Electronics & Computers

Transient Electronics Dissolve When Triggered

An Iowa State research team led by Reza Montazami is developing "transient materials" and "transient electronics" that can quickly and completely melt away when a trigger is activated. The development could mean that one day you might be able to send out a signal to destroy a lost credit card.To demonstrate that potential, Montazami played a video showing a blue light-emitting diode mounted on a clear polymer composite base with the electrical leads embedded inside. After a drop of water, the base and wiring began to melt away. As the technology develops, Montazami sees more and more potential for the commercial application of transient materials. A medical device, once its job is done, could harmlessly melt away inside a person’s body. A military device could collect and send its data and then disappear, leaving no trace of an intelligence mission. An environmental sensor could collect climate information, then wash away in the rain. SourceAlso: Read other Electronics & Computers tech briefs.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Materials, Composites, Plastics, Medical, Lighting, LEDs, Semiconductors & ICs, Defense, News


Wireless Device Senses Chemical Vapors

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed a small electronic sensing device that can alert users wirelessly to the presence of chemical vapors in the atmosphere. The technology, which could be manufactured using familiar aerosol-jet printing techniques, is aimed at myriad applications in military, commercial, environmental, and healthcare areas.The current design integrates nanotechnology and radio-frequency identification (RFID) capabilities into a small working prototype. An array of sensors uses carbon nanotubes and other nanomaterials to detect specific chemicals, while an RFID integrated circuit informs users about the presence and concentrations of those vapors at a safe distance wirelessly.Because it is based on programmable digital technology, the RFID component can provide greater security, reliability and range – and much smaller size – than earlier sensor designs based on non-programmable analog technology. The present GTRI prototype is 10 centimeters square, but further designs are expected to squeeze a multiple-sensor array and an RFID chip into a one-millimeter-square device printable on paper or on flexible, durable substrates such as liquid crystal polymer.SourceAlso: Learn about Extended-Range Passive RFID and Sensor Tags.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Sensors, Detectors, Medical, Communications, Wireless, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Nanotechnology, Defense, News


'Nanoflowers' for Energy Storage and Solar Cells

North Carolina State University researchers have created flower-like structures out of germanium sulfide (GeS) – a semiconductor material – that have extremely thin petals with an enormous surface area. The GeS flowers hold promise for next-generation energy storage devices and solar cells.

Posted in: Batteries, Materials, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Nanotechnology, News


Harnessing the Power of Spinach

Vanderbilt University researches have developed a way to combine Photosystem 1 (PS1), the photosynthetic protein that converts light into electrochemical energy in spinach with silicon (the material used in solar cells), in a fashion that produces substantially more electrical current than has been reported by previous biohybrid solar cells.

Posted in: Electronics, Solar Power, Renewable Energy, Energy Harvesting, News


Starting Point for Overcoming Barrier to Fusion Power

The accuracy of a new model for predicting the size of a key barrier to fusion power, which was developed by physicist Robert Goldston of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has been confirmed. Goldston’s model predicts the width of what physicists call the “scrape-off layer” in tokamaks, the most widely used fusion facilities.

Posted in: Power Management, Energy, News


The Future of Iron-Air Batteries

A University of Southern California research team has developed a cheap, rechargeable battery that could be used to store energy at solar power plants for a rainy day. The air-breathing battery uses the chemical energy generated by the oxidation of iron plates that are exposed to the oxygen in the air — a process similar to rusting.

Posted in: Batteries, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Energy Efficiency, News


New Tech for Grid-Level Electrical Energy Storage

Electrical energy storage is the obstacle preventing more widespread use of renewable energy sources. Due to the unpredictable nature of wind and solar energy, the ability to store this energy when it is produced is essential for turning these resources into reliable sources of energy. The current U.S. energy grid system is used predominantly for distributing energy and allows little flexibility for storage of excess or a rapid dispersal on short notice. Drexel University researchers believe they have a solution.

Posted in: Batteries, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Wind Power, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Energy, News