News

Next Generation of Ultrathin Batteries Could Advance Medical Implantables

Yifan Gao, PhD student in the lab of Wyatt Tenhaeff, assistant professor of chemical engineering, works with a iCVD (initiated chemical vapor deposition) reactor, which will be used to synthesize solid electrolytes for 3D microbatteries. (University photo/J. Adam Fenster) A University of Rochester researcher is helping develop next-generation miniature batteries that would expand the use of medical implantables and other devices.

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Nanoscale Sculpturing of Metals Can Improve Biocompatibility for Implants

A strip of aluminum — the surface of which has been treated with an electrochemical etching process — is permanently bonded with thermoplastic by heating. (Julia Siekmann/Kiel Universit) How metals can be used depends particularly on the characteristics of their surfaces. A research team at Kiel University has discovered how they can change the surface properties without affecting the mechanical stability of the metals or changing the metal characteristics themselves. This fundamentally new method is based on using an electrochemical etching process, in which the uppermost layer of a metal is roughened on a micrometer scale in a tightly-controlled manner.

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Researchers Propose Modular Space Telescope

Researchers from California Institute of Technology are proposing the idea of a modular space telescope that could be assembled by robots. The space observatory would have a primary mirror with a diameter of 100 meters — 40 times larger than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Optical Components, Optics

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Space Launch System’s Core Stage Built Piece-by-Piece

Welders inside a large liquid hydrogen tank for NASA's Space Launch System use friction stir welding to plug holes left after the tank was assembled. (NASA/Michoud/Steve Seipel) Large elements for NASA's Space Launch System are in production, and will be joined together to create the rocket's 212-foot-tall core stage, the backbone of the SLS rocket. The core stage is made up of the engine section, liquid hydrogen tank, intertank, liquid oxygen tank, and forward skirt.

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Computer Chip Manufacturing Method Squeezes More onto Wafers

Scanning electron micrographs of block copolymer films assembled on graphene/germanium chemical patterns with 90-degree bends (left) and with density multiplication by a factor of 10 (right). Engineers have devised a simple, reproducible, and less expensive approach to manufacturing computer chips using directed self-assembly, which can increase the density of circuit patterns. The method could mean a boost in functionality for semiconductor electronics, and in capacity for data storage.

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Using Light to 3D-Print Structures that Remember Their Shapes

A 3D-printed, multimaterial, shape-memory mini-gripper, consisting of shape-memory hinges and adaptive touching tips, grasps a cap screw. (Qi Ge) Engineers are using light to print three-dimensional structures that “remember” their original shapes. The process of 3D printing shape-memory materials can also be thought of as 4D printing, as the structures are designed to change over the fourth dimension — time.

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Will ground-based delivery robots catch on?

This week's Question: This fall, Starship Technologies, an Estonia-based startup created by two Skype co-founders, will begin testing its autonomous delivery robot in Washington, D.C. Washington is the first U.S. municipality to approve ground-based robots to traverse city sidewalks. Starship aims to bring packages from its fulfillment center directly to customers' homes. Ground-based delivery, Starship’s founders say, is an easier delivery option compared to drones, which require compliance with FAA regulations. What do you think?

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