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University of Illinois

Science

New research hints at Earth's inner core having its own inner core

You may have been taught in school that the Earth is composed of layers, broadly separated into a rocky crust and mantle, outside of a liquid outer core and a small, solid iron inner core. It turns out, according to new research, that the inner core may itself have a distinct internal structure – an inner-inner core about half the diameter of the whole inner core. And this could reveal insights about our planet and its history.Read More

Environment

MIT study finds carbon sequestration may not be as effective as expected

Carbon sequestration may not, according to researchers at MIT, be the panacea that some had hoped. A recent study, partially funded by the United States Department of Energy, has found that far less carbon dioxide than the ideal prediction of 90 percent may be turned into rock when sequestered. This means much might eventually escape back into the atmosphere. Read More

Medical

Electronic implants treat staph infections, and then dissolve

Imagine if there were a remote-control electronic device that could be implanted at an infection site, where it would treat the infection by heating or medicating the affected tissue. While it might be very effective, subsequent infections could result if surgeons went in to remove it, or even if they just left it in place. That's why scientists from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana have developed infection-treating implants that simply dissolve into the body once they've served their purpose. Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Wearable skin and heart monitor changes color when there's cause for concern

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a health monitor capable of tracking heart and skin condition while worn discretely on the skin. Measuring around 5 cm squared (0.8 in sq), the patch is designed to be inconspicuous and alert the user to conditions ranging from dry skin to cardiovascular problems. Read More

Medical

Chameleon-like gel could track blood sugar levels in real time

Thanks to a new color-changing hydrogel, there may soon be a more reliable way of continuously monitoring the blood glucose levels of both diabetics and hospital patients. If incorporated into a device such as an implanted pump, it could automatically trigger the release of insulin into the bloodstream as needed. Read More

Science

Scientists create "spray-on graphene"

Despite its many desirable qualities and potential applications, graphene still isn't as widely used as it could be for one main reason – it's difficult to apply to surfaces, particularly large ones. Attempting to do so often causes damage to the graphene, or otherwise results in a non-uniform, flawed coating. Now, however, scientists have devised a method of simply spraying the stuff on, that actually improves the graphene in the process. Read More

Science

Regenerating plastic is better on the "hole"

Dropping your mobile phone can ruin your whole day as you look down at the spiderweb of cracks surrounding a small hole in the once-pristine plastic case. Now imagine watching as those cracks and that hole seal up by themselves, leaving behind a completely healed case. That may sound like science fiction, but it may not be for long with a team of researchers at the University of Illinois having developed a new system that doesn't just repair minor cracks in plastic, but regenerates to heal large holes.Read More

Electronics

Four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell hits 43.9 percent efficiency

The ultimate goal of solar cell technology is to be able to generate electricity at costs lower than sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear. Key to this is continuing improvements in conversion efficiency, and with the development of the first four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell produced using a micro transfer printing process, researchers have taken another step towards this goal by achieving efficiencies of up to 43.9 percent, with the possibility of exceeding 50 percent in the near future.Read More

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