News

Optics Breakthrough Could Revamp Night Vision

By etching grooves in the film, the light is redirected and almost all of it is absorbed. The absorbing layer is less than 1/2000th the thickness of a human hair. (Credit: Dr. Thomas P. White, Australian National University) A breakthrough by an Australian collaboration of researchers could make infrared technology easy-to-use and cheap, potentially saving millions of dollars in defense and other areas using sensing devices, and boosting applications of technology to a host of new areas, such as agriculture. Infra-red devices are used for improved vision through fog and for night vision and for observations not possible with visible light; high-quality detectors cost approximately $100,000 (including the device at the University of Sydney) and some require cooling to -200°C.

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New Technique Could Improve Detection of Concealed Nuclear Materials

Schematic shows how a fan-like beam of gamma particles created by an ion accelerator would pass through a shielded radioactive material inside a cargo container, and be measured on the other side with Cherenkov quartz detectors. (Courtesy Anna Erickson) Researchers have demonstrated proof of concept for a novel low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of “special nuclear materials” – weapons-grade uranium and plutonium – in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports. The method relies on a combination of neutrons and high-energy photons to detect shielded radioactive materials inside the containers.

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Engineers Design Novel Multi-Field Invisible Sensor

Without compromising performance, the copper shell (outer circular ring) cloaks the sensor (inner circle) and renders it invisible in thermal and electrical images. (Photo: NUS) A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has invented a novel camouflage technique that effectively hides thermal and electronic sensors without compromising performance. Led by Assistant Professor Qiu Cheng-Wei from the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at NUS Faculty of Engineering, the team created the world’s first multifunctional camouflage shell that renders sensors invisible in both thermal and electric environments.

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Army Uses Technology to Increase Aerial Delivery Accuracy

Members of the Georgia National Guard during a Pathfinder aerial operation benefiting from the data provided by the Man-Portable Doppler LiDAR system. (U.S. Army Photo) Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have developed a new system that will enhance the capabilities of U.S. Army Pathfinders as they conduct aerial operations. In response to a Request for Information from the U.S. Army-Africa to remove what is known as the pilot balloon from the battlefield, ARL undertook a program to reduce the size, weight and power of current commercial-off-the-shelf Doppler Light Detection and Ranging, or LiDAR, systems. The pilot balloon is a small, helium-filled balloon that is released and tracked to measure a wind profile in support of personnel and precision airdrop operations.

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New Algorithm Reveals Underground Water Levels

Researchers from Stanford University have used satellite data and a new computer algorithm to gauge groundwater levels in Colorado’s San Luis Valley agricultural basin. The technique "fills in" underground water levels in areas where quality data had been previously unavailable.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Visualization Software, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics

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Disposable 'Ninja-Star' Battery Supports Biosensors

A Binghamton University researcher's new disposable battery folds like an origami ninja star. The microbial fuel cell could power biosensors and other small devices in challenging field conditions.Engineer Seokheun “Sean” Choi's new design folds into a star with one inlet at its center and the electrical contacts at the points of each side. After a few drops of dirty water are placed into the inlet, the device can be opened into a Frisbee-like ring to allow each of the eight fuel cells to work. Each module is a sandwich of five functional layers with its own anode, proton exchange membrane, and air-cathode. The device uses filter paper, carbon cloth (for the anode), and copper tape. The team’s next goal is to produce a fully paper-based device that has the power density of the new design and a lower price tag. The current device, about 2.5-inches wide, costs about 70 cents to make. According to Choi, the device could support the use of more sophisticated fluorescent or electrochemical biosensors in developing countries.SourceAlso: Learn about NASA's Origami-Inspired Folding of Thick, Rigid Panels.

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'On the Fly' 3D Printer Adjusts to Design Changes

In conventional 3D printing, a nozzle scans across a stage: depositing drops of plastic, rising slightly after each pass, and building an object in a series of layers. A new "on-the-fly" prototyping system from Cornell University allows the designer to make refinements while printing is in progress.

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