Week in Review: 11/1/15 – 11/7/15

November 5, 2015

Harvesting more energy from photons
Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found a way to significantly boost the energy that can be harnessed from sunlight, a finding that could lead to better solar cells or light detectors.

Freshwater fish, amphibians supercharge their ability to see infrared light 
Salmon and other freshwater fish and amphibians supercharge their ability to see red and infrared light. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that this evolutionary adaptation hinges on the activity of an enzyme that converts vitamin A1 to vitamin A2, enabling the aquatic creatures to more easily navigate murky waters.

UMD Discovery Could Enable Portable Particle Accelerators
A new discovery by physicists at the University of Maryland could hold the key to the construction of inexpensive, broadly useful, and portable particle accelerators in the very near future. The team has accelerated electron beams to nearly the speed of light using record-low laser energies, thus relieving a major engineering bottleneck in the development of compact particle accelerators.

It’s a Beauty: JILA’s Quantum Crystal is Now More Valuable
Physicists at JILA have made their “quantum crystal” of ultracold molecules more valuable than ever by packing about five times more molecules into it. The denser crystal will help scientists unlock the secrets of magnets and other, more exotic materials.

A New Slant on Semiconductor Characterization
Grayson’s research team has created a new mathematical method that has made semiconductor characterization more efficient, more precise, and simpler. By flipping the magnetic field and repeating one measurement, the method can quantify whether or not electrical conductivity is uniform across the entire material – a quality required for high-performance semiconductors.

November 4, 2015

Novel “crumpling” of hybrid nanostructures increases SERS sensitivity
By “crumpling” to increase the surface area of graphene-gold nanostructures, researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have improved the sensitivity of these materials, opening the door to novel opportunities in electronics and optical sensing applications.

Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond ‘Predator’
Researchers Find That Thermal Sensors Made Out Of Graphene Could Create Low-Cost Night-Vision Technology.

November 2, 2015

Ultrasensitive sensors made from boron-doped grapheme
Ultrasensitive gas sensors based on the infusion of boron atoms into graphene — a tightly bound matrix of carbon atoms — may soon be possible, according to an international team of researchers from six countries.