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: 5/25/14 – 5/31/14

May 29, 2014

UCF Receives Nearly $2 Million for Defense Research
The University of Central Florida earned five research grants this week worth nearly $2 million from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program, placing UCF among the top three university award recipients in the nation.

May 28, 2014

AE Scientists Garner Best Fluid Dynamics Paper Award
Aerospace Engineering at Illinois researchers’ study of a turbulent boundary layer’s interaction with a thin, flexible panel has won the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Fluid Dynamics Best Paper Award for 2013.

May 27, 2014

Live Like An Athlete Podcast: Science of Sweat – U.S. Air Force Research Lab
Dr. Josh Hagen, Ph.D, a lead engineer at the Human Performance Wing, joins today’s episode to discuss some new toys in development, including “skin biosensors.” These sensors will allow for real-time tracking of biometrics via sweat, using a flexible bandage adhered to the skin.

A Week in Review: 3/30/14 – 4/5/14

April 1, 2014

Enhanced Autopilot System Could Help Prevent Accidents Like 2009 Air France 447 Crash
Thirty lines of computer code might have saved Air France flight 447, and 228 passengers and crew aboard, from plunging into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, according to new research by Carlos Varela, an associate professor of computer science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Varela and his research group have developed a computer system that detects and corrects faulty airspeed readings, such as those that contributed to the AF447 crash. Their approach to detecting errors could be applicable in many systems that rely on sensor readings.

April 3, 2014

AFOSR welcomes new director, Dr. L. Wayne Brasure
Dr. L. Wayne Brasure, a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Director, AFOSR: The Basic Research Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he manages the entire basic research investment portfolio for the Air Force. Dr. Brasure leads a staff of 200 scientists, engineers and administrators in the U.S., and foreign technology offices in London, Tokyo and Santiago, Chile.

A Week in Review: 1/12/14 – 1/18/14

January 14, 2014

Rival Spaceplanes attract interest abroad
Two very different space planes being developed in Europe and the United States have each won the interest of parties on the opposite sides of the Atlantic. The UK’s design for Skylon – and in particular its revolutionary SABRE hybrid engine – is to be studied and assessed by the US Air Force to see if the technology has potential to power its hypersonic vehicles. And the European Space Agency (ESA) has agreed to work with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to find areas where they work together to develop the American company’s Dream Chaser spacecraft.

January 17, 2014

Princeton’s IP Accelerator Fund awarded to four promising technologies
Enhanced cybersecurity, non-scarring tattoo removal, 3-D photography and a laser-scanning device are projects selected for Princeton University’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund, which supports discoveries that have significant potential for further development into products or services.