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Nanoscale

Physics

"World’s smallest engine" to power microscopic robots

It is often said that size matters. At the nano-scale level, where a lot of current research is being done, this adage also holds true, and several scientific teams have laid claim to creating the "world's smallest engine" built from particles of ever-shrinking dimensions. The latest, a nano-scale engine made from tiny charged particles of gold and developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is claimed to be the smallest of them all.Read More

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

Materials

Steel breaks record for not breaking

With iron being one of the most abundant metals on Earth, its transformation into steel also makes it one of the most useful. With applications in almost every realm of manufacturing and construction technology, steel has been the material on which the very structure of modern society has been built. In recent years, though, the heavy and unwieldy nature of steel has seen its decline as lighter – but more brittle – alloys replace it. Now a team of engineers has created a steel alloy that should be cheaper to produce than competing alloys, while being much strong without being brittle. The researchers believe that the new steel alloy could be incorporated in everything from motor vehicles and spacecraft to tools and armor.Read More

Science

The amazing technicolor liquid nanolaser

A new nanoscale plasmon laser developed at Northwestern University changes color in real time through a process as simple as swapping one liquid dye for another. The scientists responsible for the technology claim this is the world's first liquid nanoscale laser, and it could find uses in medical diagnostics as well as military or security applications. Read More

Materials

New alloy of steel created that's as strong and light as titanium

By altering metal alloy at a nanoscale level, researchers at the Graduate Institute of Ferrous Technology (GIFT) at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea have created a new material that has the strength of steel and the lightness of titanium alloy. Made from an amalgam of steel, aluminum, carbon, manganese, and nickel, the new alloy promises to be low-cost and readily available due to its mix of common minerals. Read More

Science

"Nanograss" boosts the efficiency of organic solar cells

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Stanford University and the Dresden University of Technology have developed a long sought-after nanostructure that can significantly increase the efficiency of organic solar cells. Their "nanograss," a dense array of vertical nanopillars, can capture photons at a very high efficiency and could also lead to cheaper and more advanced 3D transistors, photodetectors and charge storage devices.Read More

Inventors & Remarkable People

Super-resolved fluorescence microscopy pioneers awarded 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek turned his simple microscope on a bit of pond water in the 17th century, optical microscopes have been a key tool for biologists. Unfortunately, they’re rather limited as to the smallness of what they can see – or at least, they were. This year's winners of the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner, changed all that. Their discovery of two methods to bypass the physical limits of optical microscopes led to the creation of the field of nanomicroscopy. Read More

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