News

Army Equips Stryker Unit With New Communications Technology

The Army's Stryker vehicle, designed to quickly move soldiers into a combat zone, is swift and mobile. Now its communications equipment will be, too.

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Smaller Lidars Could Let UAVs Conduct Underwater Scans

Bathymetric lidars – devices that employ powerful lasers to scan beneath the water's surface – are frequently used to map coastal waters. At nearly 600 pounds, the systems are large, heavy, and require costly, piloted aircraft to carry them. But a team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has designed a new approach that could lead to bathymetric lidars that are much smaller and more efficient than the current full-size systems. The new technology, developed under the Active Electro-Optical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AEO-ISR) project, would let modest-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carry bathymetric lidars.

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New Device Measures How Birds Take Flight

It's quite easy to look at a bird and deduce that it flies by flapping its wings, but understanding exactly how a bird generates lift has long eluded scientists. Now engineers at Stanford have developed a device that precisely and humanely measures the forces generated by a bird's wings while in flight. The work promises to answer many mysteries of bird flight, providing aid in the design of innovative and efficient unmanned aerial vehicles, known as UAVs or, more recently, drones.

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The Human Eye Can See ‘Invisible’ Infrared Light

Any science textbook will tell you that human beings can’t see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are outside the visual spectrum. But an international team of researchers co-led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that under certain conditions, the retina can, in fact, sense infrared light after all. Using cells from the retinas of mice and people, and powerful lasers that emit pulses of infrared light, the researchers found that when laser light pulses rapidly, light-sensing cells in the retina sometimes get a double hit of infrared energy. When that happens, the eye is able to detect light that falls outside the visible spectrum.

Posted in: News, Question of the Week

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Scientists Slow the Speed of Light Travelling Through Air

Scientists have long known that the speed of light can be slowed slightly as it travels through materials such as water or glass. However, it has generally been thought impossible for particles of light, known as photons, to be slowed as they travel through free space, unimpeded by interactions with any materials. Researchers from the University of Glasgow and Heriot- Watt University, however, recently described how they have managed to slow photons in free space for the first time. They have demonstrated that applying a mask to an optical beam to give photons a spatial structure can reduce their speed.

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Scientists Unlock Secret of Ultrafast Imaging of Complex Systems in 3-D at Near Atomic Resolution

It is becoming possible to image complex systems in 3-D with near-atomic resolution on ultrafast timescales using extremely intense X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) pulses. One important step toward ultrafast imaging of samples with a single X-ray shot is understanding the interaction of extremely brilliant and intense X-ray pulses with the sample, including ionization rates.

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Laser-Generated Surface Structures Create Extremely Water-Repellent Metals

Scientists at the University of Rochester have used lasers to transform metals into extremely water repellent, or super-hydrophobic, materials without the need for temporary coatings. Super-hydrophobic materials are desirable for a number of applications such as rust prevention, anti-icing, or even in sanitation uses. However, as Rochester’s Chunlei Guo explains, most current hydrophobic materials rely on chemical coatings.

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