Week in Review: 10/4/15 – 10/10/15

October 9, 2015

Scientists paint quantum electronics with beams of light
A team of scientists from the University of Chicago and Penn State University has accidentally discovered a new way of using light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits in a unique class of materials called topological insulators. In contrast to using advanced nanofabrication facilities based on chemical processing of materials, this flexible technique allows for rewritable “optical fabrication” of devices. This finding is likely to spawn new developments in emerging technologies such as low-power electronics based on the spin of electrons or ultrafast quantum computers.

How Dragonflies Could Help Develop Human Eyesight and Driverless Cars
An Australian mechanical engineering team has developed a computer program emulating a dragonfly’s eyesight. Published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the researchers also have aspirations to apply this research in artificial sight for robots and driverless cars.

If the going gets tough, when should the tough give up?
But a new study suggests there are risks in having too much grit to quit. Researchers found that the trait can be hard to switch off — and those who have it sometimes set themselves up for failure by overreaching.

October 7, 2015

Predictive policing test substantially reduces crime
Can math help keep our streets safer? A new study by a UCLA-led team of scholars and law enforcement officials suggests the answer is yes. A mathematical model they devised to guide where the Los Angeles Police Department should deploy officers, led to substantially lower crime rates during a recent 21-month period.

Porous material holds promise for prosthetics, robots
Crnell researchers have developed a new lightweight and stretchable material with the consistency of memory foam that has potential for use in prosthetic body parts, artificial organs and soft robotics. The foam is unique because it can be formed and has connected pores that allow fluids to be pumped through it.

October 6, 2015

The Cocktail Party Problem
New study asks: are musicians better at understanding conversation in a crowd?
Scientists call it the “cocktail party problem,” and it’s familiar to many people, even those who pass standard hearing tests with flying colors: they can easily hear one-on-one conversation in a quiet room, but a crowded restaurant becomes an overwhelming auditory jungle. For people with even slight hearing problems, the situation can be stressful and frustrating. For those with significant hearing loss, hearing aids, or cochlear implants, cocktail parties become an unnavigable sea of babble.

October 5, 2015

Physicists turn toward heat to study electron spin
The quest to control and understand the intrinsic spin of electrons to advance nanoscale electronics is hampered by how hard it is to measure tiny, fast magnetic devices. Applied physicists at Cornell offer a solution: using heat, instead of light, to measure magnetic systems at short length and time scales.

Week in Review: 9/27/15 – 10/3/15

September 29, 2015

Disappearing Carbon Circuits on Graphene Could Have Security, Biomedical Uses
Using carbon atoms deposited on graphene with a focused electron beam process, Fedorov and collaborators have demonstrated a technique for creating dynamic patterns on graphene surfaces. The patterns could be used to make reconfigurable electronic circuits, which evolve over a period of hours before ultimately disappearing into a new electronic state of the graphene. Graphene is also made up of carbon atoms, but in a highly-ordered form.

MSU computation conference attracts national audience
Frontiers in Computing and Data Science, a two-day conference recently hosted by the MSU Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, drew 115 individuals from universities, national labs and industries across the country.

Week in Review: 9/20/15 – 9/26/15

September 24, 2015

Los Alamos explores hybrid ultrasmall gold nanocluster for enzymatic fuel cells
With fossil-fuel sources dwindling, better biofuel cell design is a strong candidate in the energy field. In research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Los Alamos researchers and external collaborators synthesized and characterized a new DNA-templated gold nanocluster (AuNC) that could resolve a critical methodological barrier for efficient biofuel cell design.

Computer Scientist Seeks Stronger Security Shroud for the Cloud
Dr. Zhiqiang Lin, of the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science at UT Dallas, is working to advance the field of cloud computing, and in the process, has developed a technique that allows one computer in a virtual network to monitor another for invasions or viruses.

4-D Technology Allows Self-folding of Complex Objects
Using components made from smart shape-memory materials with slightly different responses to heat, researchers have demonstrated a four-dimensional printing technology that allowed creation of complex self-folding structures. The technology, developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), could be used to create 3-D structures that sequentially fold themselves from components that had been flat or rolled into a tube for shipment. The components could respond to stimuli such as temperature, moisture or light in a way that is precisely timed to create space structures, deployable medical devices, robots, toys and range of other structures.

Week in Review: 9/13/15 – 9/19/15

September 17, 2015

U of A Engineers to Lead Design of New Solar Cells to Power Space Missions
Two University of Arkansas researchers working on a promising new material to create more efficient solar cells will lead a corps of Arkansas scientists chosen to develop the next generation of photovoltaic devices used in space missions.

September 14, 2015

You’re not irrational, you’re just quantum probabilistic
The next time someone accuses you of making an irrational decision, just explain that you’re obeying the laws of quantum physics. A new trend taking shape in psychological science not only uses quantum physics to explain humans’ (sometimes) paradoxical thinking, but may also help researchers resolve certain contradictions among the results of previous psychological studies. According to Zheng Joyce Wang and others who try to model our decision-making processes mathematically, the equations and axioms that most closely match human behavior may be ones that are rooted in quantum physics.

Week in Review: 9/6/15 – 9/12/15

September 11, 2015

A new molecular design approach
Using a novel mathematical approach, a team of MIT researchers developed a domain-specific programming language for generating custom materials based on a set of design specifications. The software, dubbed Matriarch for “Materials Architecture”, allows users to combine and rearrange material building blocks in almost any conceivable shape.

September 10, 2015

Chad Mirkin Receives Sackler Prize in Convergence Research
Nanoscientist is the first recipient of new National Academy of Sciences honor
A researcher whose work cuts across disciplines, Mirkin is being recognized “for impressively integrating chemistry, materials science, molecular biology and biomedicine in the development of spherical nucleic acids that are widely used in the rapid and automated diagnosis of infectious diseases and many other human diseases — including cancers and cardiac disease — and in the detection of drug-resistant bacteria.”

September 8, 2015

New nanomaterial maintains conductivity in three dimensions
An international team of scientists has developed what may be the first one-step process for making seamless carbon-based nanomaterials that possess superior thermal, electrical and mechanical properties in three dimensions. The research holds potential for increased energy storage in high efficiency batteries and supercapacitors, increasing the efficiency of energy conversion in solar cells, for lightweight thermal coatings and more. The study is published today (Sept. 4) in the online journal Science Advances.

MATH AND CRIME: Data Models of Social Networks Can Help Police Fight Gangs
CGU mathematics Professor Allon Percus and other collaborators used methods created for solving partial differential equations to create new data classification techniques to analyze a social network of known or suspected gang members in Los Angeles. Mathematical models of such networks help explain how these groups recruit members and can assist police in identifying crime hot spots.

Panesi earns NASA Early Career Faculty Award for Modeling of Mars Entry
AE Assistant Prof. Marco Panesi has won several awards over the past year for his work in modeling non-equilibrium thermophysical processes that occur during hypersonic flight.NASA has recently selected Panesi’s project, “Reduced Order Modeling for Non-equilibrium Radiation Hydrodynamics of Base Flow and Wakes: Enabling Manned Missions to Mars,” for the Early Career Faculty Award. Earlier this year, Panesi was also selected for the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Award (YIP). Panesi’s early YIP research efforts were then selected for the 2015 Physical Modeling Award at the 8th European Symposium on the Aerothermodynamics for Space Vehicles in the spring for his paper, “A Reduced-order Modeling Approach to Enable Kinetic Simulations of Non-equilibrium Hypersonic Flows.”

Computer Science Researcher Appointed to National DARPA Study Group
UCF robotics expert Gita Sukthankar will help inform a federal agency on new research breakthroughs in computer science. The associate professor has been appointed to the Information Science and Technology study group for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).