Tech

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.

Screens that not only display images but also generate their own power are on the horizon.

One of the new display technologies will be suitable for cellphones, making their batteries last far longer than they do now. The other could lead to selfpowered electronic billboards.

Terahertz (THz) radiation, or far-infrared light, can penetrate clothing and other materials to provide images of concealed weapons, drugs, or other objects. However, THz scanners must usually be very close to the objects they are imaging because water vapor in air absorbs THz radiation so strongly that most of it never reaches the object to be imaged.

A new technique for creating films of barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanoparticles in a polymer matrix could allow fabrication of improved capacitors able to store twice as much energy as existing devices. The improved capacitors could be used in consumer devices such as cellular telephones – and in defense applications requiring both high energy storage and rapid current discharge.Scanning electron micrographs of barium titanate (BaTiO3) nanocomposites with polycarbonate (left, top and bottom) and Viton (right, top and bottom) polymer matrices.

An electrical circuit that should carry enough power to produce the long-sought goal of controlled high-yield nuclear fusion and, equally important, do it every 10 seconds, has undergone extensive preliminary experiments and computer simulations at Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine facility.