improve satellite communications.

A simple yet clever way to boost chip speeds

June 18, 2015 8:08 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

A typical computer chip includes millions of transistors connected with an extensive network of copper wires. Although chip wires are unimaginably short and thin compared with household wires, both have one thing in common: In each case, the copper is wrapped within a protective sheath. For years a material called tantalum nitride has formed a protective layer around chip wires.

New fog chamber provides testing that could improve security cameras

June 17, 2015 8:21 am | by Heather Clark, Sandia National Laboratories | Videos | Comments

Fog can play a key role in cloaking military invasions and retreats and the actions of intruders. That’s why physical security experts seek to overcome fog, but it’s difficult to field test security cameras, sensors or other equipment in fog that is often either too thick or too ephemeral. Until now, collecting field test data in foggy environments was time-consuming and costly.

Heartbeat on a chip could improve pharmaceutical tests

June 17, 2015 7:57 am | by Gabe Cherry, Univ. of Michigan | Videos | Comments

A gravity-powered chip that can mimic a human heartbeat outside the body could advance pharmaceutical testing and open new possibilities in cell culture because it can mimic fundamental physical rhythms, according to the Univ. of Michigan researchers who developed it.

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Research reveals how computer chips could beat the heat

June 11, 2015 8:07 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

The heat that builds up in the shuttling of current in electronics is an important obstacle to packing more computing power into ever-smaller devices: Excess heat can cause them to fail or sap their efficiency. Now, x-ray studies have, for the first time, observed an exotic property that could warp the electronic structure of a material in a way that reduces heat buildup and improves performance in ever-smaller computer components.

Researchers make ultrasensitive conductivity measurements

June 10, 2015 11:25 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ. have discovered a new way to make ultrasensitive conductivity measurements at optical frequencies on high-speed nanoscale electronic components. In a series of experiments, researchers linked pairs of puck-shaped metal nanodisks with metallic nanowires and showed how the flow of current at optical frequencies through the nanowires produced “charge transfer plasmons” with unique optical signatures.

Toward “green” paper-thin, flexible electronics

June 10, 2015 9:15 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The rapid evolution of gadgets has brought us an impressive array of “smart” products from phones to tablets, and now watches and glasses. But they still haven’t broken free from their rigid form. Now scientists are reporting a new step toward bendable electronics. They have developed the first light-emitting, transparent and flexible paper out of environmentally friendly materials via a simple, suction-filtration method.

Futuristic components on silicon chips

June 8, 2015 11:09 am | by Jason Socrates Bardi, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

A team of IBM researchers has developed a relatively simple, robust and versatile process for growing crystals made from compound semiconductor materials that will allow them be integrated onto silicon wafers. This is an important step toward making future computer chips that will allow integrated circuits to continue shrinking in size and cost even as they increase in performance.

Next-gen illumination using silicon quantum dot-based white-blue LED

June 5, 2015 10:07 am | by Hiroshima Univ. | News | Comments

A Si quantum dot (QD)-based hybrid inorganic/organic light-emitting diode (LED) that exhibits white-blue electroluminescence has been fabricated by a Hiroshima Univ. team. A hybrid LED is expected to be a next-generation illumination device for producing flexible lighting and display, and this is achieved for the Si QD-based white-blue LED.

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Recovering a rare metal from LCDs to avoid depleting key resource

June 4, 2015 9:00 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Life without bright screens on our smartphones and TVs is hard to imagine. But in 20 years, one of the essential components of the liquid-crystal displays, or LCDs, that make many of our gadgets possible could disappear. To address the potential shortage of this component—the element indium—scientists report a new way to recover the valuable metal so it could be recycled.

Light-powered healing of a wearable electrical conductor

June 2, 2015 12:07 pm | by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology | News | Comments

Mechanical failure along a conductive pathway can cause the unexpected shutdown of electronic devices, ultimately limiting device lifetimes. In particular, wearable electronic devices, which inevitably undergo dynamic and vigorous motions—bending, folding or twisting—are much more liable to suffer from such conductive failures compared with conventional flat electronic devices.

Tool measures the distance between phonon collisions

June 2, 2015 11:32 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Today’s computer chips pack billions of tiny transistors onto a plate of silicon within the width of a fingernail. Each transistor, just tens of nanometers wide, acts as a switch that, in concert with others, carries out a computer’s computations. As dense forests of transistors signal back and forth, they give off heat, which can fry the electronics, if a chip gets too hot.

Small, discreet data glasses for everyday use

June 1, 2015 8:36 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Data glasses tend to be chunky, unstylish objects, so it's no wonder they haven't caught on among general consumers. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a technology that allows the "specs" to be made in small, unobtrusive designs. The new glasses also correct for farsightedness.

Bioresorbable electronic stent could provide feedback, therapy

May 27, 2015 10:39 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Every year, an estimated half-million Americans undergo surgery to have a stent prop open a coronary artery narrowed by plaque. But sometimes the mesh tubes get clogged. Scientists report in ACS Nano a new kind of multi-tasking stent that could minimize the risks associated with the procedure. It can sense blood flow and temperature, store and transmit the information for analysis and can be absorbed by the body after it finishes its job.

A new kind of wood chip

May 27, 2015 7:57 am | by John Steeno, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

Portable electronics are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers' pursuit of the next best electronic gadget. In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.

Chip placed under skin provides precise medicine

May 27, 2015 7:39 am | by EPFL | News | Comments

The future of medicine lies in ever greater precision, not only when it comes to diagnosis but also drug dosage. The blood work that medical staff rely on is generally a snapshot indicative of the moment the blood is drawn before it undergoes hours, or even days, of analysis. Several EPFL laboratories are working on devices allowing constant analysis over as long a period as possible.

One step closer to a single-molecule device

May 26, 2015 10:57 am | by Columbia Univ. | News | Comments

Under the direction of Latha Venkataraman, associate professor of applied physics at Columbia Engineering, researchers have designed a new technique to create a single-molecule diode, and, in doing so, they have developed molecular diodes that perform 50 times better than all prior designs. Venkataraman's group is the first to develop a single-molecule diode that may have real-world technological applications for nanoscale devices.

Mission possible: This device will self-destruct when heated

May 21, 2015 3:06 pm | by Liz Ahlberg, Physical Sciences Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Videos | Comments

Where do electronics go when they die? Most devices are laid to eternal rest in landfills. But what if they just dissolved away, or broke down to their molecular components so that the material could be recycled? Univ. of Illinois researchers have developed heat-triggered self-destructing electronic devices, a step toward greatly reducing electronic waste and boosting sustainability in device manufacturing.

New options for spintronic devices

May 18, 2015 10:46 am | by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin | News | Comments

Scientists from Paris and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have been able to switch ferromagnetic domains on and off with low voltage in a structure made of two different ferroic materials. The switching works slightly above room temperature. Their results, which are published online in Scientific Reports, might inspire future applications in low-power spintronics, for instance for fast and efficient data storage.

Things You Need to Know about Digital Oscilloscopes

May 18, 2015 9:42 am | by Lisa Clark, Product & Test Engineer | Articles | Comments

Oscilloscopes are a staple for any individual or firm involved with electronics and their functioning due to their versatility. An oscilloscope, also called a scope, is a type of electronic test equipment that allows signal voltages to be viewed, usually as a 2-D graph of one or more electrical potential differences (vertical axis) plotted as a function of time or of some other voltage (horizontal axis).

Wearables may get boost from boron-infused graphene

May 18, 2015 7:51 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

A microsupercapacitor designed by scientists at Rice Univ. that may find its way into personal and even wearable electronics is getting an upgrade. The laser-induced graphene device benefits greatly when boron becomes part of the mix. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour uses commercial lasers to create thin, flexible supercapacitors by burning patterns into common polymers.

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