A Week in Review: 6/10/12 to 6/16/12

A quick recap of AFRL and AFOSR news mentions over the past week.

June 11, 2012

Crustacean’s claw may be suited for battle
Researchers have figured out how a tiny tropical crustacean packs an outsized punch. And they are using that knowledge to engineer super-durable materials that could protect troops in the line of fire, among other useful applications.

All the Colors of a High-Energy Rainbow, in a Tightly Focused Beam
For the first time, researchers have produced a coherent, laser-like, directed beam of light that simultaneously streams ultraviolet light, X-rays and all wavelengths in between. One of the few light sources to successfully produce a coherent beam that includes X-rays, this new technology is the first to do so using a setup that fits on a laboratory table.

‘Nanocable’ could be big boon for energy storage
Thanks to a little serendipity, researchers at Rice University have created a tiny coaxial cable that is about a thousand times smaller than a human hair and has higher capacitance than previously reported microcapacitors.

June 14, 2012
Local jobs could come from University of Dayton research contract
The University of Dayton School of Engineering has secured federal Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) funds, funding that may lead to new area jobs, the university said Wednesday. The project will have UD working with six Ivy League schools, MIT and New York University in the latest round of awards, the university said Wednesday.

How the White House is aiming the X Prize model at big problems
On October 4, 2004, the idea of incentive prizes hit the mainstream when Burt Rutan and his team at Scaled Composites launched SpaceShip One into orbit for the second time and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize. Since then, prizes like that have become more and more common, and though the X Prizes are still the gold standard, there are now similar competitions from medical research to science to business, and beyond.

June 15, 2012
JILA frequency comb helps evaluate novel biomedical decontamination method
Like many new measurement tools, the laser frequency comb seemed at first a curiosity but has found more practical uses than originally imagined.

Startup born in Princeton lab turns carbon dioxide into fuels
Ask Andrew Bocarsly about the innovation behind Liquid Light, a New Jersey startup company that turns carbon dioxide into fuels and industrial chemicals, and the Princeton University chemistry professor smiles ruefully. “The project goes back to the early ’90s,” he said. “But nobody cared about carbon dioxide at that time.”

Biofuels could bolster national security, leaders say
A top British envoy says the U.S. and the U.K. could collaborate more on the development and use of biofuels in the military to boost both nations’ security and energy interests and cut greenhouse gas emissions.