Scientists have found a creative way to radically improve thermoelectric materials, a finding that could one day lead to the development of improved solar panels, more energy-efficient cooling equipment, and even the creation of new devices that could turn the vast amounts of heat wasted at power plants into more electricity.
The understanding of advanced materials and how they perform under different conditions will be enhanced thanks to a new research collaboration between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL).
While pursuing the goal of turning a cloud of ultracold atoms into a completely new kind of circuit element, physicists have demonstrated that such a cloud - known as a Bose-Einstein condensate - can display a sort of 'memory'.
The future of computing may lie not in electrons, but in photons -- in microprocessors that use light instead of electrical signals. But these photonic devices are typically built using customized methods that make them difficult and expensive to manufacture. Now, engineers have demonstrated that low power photonic devices can be fabricated using standard chip-making processes. The team dubs this a major milestone in photonic technology.
Electronics are getting smaller all the time, but there's a limit to how tiny they can get with today's materials. Researchers now say, however, that they have developed a way to shrink capacitors - key components that store energy - even further, which could accelerate the development of more compact, high-performance next-gen devices.
The debut of cyborgs who are part human and part machine may be a long way off, but researchers say they now may be getting closer. In a new study, they report development of a coating that makes nanoelectronics much more stable in conditions mimicking those in the human body. The advance could also aid in the development of very small implanted medical devices for monitoring health and disease.