Week in Review: 11/8/15 – 11/14/15

November 12, 2015

Nanopores could take the salt out of seawater
MechSE professor Narayana Aluru has led a team of University of Illinois engineers in finding an energy-efficient material for removing salt from seawater that could provide a rebuttal to poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s lament, “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink.”

November 10, 2015

Onion-like layers help this efficient new nanoparticle glow
A new, onion-like nanoparticle could open new frontiers in biomaging, solar energy harvesting and light-based security techniques. The particle’s innovation lies in its layers: a coating of organic dye, a neodymium-containing shell, and a core that incorporates ytterbium and thulium. Together, these strata convert invisible near-infrared light to higher energy blue and UV light with record-high efficiency, a trick that could improve the performance of technologies ranging from deep-tissue imaging and light-induced therapy to security inks used for printing money.

November 9, 2015

New Technology Colors In the Infrared Rainbow
In a new study, a team lead by Maiken H. Mikkelsen, the Nortel Networks Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Physics at Duke University, demonstrates perfect absorbers for small bands of the electromagnetic spectrum from visible light through the near infrared. The fabrication technique is easily scalable, can be applied to any surface geometry and costs much less than current light absorption technologies.

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.

Week in Review: 10/25/15 – 10/31/15

October 29, 2015

Entering the Strange World of Ultra-Cold Chemistry
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have received a $900,000 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) to study the unusual chemical and physical properties of atoms and molecules at ultra-cold temperatures approaching absolute zero – the temperature at which all thermal activity stops.

Week in Review: 10/18/15 – 10/24/15

October 22, 2015

Researchers transform slow emitters into fast light sources
Researchers from Brown University, in collaboration with colleagues from Harvard, have developed a new way to control light from phosphorescent emitters at very high speeds. The technique provides a new approach to modulation that could be useful in all kinds of silicon-based nanoscale devices, including computer chips and other optoelectronic components.

October 21, 2015

Cobalt atoms on graphene a powerful combo
The Rice lab of chemist James Tour and colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Houston have reported the development of a robust, solid-state catalyst that shows promise to replace expensive platinum for hydrogen generation.

October 20, 2015

Exciting Breakthrough in 2D Lasers
An important step towards next-generation ultra-compact photonic and optoelectronic devices has been taken with the realization of a two-dimensional excitonic laser. Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) embedded a monolayer of tungsten disulfide into a special microdisk resonator to achieve bright excitonic lasing at visible light wavelengths.

Week in Review: 10/11/15 – 10/17/15

October 16, 2015

UNM School of Engineering honors seven distinguished alumni
The University of New Mexico School of Engineering recognized the accomplishments of seven of its alumni during its Distinguished Alumni Award event on Oct. 15.

Next-generation perovskite solar cells made stable by metal oxide ‘sandwich’
Now Yang’s team has conquered the primary difficulty of perovskite by protecting it between two layers of metal oxide. This is a significant advance toward stabilizing perovskite solar cells. Their new cell construction extends the cell’s effective life in air by more than 10 times, with only a marginal loss of efficiency converting sunlight to electricity.

October 15, 2015

Researchers Grow Nanocircuitry with Semiconducting Graphene Nanoribbons
Researchers at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials have confirmed the growth of self-directed graphene nanoribbons on the surface of the semiconducting material germanium by researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Image courtesy of Argonne National LaboratoryIn a development that could revolutionize electronic circuitry, a research team from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UW) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has confirmed a new way to control the growth paths of graphene nanoribbons on the surface of a germainum crystal.