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Innovation could bring flexible solar cells, transistors

May 23, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

Researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing. The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon.

Whirlpools on the nanoscale could multiply magnetic memory

May 22, 2013 11:04 am | by Paul Preuss, Berkeley Lab | News | Comments

Magnetic memories store bits of information in discrete units whose electron spins all line up in parallel, pointing one way or the opposite to signify a one or a zero. At the Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists recently joined an international team to advance a new concept in magnetic memory, one in which spin orientation is controlled in magnetic nanodisks, allowing multi-bit storage.

Iron-platinum alloys show promise for next-generation hard drives

May 21, 2013 9:56 am | News | Comments

Meeting the demand for more data storage in smaller volumes means using materials made up of ever-smaller magnets, or nanomagnets. One promising material for a potential new generation of recording media is an alloy of iron and platinum with an ordered crystal structure.

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Unusual testbed analyzes X-ray navigation technologies

May 21, 2013 8:10 am | by Lori Keesey, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

Pulsars rotate rapidly, emitting powerful and regular beams of radiation that are seen as flashes of light, blinking on and off at intervals from seconds to milliseconds. Their predictability could be useful for future navigation systems. Built to test and validate next-generation X-ray navigation technology, the Goddard X-ray Navigation Laboratory Testbed will demonstrate the feasibility of this approach.

Inkjet-printed graphene may open doors to foldable electronics

May 20, 2013 3:15 pm | News | Comments

Northwestern University researchers have recently developed a graphene-based ink that is highly conductive and tolerant to bending, and they have used it to inkjet-print graphene patterns that could be used for extremely detailed, conductive electrodes. The resulting patterns are 250 times more conductive than previous attempts to print graphene-based electronic patterns and could be a step toward low-cost, foldable electronics.

Researchers perform fastest measurements ever made of ion channel proteins

May 20, 2013 3:08 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers at Columbia Engineering has used miniaturized electronics to measure the activity of individual ion-channel proteins with temporal resolution as fine as one microsecond, producing the fastest recordings of single ion channels ever performed. Ion channels are biomolecules that allow charged atoms to flow in and out of cells, and they are an important work-horse in cell signaling, sensing, and energetics.

Tiny camera in Illinois offers bug's eye view

May 17, 2013 9:47 am | News | Comments

A tiny new camera developed at an Illinois university is giving researchers a bug's eye view. The camera created by a research team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is about the size of a penny and mimics insects' bulging eyes. It features 180 micro-lenses, giving it a panoramic field of view and the ability to focus simultaneously on objects at different depths.

Insights into how materials transfer heat could lead to improved electronics

May 16, 2013 10:50 am | News | Comments

University of Toronto engineering researchers, working with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University, have published new insights into how materials transfer heat, which could lead eventually to smaller, more powerful electronic devices.

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First precise MEMS output measurement technique unveiled

May 14, 2013 1:06 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in Europe have developed a new experimental system to gain accurate information on mechanical values and properties of any microelectromechanical (MEMS) device through electrical measurement. The technique works by applying a current across the device with a varying frequency and analyzes the harmonic content of the output voltage of the component parts.

Temporal filtering technique improves solid-state single photon sources

May 9, 2013 3:21 pm | News | Comments

An international collaboration led by researchers at NIST has demonstrated a novel temporal filtering approach that improves the performance of triggered single photon sources based on solid-state quantum emitters. The technique is compatible with a broad class of photon sources, and is expected to provide significant improvements in areas important for applications in photonic quantum information science.

Scientists find new magic in magnetic material

May 8, 2013 4:04 pm | News | Comments

From powerful computers to super-sensitive medical and environmental detectors that are faster, smaller, and use less energy—yes, we want them, but how do we get them? In research that is helping to lay the groundwork for the electronics of the future, University of Delaware scientists have confirmed the presence of a magnetic field generated by electrons which scientists had theorized existed, but that had never been proven until now.

Robotic instruments provide real-time data on Maine red tide

May 8, 2013 12:36 pm | News | Comments

A robotic sensor that won an R&D 100 Award in 2009 has been put to use by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Gulf of Maine coastal waters to monitor the way red tides behave. These harmful algal blooms, which generate a potentially fatal toxin, can be a challenge to track or predict. The Environmental Sample Processors have been remotely deployed and should simplify and enhance this effort.

An electronic nose can tell pears and apples apart

May 8, 2013 12:13 pm | News | Comments

Swedish and Spanish engineers have created a system of sensors that detects fruit odors more effectively than the human sense of smell. For now, the device, which has 32 sensors and can process scent data in real time, can distinguish between the odorous compounds emitted by pears and apples, but the system can be tailored to other applications.

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Electronics comes to paper

May 8, 2013 9:43 am | News | Comments

Paper, a light and foldable raw material, could be a cost-efficient and simple basis for electronic devices if a practical solution for depositing conductive structures could be found. Researchers in Germany say they have done this by creating targeted structures by printing and heating a catalyst on a sheet of paper. The solution was created with a conventional inkjet printer.

Intel names Krzanich as chipmaker's next CEO

May 2, 2013 2:44 pm | by PETER SVENSSON - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Intel's chief operating officer, Brian Krzanich, will become its next CEO in two weeks, tasked with steering the world's largest chipmaker through an industry shake-up that is seeing tablets and smartphones overshadow Intel's base in personal computers.

Scientists make world’s smallest stop-motion film

May 2, 2013 9:22 am | News | Comments

Even without certification by Guinness World Records, it would be easy to believe a short, 250-frame film recently created by an IBM Research team is the world’s smallest. Named “A Boy and His Atom,” the movie was created by precisely placing thousands of atoms using a scanning tunneling microscope. This type of atomic-level control is the result of years of efforts by IBM to determine the lower limits for storing data.

Use of laser light yields versatile manipulation of a quantum bit

May 2, 2013 8:42 am | News | Comments

By using light, researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara  have manipulated the quantum state of a single atomic-sized defect in diamond—the nitrogen-vacancy center—in a method that not only allows for more unified control than conventional processes, but is more versatile, and opens up the possibility of exploring new solid-state quantum systems.

Study: People may welcome talking tissue boxes

May 1, 2013 9:55 am | News | Comments

According to researchers from Penn State University, who presented their findings at the 2013 Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris today, people who have embraced computers and smart phones are likely to give their blessing other smart objects, like talking tissue boxes or tweeting refrigerators. Their tests involved the use of actual talking, interacting objects.

Researchers create shape-shifting mobile devices

April 29, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

At a conference this week in Europe on human-machine interfaces, a research team from the U.K. will introduce the concept of “shape resolution”, which it has used to compare the resolution of six prototypes built using new technologies in shape-changing material, such as shape memory alloy and electro active polymer. One example is the Morphees, a self-actuated flexible mobile device that can change shape on-demand.

NASA mission will study what disrupts radio waves

April 26, 2013 8:46 am | by Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

A NASA-funded sounding rocket mission will launch from an atoll in the Pacific in the next few weeks to help scientists better understand and predict the electrical storms in Earth's upper atmosphere These storms can interfere with satellite communication and global positioning signals.

Tracking gunfire with a smartphone

April 26, 2013 8:41 am | by David Salisbury, Vanderbilt University | News | Comments

You are walking down the street with a friend. A shot is fired. The two of you duck behind the nearest cover and you pull out your smartphone. A map of the neighborhood pops up on its screen with a large red arrow pointing in the direction the shot came from. A team has made such a scenario possible by developing a system that transforms a smartphone into a shooter location system.

Piezoelectric taxels convert motion to electronic signals for tactile imaging

April 26, 2013 8:20 am | News | Comments

Using bundles of vertical zinc oxide nanowires, researchers have fabricated arrays of piezotronic transistors capable of converting mechanical motion directly into electronic controlling signals. The arrays could help give robots a more adaptive sense of touch, provide better security in handwritten signatures, and offer new ways for humans to interact with electronic devices.

The Right Touch for Control

April 24, 2013 12:19 pm | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

When not properly controlled or monitored, a scientific instrument is of little practical use.  Developers of scientific instrumentation are aware of this, and invest considerable time and money ensuring that users can properly achieve the results promised by the instrument’s design parameters.

Study unlocks secrets of device that is both battery and memory

April 24, 2013 10:18 am | News | Comments

Unlike the building blocks of conventional hard disk drives and memories, resistive memory cells (ReRAM) are active electrochemical components. In these cells, ions generate voltage on electrodes in a similar manner to a battery. Researchers in Europe have conducted an extensive study of ReRAMs, also described as memristors, and have found previously undiscovered sources of voltage in these devices.

Physicists find right (and left) solution for on-chip optics

April 23, 2013 7:42 am | News | Comments

A Harvard University-led team of researchers has created a new type of nanoscale device that converts an optical signal into waves that travel along a metal surface. Significantly, the device can recognize specific kinds of polarized light and accordingly send the signal in one direction or another.

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