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The Lead

3-D Tech Promises Greater Energy Efficiency

October 23, 2014 2:00 pm | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

At first glance, the static, greyscale display created by a group of researchers might not catch the eye of a thoughtful consumer in a market saturated with flashy, colorful electronics. But a closer look at the specs could change that: the ultra-thin LCD screen is capable of holding three-dimensional images without a power source, making it a compact, energy-efficient way to display visual information.

Riflescope Lets Soldiers Zoom with Ease

October 23, 2014 7:00 am | by Sandia National Laboratories | Videos | Comments

An optical engineer led the development of the Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR)...

World Record Achieved in Smart Circuits

October 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

Fewer cords, smaller antennas and quicker video transmission may be the result of a new type of...

Microscope Sees Defects in Nanotubes

October 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Oregon | News | Comments

Chemists have devised a way to see the internal structures of electronic waves trapped in carbon...

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Cosmic Rays Threaten Future Astronaut Missions

October 22, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of New Hampshire | News | Comments

Crewed missions to Mars remain an essential goal for NASA, but scientists are only now beginning to understand and characterize the radiation hazards that could make such ventures risky. A researcher says that, because of a highly abnormal and extended lack of solar activity, the solar wind is exhibiting extremely low densities and magnetic field strengths, which causes dangerous levels of hazardous radiation.

Crystalized DNA Key to Nanotech

October 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering | News | Comments

DNA has garnered attention for its potential as a programmable material platform that could spawn entire new and revolutionary nanodevices in computer science, microscopy, biology and more. Now scientists have designed the first large DNA crystals with precisely prescribed depths and complex 3D features, which could create revolutionary devices.

Engineers Successfully Build Earthquake-resistant House

October 20, 2014 7:00 am | by Stanford Univ. | Videos | Comments

Engineers have built and tested an earthquake-resistant house that stayed staunchly upright even as it shook at three times the intensity of the destructive 1989 Loma Prieta temblor 25 years ago.

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Physicists: Leave Your Nails Alone

October 17, 2014 2:00 pm | by Institute of Physics | News | Comments

The daily trimming of fingernails and toenails to make them more aesthetically pleasing could be detrimental and potentially lead to serious nail conditions. This is according to researchers who have devised equations to identify the physical laws that govern nail growth, and used them to throw light on the causes of some of the most common nail problems, such as ingrown toe nails, spoon-shaped nails and pincer nails.

Nanoflares May Heat the Sun's Corona

October 17, 2014 7:00 am | by Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | News | Comments

Why is the Sun's million-degree corona, or outermost atmosphere, so much hotter than the Sun's surface? This question has baffled astronomers for decades. Now, a team has found that miniature solar flares called nanoflares— and the speedy electrons they produce— might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun's corona.

Engineers Lose to Win Laser Performance

October 16, 2014 2:00 pm | by Washington Univ. in St. Louis | News | Comments

To help laser systems overcome loss, operators often pump the system with an overabundance of photons, or light packets, to achieve optical gain. But now, engineers have shown a new way to reverse or eliminate such loss by, ironically, adding loss to a laser system to actually reap energy gains. In other words, they’ve invented a way to win by losing.

Materials Make ‘Warmer’ LEDs

October 16, 2014 7:00 am | by ACS | News | Comments

Researchers have designed a family of materials to make LEDs that don’t include rare earths but instead are made out of copper iodide, which is an abundant compound. They tuned them to glow a warm white shade or various other colors using a low-cost solution process.

Brighter, Energy-saving Flat Lights Based on Nanotubes

October 15, 2014 7:00 am | by American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

Electronics based on carbon, especially carbon nanotubes, are emerging as successors to silicon for making semiconductor materials. They may enable a new generation of brighter, low-power, low-cost lighting devices that could challenge the dominance of LEDs in the future and help meet society's ever-escalating demand for greener bulbs.

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Flexible Coatings Hide Objects from Detection

October 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Developing a cloak of invisibility would be wonderful, but sometimes simply making an object appear to be something else will do the trick, according to electrical engineers. They have developed a metamaterial coating with a negligible thickness that allows coated objects to function normally while appearing as something other than what they really are, or even completely disappearing.

Microbots Could Probe Individual Cells

October 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Inexpensive microrobots capable of probing and manipulating individual cells and tissue for biological research and medical applications are closer to reality with the design of a system that senses the minute forces exerted by a robot's tiny probe.

Compound has Strange Combination of Properties

October 14, 2014 7:00 am | by Ludwig Maximilians Univ. | News | Comments

Chemists have synthesized a ferromagnetic superconducting compound that is amenable to chemical modification, opening the route to detailed studies of this rare combination of physical properties.

Researchers ID Best Parameters for Simulating Clouds

October 13, 2014 2:00 pm | by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study looked for which "tunable" variables were most influential in depicting various cloud types in a global atmospheric model. They found that different parameters influenced different types of clouds.

Researchers Set Records for Silicon Quantum Computing

October 13, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of New South Wales | News | Comments

Two research teams working in the same laboratories at a university have found distinct solutions to a critical challenge that has held back the realization of super powerful quantum computers.

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Material Key to Future Spintronic Tech

October 13, 2014 7:00 am | by EPFL | News | Comments

Scientists have discovered that a common insulating material behaves as a perfect spintronic conductor because it is not affected by background electron charge.

Solid Nanoparticles Can Act Like Liquid

October 13, 2014 7:00 am | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

A surprising phenomenon has been found in metal nanoparticles: they appear, from the outside, to be liquid droplets, wobbling and readily changing shape, while their interiors retain a perfectly stable crystal configuration.

New Subatomic Particle Sheds Light on Force of Nature

October 10, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Warwick | News | Comments

The discovery of a new particle will help provide greater understanding of a strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within the protons of an atom's nucleus.

Dark Matter is Half What Was Believed

October 9, 2014 2:00 pm | by International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research | News | Comments

A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought. Astronomers used a method developed almost 100 years ago to discover that the weight of dark matter in our own galaxy is 800,000,000,000 times the mass of the Sun.

Material Brings Hybrid Solar Cells Closer

October 9, 2014 2:00 pm | by Univ. of Cambridge | News | Comments

A new method for transferring energy from organic to inorganic semiconductors could boost the efficiency of widely used inorganic solar cells. Researchers have developed a new method for harvesting the energy carried by particles known as dark spin-triplet excitons with close to 100 percent efficiency, clearing the way for hybrid solar cells that could far surpass current efficiency limits.

Groundwater Cools Supercomputer

October 8, 2014 2:00 pm | by ScienceNetwork WA | News | Comments

More than 2.8 megaliters of water has been saved in just under a year using groundwater to cool the Pawsey Centre supercomputer. To make that happen, scientists have undertaken stringent tests to ensure that returning heated water to the Mullalloo aquifer has no adverse effects.

Navy’s Ultrasonic Welding Method Could Save U.S. Jobs

October 8, 2014 2:00 pm | by Associated Press, Jennifer McDermott | News | Comments

Welding isn't just for aircraft carriers anymore. The U.S. Navy could be turning to ultrasonic welding to make its uniforms lighter, stronger and cheaper. And if the project by a Rhode Island company and the Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility is a success, it could help bring manufacturing back from overseas.

Iceland Yields Most Extensive Dataset from Eruption

October 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Videos | Comments

A team of English researchers recently returned from Iceland where, thanks to a bit of luck, they gathered the most extensive dataset ever from a volcanic eruption, which will likely yield considerable new insights into how molten rock moves underground, and whether or not a volcano will erupt.

New Glass Inks Are Nontoxic

October 8, 2014 7:00 am | by Fraunhofer Institute | News | Comments

Whether on baby bottles, beer mugs or perfume bottles, imprints on glass consist mainly of lead oxide. Now, researchers have developed printing inks for glass that do not contain any toxic elements.

Photoconduction Discovery Key to Next-gen Excitonic Devices

October 7, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

It’s a well-known phenomenon in electronics: shining light on a semiconductor, such as the silicon used in computer chips and solar cells, will make it more conductive. Now, researchers have discovered that, in a special semiconductor, light can have the opposite effect, making the material less conductive instead.

Surfaces Let Microdroplets Take Any Shape

October 7, 2014 2:00 pm | by MIT, David Chandler | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new way of creating surfaces on which droplets of any desired shape can spontaneously form. They say this approach could lead to new biomedical assay devices and LED display screens, among other applications.

LEDs Win Nobel in Physics

October 7, 2014 8:02 am | by Associated Press, Karl Ritter, Malin Rising | News | Comments

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura won the Nobel Prize in physics today for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that spurred the development of LED technology used to light up computer screens and modern smartphones.

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