News

Silicon Nanoantennas Turn Light Around

An artist’s rendering of nonlinear light scattering by a dimer of two silicon particles with a variable radiation pattern. A team of physicists from ITMO University, MIPT, and The University of Texas at Austin have developed an unconventional nanoantenna that scatters light in a particular direction depending on the intensity of incident radiation. The research findings will help with the development of flexible optical information processing in telecommunication systems.

Posted in: News, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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Researchers Create First “Water-Wave” Laser

Artist’s impression of a water wave laser. Technion researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that laser emissions can be created through the interaction of light and water waves. This “water-wave laser” could someday be used in tiny sensors that combine light waves, sound and water waves, or as a feature on microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” devices used to study cell biology and to test new drug therapies. For now, the water-wave laser offers a “playground” for scientists studying the interaction of light and fluid at a scale smaller than the width of a human hair.

Posted in: News, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics

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Scientists Find New Way to Image Solar Cells in 3-D

The Molecular Foundry’s Edward Barnard is part of a team of scientists that developed a new way to see inside solar cells. (Credit: Marilyn Chung) Next-generation solar cells made of super-thin films of semiconducting material hold promise because they’re relatively inexpensive and flexible enough to be applied just about anywhere. Researchers are working to dramatically increase the efficiency at which thin-film solar cells convert sunlight to electricity. But it’s a tough challenge, partly because a solar cell’s subsurface realm—where much of the energy-conversion action happens—is inaccessible to real-time, nondestructive imaging. It’s difficult to improve processes you can’t see.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics

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Tiny Graphene Radios May Lead to Internet of Nano-Things

This image shows graphene-based nanoantennas (blue and red dots) on a chip. (Credit: University at Buffalo) For wireless communication, we’re all stuck on the same traffic-clogged highway — it’s a section of the electromagnetic spectrum known as radio waves. Advancements have made the highway more efficient, but bandwidth issues persist as wireless devices proliferate and the demand for data grows. The solution may be a nearby, mostly untapped area of the electromagnetic spectrum known as the terahertz band.

Posted in: News, RF & Microwave Electronics

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Novel Computer Chips Could Bridge Gap Between Computation and Storage

Software written by Jing Li, right, and her students — including Jialiang Zhang, left —allows programmers to directly use existing coding languages with the new Liquid Silicon chips. (Credit: Stephanie Precourt/UW–Madison College of Engineering) Computer chips in development at the University of Wisconsin–Madison could make future computers more efficient and powerful by combining tasks usually kept separate by design. Jing Li, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UW–Madison, is creating computer chips that can be configured to perform complex calculations and store massive amounts of information within the same integrated unit — and communicate efficiently with other chips. She calls them “liquid silicon.”

Posted in: News, Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs

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Supersonic Spray Yields New Nanomaterial for Bendable, Wearable Electronics

Left, photograph of a large-scale silver nanowire-coated flexible film. Right, silver nanowire particles viewed under the microscope. (Credit: S.K. Yoon, Korea University) A new, ultrathin film that is both transparent and highly conductive to electric current has been produced by a cheap and simple method devised by an international team of nanomaterials researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University. The film is also bendable and stretchable, offering potential applications in roll-up touchscreen displays, wearable electronics, flexible solar cells and electronic skin.

Posted in: News, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Materials, Sensors, Transducers

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Will we be a “multi-planetary” species?

This week's Question: In recent years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested into space ventures. SpaceX, an advanced spacecraft manufacturer founded by Elon Musk, has completed more than 30 successful launches since 2006, delivered cargo to the International Space Station, and secured contracts with NASA and other clients. Musk envisions the colonization of Mars as soon as 2022. In September, speaking to the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, Musk described a 400-foot-tall rocket that would send 100 colonist-passengers at a time to Mars over a period of decades.“One [path] is that we stay on Earth forever and then there will be an inevitable extinction event,” Musk said. “The alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization, and a multi-planetary species.”What do you think? Will we be a “multi-planetary” species?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Aeronautics

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