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University of California

— Environment

Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough turns CO2 emissions into plastics and biofuel

By - April 23, 2015 3 Pictures
Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have created a hybrid system of bacteria and semiconducting nanowires that mimics photosynthesis. According to the researchers, their versatile, high-yield system can take water, sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn them into the building blocks of biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even biofuel. Read More
— Electronics

Graphene device makes ultrafast light to energy conversion possible

By - April 15, 2015 1 Picture
Converting light to electricity is one of the pillars of modern electronics, with the process essential for the operation of everything from solar cells and TV remote control receivers through to laser communications and astronomical telescopes. These devices rely on the swift and effective operation of this technology, especially in scientific equipment, to ensure the most efficient conversion rates possible. In this vein, researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques/ICFO) in Barcelona have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector they claim converts light into electricity in less than 50 quadrillionths of a second. Read More
— Science

Artificial "skin" changes color in response to minute force

By - March 13, 2015 2 Pictures
A thin and flexible chameleon-like material developed by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley changes color when stretched or bent even tiny amounts. With potential applications in camouflage, structural fatigue sensors, display technologies, and more, the material's color changes reliably as it gets flexed thanks to rows of ridges that are precisely etched onto a silicon film one thousand times thinner than a human hair. Read More
— Electronics

Going small with silicon potentially has big implications for lithium-ion battery capacity

By - February 25, 2015 3 Pictures
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have developed a silicon anode for lithium-ion batteries that outperforms current materials and gets around previous issues that would cause the battery to be inefficient and quickly degrade (or even fail catastrophically) with use. As the researchers focus on scaling up production, the advance could pave the way for higher-performance electric vehicles, electronics and all-around portable power. Read More
— Science

Cesium atoms get a shake-up to create excitation in superfluid

By - February 24, 2015 1 Picture
Helium-4 superfluid is a fascinating substance. With properties that seemingly defy normal physics, it leaks straight through glass, bubbles up out of containers, flows around objects and even climbs up walls. As if superfluid helium-4 was not strange enough, in 1941 it was also predicted that it should contain an exotic, particle-like excitation – a quasiparticle – called a roton. After many years of trying to verify this prediction, researchers at the University of California now claim to have successfully created a roton structure in an atomic superfluid of cesium-133. Read More
— Science

Chemists create clever rewritable paper

By - December 3, 2014 1 Picture
The paperless office – one of the promises of the new digital age – has not really eventuated. Instead, most organizations still print out large amounts of documents on paper that, according to the WWF, is being produced at around 400 million tons (362 million tonnes) a year and rising. So, wouldn’t it be great if we could just simply wipe off the print on paper and use it over and over again? Chemists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) thought that this might be a good idea too, and have now created rewritable paper that can be printed on and erased more than 20 times before it needs to be discarded. Read More
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