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University of California

— Science

Nanofocusing device shrinks light beams

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a nanofocusing waveguide, a tiny passive plasmonic device which is capable of concentrating light onto a spot a few nanometers in size. In so doing, they have sidestepped the diffraction-limited nature of light, which normally prevents focusing light to a spot smaller than its own wavelength. This remarkable feat may lead to new optoelectronic applications in computing, communications, and imaging. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Tattoo-based medical sensor puts a happy face on detecting metabolic problems

Next time you see an adult with a stick-on tattoo, don’t laugh – that person might have a metabolic problem, or they could be a high-performing athlete who’s getting their training schedule fine-tuned. No, really. A team lead by Dr. Joseph Wang at the University of California, San Diego, has created a thin, flexible metabolic sensor that is applied to the skin ... and it takes the form of a smiley-face tattoo. Read More
— Science

Cloaking technology could protect offshore rigs from destructive waves

Recent years have seen much progress in the development of invisibility cloaks which bend light around an object so it can't be seen, but can the same principles be applied to ocean waves that are strong enough to smash steel and concrete? That's the aim of Reza Alam's underwater “invisibility cloak.” The assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, recently outlined how to use variations of density in ocean water to cloak floating objects from dangerous surface waves. Read More
— Telecommunications

Researchers promise doubled wireless spectrum efficiency

Wireless carriers love to talk about a Spectrum Crunch. Like oil, wireless spectrum is a finite resource. Companies like AT&T warn that smartphone proliferation is eventually going to leave those "wells" dry. Carriers' answers to the problem usually involve government (less regulations, and more federally-owned spectrum released). However, researchers at U.C. Riverside have another solution: make those networks more efficient. Read More
— Environment

Resurrected process converts sugar directly into diesel

Researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) are generating bio fuels from renewable sources, such as sugar and starch, using a process that could be commercialized in as little as five to ten years. Although the fuels are currently more expensive to produce than those made from petroleum, they contain more energy per gallon than ethanol and the researchers say that, if adopted, could help to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Read More
— Science

New algorithms could allow lithium-ion batteries to charge twice as fast

The single biggest factor hindering the convenience, and therefore the adoption, of electric vehicles is the batteries used to power them. While filling up an ICE vehicle takes just a few minutes at the pump, electric vehicle recharge times are measured in hours. Engineers at the University of California, San Diego, have developed new algorithms that improve the efficiency of existing lithium-ion batteries and could allow them to be charged twice as fast than is currently possible. Read More
— 3D Printing

New technique paves the way for instant 3D-printed biological tissues

3D printing technologies have come a long way since their earliest incarnations as rapid product prototype makers. It's now shaping up as the next disruptive technology and in medical science, 3D printing has huge potential. The latest advance comes from University of California, San Diego Nanoengineering Professor Shaochen Chen, whose group has demonstrated the ability to print three-dimensional blood vessels in seconds. If the technique proves scalable, it could revolutionize regenerative medicine. Read More
— Electronics

Prototype "electronic nose" sniffs out danger

Research headed by professor Nosang Myung at Bourns College of Engineering, University of California, Riverside (UCR), has resulted in the development of a prototype "electronic nose." The work brings to mind previous "electronic noses" that we reported on back in 2010, but rather than discovering forms of cancer, Myung's prototype is designed to detect harmful airborne agents, such as pesticides, bio-terrorism, gas leaks and other unwanted presences - with clear applications in military, industry and agricultural areas. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Reflectance paper displays photographs in a new light

Recently the public has become aware of the potential of light field photography through the introduction of the Lytro camera. Light field recording allows an enormous degree of post-processing, letting you create just the image you want to print and display. A print, however, expresses only one aspect, no matter how carefully chosen, of the recorded light field. Can light field information be somehow encoded into a print, so an object can be examined from this side and that, or with different lighting conditions? A team of researchers at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, and 3M have made the first steps toward a positive answer by developing reflectance paper. Read More