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Researcher Develops World’s Smallest Micro Motor

Micro actuators are needed for numerous applications, ranging from mobile and wearable devices, to minimally invasive medical devices. However, the limitations associated with their fabrication have restricted their deployment at the one-millimeter scale.

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Lens Turns Smartphone into a Microscope

Researchers at the University of Houston have created an optical lens that can be placed on an inexpensive smartphone to amplify images by a magnitude of 120, all for just 3 cents a lens. The lens can work as a microscope, and the cost and ease of using it – it attaches directly to a smartphone camera lens, without the use of any additional device – make it ideal for use with students. It also could have clinical applications, allowing small or isolated clinics to share images with specialists located elsewhere.

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Ultrafast Camera Captures Images at the Speed of Light

An ultrafast camera can acquire two-dimensional images at 100 billion frames per second, a speed capable of revealing light pulses and other phenomena previously too fast to be observed. While other research groups have achieved higher frame rates (trillion f/s), this camera is the world’s fastest 2D camera that doesn’t require an external flash or multiple exposures.

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Full-Body Scanner Quickly Detects Skin Cancer

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed the Dermascanner full-body dermatological scanner to help doctors diagnose skin conditions. When the exam starts, the surface of the patient’s skin is scanned from different positions and broken down into approximately 100 individual scans. Such image documentation already exists, but the actual size and changes in growth cannot be clearly discerned solely on the bases of scans.

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New Nanomaterials Mimic Bird Feathers

Inspired by the way iridescent bird feathers play with light, UC San Diego scientists have created thin-film materials in a wide range of pure colors: red, orange, yellow, and green. The hues are determined by physical structure rather than pigments.Melanosomes, tiny packets of melanin found in the feathers, skin, and fur of many animals, can produce structural color when packed into solid layers, as they are in the feathers of some birds. The UC San Diego researchers assembled synthetic melanin nanoparticles to mimic the natural structures found in bird feathers. Structural color arises from the interaction of light with the materials that have patterns on a minute scale, which bend and reflect light to amplify some wavelengths and dampen others. To mimic natural melanosomes, Yiwen Li, a postdoctoral fellow in Gianneschi's lab, chemically linked a similar molecule, dopamine, into meshes. The linked polydopamine balled up into spherical particles of near uniform size. Researchers then dried different concentrations of the particles to form thin films of tightly packed polydopamine particles.The films reflect pure colors of light. The hue is determined by the thickness of the polydopamine layer and how tightly the particles packed.Unlike pigment-based paints or dyes, the structural color of the material does not fade. The UV-absorbing coating protects materials, and the pure hues could become a valuable trait in colorimetric sensors. Source

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Researchers Create Jet Fuel Compounds From Fungus

Washington State University researchers have found a way to make jet fuel from a common black fungus found in decaying leaves, soil, and rotting fruit. They used Aspergillus carbonarius ITEM 5010 to create hydrocarbons, the chief component of petroleum, similar to those in aviation fuels.

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NASA Tests Green Aviation Technology

Two NASA experiments designed to help reduce fuel consumption and emissions will fly this spring on a specially outfitted Boeing 757 airplane called the ecoDemonstrator. One includes 31 small devices that will blow jets of air on the vertical tail, and the other involves non-stick coatings to help repel bugs from the leading edge of wings. Both are designed to improve the air flow over the surface and ultimately reduce drag.

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