Special Coverage

Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection

Molecules for Fluorescence Detection of Specific Chemicals

These molecules could be used in the detection of chemical warfare agents. A family of fluorescent dye molecules has been developed for use in “on-off” fluorescence detection of specific chemicals. By themselves, these molecules do not fluoresce. However, when exposed to certain chemical analytes in liquid or vapor forms, they do fluoresce (see figure). These compounds are amenable to fixation on or in a variety of substrates for use in fluorescence-based detection devices: they can be chemically modified to anchor them to porous or non-porous solid supports or can be incorporated into polymer films. Potential applications for these compounds include detection of chemical warfare agents, sensing of acidity or alkalinity, and fluorescent tagging of proteins in pharmaceutical research and development. These molecules could also be exploited for use as two-photon materials for photodynamic therapy in the treatment of certain cancers and other diseases.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Sensors and actuators, Medical equipment and supplies, Chemicals, Test equipment and instrumentation


Fuel-Cell Electrolytes Based on Organosilica Hybrid Proton Conductors

A new membrane composite material that combines an organosilica proton conductor with perfluorinated Nafion material to achieve good proton conductivity and high-temperature performance for membranes used for fuel cells in stationary, transportation, and portable applications has been developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Fuel cells, Composite materials, Conductivity, Electrolytes


Single-Mode WGM Resonators Fabricated by Diamond Turning

Resonators having desired spectral responses can be reproduced efficiently. A diamond turning process has made possible a significant advance in the art of whispering-gallery- mode (WGM) optical resonators. By use of this process, it is possible to fashion crystalline materials into WGM resonators that have ultrahigh resonance quality factors (high Q values), are compact (ranging in size from millimeters down to tens of microns), and support single electromagnetic modes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences


Redesigned Human Metabolic Simulator

Apparatus simulates atmospheric effects of human respiration. A design has been formulated for a proposed improved version of an apparatus that simulates atmospheric effects of human respiration by introducing controlled amounts of carbon dioxide, water vapor, and heat into the air. Denoted a human metabolic simulator (HMS), the apparatus is used for testing life-support equipment when human test subjects are not available.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Carbon dioxide, Humidity, Life support systems, Performance upgrades, Test equipment and instrumentation


Compact Dielectric-Rod White-Light Delay Lines

Achievable group delays would be limited only by optical losses in materials. Optical delay lines of a proposed type would be made from rods of such dielectric materials as calcium fluoride, fused silica, or sapphire. These would offer advantages over prior optical delay lines, as summarized below.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences


Cell-Detection Technique for Automated Patch Clamping

Candidate cells are identified automatically within one second. A unique and customizable machine-vision and image-data-processing technique has been developed for use in automated identification of cells that are optimal for patch clamping. [Patch clamping (in which patch electrodes are pressed against cell membranes) is an electrophysiological technique widely applied for the study of ion channels, and of membrane proteins that regulate the flow of ions across the membranes. Patch clamping is used in many biological research fields such as neurobiology, pharmacology, and molecular biology.] While there exist several hardware techniques for automated patch clamping of cells, very few of those techniques incorporate machine vision for locating cells that are ideal subjects for patch clamping. In contrast, the present technique is embodied in a machine-vision algorithm that, in practical application, enables the user to identify “good” and “bad” cells for patch clamping in an image captured by a charge-coupled-device (CCD) camera attached to a microscope, within a processing time of one second. Hence, the present technique can save time, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing cost.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Mathematical models, Artificial intelligence, Charge coupled devices, Imaging and visualization, Biological sciences


Printed Flexible Solar Cells Provide Embedded Renewable Power

In the effort to produce inexpensive, easily manufactured sources of sustainable, renewable power, solar cells continue to be a major focus — particularly flexible solar cells that can be applied directly to surfaces. Flexible solar cells are nothing new, but the methods by which they are made have progressed significantly in recent years.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Solar energy


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