Photokina 2014 highlights

Carbon

SEM image of carbon nanotube bundles (Image: Materialscientist via Wikipedia Commons)

Carbon nanotubes promise to revolutionize everything from medicine to electronics and power generation. Unfortunately nanotubes are notoriously hard to work with and chemists worldwide have struggled for years to even make them. Now researchers have unveiled a method for the industrial-scale processing of pure carbon nanotube fibers that builds upon the tried-and-true processes that chemical firms have used for decades to produce plastics.  Read More

Feather-light and with miniscule drag, the Volkswagen L1 will be the most fuel-efficient c...

Volkswagen rocked the automotive world at a lunchtime press conference on the first day of the Frankfurt Motor Show with a carbon fiber, half width, 1-liter hybrid electric diesel tandem two-seater car named the L1. When the car makes production in 2013, four years from now, it will almost certainly be the most fuel efficient car available with a combined diesel fuel consumption figure of 1.38 l/100km (170 U.S. mpg), thanks to its frugal motor combo, feather-like weight – 380 kg in total - and an aerodynamic drag co-efficient of just 0.195!  Read More

The carbon nanotube photodiode forces electrons one by one, resulting in much higher-effic...

Today's photovoltaic technology, while certainly promising, offers very poor efficiency because of inherent issues in its working mechanism. Using carbon nanotubes, however, Cornell University researchers now hope to lead the way to the next generation of highly efficient solar panels.  Read More

Representation of a graphone sheet. The semi-hydrogenation of graphene (hydrogen atoms are...

A team of researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University, Peking University in Beijing, the Chinese Academy of Science, and Tohoku University in Japan has designed a new graphite-based magnetic nanomaterial that behaves as a semiconductor and could prove very important for ongoing research in the field of spintronics.  Read More

The transforming Fotel Chair

Nothing is more relaxing than the gentle action of a rocking chair, but what is exciting about this one is not just its contemporary look, but that it will convert to a comfortable armchair in about 20 seconds. Perfect for meditating on the veranda just like grandma, or catching a quick snooze in the office.  Read More

Graphene consists of carbon atoms only one atomic layer thick, with the unique characteris...

Scientists have long known the unique properties of graphene, a material just one-atom thick that shows promise as a replacement for silicon in electronics of the future. One of the difficulties is that unpredictable ripples form in graphene when exposed to temperature changes, but now scientists are learning more about how to control formation of these ripples, which could open up a new field of research - strain-based graphene electronics.  Read More

An 'odako' bundle with trailing nanotubes

Researchers at Houston’s Rice University have developed a method for making bundles of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT) dubbed “odako”. Eventually, the method may realize meter-long strands of nanotubes that are no wider than a piece of DNA which could be used in lightweight, super-efficient power-transmission lines, in ultra-strong and lightning-resistant materials for airplanes, and may also prove useful in batteries, fuel cells and microelectronics.  Read More

Hybrid! Hail a cab from Colin Paton and there's a good chance you'll get in a Toyota Prius...

Scottish council, West Lothian (near Edinburgh), has given the green light to a local cab company to run a fleet of Toyota Prius vehicles. The decision makes Calder Cabs the first cab company in Scotland to offer the hybrid cars after the council determined that the Prius could be licensed as a private hire vehicle.  Read More

A part of Moofushi coral reef hit by coral bleaching
 Pic credit: Bruno de Giusti

We recently looked at problems with a last resort solution to counteract global warming by artificially shading the Earth from sunlight by injecting sulphur or small, reflective particles into the upper atmosphere. Now a new study from the Carnegie Institution has thrown further doubt on the effectiveness of such a proposal. Although it may lower the planet’s temperature by a couple of degrees, it would do little to stop the acidification of the world’s oceans that threatens coral reefs and other marine life.  Read More

The new study by researchers at the University of California looks beyond the exhaust pipe...

By looking at the environmental impact of passenger transport – whether it be trains, planes or automobiles – beyond the exhaust fumes spewing from its collective tail pipe, researchers in the United States have discovered a significant spike in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. By taking into account transport support systems – which includes sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, as well as the construction and maintenance of infrastructure – researchers at the University of California hope to provide a more detailed view for transport planners and policy makers. And produce a better outcome for the environment.  Read More

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