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A Stanford breakthrough in optical metamaterials could enable fabrication of a wide-spectr...

To make a Harry Potter-style invisibility cloak requires that the materials from which it is made have a negative refractive index over all optical wavelengths, from red to violet. However, the artificially-structured optical materials from which cloaks are made thus far have been restricted to a very narrow range of optical wavelengths, limiting their ability to cloak over a range of colors. That obstacle to progress ends now, as a group of Stanford optical engineers at Stanford has succeeded in designing a broadband metamaterial that exhibits a negative refractive index over nearly the entire rainbow.  Read More

The “intelligent door seal system” automatically lets fresh air into a crowded room when c...

If you’re in a confidential meeting with the boardroom door closed, the air can get stale pretty fast. Should it be too cold outside to crack any windows, or if the room simply has no windows, then opening those isn’t a choice. That’s why Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has teamed up with the Athmer Company to create an “intelligent door seal system.”  Read More

HD 140283 - the Methuselah star (Photo: Hubble via W.M. Keck Observatory)

An international team of scientists using one of the pair of 10-meter telescopes at the W.M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii has now shown that the early moments of our Universe closely followed the theoretical model for the genesis of the elements. Improved observational and modeling methods show that the elemental composition of the post-Big Bang universe agrees with the predictions of that model, eliminating what was thought to be a substantial discrepancy between theory and observation.  Read More

Entanglement mixes you with everything (Photo: ShutterStock)

Quantum entanglement is the key to quantum computing, cryptography, and numerous other real-world applications of quantum mechanics. It is also one of the strangest phenomena in the Universe, overcoming barriers of space and time and knitting the entire cosmos into an integrated whole. Scientists have long thought that entanglement between two particles was a rare and fleeting phenomenon, so delicate that exposure of the particles to their surroundings would quickly destroy this linkage. Now mathematicians at Case Western University have shown that entanglement between parts of large systems is the norm, rather than being a rare and short-lived relationship.  Read More

Subjects were trained to control the quadcopter by imagining opening or closing their fist...

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have done away with all that tedious joystick work by developing a mind-controlled quadcopter. It may seem like the top item of next year’s Christmas list, but it also serves a very practical purpose. Using a skullcap fitted with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI), the University's College of Science and Engineering hopes to develop ways for people suffering from paralysis or neurodegenerative diseases to employ thought to control wheelchairs and other devices.  Read More

Prof. William Dichtel and Deepti Gopalakrishnan with samples of the polymer

Detecting bombs in places such as airports could be getting easier, thanks to a new fluorescing polymer. While you might expect the material to glow in the presence of explosives, they actually cause it to stop glowing.  Read More

Researchers are building an all-solid Li-S battery that is cheap, safe, durable, and store...

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have come up with a promising design for a lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery that is considerably cheaper and more energy-dense than standard lithium-ions. Using a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid one, the battery is also testing much safer and more durable than previous designs.  Read More

A statuette of the Stanford bunny made with the resin, before and after being carbonized

Other than putting it in a tiny art gallery, what could you do with a rabbit sculpture that sits just a few micrometers tall? Perhaps not much, although it’s a remarkable example of the level of detail that can be achieved using a new electrically-conductive shapable resin. That same resin could find use in custom-formed electrodes for things like fuel cells, batteries, or even biosensor interfaces used to treat brain disorders.  Read More

Selective UV light keeps beautiful, lush strawberries that way even longer  (Photo: Shutte...

A truism as old as strawberry picking is the observation that the juicier and tastier the strawberries, the more quickly the berries turn to a mushy heap of rot and mold, even in the fridge. An answer to longer fruit storage may come with research showing that selective UV light inhibits both decay and the growth of mold. With new LEDs able to produce specific types of UV light, we might see gadgets for use in the fridge that keep produce fresher longer.  Read More

Columbia University researchers have come up with a way to produce large joined sheets of ...

A study conducted at Columbia University has revealed that even when stitched together from much smaller fragments, large sheets of graphene still retain much of their mechanical properties. The discovery may be a crucial step forward in the mass-production of carbon nanotubes that could be used to manufacture flexible electronics, ultra-light and strong materials, and perhaps even the first space elevator.  Read More

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