A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden has designed a microplasma source capable of exciting matter in a controlled, efficient way. This miniature device may find use in a wide range of applications in harsh environments, but can also help revolutionize archaeology.
North Carolina State University researchers have come up with a new technique for improving the connections between stacked solar cells, which should improve the overall efficiency of solar energy devices and reduce the cost of solar energy production. The new connections can allow these cells to operate at solar concentrations of 70,000 suns worth of energy without losing much voltage as 'wasted energy' or heat.
It is control that turns scientific knowledge into useful technology - control over aerodynamic processes allows a pilot to land an aircraft, and control over the structure of atomic layers on a silicon wafer underpins semiconductor engineering.
Research has taken an important step towards standardising important electrical parameters of graphene such as surface potential and work function. The nascent graphene industry requires these standardised measurements so that the properties of graphene are understood well enough for it to be widely used in commercial electronic devices.
One of the major hurdles in the development of faster electronic devices is the amount of heat produced by silicon microchips. This heat is created by the transport of electrical charges through transistors. Researchers have now proposed a device that instead of moving electrons is able to transport information using electron spin over long distances.
The lightweight skeletons of organisms such as sea sponges display a strength that far exceeds that of manmade products constructed from similar materials. Scientists have long suspected that the difference has to do with the hierarchical architecture of the biological materials - the way the silica-based skeletons are built up from different structural elements, some of which are measured on the scale of nanometers. Now engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have mimicked such a structure by creating nanostructured, hollow ceramic scaffolds, and have found that the small building blocks, or unit cells, do indeed display remarkable strength and resistance to failure despite being more than 85 percent air.
Having a pure population of cardiac muscle cells is essential for avoiding tumor formation after transplantation, but has been technically challenging. Researchers at Emory and Georgia Tech have developed a method for purifying cardiac muscle cells from stem cell cultures using molecular beacons.