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University of California


— Science

Artificial "skin" changes color in response to minute force

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

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
— Physics

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

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
— Materials

Scientists give graphene one more quality – magnetism

Graphene is extremely strong for its weight, it's electrically and thermally conductive, and it's chemically stable ... but it isn't magnetic. Now, however, a team from the University of California, Riverside has succeeded in making it so. The resulting magnetized graphene could have a wide range of applications, including use in "spintronic" computer chips. Read More
— Medical

Drug shown to prevent and treat diabetes in mice

Research carried out at the University of California and the University of Barcelona has uncovered an enzyme inhibitor found to prevent and reverse the effects of diabetes in obese mice. In addition to discovering a potential form of treatment for the disease, scientists say the study has shone new light on healthy properties of fatty acids. Read More
— Science

Chemists create clever rewritable paper

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
— Environment

Nanoparticle-based material turns up the heat on concentrated solar power

The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat. Read More
— Electronics

Ant-sized radios could help connect trillions of devices to the Internet of Things

A team of researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, has created prototype radio-on-a-chip communications devices that are powered by ambient radio waves. Comprising receiving and transmitting antennas and a central processor, the completely self-contained ant-sized devices are very cheap to manufacture, don't require batteries to run and could give the "Internet of Things" (IoT) a serious kick start. Read More
— Environment

Hitachi developing reactor that burns nuclear waste

The problem with nuclear waste is that it needs to be stored for many thousands of years before it’s safe, which is a tricky commitment for even the most stable civilization. To make this situation a bit more manageable, Hitachi, in partnership with MIT, the University of Michigan, and the University of California, Berkeley, is working on new reactor designs that use transuranic nuclear waste for fuel; leaving behind only short-lived radioactive elements. Read More
— Medical

Multi-tasking nanoparticle both seeks and destroys cancerous cells

Nanoparticles hold great potential as a way of both detecting cancer cells and delivering the drugs to treat them. One hurdle that has proven difficult to overcome is incorporating these properties into one multi-purpose device, as nanoparticles are generally engineered with either goal in mind. In what appears a promising development, researchers at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) Cancer Center have created a multi-tasking nanoparticle shown to be effective both in the diagnosis of a tumor and attacking its cells – a flexibility that could lead to new treatment options for cancer patients. Read More
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