Special Coverage

Home

Portable Instrument Detects Very Dilute Airborne Organics

This instrument offers an attractive alternative to GC/MS. A small, lightweight, low-power instrument, denoted a proton-transferreaction/ ion-mobility spectrometer (PTR-IMS) has been developed for detecting airborne organic compounds at concentrations in the sub-parts-per-billion range. Instruments like this one could be used on distant planets (such as Mars) to search for trace organic compounds indicative of life as well as numerous potential terrestrial uses: A few examples include medical applications (e.g., analyzing human breath to detect compounds associated with certain deadly diseases such as lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver), lawenforcement applications (detecting airborne traces of explosives and drugs), environmental monitoring (detecting airborne pollutants and toxins), and military applications (detecting chemical warfare agents).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Solar Simulator for a Portable Solar-Absorptance Instrument

The principal advantages are portability and accurate normalized AM0 spectrum. A special-purpose solar simulator includes (1) a tungsten lamp that serves as a gray-body radiator with a temperature of 3,200 K and (2) a mosaic of filters such that the filtered lamp output has the same normalized spectral irradiance as that of sunlight outside the atmosphere of the Earth. This solar simulator is intended for use as the illuminator in a portable instrument that measures solar absorptances and total emittances of samples of materials.

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

Pinhole Camera



Posted in: Blog

Read More >>

Nanotip Carpets as Antireflection Surfaces

Reflectance less than 10–3 is readily achieved. Carpetlike random arrays of metal-coated silicon nanotips have been shown to be effective as antireflection surfaces. Now undergoing development for incorporation into Sun sensors that would provide guidance for robotic exploratory vehicles on Mars, nanotip carpets of this type could also have many uses on Earth as antireflection surfaces in instruments that handle or detect ultraviolet, visible, or infrared light.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Directed Growth of Carbon Nanotubes Across Gaps

Single-walled carbon nanotubes grow aligned along applied electric fields. An experiment has shown that when single- walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are grown by chemical vapor deposition in the presence of an electric field of suitable strength, the nanotubes become aligned along the electric field. In an important class of contemplated applications, one would exploit this finding in fabricating nanotube transistors; one would grow SWNTs across gaps between electrodes that would serve, subsequently, as source and drain contacts during operation of the transistors.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Lab-On-A-Chip

A new type of device called a "lab-on-a-chip" could result in a future generation of instant home tests for illnesses, food contaminants and toxic gases. But today these portable, efficient tools are often stuck in the lab themselves. Specifically, in the labs of researchers who know how to make them from scratch. University of Michigan engineers are seeking to change that with a 16-piece lab-on-a-chip kit that brings microfluidic devices to the scientific masses. The kit cuts the costs involved and the time it takes to make a microfluidic device from days to minutes.

Posted in: Blog

Read More >>

Electron-Beam Welding of Superalloys at High Temperatures

Strain age cracks can be prevented. Electron-beam welding at high temperatures has been found to be a suitable process for joining structural components made by casting certain superalloys. This process can be used in the fabrication of superalloy parts that must withstand high operating temperatures. Examples of such parts include exhaust ducts of advanced aerospace engines and end caps on turbine buckets.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

Read More >>