A Week in Review: 10/26/14 – 11/1/14

October 30, 2014

AFOSR continues legacy of Nobel Prize-winning research
The Air Force Office of Scientific Research will add four winners to its illustrious list following the Nobel Foundation’s announcements of the 2014 laureates for Physics and Chemistry on Oct. 7 and 8.

October 28, 2014

Air Force takes table-top approach to quantum physics
Air Force Research Laboratory scientists can now study the mysteries of quantum physics in house and at a lower cost, thanks to a new high performance table-top quantum computing system. With funding in part from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the DoD High Performance Computing Modernization Program, cold-atom technology developer, ColdQuanta, delivered two table-top Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC) systems–one in April 2014 and the second in September 2014–to a new facility jointly operated by AFRL and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Physics and Astronomy.

A Week in Review: 8/24/14 – 8/30/14

August 26, 2014

Caverlee presented with Google Faculty Research Award
Dr. James Caverlee, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University, was chosen by the Google Faculty Research Awards Program as a recipient of financial support for his proposal in the social media category, “Modeling and Inferring Local Expertise.” This research is a collaborative effort with professor Daniel Z. Sui, chair of the geography department at The Ohio State University. http://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2014/08/26/caverlee-presented-with-google-faculty-research-award

Aug. 25, 2014

Physics research removes outcome unpredictability of ultracold atomic reactions Findings from a physics study by a Kansas State University researcher are helping scientists accurately predict the once unpredictable. Yujun Wang, research associate with the James R. Macdonald Laboratory at Kansas State University, and Paul Julienne at the University of Maryland, looked at theoretically predicting and understanding chemical reactions that involve three atoms at ultracold temperatures. Their findings help explain the likely outcome of a chemical reaction and shed new light on mysterious quantum states. http://esciencenews.com/articles/2014/08/25/physics.research.removes.outcome.unpredictability.ultracold.atomic.reactions

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

A Week in Review: 2/2/14 – 2/8/14

February 3, 2014

UC Researchers at Ground Control in Launching the Fastest Plane of the Future
Randy Allemang, a UC professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Structural Dynamics Research Lab in the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), will present a validation metric that involves principal component analysis (PCA) decomposition of simulation and test data to measure the uncertainty in how well the models match with measured data, which will ultimately determine the success in approaching how such a plane could be built. That 25-year exploratory project is led by the U.S. Air Force.

Diamond film possible without the pressure
Now researchers at Rice University and in Russia have calculated a “phase diagram” for the creation of diamane. The diagram is a road map. It lays out the conditions – temperature, pressure and other factors – that would be necessary to turn stacked sheets of graphene into a flawless diamond lattice.

February 4, 2014

Fruit flies – fermented-fruit connoisseurs – are relentless party crashers
That fruit fly joining you just moments after you poured that first glass of cabernet, has just used its poppy-seed-sized brain to conduct a finely-choreographed search, one that’s been described for the first time by researchers at the University of Washington.

February 5, 2014

Ballistic Transport in Graphene Suggests New Type of Electronic Device
 “This work shows that we can control graphene electrons in very different ways because the properties are really exceptional,” said Walt de Heer, a Regent’s professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “This could result in a new class of coherent electronic devices based on room temperature ballistic transport in graphene. Such devices would be very different from what we make today in silicon.”

A Week in Review: 5/12/13 – 5/18/13

AFRL gains national recognition for STEM outreach

The Department of Defense needs to produce enough high-caliber science, technology, engineering and mathematics talent to ensure the U.S. maintains superiority in national defense. Fortunately, innovative Air Force STEM programs across the country are making a difference. http:/www.kirtland.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123348059

Two of Dr. Berman’s PI’s have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences

Naomi Halas, Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Bioengineering at Rice University and Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2013 fellows of NAS. Naomi Halas’ work has been creating tailored nanoparticles in order to control their optical and energy transfer properties. This work is having widespread impact in the areas of sensors, catalysts, water treatment, and even cancer phototherapy. Sharon Hammes-Schiffer’s work has focused on theoretical studies of chemical reactions, particularly proton-coupled electron transfer reactions which play an important role in energy storage, catalysis and photosynthesis, and could impact design of solar cells.

Rice University Professor Naomi Halas has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences – one of the highest honors that can be conferred upon a U.S. scientist or engineer. She is one of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced today in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. http://bioengineering.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=4294967599

Three faculty members at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have been elected 2013 fellows of the National Academy of Sciences. Eduardo Fradkin, Martin Gruebele and Sharon Hammes-Schiffer are among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates announced by the academy on April 30. http://www.news.illinois.edu/news/13/0430NAS_EduardoFradkin_MartinGruebele_SharonHammes-Schiffer.html