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Ions

Physics

World's smallest engine powered by a single atom

A team of German physicists has just created the world's smallest working engine. Powered by a single electrically-charged calcium atom, the new device is claimed to have the equivalent thermodynamic efficiency (if scaled to size) of an average automobile engine. Basically a heat-exchange engine, its single-atom acts as both fuel and powerplant and is heated by electrical noise and cooled by laser beam.Read More

Medical

Organic ion transistor blocks pain signals from reaching the brain

A new type of medical device could one day put the minds of chronic pain sufferers at ease by distributing the body's own natural pain relief signals at just the right time. Developed at Linköping University in Sweden, the tiny "ion pump" is made from organic electronics and could be implanted in patients, serving to cut off pain signals in the spinal chord before they make their way to the brain.Read More

Science

Researchers build an audio speaker out of stretchy transparent gel

Audio speakers are showing up in a variety of unusual forms these days, from the incredibly tiny to the eye-catchingly bizarre, but a research group at Harvard University may have trumped them all with a new one that's as clear as glass. Scientists at the college's Engineering and Applied Sciences branch recently built a flexible speaker out of ionic gel that is almost invisible to the naked eye and can produce high-quality sound ranging across the full audible spectrum. In doing so, they also provided a proof of concept for electronics that can transfer electric signals in a similar manner to the human nervous system. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Soladey Ionic toothbrush heads for new markets

In Japan and much of Europe, the Soladey toothbrush is nothing new. It was invented 20 years ago, and is currently used by over 16 million people – you may now pause to make a joke about 16 million people all using the same toothbrush. Just recently, however, it has become available in the U.K., U.S. and Canada. What makes it special is the fact that it uses nothing but light and water to clean your teeth. Read More

Science

An ionic wind to cool laptops may blow fans away

Keeping electronic components cool is a constant problem for electronics manufacturers – computer manufacturers in particular. While desktop PCs have a few options open to them, such as water-cooling, laptops are more limited in how they can be cooled. As laptops and other electronic devices continue to shrink while the heat they generate increases, the search is on for alternatives to the bulky, noisy fan-based systems widely used. A cooling system developed by Tessera has discovered a way to create a cooling airflow through ionizing air particles.Read More

Environment

Salinity power as renewable energy

Green energy comes in many guises these days, from wind-power to wave-power. One of the more compelling of the new kids on the eco-energy block is salinity power, which uses the concurrence of salt-water and freshwater in estuaries and marries it with the natural, effortless process of osmosis.Read More

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