A Week in Review: 7/20/14 – 7/26/14

July 24, 2014

Metal particles in solids aren’t as fixed as they seem, new memristor study shows In work that unmasks some of the magic behind memristors and “resistive random access memory,” or RRAM—cutting-edge computer components that combine logic and memory functions—researchers have shown that the metal particles in memristors don’t stay put as previously thought.
http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22257-metal-particles-in-solids-aren-t-as-fixed-as-they-seem-new-memristor-study-shows

July 22, 2014

Creating Optical Cables Out of Thin Air
Imagine being able to instantaneously run an optical cable or fiber to any point on earth, or even into space.  That’s what Howard Milchberg, professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland, wants to do. In a paper published in the July 2014 issue of the journal Optica, Milchberg and his lab report using an “air waveguide” to enhance light signals collected from distant sources.  These air waveguides could have many applications, including long-range laser communications, detecting pollution in the atmosphere, making high-resolution topographic maps and laser weapons.
http://umdrightnow.umd.edu/news/creating-optical-cables-out-thin-air

Birthday bash to celebrate laser inventor Charles Townes’ 99th
Only now nearing retirement – he plans to shutter his physics department office this summer, but will continue to make daily visits to his office at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory – Townes’ career highlights include a 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the laser, ground-breaking astronomical research, wide-ranging admiration for his efforts to reconcile science and religion, 31 honorary degrees and 38 awards.
http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/birthday-bash-celebrate-laser-inventor-charles-townes%E2%80%99-99th

July 21, 2014

Carbyne Morphs when Stretched
Stretching the material known as carbyne — a hard-to-make, one-dimensional chain of carbon atoms — by just 3 percent can begin to change its properties in ways that engineers might find useful for mechanically activated nanoscale electronics and optics. The finding by Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his colleagues appears in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.
http://www.pddnet.com/news/2014/07/carbyne-morphs-when-stretched

Royal recognition for UQ researcher
Studies involving some of the world’s smallest creatures have resulted in one of the world’s biggest honours for University of Queensland researcher Professor Mandyam Srinivasan.
http://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2014/07/royal-recognition-uq-researcher

July 20, 2014

Tiny laser sensor heightens bomb detection sensitivity
A team of researchers led by Xiang Zhang, UC Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering, has found a way to dramatically increase the sensitivity of a light-based plasmon sensor to detect incredibly minute concentrations of explosives. The researchers noted that the sensor could potentially be used to sniff out a hard-to-detect explosive popular among terrorists.
http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/07/20/plasmon-laser-bomb-detection/

A Week in Review: 3/23/14 – 3/29/14

March 24, 2014

Air Force Office of Scientific Research selects materials researchers for Star Team Awards
Three research groups, under the leadership of Air Force Research Laboratory Materials and Manufacturing Directorate scientists were named Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Star Teams for 2014. The Star Team Award emphasizes and recognizes excellence in basic research performed within AFRL’s technology directorates. The designation is limited to no more than 10 percent of AFRL’s intramural basic research activities, and it acknowledges researchers who have demonstrated world class scientific or engineering achievement that is cutting edge, and “the best of the best.”
http://www.wpafb.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123404659

March 25, 2014

When hummingbirds fly unfriendly skies
The first measurements of how much a flying animal’s metabolism revs up when coping with turbulent air come from five Anna’s hummingbirds (Calypte anna) that Victor M. Ortega-Jimenez of the University of California, Berkeley and his colleagues tested.
https://www.sciencenews.org/article/when-hummingbirds-fly-unfriendly-skies

March 26, 2014

UTEP Professor Receives Grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Assistant Professor of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering David Roberson, Ph.D., has been awarded a Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Roberson the first UTEP faculty member or researcher to receive this particular grant.
http://engineering.utep.edu/announcement032614.htm

March 27, 2014

Cadet wins American Chemical Society award for polymer research
A senior cadet here won an award for the best undergraduate research poster from the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymer Chemistry during the Society’s national meeting in Dallas March 16-20.
http://www.usafa.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123405134

March 29, 2014

The Artificial Leaf Is Here. Again.
General Electric is promoting a feel-good collection of videos these days. Called “Focus Forward,” it promises “short films, big ideas.” Each of these mini-docs triumphantly chronicles an innovative idea, like Daniel Nocera’s. This Harvard chemist has pioneered the artificial leaf, an invention that generates energy more or less the way a tree does. Light strikes a container of water and out bubbles hydrogen, an energy source.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/technology/the-artificial-leaf-is-here-again.html?_r=1