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Nanotubes

— Electronics

Breakthrough rectenna converts light into DC current

Rectifying antennas – "rectennas" – are used as parasitic power capture devices that absorb radio frequency (RF) energy and convert it into usable electrical power. Constructing such devices to absorb and rectify at optical wavelengths has proved impractical in the past, but the advent of carbon nanotubes and advances in microscopic manufacturing technology have allowed engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to create rectennas that capture and convert light to direct electrical current. The researchers believe that their creation may eventually help double the efficiency of solar energy harvesting.

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— Automotive

Nanotube film could heat electric cars without draining their batteries

While some electric cars may have a decent range in places like California, they're not so impressive in locations with frigid winters. That's because their battery is powering not only the motor, but also the cabin heating system. Now, however, engineers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation are developing new technology that could keep EV drivers warm, without leaving them stranded.

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— Materials

Carbon nanotubes used to create conducting fibers for artificial muscles

A new kind of conducting fiber developed at the University of Texas at Dallas is being used to develop artificial muscles and capacitors that store more energy when stretched. The fiber, which is composed of carbon nanotube sheets wrapped around a rubber core, may one day also find use in morphing aircraft, stretchy charger cords and exoskeleton limbs, along with connecting cables for a wealth of other devices.

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— Aircraft

Carbon nanotube-based anti-icing coating proves itself in wind tunnel testing

There are numerous types of systems designed to prevent ice forming on aircraft surfaces during flight. Some reroute hot air produced by jet engines, others generate their own heat, others knock ice off through mechanical force, while others still release antifreeze chemicals onto the wing. Battelle has recently tested its carbon nanotube-base HeatCoat technology that it claims is lighter and less power hungry than such systems. It also has no moving parts and could easily be retrofitted to existing aircraft. Read More
— Medical

Gold nanotubes used to image and destroy cancer cells

For some time, the potential of gold nanoparticles as a diagnostics and imaging tool has been known to scientists, but new research suggests they could prove even more useful than previously thought. A team at the University of Leeds has discovered that shaping the particles in the form of nanotubes sees them take on a number of new properties, including the ability to be heated up to destroy cancer cells. Read More
— Electronics

Smaller, faster, greener "high-rise" 3D chips are ready for Big Data

Stanford engineers have pioneered a new design for a scalable 3D computer chip that tightly interconnects logic and memory, with the effect of minimizing data bottlenecks and saving on energy usage. With further work, the advance could be the key to a very substantial jump in performance, efficiency, and the ability to quickly process very large amounts of information  –  known as "Big Data"  –  over conventional chips. Read More
— Science

De-icing system targets wind farm efficiency in cold climates

Given that the sterotypical image of the world's northern regions involves howling winds, why don't we see more wind turbines in such places? Well, it's largely because those turbines' blades would ice up a lot. The added weight could cause them to turn more slowly, to break down by throwing off their balance, and it could cause their operators to shut them down during potentially icy weather. The European Union Windheat Project is aiming to change that, with a carbon nanotube-based de-icing system. Read More
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