A Week in Review: 10/5/14 – 10/11/14

October 9, 2014

Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, solar cells
An emerging class of electrically conductive plastics called “radical polymers” may bring low-cost, transparent solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries, and ultrathin antistatic coatings for consumer electronics and aircraft. Researchers have established the solid-state electrical properties of one such polymer, called PTMA, which is about 10 times more electrically conductive than common semiconducting polymers. http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q4/electrically-conductive-plastics-promising-for-batteries,-solar-cells.html

October 7, 2014

Hackathon challenges abilities to solve real-world AFRL problems
Air Force Research Laboratory is preparing to co-host LabHack, a 26-hour long coding competition which will task coding-savvy individuals, or “hackers,” to creatively solve challenges that AFRL researchers face every day. The Air Force’s first ‘Hackathon’ event –produced by AFRL, the Wright Brothers Institute, and Code for Dayton, part of the Code for America Brigade Program–will take place Oct. 25-26 at the Tec^Edge Innovation and Collaboration Center in Dayton, Ohio. http://www.wpafb.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123427433

October 6, 2014

New way to make foams could lead to lightweight, sustainable materials A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a new type of foam – called capillary foam – that solves many of the problems faced by traditional foams. The new research shows for the first time that the combined presence of particles and a small amount of oil in water-based foams can lead to exceptional foam stability when neither the particles nor the oil can stabilize the foams alone. This research is supported by the Renewable Bioproducts Institute of Georgia Tech, by the National Science Foundation, and by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). http://www.research.gatech.edu/news/new-way-make-foams-could-lead-lightweight-sustainable-materials

A Week in Review: 9/28/14 – 10/04/14

October 3, 2014

President Obama has announced a new competition to award more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute, led by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and the second of four new institute competitions to be launched this year. AFOSR was instrumental in creating this opportunity by leading the way with innovative research funding in integrated photonics, participating in the National Academies Optics & Photonics study, participating in the OSTP Fast Track Action Committee on Optics & Photonics, and working with our DoD colleagues. AFOSR support for this award was managed by Gernot Pomrenke, Program Officer, Optoelectronics and Photonics.
FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competition

October 2, 2014

Innovation: Scintillating Statistics
A Look at High-Latitude and Equatorial Ionospheric Disturbances of GPS Signals The data collection and analysis project discussed in this article was supported by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Air Force Research Laboratory grants. http://gpsworld.com/innovation-scintillating-statistics/

October 1, 2014

All directions are not created equal for nanoscale heat sources
Thermal considerations are rapidly becoming one of the most serious design constraints in microelectronics, especially on submicron scale lengths. A study by researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has shown that standard thermal models will lead to the wrong answer in a three-dimensional heat-transfer problem if the dimensions of the heating element are on the order of one micron or smaller. This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and was carried out, in part, at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory.

Platinum meets its match in quantum dots from coal
Graphene quantum dots created at Rice University grab onto graphene platelets like barnacles attach themselves to the hull of a boat. But these dots enhance the properties of the mothership, making them better than platinum catalysts for certain reactions within fuel cells. The Office of Naval Research Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and its MURI program supported the research.

Head of Air Force lab at Wright-Patterson to give Rolls-Royce lecture
Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Masiello will give the 2014 Rolls-Royce Memorial Lecture at Purdue University on Oct. 8. Masiello is commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2014/Q4/head-of-air-force-lab-at-wright-patterson-to-give-rolls-royce-lecture.html

September 30, 2014

Causes of California drought linked to climate change, Stanford scientists say
In a new study, a team led by Stanford climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh used a novel combination of computer simulations and statistical techniques to show that a persistent region of high atmospheric pressure hovering over the Pacific Ocean that diverted storms away from California was much more likely to form in the presence of modern greenhouse gas concentrations. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/september/drought-climate-change-092914.html

September 29, 2014

Adding natural uncertainty improves mathematical models
Mathematicians from Brown University have introduced a new element of uncertainty into an equation used to describe the behavior of fluid flows. While being as certain as possible is generally the stock and trade of mathematics, the researchers hope this new formulation might ultimately lead to mathematical models that better reflect the inherent uncertainties of the natural world. The work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. https://news.brown.edu/articles/2014/09/burgers

A Week in Review: 9/21/14 – 9/27/14

September 26, 2014

AFOSR welcomes new director, Dr. Thomas F. Christian
The Air Force Research Laboratory announced the appointment of a new director at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in Arlington, Va.  Dr. Thomas F. Christian will join AFOSR as the 24th director of the agency, which boasts a 63-year history of continuously funding breakthrough basic research for the long-term benefit of the United States Air Force.

September 25, 2014

New Discovery Could Pave the Way for Spin-based Computing
Electricity and magnetism rule our digital world. Semiconductors process electrical information, while magnetic materials enable long-term data storage. A University of Pittsburgh research team has discovered a way to fuse these two distinct properties in a single material, paving the way for new ultrahigh density storage and computing architectures. This discovery was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Army Research Office. http://www.news.pitt.edu/news/new-discovery-could-pave-way-spin-based-computing

Penn Chemists Observe Key Reaction for Producing ‘Atmosphere’s Detergent’ Earth’s atmosphere is a complicated dance of molecules. The chemical output of plants, animals and human industry rise into the air and pair off in sequences of chemical reactions. Such processes help maintain the atmosphere’s chemical balance; for example, some break down pollutants emitted from the burning of fossil fuels. Understanding exactly how these reactions proceed is critical for predicting how the atmosphere will respond to environmental changes, but some of the steps of this dance are so quick that all of the molecules involved haven’t been measured in the wild. A University of Pennsylvania team has now observed one of these rapid atmospheric reactions in the lab.

September 23, 2014

Fluorescent Dyes Highlight Hard-to-Detect Damages in Composites
Current research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology is creating a process that uses fluorescence to detect both damage and water in composites, a first for composites. The first system utilizes Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), a method frequently used in molecular biology research to probe the interaction between proteins and other biopolymers. The second approach uses a mechanophore, a molecule that changes color in response to mechanical forces. http://compositesmanufacturingmagazine.com/2014/09/fluorescent-dyes-highlight-hard-detect-damages-composites/

September 22, 2014

Nature’s elegant and efficient vision systems can detect cancer
Mantis shrimp eyes are inspiring the design of new cameras that can detect a variety of cancers and visualise brain activity. University of Queensland research has found that the shrimp’s compound eyes are superbly tuned to detect polarised light, providing a streamlined framework for technology to mimic. The Australian Research Council, the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development and the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research are funding the work. http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2014/09/nature%E2%80%99s-elegant-and-efficient-vision-systems-can-detect-cancer

Engineers show light can play seesaw at the nanoscale
University of Minnesota electrical engineering researchers have developed a unique nanoscale device that for the first time demonstrates mechanical transportation of light. The discovery could have major implications for creating faster and more efficient optical devices for computation and communication. The team’s research was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The device was fabricated in the cleanroom at the Minnesota Nano Center at the University of Minnesota. http://discover.umn.edu/news/science-technology/engineers-show-light-can-play-seesaw-nanoscale

A Week in Review: 9/7/14 – 9/13/14

Sept. 11, 2014

Morphing wing
Michigan Aerospace engineers are using new materials and techniques to allow airplane wings to flex and move more like bird wings. Instead of traditional flaps, they are designing wings that can morph based on an electrical inputs. These morphing wings are still in the developing stages but may open the doors to lighter weight aircraft that are more agile than traditional airplanes. http://www.engin.umich.edu/college/about/news/stories/2014/september/morphing-wing

Stanford engineers help describe key mechanism in energy and information storage
By observing how hydrogen is absorbed into individual palladium nanocubes, Stanford materials scientists have detailed a key step in storing energy and information in nanomaterials. The work could inform research that leads to longer-lasting batteries or higher-capacity memory devices. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/september/battery-palladium-dionne-091114.html

Physicists find a new way to push electrons around
When moving through a conductive material in an electric field, electrons tend to follow the path of least resistance — which runs in the direction of that field. But now physicists at MIT and the University of Manchester have found an unexpectedly different behavior under very specialized conditions — one that might lead to new types of transistors and electronic circuits that could prove highly energy-efficient. http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2014/moving-electrons-on-graphene-0911

Researchers awarded for paper on low-cost algorithms for data storage systems  Research team that included Viveck Cadambe, assistant professor of electrical engineering, received a best paper award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Symposium on Network Computing and Applications held Aug. 21-23 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. http://news.psu.edu/story/325874/2014/09/11/academics/researchers-awarded-paper-low-cost-algorithms-data-storage-systems

Sept. 9, 2014

Air Force Research Laboratory Partners With Doolittle Institute
The Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base and the Doolittle Institute held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday to officially establish their partnership. The institute’s innovative research environment is focused on finding solutions to tough science and technology challenges in the community.

A Week in Review: 8/31/14 – 9/6/14

Sept. 5, 2014

Scientists urge government to fund basic research
Research into fundamental processes in nature needed to open new possibilities for true innovation

Sept. 2, 2014

Synthetic Diesel
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Advanced Power Technology Office (APTO) is assuring fuel supply and reducing waste by developing a mobile alternative energy system that creates liquid diesel fuel from synthetic gas (syngas) that can be used at forward operating bases.