By Ben Coxworth @ gizmag.com:
Efficient as fiber optic cables are at transmitting data in the form of light pulses, they do need to be physically supported, and they can only handle a finite amount of power. Still, what’s the alternative … just send those focused pulses through the air? Actually, that’s just what scientists at the University of Maryland have already demonstrated in their lab.
In a traditional optical fiber, light travels along a transparent glass core. That core is surrounded by a cladding material with a lower refractive index than the glass. As a result, when the light tries to spread out (as it would if it were traveling through the air), the cladding reflects it back into the core, thus retaining its focus and intensity.
“Air waveguides” used to send optical data through the air - [Link]
By Ben Coxworth @ gizmag.com:
For people who don’t already know, here’s the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes: the body produces little or no insulin in the case of type 1, and isn’t able to utilize the insulin that it does produce in type 2. It’s a significant difference, so it’s important that patients are diagnosed correctly. Thanks to a new microchip developed by a team at Stanford University led by Dr. Brian Feldman, doing so could soon be quicker, cheaper and easier than ever before.
New microchip promises to streamline and simplify diabetes diagnoses - [Link]
By Dario Borghino @ gizmag.com:
Researchers at the University of Cambridge have created a new high-temperature superconductor capable of trapping a magnetic field of 17.6 Tesla, improving on a record set over a decade ago. The advance is yet another step toward making superconductors viable for building effective large-scale smart electricity grids, maglev trains and flywheel energy storage.
New record brings superconductors closer to the mainstream - [Link]
By Darren Quick @ gizmag.com:
Conventional lithium-ion batteries rely on anodes made of graphite, but it is widely believed that the performance of this material has reached its zenith, prompting researchers to look at possible replacements. Much of the focus has been on nanoscale silicon, but it remains difficult to produce in large quantities and usually degrades quickly. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have overcome these problems by developing a lithium-ion battery anode using sand.
Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance - [Link]
by Nancy Owano @ phys.org:
Thumb-size vacuum tubes that amplified signals in radio and television sets in the first half of the 20th century might seem nothing like the metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs) that dazzle us with their capabilities in today’s digital electronics, say two scientists, but it might be time for fresh thinking about vacuum tubes and even some mashing-up for surprising results. Jin-Woo Han, research scientist, and Meyya Meyyappan, chief scientist for exploration technology, at NASA Ames Research Center in California, wrote an article that appeared in IEEE Spectrum on Monday, which details their explorations of a vacuum channel transistor. Their article indicates “vacuum channel transistor” is a phrase to watch in the context of what’s next in transistor technology. The what’s-next conversation is certainly one that continues.
Scientists explore mash-up of vacuum tube and MOSFET - [Link]
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced the development of a receiver circuit capable of receiving communications at 56 Gbps. This marks the world’s fastest data communications between CPUs equipped in next-generation servers. In recent years, raising data-processing speeds in servers has meant increasing CPU performance, together with boosting the speed of data communications between chips, such as CPUs. However, one obstacle to this has been improving the performance of the circuits that correct degraded waveforms in incoming signals. Fujitsu Laboratories has used a new “look-ahead” architecture in the circuit that compensates for quality degradation in incoming signals, parallelizing the processing and increasing the operating frequency for the circuit in order to double its speed. This technology holds the promise of increasing the performance of next-generation servers and supercomputers.
Record-breaking 56 gbps receiver circuit for communications between CPUs - [Link]
Science Daily posted about this breakthrough in superconductors on their site.
A world record that has stood for more than a decade has been broken by a team led by University of Cambridge engineers, harnessing the equivalent of three tonnes of force inside a golf ball-sized sample of material that is normally as brittle as fine china.
The Cambridge researchers managed to ‘trap’ a magnetic field with a strength of 17.6 Tesla — roughly 100 times stronger than the field generated by a typical fridge magnet — in a high temperature gadolinium barium copper oxide (GdBaCuO) superconductor, beating the previous record by 0.4 Tesla. The results are published today in the journal Superconductor Science and Technology.
The research demonstrates the potential of high-temperature superconductors for applications in a range of fields, including flywheels for energy storage, ‘magnetic separators’, which can be used in mineral refinement and pollution control, and in high-speed levitating monorail trains.
Superconductors are materials that carry electrical current with little or no resistance when cooled below a certain temperature. While conventional superconductors need to be cooled close to absolute zero (zero degrees on the Kelvin scale (or -273 °C) before they superconduct, high temperature superconductors do so above the boiling point of liquid nitrogen (-196 °C) which makes them relatively easy to cool and cheaper to operate.
New superconductor world record set - [Link]
By Dario Borghino:
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a silicon anode that would allow us to charge lithium-ion batteries up to 16 times faster than is currently possible. The new design relies on a three-dimensional, cone-shaped cluster of carbon nanotubes that could also result in batteries that hold about 60 percent more charge while being 40 percent lighter.
New li-ion battery anode could charge electronics in minutes - [Link]
by Matt Mcgowan @ phys.org:
Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have designed integrated circuits that can survive at temperatures greater than 350 degrees Celsius – or roughly 660 degrees Fahrenheit. Their work, funded by the National Science Foundation, will improve the functioning of processors, drivers, controllers and other analog and digital circuits used in power electronics, automobiles and aerospace equipment – all of which must perform at high and often extreme temperatures.
“This ruggedness allows these circuits to be placed in locations where standard silicon-based parts can’t survive,” said Alan Mantooth, Distinguished Professor. “The circuit blocks we designed contributed to superior performance of signal processing, controllers and driver circuitry. We are extremely excited about the results so far.”
Circuits capable of functioning at temperatures greater than 650 degrees fahrenheit - [Link]
by INM – Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien:
When users operate their smartphones, tablets and so on, they do not give a second thought to the complicated electronics that make them work. All that concerns them is that they can happily swipe and tap away. To make the touchscreens work, they are provided on their surface with microscopically small electrical conductor tracks, which open and close circuits when touched with a finger. At the peripheries of the devices, these microscopic tracks merge into larger conductor tracks. Until now, several production stages have been needed to create them. The researchers at the INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials are now presenting a novel process that allows microscopic and macroscopic conductor tracks to be produced in one step.
Novel process allows production of the entire circuitry on touchscreens in one step - [Link]