Tech

Professionally speaking, things in David Damanik's world don't line up – and he can prove it.

In new research, Damanik and colleague Serguei Tcheremchantsev offer a key proof in the study of quasicrystals, crystal-like materials whose atoms don't line up in neat, unbroken rows like the atoms found in crystals.

Silicon is the most important material for electronic chips and processors. Yet it has a big drawback: being a so-called indirect semiconductor, it hardly emits any light. Therefore worldwide efforts in the labs of the microelectronics industry are aimed towards developing more efficient light sources based on silicon. Physicists at the Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) now managed to make Silicon shine red and blue in an alternating fashion. This two-color light source could help to produce cheap and compact biosensors.

Mathematicians and number buffs have their records. And today, an international team has broken a long-standing one in an impressive feat of calculation.

On March 6, computer clusters from three institutions – the EPFL, the University of Bonn and NTT in Japan -- reached the end of eleven months of strenuous calculation, churning out the prime factors of a well-known, hard-to-factor number that is a whopping 307 digits long.

Electrical engineers from the University of Delaware and Cambridge NanoTech have demonstrated for the first time how the spin properties of electrons in silicon--the world's most dominant semiconductor, used in electronics ranging from computers to cell phones--can be measured and controlled.

Most people don’t think much about the inner workings of LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, which illuminate today’s plasma TV screens and cell phones, but making these LEDs more efficient, cheaper and higher quality is the obsession that occupies the daily thoughts of materials science and engineering professor Yang Yang and his graduate researcher Jinsong Huang.

At proper frequencies, air itself can make information transmissions difficult to intercept. Stability of the signal is a problem in applications such as that but researchers at NIST have discovered a technique they say will preserve signals better.

Their fiber-optic network that can be tuned across a range of visible and near-infrared frequencies while synchronizing the oscillations of light waves from different sources.

Juicing up your cell phone or iPod may take on a whole new meaning in the future. Researchers at Saint Louis University have developed a fuel cell battery that runs on virtually any sugar source - from soft drinks to tree sap - and has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium ion batteries, they say.

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new approach to increasing the capacity and stability of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

The technology is based on a new material for the positive electrode that is comprised of a unique nano-crystalline, layered-composite structure.

Argonne’s strategy uses a two-component “composite” structure -- an active component that provides for charge storage is embedded in an inactive component that stabilizes the structure.

Solar powered mobility scooters could soon be on the streets thanks to the work of a student at The University of Nottingham. Matt Alvey, who is studying Architecture and Environmental Design, says the photovoltaic (solar electric) recharging system will turn the mobility vehicles truly green.

Collaborative research between scientists in the UK and USA has led to a major breakthrough in the understanding of antiferromagnets, published in this week's Nature.