Vanadium Dioxide & Associative Processing

Science

Vanadium dioxide has some unusual properties, and it’s actually able to transition between being a semiconductor and a full conductor. That has begun to open up some interesting possibilities as far as material engineers are concerned. Penn State engineers recently developed an oscillating switch that uses the compound. Due to its ability to fluctuate between the two states, the substance was perfect as far as making a switch was concerned. Read More →

Atoms, Ions and Molecules. What’s the Difference?

atom_img1

When you view an atom, the first question you might ask is ‘what kind of atom is it?’ What you are really asking is ‘which element am I looking at?’ You can answer this by counting the number of protons in the atom. The number of protons, neutrons and electrons is the same in a neutral atom- that is, an atom with no charge. So, in a regular Calcium atom, there are 20 protons, 20 neutrons and 20 electrons. The electrons orbit around the nucleus and have a negative charge.  An isotope is a version of the element with a different number of neutrons. Read More →

Using ‘Frozen Smoke’ in Emerging Technologies

Aerogel

Aerogel (sometimes referred to as frozen smoke) is an emerging technology in the material science field that has actually been around for quite a long time. It was initially created by Samuel Stephens Kistler way back in 1931 after he had made a bet with Charles Learned. Apparently they wanted to see who could fill a gelled substance with gas first. Their bet stipulated that the gel couldn’t shrink, and as a result, frozen smoke was created. Technically referred to as aerogel, the substance feels somewhat like fragile styrene and is incredibly light. The substance is produce by first making a gel. The gel is then supercritically dried in such a way that the liquid is removed while preserving the solid matrix.  Read More →

Computing with Slime

Slime_Mold

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors (citation below). Read More →

Plasma Crystal Experiment Concludes Aboard ISS

The technology for producing cold plasma is now also used for medical purposes. In the world's first clinical trial, the participating scientists and doctors were able to demonstrate that the plasma not only kills germs, but shows wound-healing effects as well. © MPE

The technology for producing cold plasma is now also used for medical purposes. In the world’s first clinical trial, the participating scientists and doctors were able to demonstrate that the plasma not only kills germs, but shows wound-healing effects as well. © MPE

For seven years it delivered outstanding results for science and technology on the International Space Station, now the successful plasma crystal laboratory PK-3 Plus operated one last time. After undocking from the International Space Station the ESA Einstein transporter with the laboratory on board entered the Earth’s atmosphere beginning of November and burned up – and PK-3 Plus produced its last plasma, a hot one. In June the operational phase of PK-3 Plus ended with a last series of experiments and with a spectacular finish; the scientists will still need some time to analyse these data. Read More →

Can DNA Template Lead to Future Technologies?

To the right is a honeycomb of graphene atoms. To the left is a double strand of DNA. The white spheres represent copper ions integral to the chemical assembly process. The fire represents the heat that is an essential ingredient in the technique. (Anatoliy Sokolov)

To the right is a honeycomb of graphene atoms. To the left is a double strand of DNA. The white spheres represent copper ions integral to the chemical assembly process. The fire represents the heat that is an essential ingredient in the technique. (Anatoliy Sokolov)

DNA is the blueprint for life. Could it also become the template for making a new generation of computer chips based not on silicon, but on an experimental material known as graphene? That’s the theory behind a process that Stanford chemical engineering professor Zhenan Bao reveals in Nature Communications (citation below). Bao and her co-authors, former post-doctoral fellows Anatoliy Sokolov and Fung Ling Yap, hope to solve a problem clouding the future of electronics: consumers expect silicon chips to continue getting smaller, faster and cheaper, but engineers fear that this virtuous cycle could grind to a halt. Read More →

First Ever Chemical Circuit

Klas Tybrandt, doctoral student in organic electronics at Linköping University, Sweden, has developed an integrated chemical chip. The results have just been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications (cited below). Read More →

The Merging of Biology and Electronics [Research]

The boundary between electronics and biology is blurring with the first detection by researchers at Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory of ferroelectric properties in an amino acid called glycine.

A multi-institutional research team led by Andrei Kholkin of the University of Aveiro, Portugal, used a combination of experiments and modeling to identify and explain the presence of ferroelectricity, a property where materials switch their polarization when an electric field is applied, in the simplest known amino acid—glycine (referenced below). Read More →

Researchers One Step Closer to Giving Robots the Ability to “Feel”

A particular area of interest I have is the the use of robots in space exploration so I try to keep an eye out for interesting developments within the robotics field to share with you guys. I came across a recently released research paper dealing with mechanical stimuli and thought this might be of interest to those of you that share my interest. Below is the release that accompanied the paper which discusses what I think is pretty ground-breaking work. Would love to hear your thoughts on this! Read More →

Nuclear Clock Powered by Single Thorium Ion

Ultra-high vacuum chamber housing an RF ion trap where single thorium atoms are suspended and laser-cooled to near absolute zero temperature.

A clock accurate to within a tenth of a second over 14 billion years – the age of the universe – is the goal of research being reported this week by scientists from three different institutions. To be published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the research provides the blueprint for a nuclear clock that would get its extreme accuracy from the nucleus of a single thorium ion. Read More →