Week in Review: 5/29/16 – 6/4/16

June 2, 2016

A thinner, flatter lens

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have demonstrated the first flat — or planar — lens that works highly efficiently within the visible spectrum of light, covering the whole range of colors from red to blue.

Bionic leaf turns sunlight into liquid fuel

The days of drilling into the ground in the search for fuel may be numbered, because if Daniel Nocera has his way, it’ll just be a matter of looking for sunny skies. Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, and Pamela Silver, the Elliott T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, have co-created a system that uses solar energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2016/06/bionic-leaf-turns-sunlight-into-liquid-fuel/

May 31, 2016

Possibly unique design feature discovered in mantis shrimp

New research findings revealing the structure of a sea creature’s impact-resistant appendage are inspiring development of advanced materials for possible applications in body armor, helmets and components for buildings and cars. https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2016/Q2/possibly-unique-design-feature-discovered-in-mantis-shrimp.html

Mantis shrimp inspires next generation of ultra-strong materials

The next generation of airplanes, body armor and football helmets crawled out from under a rock—literally. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside and Purdue University are one step closer to developing super strong composite materials, thanks to the mantis shrimp, a small, multicolored marine crustacean that crushes the shells of its prey using a fist-like appendage called a dactyl club. Their latest research, to be published in the journal Advanced Materials, describes for the first time a unique herringbone structure, not previously reported in nature, within the appendage’s outer layer. It is this tough herringbone structure that not only protects the club during impact, but also enables the mantis shrimp to inflict incredible damage to its prey.

May 27, 2016

Fast, stretchy circuits could yield new wave of wearable electronics

Now, a team of University of Wisconsin—Madison engineers has created the world’s fastest stretchable, wearable integrated circuits, an advance that could drive the Internet of Things and a much more connected, high-speed wireless world. Led by Zhenqiang “Jack” Ma, the Lynn H. Matthias Professor in Engineering and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in electrical and computer engineering at UW–Madison, the researchers published details of these powerful, highly efficient integrated circuits today, May 27, 2016, in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. http://news.wisc.edu/fast-stretchy-circuits-could-yield-new-wave-of-wearable-electronics/