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Carbon nanotubes used to create conducting fibers for artificial muscles

By - July 24, 2015 2 Pictures

A new kind of conducting fiber developed at the University of Texas at Dallas is being used to develop artificial muscles and capacitors that store more energy when stretched. The fiber, which is composed of carbon nanotube sheets wrapped around a rubber core, may one day also find use in morphing aircraft, stretchy charger cords and exoskeleton limbs, along with connecting cables for a wealth of other devices.

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Metal foams could provide lightweight radiation shielding

By - July 22, 2015

Radiation generally comes under the heading of "things you want to stay away from," so it's no surprise that radiation shielding is a high priority in many industries. However, current shielding is bulky and heavy, so a North Carolina State University team is developing a new lightweight shielding based on foam metals that can block X-rays, gamma rays, and neutron radiation, as well as withstanding high-energy impact collisions.

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Fossil fuel emissions threaten to reduce radiocarbon dating reliability

By - July 22, 2015

Radiocarbon dating is one of the great tools of science that has allowed archeologists to shed new light on everything from the building of Stonehenge to the beginnings of international trade. However, a new study from the Imperial College London suggests that fossil fuel carbon emissions may be so diluting radioactive carbon isotopes that within decades it will difficult to differentiate between modern artifacts and those over a thousand years old.

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Gallium phosphide nanowires boost hydrogen yield in prototype solar fuel cell

By - July 20, 2015 2 Pictures

One of the most promising forms of artificial photosynthesis involves using solar energy to split liquid water to produce oxygen and hydrogen gas, which can be stored and used as a clean fuel. And one of the most promising semiconductor materials for such a task is gallium phosphide (GaP), which can convert sunlight into an electrical charge and also split water. Unfortunately, the material is expensive, but researchers have now used a processed form of gallium phosphide to create a prototype solar fuel cell that not only requires 10,000 times less of the precious material, but also boosts the hydrogen yield by a factor of 10.

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Massless particle discovery could radically accelerate electronics

By - July 20, 2015 3 Pictures
An exotic particle theorized more than 85 years ago has finally been discovered. Dubbed the "Weyl fermion", it is a strange but stable particle that has no mass, behaves as both matter and anti-matter inside a crystal, and is claimed to be able to create completely massless electrons. Scientists believe that this new particle may result in super-fast electronics and significant inroads into novel areas of quantum computing. Read More
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Quantum dots and perovskite combined to create new hyper-efficient light-emitting crystal

By - July 16, 2015 2 Pictures

Two optoelectronic materials getting a lot of press these days are perovskite and quantum dots. Both have been individually utilized by researchers to boost sunlight conversion to electrical current in solar cells, and to increase the efficacy of electrically-generated light. Now engineers at the University of Toronto (U of T) have combined both of these materials to create an ultra-efficient, super-luminescent hybrid crystal that they say will enable new records in power-to-light conversion efficiencies.

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Carnegie Mellon to form "living lab" of internet of things through Google initiative

By - July 13, 2015 2 Pictures

When Google proposed its Open Web of Things initiative last December, it was seeking to increase interoperability, security, and an elegant user interface in the global movement towards connected smart devices. The company has awarded half a million dollars towards Carnegie Mellon University to develop its campus and eventually Pittsburg, PA into a "living lab" of cheap and ubiquitous sensors, integrated apps, and user-developed tools to work towards Google's vision of an integrated machine future.

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