A Week in Review: 4/29/12 to 5/05/12

A quick recap of AFRL and AFOSR news mentions over the past week.

April 30, 2012

Single nanomaterial yields many laser colors
Red, green, and blue lasers have become small and cheap enough to find their way into products ranging from BluRay DVD players to fancy pens, but each color is made with different semiconductor materials and by elaborate crystal growth processes. A new prototype technology demonstrates all three of those colors coming from one material. That could open the door to making products, such as high-performance digital displays, that employ a variety of laser colors all at once.

For better test results, swap topics often
Students of all ages might improve their test scores if the category of information changed abruptly midway through the test, according to a new study.

Green drone: Hydrogen fuel cell powers ScanEagle
Insitu, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing, announced this month that its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft completed a hydrogen-powered test flight for the first time. A propulsion module made from a 1,500-watt fuel cell by United Technologies and a hydrogen fueling solution by the Naval Research Laboratory were integrated into the ScanEagle at Insitu’s facilities in Bingen, Wash. …..Insitu is teaming up with the Air Force Research Lab later this year to test a fuel cell in the Integrator, a newer, bigger version that can carry heavier payloads such as radio relay equipment to assist soldiers in the field.

Folding light: Wrinkles and twists boost power from solar panels
Taking their cue from the humble leaf, researchers have used microscopic folds on the surface of photovoltaic material to significantly increase the power output of flexible, low-cost solar cells.

May 1, 2012

Nanotech on Tap at Dallas-Area Research Conference
Neuroscience and novel cancer treatments might seem worlds away from high-efficiency batteries and advanced solar cells, but the U.S.-Korea Joint Symposium of Nanotechnology Workshops, hosted and co-organized by UT Dallas, will bring these diverse fields together under one roof…..The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the South Korean government have sponsored the joint nanotechnology workshops for the past 10 years, with host institutions alternating between the two countries.

May 2, 2012

First-ever demonstration of autonomous bird-like robot perching on a human hand
By the virtue of their size and speed, birds are uniquely capable of efficient flight while flapping their wings and while gliding. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have duplicated the control functions that allow birds to successfully perform a soft landing—in this case, perching on a human hand.

ATK Announces Retirement of TacSat-3 Satellite
….The Air Force announced on April 30th, 2012, that the satellite deorbited into and burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere nearly three years after its May 2009 launch. TacSat-3 was designed for six months of operation, with a goal of one year. Not only did it outlive its design life, it also surpassed its original mission requirements and goals as an experimental spacecraft, and was successfully transitioned to operational status in 2010.

May 4, 2012

Novel Bone Scaffold Draws Strength from Tiny Silk Fibers
Every few months or so, researchers announce a new breakthrough with silk….now, David Kaplan, PhD, chair of biomedical engineering at Tufts University, whose interest in silk goes back for decades, has helped develop a silk-reinforced biodegradable material that can provide significant mechanical support during bone repair.

Burst-Mode Laser Captures Combustion Details
In the search for alternative fuels, scientists need tools to take snapshots of combustion reactions that happen at short time scales. American researchers have devised a new-type of burst-mode laser that provides bursts lasting 10 times longer than previous examples—enough to enable “movies” of these reactions.

A Week in Review: 4/22/12 to 4/28/12

A quick recap of AFRL and AFOSR news mentions over the past week.

April 23, 2012

Controlling heat flow with atomic-level precision
Through atomic-scale manipulation, researchers at the University of Illinois have demonstrated that a single layer of atoms can disrupt or enhance heat flow across an interface.

April 24, 2012

Advanced Thin Film Material Has Graphene-Like Properties
Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in Cambridge, announce the development of a new material that could be used to create new generations of semiconductor chips and thermoelectric devices.

April 25, 2012

Air Force Designs Unmanned Lightweight Aircraft for NASA
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is developing a new unmanned airplane that the military and NASA will use to test the effect of air flow on flexible wings to promote innovations in lightweight aircraft design.

Engineering students at BYU create Batman grappling hook gun
Batman has all kinds of cool toys and gadgets that he uses to fight crime. One of the most commonly used is his grappling hook gun that he can shoot at the top of the building or other structure, and then the gun will pull him to the top.