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Caltech


— Space

Brown dwarf aurora may help characterize distant exoplanets

By - July 31, 2015 2 Pictures

The discovery of a powerful aurora surrounding a distant failed star may in future aid astronomers in their hunt for habitable planets. The aurora is the first to be discovered around a brown dwarf, known as LSRJ 1835+3259 (LSRJ). It's a type of star that shares many characteristics with known exoplanets, and the technique used to observe the phenomenon could one day be a factor in determining whether a planet could sustain life.

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— Space

Astronomers observe origin of Type la supernova

By - May 21, 2015 1 Picture

An international team of astronomers from Europe, Israel and the United States has succeeded in shedding light on the origin of Type la supernovae – powerful nuclear explosions in deep space that allow us to chart the vast distances between galaxies. It is known that a white dwarf star is responsible for creating the distinctive, intensely bright explosion, but the cause of the supernovae are still a topic of hot debate.

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— Electronics

New chip could turn phone cameras into high-res 3D scanners

By - April 7, 2015 2 Pictures
As if smartphones can't already do enough, soon they may be able to scan three-dimensional objects and send the resultant high-resolution 3D images to a 3D printer that produces hyper-accurate replicas. This comes thanks to a small and inexpensive device called a nanophotonic coherent imager (NCI), which was developed by scientists at Caltech. The NCI could add 3D imaging to a variety of other devices and applications such as improving motion sensitivity in human machine interfaces and driverless cars. Read More
— Science

What's in a name? Earth's most abundant mineral finally gets one

By - December 17, 2014 1 Picture
When a mineral is the most abundant on the planet, (making up an estimated 38 percent of the Earth's entire volume, in fact), you would think that someone would have given it a name by now. But things are never as simple as they seem. Despite being so prevalent, the substance in question has only ever existed in synthetic form until recently, and the first naturally-occurring example of it didn't even come from beneath the ground; it arrived from outer space. Read More
— Marine

Ocean gliding robots used to study melting Antarctic sheet ice

By - November 17, 2014 2 Pictures
The use of "ocean gliders" for conducting research in oceanic conditions not ideal for regular methods has been catching on in the scientific community. Examples of this have been seen in the detection of endangered whales in the North Atlantic and a study of the Atlantic sturgeon. Researchers have now turned their robotic ocean helpers towards Antarctica, to study the rapidly-melting ice sheets on the coast of the western part of that polar land mass. Read More
— Science

PARS tech turns bodies transparent

By - August 1, 2014 4 Pictures
Ordinarily, when scientists want to see specific cells within a piece of biological tissue, they first have to remove that tissue from the body, slice it very thin, then examine those two-dimensional slices using a microscope. Imagine, though, if the tissue could be made transparent – seeing tagged cells within it would be sort of like looking at three-dimensional bubbles inside an ice cube. Well, that's just what a team at Caltech have done using a technique known as PARS, or perfusion-assisted agent release in situ. Read More
— Telecommunications

New technique could boost internet speeds tenfold

By - July 21, 2014 5 Pictures
Researchers at Aalborg University, MIT and Caltech have developed a new mathematically-based technique that can boost internet data speeds by up to 10 times, by making the nodes of a network much smarter and more adaptable. The advance also vastly improves the security of data transmissions, and could find its way into 5G mobile networks, satellite communications and the Internet of Things. Read More
— Science

Fractal nanostructures used to build new supermaterials

By - June 6, 2014 3 Pictures
Researchers at the California Institute of Technology are developing a disruptive manufacturing process that combines nanoscale effects and ad-hoc architectural design to build new supermaterials from the ground up. The materials can be designed to meet predetermined criteria such as weighing only a tiny fraction of their macroscopic counterpart, displaying extreme plasticity, or featuring outstanding mechanical strength. Read More
— Architecture

Net zero DALE micro-home expands to provide more living space

By - July 4, 2013 8 Pictures
Students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and California Institute of Technology (Caltech), have joined forces to produce a net-zero micro-home concept for 2013's Solar Decathlon competition. Dubbed "DALE," the futuristic dwelling is able to expand in size, for those situations in which you don't want your micro-home to be quite so micro. Read More
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