Making 3D Objects Disappear

Invisibility cloaks are a staple of science fiction and fantasy, from Star Trek to Harry Potter, but don’t exist in real life. Or do they? Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have devised an ultra-thin invisibility “skin” cloak that can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from detection with visible light. Although this cloak is only microscopic in size, the principles behind the technology should enable it to be scaled-up to conceal macroscopic items as well.A 3D illustration of a metasurface skin cloak made from an ultrathin layer of nanoantennas (gold blocks) covering an arbitrarily shaped object. Light reflects off the cloak (red arrows) as if it were reflecting off a flat mirror. (Credit: Xiang Zhang)

Posted in: Articles, News, Photonics


New Spectroscopy Method Captures Reactions in Photosynthesis

A new spectroscopy method is bringing researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) closer to understanding – and artificially replicating – the solar water-splitting reaction at the heart of photosynthetic energy production. Understanding the step-by-step mechanism of photosynthesis could lead to methods of producing highly efficient solar energy. The spectroscopy method, a novel use of “2D HYSCORE,” is able to capture the reactions that split water and hydrogen peroxide in metal-containing proteins or metallo- enzymes in nature.Graphical representation of new method to capture reactions in photosynthesis.

Posted in: Articles, News, Photonics


New Solar Energy Storage Technique Could Boost Solar Cell Usage

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a relatively inexpensive and simple way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen through a new electrodeposition method. The method produces highly efficient solar cells that can gather solar energy for use as fuel. The research, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, could lead to a sizable increase in the amount of hydrogen available for fuel usage.A working cell from Switzer’s research, with gas evolution. (Photo: Sam O’Keefe, Missouri S&T)

Posted in: Articles, News, Energy Storage, Solar Power


Products of Tomorrow: October 2015

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Imaging and visualization, Medical, health, and wellness, Data management, Hazards and emergency management, Hazards and emergency operations, Data acquisition


Modern CMOS Cameras as Replacements for CCD Cameras

Many users of CCD sensors are asking about the advantages of the latest CMOS sensors, particularly if they have been using CCD-based cameras. The two sensor technologies, a comparison of the new CMOS sensors and existing CCD sensors, and tips for when it makes sense to select a new camera with CMOS sensors are provided in this article, as well as what to expect after integration.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators


Underwater Adhesives Retrofit Pipelines with Advanced Sensors

NASA-developed sensors and adhesion methods equip pipelines and tension legs that hold offshore platforms upright for safety monitoring. By the time the gas you fill your car with hits the engine, it’s been through quite a journey. An oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, might need to be built over water with a depth of 10,000 feet. Long pipelines under high pressures face a multitude of dangers. Some are structural, such as natural vibrations generated by ocean currents and waves that bend the pipes back and forth — a phenomenon known as vortex-induced vibration, which is similar to the sway of a car antenna wire when driving on the highway. Other risks lie inside the pipe, where the right combination of pressure and temperature causes the hydrates in the oil to precipitate, forming a dirty, snowball-like mass that quickly grows.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Sensors and actuators, Adhesives and sealants, Materials properties, Vibration


Editor's Choice: October 2015

A habitat was developed that allows water recycling, air treatment, thermal control, and solids treatment and recycling to be performed in the walls of a radiation-shielding water wall. This game-changing method for mass reuse provides radiation protection, building materials, and structural elements for a habitat. The method can also be used in wastewater treatment plants, and removes the air, water, and waste treatment hardware from the usable habitat. Find out more HERE.

Posted in: Articles, UpFront, Aerospace


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