News

Current Attractions: Leslie Molzahn of NASAÂ’s Dryden Flight Research Center

Supersonic speed would allow travelers to cut significantly their travel time, but due to the resulting sonic booms, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and similar bodies restrict supersonic travel to transoceanic only. To solve this problem, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. (Savannah, GA) partnered with NASA Dryden in an investigation of the Quiet Spike, a sonic- boom suppressor. Leslie Molzahn was part of Dryden’s investigative team. “There could be a huge commercial application [of the Quiet Spike] if the sonic boom can be mitigated to have less impact on people and resources on the ground,” noted Molzahn. “One could potentially get the FAA to lift their restrictions.” Read the “Who's Who at NASA” interview with Leslie Molzahn on page 10 of the May issue, or click here.

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Techs of the Week: Fire-Retardant Technology

Technologies are available to improve fire-retardant effectiveness of melamine systems in nylon. More information here. A fire-retardant compound is available that is comprised of one fibrous layer and a layer comprised of a particulate fire-retardant material. More information here. The Technologies of the Week describe inventions offered for license through the yet2.com marketplace. Search over $2.5 billion of licensable technologies at www.yet2.com.

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New Solar Cell Increases Efficiency and Lowers Cost

Scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW, Sydney, Australia) developed a process to boost the efficiency of solar cell technology that also lowers the total cost. The UNSW researchers deposited a thin film of silver onto a solar cell’s surface and then heated it to 200 degrees Celsius. This broke the film into tiny “islands” of silver that boosted the cell’s light-trapping ability. The advance could see the price of an installed solar system for an average house fall from around $20,000 to $15,000 (Australian). “Most thin-film solar cells are between eight and 10% efficient,” said Dr. Kylie Catchpole, a co-author of the study, “but the new technique could increase efficiency to between 13 and 15%.” For more information, click here.

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Current Attractions

As noted in the article “Mini CW Lasers Enable Next-Generation Bioinstrumentation” in May’s edition of Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB), continuous-wave (CW) lasers have helped advance research in fields such as cell sorting and DNA sequencing. Written by Jurgen Niederhofer, product manager of Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division (Stahnsdorf, Germany), the article highlights low-cost, small-form-factor diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) and direct-diode (DD) lasers that answer many of the most common bioinstrumentation applications. Laser providers are already focused on expanding wavelength offerings, turnkey fiber- coupled solutions, and footprint size. Advances in DPSS and DD will support research in hematology and flow cytometry, among other fields. See page IIa of the May issue of PTB for the full article. Visit Newport’s Spectra-Physics Lasers Division here.

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Technology Business Need

Available Corporate Direct Investment A global 500 European company is seeking new piezoelectric materials. Esaote Biomedica is seeking high-performance, affordable, piezoelectric material plates for medical sonography applications. Direct financing is available. For more information, click here. The Technology Business Needs portray technology acquisition profiles intermediated by NextTechs Technology Exchange. NextTechs Technologies, LLC is a Global Technology Investment Bank engaged in technology offers and needs intermediation in over 41 industries and 141 research disciplines. Search NextTechs' Technology Portfolio here.

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NASA News

On Thursday, May 3, Peter Homer of Southwest Harbor, ME, won $200,000 from NASA for his entry in the Astronaut Glove Challenge. Homer's glove design performed better overall than the competition in tests that rated the glove's strength, flexibility, and comfort. Homer's innovations in finger dexterity could enhance NASA's future astronaut gloves. When performing a space walk, NASA astronauts use their hands as their primary way to move and complete tasks. After many hours of working inside the pressurized gloves, the force required by astronauts to move their fingers and wrists back and forth repeatedly results in blisters, abrasions, and damaged fingernails. New technologies would reduce discomfort and make astronauts' jobs easier and safer. For more information, click here.

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Event Alert

NASA Tech Briefs and the Voice of the Customer Institute Announce National Seminar Series for June 2007 NASA Tech Briefs and the Voice of the Customer Institute recently announced a joint agreement to conduct a series of national seminars on the Voice of the Customer. This discipline helps businesses identify and prioritize customer needs, while training employees to conduct exercises to obtain this information independently. The results include streamlined product development, improved communication, and increased customer service & retention. The seminar series will be held in six markets throughout the month of June in Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, and NYC. To view a complete list of dates and cities and to register, please click here.

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