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Team demonstrates continuous terahertz sources at room temperature

June 5, 2014 11:47 am | News | Comments

The potential of terahertz waves has yet to be reached because they are difficult to generate and manipulate. Current sources are large devices that require complex vacuum, lasers and cooling systems. A Northwestern Univ. team is the first to produce terahertz radiation in a simplified system. Their room-temperature, compact, continuous terahertz radiation source is six times more efficient than previous systems.

Emotional robot set for sale in Japan next year

June 5, 2014 9:18 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

A cooing, gesturing humanoid on wheels that can decipher emotions has been unveiled in Japan by billionaire Masayoshi Son, who says robots should be tender and make people smile. The machine, called “Pepper”, has no legs, but has gently gesticulating hands. It recently appeared on a stage in a Tokyo suburb along with announcement that it will go on sale in Japan next year for the equivalent of US$1,900.

Are squiggly lines the future of password security?

June 5, 2014 9:16 am | Videos | Comments

The need for robust password security has never been more critical than now, as people use smartphones or tablets to pay bills and store personal information. A new Rutgers study shows that free-form gestures can be used to unlock phones and grant access to apps. These gestures are less likely to be observed and reproduced than than traditional methods such as typed passwords.

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Surprisingly strong magnetic fields challenge black holes’ pull

June 5, 2014 8:13 am | by Kate Greene, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies has found magnetic fields play an impressive role in the systems’ dynamics. In fact, in dozens of black holes surveyed, the magnetic field strength matched the force produced by the black holes’ powerful gravitational pull, says a team of scientists.

Drones give farmers eyes in the sky to check on crop progress

June 5, 2014 8:03 am | by Sharita Forrest, News Editor, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

This growing season, crop researchers at the Univ. of Illinois are experimenting with the use of drones—unmanned aerial vehicles—on the university’s South Farms. Dennis Bowman, a crop sciences educator with U. of I. Extension, is using two drones to take aerial pictures of crops growing in research plots on the farms.

Photonics experts build world's most sensitive thermometer

June 5, 2014 7:51 am | by Jack Baldwin, The Lead | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Adelaide in South Australia have created a thermometer three times more precise than any existing device, able to measure temperature to 30 billionths of a degree. Using the phenomenon called a “whispering gallery”, which projects sounds, the scientists have designed a crystalline disk that concentrates and reinforces light, allowing them to track a minute difference in speed between red light and green light.

Berkeley Lab scientists create first fully 2-D field effect transistors

June 4, 2014 3:03 pm | News | Comments

Faster electronic device architectures are in the offing with the unveiling of the world’s first fully 2-D field-effect transistor (FET) by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Unlike conventional FETs made from silicon, these 2-D FETs suffer no performance drop-off under high voltages and provide high electron mobility, even when scaled to a monolayer in thickness.

Style Meets Substance

June 4, 2014 2:45 pm | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

The electron microscopy market is dominated by the scanning electron microscope (SEM), which is widely used in both materials and biological analysis as one of the few ways to reliably image spatial features in the nanoscale realm. As the user base for SEMs expands, even specialized varieties of electron microscopes are undergoing substantial technical transformations.

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Cutting the Cord

June 4, 2014 2:14 pm | by Paul Livingstone | Thermo Fisher Scientific | Articles | Comments

In the last 10 years, the presence of wireless technology has blossomed in the industrial and manufacturing space, where a multitude of technologies, from Bluetooth to Zigbee to RFID, have been successfully employed to monitor conditions of machinery, products under assembly and the work force.

Mobile Control In the Lab

June 4, 2014 1:56 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Shimadzu Scientific Instruments | Articles | Comments

The ability to adapt to changing situations is critical for today’s labs. Today, many lab equipment systems are designed with the flexibility to accommodate these needs. Time is also of utmost importance, and the ability for a researcher to walk away from their work, or monitor it on the go, is a new standard.

How to Form an Engineering Simulation Plan

June 4, 2014 1:42 pm | by Nicholas M. Veikos, President, CAE Associates Inc., Middlebury, Conn. | Articles | Comments

Upon introducing engineering simulation into an organization, it’s important to formulate an implementation plan. Simply telling the engineering team to “have at it” doesn’t generally lead to positive results. Every plan will be different, but all can benefit from some basic considerations.

Optimizing Graphene Characterization

June 4, 2014 12:41 pm | by Lishan Weng, Applications Engineer, Keithley Instruments Inc. | Articles | Comments

Before 2004, when Geim and Novoselov demonstrated the existence of graphene, a single-atomic-layer-thick crystal of carbon, physicists didn’t believe such a substance could exist. Since then, graphene has attracted tremendous research interest because of its exceptional physical and electrical properties.

App paired with sensor measures stress and delivers advice to cope in real time

June 4, 2014 12:21 pm | News | Comments

Computer scientists at Microsoft Research and the University of California, San Diego have developed a system, called ParentGuardian, that combines a mobile application and sensor to detect stress in parents. The system, initially tested on parents of children with ADHD, delivers research-based strategies to help decrease stress during emotionally charged interactions with children.

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Leaving Paper Behind

June 4, 2014 12:15 pm | by Trish Meek, Director of Product Strategy, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Philadelphia, Pa. | Thermo Fisher Scientific | Articles | Comments

After another year of flat spending in 2013, global investment in R&D is forecast to grow by 3.8% to $1.6 trillion in 2014, according the annual R&D Magazine Global Funding Forecast. In the U.S., federal spending is forecast to increase modestly (1.5%), another promising sign, but it’s fair to say the pressure is still on to do more with less, particularly in Big Pharma where recent R&D cuts have been the most dramatic.

Increasing Productivity and Efficiency in the Lab

June 4, 2014 11:58 am | by Daniela Jansen, PhD, Product Marketing Manager, Dassault Systèmes BIOVIA (formerly Accelrys) | Articles | Comments

Pharmaceutical companies are constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency in order to increase productivity, all while speeding up innovation and protecting intellectual property (IP). The use of mobile applications (apps) in the laboratory has been investigated as a means to achieve these goals. By allowing scientists to move freely around the laboratory, mobile apps add value to suboptimal processes requiring non-value-added steps.

Safety Is Key When Planning for U.S. High-speed Rail Lines

June 4, 2014 11:46 am | by Xavier Fornari, Product Marketing Manager, ANSYS, Elancourt, France | Articles | Comments

High-speed rail is a frequently discussed topic, but one that has yet to become a reality in the U.S. A number of states and regions in the U.S. including Texas, California, the Pacific Northwest and Minnesota, to name a few, have planned projects to bring high-speed rail to fruition.

Retaining Knowledge After an Engineer Leaves

June 4, 2014 11:31 am | by Paul Goossens, VP of Engineering Solutions, Maplesoft | Articles | Comments

If a senior engineer left an organization suddenly, how many hours would it take for the engineering team to take over his projects, confident that they understand not only the designs, but why those designs are the way they are? The typical answer is “far too many”. Widespread use of CAE and data management tools have made this task much easier than before, but these tools do little to record the thinking behind the results.

Proactive approach to detect malicious software in networked computers and data

June 4, 2014 10:12 am | News | Comments

Highlighting the impact of malicious software, Target suffered the largest retail hack in U.S. history during the Christmas shopping season of 2013. To help combat this worsening trend, Virginia Tech computer scientists have used causal relations to determine whether or not network activities have justifiable and legitimate causes to occur. The work effectively isolates infected computer hosts and detects in advance stealthy malware.

NASA snaps cosmic color portrait “and then some”

June 4, 2014 9:56 am | News | Comments

A new NASA panorama looking deep and far into the universe for the first time includes ultraviolet light, which is normally not visible to the human eye. It shows up in the photo as bright baby blue with spinning galaxies, which are about 5 to 10 billion years old. The photo is a composite of more than 800 photos taken by Hubble and shows about 10,000 multi-colored galaxies.

New prototype transistor consumes little power

June 4, 2014 7:37 am | News | Comments

The basic element of modern electronics, namely the transistor, suffers from significant current leakage. By enveloping a transistor with a shell of piezoelectric material, which distorts when voltage is applied, researchers in the Netherlands were able to reduce this leakage by a factor of five compared to a transistor without this material.

Controlling thermal conductivities can improve energy storage

June 4, 2014 7:30 am | by Rick Kubetz, Univ. of Illinois | News | Comments

Materials that control heat flow are available with both high and low conductivities, but materials with variable and reversible thermal conductivities are rare. For the first time, researchers at the Univ. of Illinois have experimentally shown that the thermal conductivity of lithium cobalt oxide, an important material for electrochemical energy storage, can be reversibly electrochemically modulated over a considerable range.

Physicists take quantum leap toward ultra-precise measurement

June 3, 2014 11:20 am | News | Comments

For the first time, physicists in Canada have been able to conduct measurements using photons at a resolution unattainable according to classical physics. Their work used quantum entangled photons to increase photon throughput in interferometers to increase measurement resolution. The effort depended on a new way to employ multiple detectors in order to measure photons in entangled states.

Lasers and night-vision technology help improve imaging of hidden lymphatic system

June 3, 2014 11:14 am | News | Comments

The human lymphatic system is a poorly understood circulatory system consisting of tiny vessels spread throughout the body. These vessels are filled with lymph, a clear liquid that lacks the natural contrast needed to show up on CT scanners or MRIs. A new technology developed in Texas can non-invasively image the human lymphatic system using a fluorescent dye, commercial laser dioded, and military-grade night vision devices.

Researchers predict the electrical response of metals to extreme pressures

June 3, 2014 10:50 am | News | Comments

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientists have developed a method that can predict how subjecting metals to severe pressure can lower their electrical resistance. The finding which involved theoretical predictions, use of a supercomputer, and equipment capable of exerting pressures up to 40,000 atmospheres, could have applications in computer chips and other materials that could benefit from specific electrical resistance.

Computer scientists develop tool to make the Internet of Things safer

June 3, 2014 9:40 am | by Ioana Patringenaru, Jacobs School of Engineering | News | Comments

Computer scientists at the Univ. of California, San Diego have developed a tool that allows hardware designers and system builders to test security—a first for the field. There is a big push to create the so-called Internet of Things, where all devices are connected and communicate with one another. As a result, embedded systems—small computer systems built around microcontrollers—are becoming more common.

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