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Science

Scientists design and build new energy-carrying particles

In the mysterious microscopic realm where the electromagnetic fields of light and matter intimately intermingle as they exchange energy, plasmons, excitons, and other particles with unexpected and usual properties abound. Now physicists have created a new set of energy-carrying particles to add to this range. Dubbed "topological plexcitons," these new particles show promise in greatly enhancing energy flows for solar cells and nanoscale photonic circuitry.Read More

Environment

Latest bionic leaf now 10 times more efficient than natural photosynthesis

Over the last few years, great strides have been made in creating artificial leaves that mimic the ability of their natural counterparts to produce energy from water and sunlight. In 2011, the first cost-effective, stable artificial leaves were created, and in 2013, the devices were improved to self-heal and work with impure water. Now, scientists at Harvard have developed the "bionic leaf 2.0," which increases the efficiency of the system well beyond nature's own capabilities, and used it to produce liquid fuels for the first time.Read More

Electronics

Tiny lasers on silicon means big things for electronics

Silicon forms the basis of everything from solar cells to the integrated circuits at the heart of our modern electronic gadgets. However the laser, one of the most ubiquitous of all electronic devices today, has long been one component unable to be successfully replicated in this material. Now researchers have found a way to create microscopically-small lasers directly from silicon, unlocking the possibilities of direct integration of photonics on silicon and taking a significant step towards light-based computersRead More

Robotics

Harvard's RoboBee now perches on overhanging surfaces to preserve power

When the insect-sized RoboBee first took flight in 2012, its developers were unable to keep it aloft for more than a few seconds at a time. These days, the tiny drone is so adept at flying that researchers are actively bringing it down to rest. In the latest exhibition of their flying microbot, Harvard researchers have demonstrated the RoboBee's newfound ability to land on surfaces during flight, a neat trick that allows it save power and remain in action for longer periods of time.Read More

3D Printing

Harvard tech allows for mid-air 3D printing of metal structures

Suppose that you had to build a tiny spring, antenna or other structure for use in a microelectronic device such as a biomedical implant… how might you go about doing it? Well, a new 3D printing technique developed at Harvard University would certainly make the process easier. It allows people to essentially draw minuscule metal items in mid-air.Read More

Medical

New low-cost Zika test looks good on paper

Researchers have developed a low-cost, paper-based method of detecting viruses like Zika and Ebola in a biological sample, and which can even identify a specific strain. The team believes the test can be used in the field to quickly and easily detect the presence of a virus, and be used to help slow the spread of future outbreaks.Read More

Good Thinking

Smartglasses help the visually-impaired to use smartphones

Smartphone users with limited vision will often utilize the phone's zoom feature, making one section of the phone's display larger and thus easier to see. The problem is, it can be difficult to keep track of which part of the overall display they're zoomed-in on. That's why researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear have developed a Google Glass-based alternative.Read More

Materials

Transforming metamaterial alters size, volume, and shape on command

Harvard researchers have created a 3D programmable mechanical metamaterial that can be programmed to change shape, volume and size on command, making it ideal for building a range of different assemblies and structures that can be automatically altered to suit their purpose or environment. Claimed to be able to take the weight of an elephant when laid flat, the new material could be used to make everything from tiny self-deploying nanostructures for use in medical procedures, all the way up to large buildings that are able to metamorphose for different purposes on command. Read More

Science

A touch of silver lets smart windows go from clear to translucent

Imagine if instead of installing curtains or blinds, you could simply adjust the opacity of the glass in your windows. Not only would this allow you to vary the amount of privacy they provided, but it would also let you determine how much sunlight got through, keeping rooms from overheating during the day yet still letting light in later on. Well, that's how the various types of smart windows work. Researchers at Harvard University have now developed one of their own, which they say is simpler and cheaper than what's come before.Read More

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