A Week in Review: 10/19/14 – 10/25/14

October 20, 2014

Folding Origami Solar Panels Could Be Headed to Space (Video)
Brian Trease, a mechanical engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, studied origami during a high school study abroad trip in Japan, and now he’s applying the same techniques to space-bound solar arrays. Trease, researchers from Brigham Young University and origami expert Robert Lang have created working prototypes of the origami solar panels.

‘Starfish’ crystals could lead to 3D-printed pills
Engineers have figured out how to make rounded crystals with no facets, a design that mimics the hard-to-duplicate texture of starfish shells. The discovery could one day lead to 3D-printed medications that absorb better into the body. http://www.futurity.org/starfish-crystals-3d-printed-pills-786612/

Engineering Professor to Receive UA’s Blackmon-Moody Award
Dr. Gregory B. Thompson, professor of metallurgical and materials engineering at The University of Alabama, will receive the 2014 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award.

AFOSR, NIH and NASA collaborate on basic research with Australia

by Air Force Office of Scientific Research Staff Writers
Air Force Office of Scientific Research

10/21/2014 – ARLINGTON, Va. – In the continuing work to expand the horizon of scientific knowledge through international partnership and leadership, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Australian Department of Education, the Australian Academy of Science, and the Australian National Fabrication Facility have organized a researcher exchange effort to create new, as well as strengthen existing relationships between scientific communities in the United States and Australia. This activity is the result of AFOSR’s ongoing collaboration with U.S. interagency and Australian partners that includes participation in the Inaugural United States – Australia Joint Commission Meeting, and co-organization of the 2011 Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF)/AFOSR Meeting and the 2012 AFOSR/ANFF Program Review. According to Mr. Michael Schwager, Minister Counsellor (Education, Science and Technology) at the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, “the most successful international collaborations form at the researcher-to-researcher level and are then spurred through mutual and strategic interest. These research exchanges are great examples of that and will enhance our strong science linkages and particularly longer-term research collaborations with AFOSR, NIH and NASA.”

Beginning in mid-2014 through 2015, Australian graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from the University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, University of South Australia, Australian National University, Griffith University, and Monash University will travel to U.S. laboratories to perform research in multiple technical areas up to several months. Hosting U.S. institutions are the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Oregon Health Science University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of California – San Diego, University of California – Berkeley, and University of Puerto Rico. “This effort is a testament to the patience, perseverance and drive of everyone involved to build and nurture long-lasting relationships between the best and brightest within our communities,” said Dr. Sofi Bin-Salamon (AFOSR). He added that “our domestic and international partnerships are key to opening new vistas in scientific discovery.”

AFOSR continues to discover, shape, and champion basic science that profoundly impacts the future Air Force (USAF). Proactively engaging with the international community is critical to AFOSR’s mission.

Over the years, AFOSR has supported many international research efforts (primarily grants) performed at foreign universities and institutes. In addition to funding research projects, AFOSR builds relationships among foreign researchers, the Air Force Research Laboratory and U.S. scientists and engineers through a variety of programs. AFOSR annually supports hundreds of international activities including technical exchanges, visits of foreign researchers to present their research to USAF audiences, and AF scientists and engineers conducting research in foreign laboratories.

A Week in Review: 6/29/14 – 7/5/14

July 2, 2014

Researchers Invent ‘Meta Mirror’ to Help Advance Nonlinear Optical Systems Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have created a new nonlinear metasurface, or meta mirror, that could one day enable the miniaturization of laser systems. The invention, called a “nonlinear mirror” by the researchers, could help advance nonlinear laser systems that are used for chemical sensing, explosives detection, biomedical research and potentially many other applications.

Video: Origami Artists Don’t Fold Under Pressure
The four-day OrigamiUSA convention, held at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, drew 650 people from a dozen countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia. The largest contingent was from the U.S., followed by Japan. And the convention is serious business — each attendee received a “survival kit,” which included a packet of origami paper and a giant schedule of the 215 classes offered.

FSU engineer uses light to change makeup of plastics
A FAMU-FSU College of Engineering professor is using rays of light to control the shape of a special type of plastic, a project that could have long-term implications for manufacturing, solar energy harvesting, aerospace flow control and robotic actuators. Mechanical engineering Associate Professor William Oates is in the midst of a four-year project supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to test the possibilities of how light can change the shape of plastics and how those changes could help robots perform different tasks, like grip materials through adhesion. It is a collaborative project with a colleague in chemical engineering, Associate Professor Anant Paravastu. http://news.fsu.edu/More-FSU-News/FSU-engineer-uses-light-to-change-makeup-of-plastics

July 1, 2014

Air Force engineer developed unique method to track space debris
Richard Rast, a senior engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory, created an innovative way to track this space debris to help reduce the risk of potential collisions—a system that could become a cost-effective supplement to the current processes used by the Air Force and NASA that rely on expensive telescopes, radar systems and considerable manpower for analysis.

Behind a Marine Creature’s Bright Green Fluorescent Glow In a study published in Scientific Reports, an open-access journal of the Nature Publishing Group, Dimitri Deheyn and his colleagues at Scripps Oceanography, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have conducted the most detailed examination of green fluorescent proteins (GFPs) in lancelets, marine invertebrates also known as “amphioxus.” The fish-shaped animals, which spend much of their time in shallow coastal regions burrowed in sand except for their heads, offer unique insights on natural fluorescence since individual specimens can emit both very bright and much dimmer versions of the light, a rare capability in the animal kingdom. https://scripps.ucsd.edu/news/behind-marine-creatures-bright-green-fluorescent-glow

A Week in Review: 11/24/13 – 11/30/13

November 26, 2013

Nanotech Innovation Keeps Surfaces Clean and Transparent
A spin-off company from Penn has found a way to solve the problem of keeping surfaces clean, while also keeping them transparent.

Nelum Sciences, created under an UPstart program in Penn’s Center for Technology Transfer, has developed a superhydrophobic coating that can be sprayed onto any surface. The water-based solution contains nanoscopic particles that add a nearly invisible layer of roughness to a surface. This increases the contact angle of the material to which these particles are applied.

November 27, 2013

BYU engineers turn to origami to solve astronomical space problem
Partnership with NASA could send origami to final frontier

BYU engineers have teamed up with a world-renowned origami expert to solve one of space exploration’s greatest (and most ironic) problems: lack of space.
Working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a team of mechanical engineering students and faculty have designed a solar array that can be tightly compacted for launch and then deployed in space to generate power for space stations or satellites.

A Week in Review: 5/5/13 – 5/11/13

May 6, 2013

Researchers develop unique method for creating uniform nanoparticles

University of Illinois researchers have developed a new way to produce highly uniform nanocrystals used for both fundamental and applied nanotechnology projects. “We have developed a unique approach for the synthesis of highly uniform icosahedral nanoparticles made of platinum (Pt), “explained Hong Yang, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Illinois. “This is important both in fundamental studies — nanoscience and nanotechnology — and in applied sciences such as high performance fuel cell catalysts.

May 6, 2013

Heart Monitor Uses Paper-thin Flexible ‘Skin’

Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, has developed a heart monitor thinner than a dollar bill and no wider than a postage stamp. The flexible skin-like monitor, worn under an adhesive bandage on the wrist, is sensitive enough to help doctors detect stiff arteries and cardiovascular problems. Bao’s team is working with other Stanford researchers to make the device completely wireless. Using wireless communication, doctors could receive a patient’s minute-by-minute heart status via cell phone, all thanks to a device as thick as a human hair. The team’s research is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

May 8, 2013

AFOSR-funded research key to revolutionary ‘green’ spacecraft propellant

In 2015, NASA, for the first time, will fly a space mission utilizing a radically different propellant — one which has reduced toxicity and is environmentally benign.

May 9, 2013

F-35 fighter takes another step forward

The Air Force took another step forward with its newest fighter jet when an advanced F-35 Lightning II landed at the service’s lead training base, home to the largest fleet of F-35s worldwide.