Electronics

Good vibrations lead to ‘smart’ roads and energy

By / December 27, 2008

Some people think the road to tomorrow’s most practical alternative energy source will be embedded with piezoelectric crystals capable of converting the mechanical strain of on-road vehicles into electrical current or voltage. Haim Abramovich, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, is one of these thinkers. Testing piezoelectrics in…

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Energy harvesting radio-based detection system unveiled

By / December 19, 2008

Kansas State University and Peregrine Semiconductors are demonstrating a battery-free technology that could improve embedded multi-sensor systems such as those that might be used to detect deterioration in busy bridge. “This type of radio technology may exist in your house, for instance if you have a temperature sensor outside that radios data to a display…

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Coming soon: self-powered cellphones, PDAs and more

By / December 15, 2008

Cellphones charged by voice sound waves. Drug delivery systems enabled by minute body movements. Military equipment powered by the motion of soldiers walking? Self-powered devices like these are now one step closer to reality thanks to a Texas A&M professor’s discovery that when certain piezoelectric materials are produced at the nanoscale – specifically at about…

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‘Hospital on a chip’ promises fewer battlefield deaths

By / December 9, 2008

Fewer soldiers will die on the battlefield if two U.S. researchers succeed in developing a project called “field hospital on a chip.” The project entails creation of a minimally-invasive sensor troops will wear into battle. Able to monitor, detect, diagnose and administer medication, the sensor will deliver life-saving treatment to soldiers long before medics can ever reach them, the researchers claim. “Since the majority of…

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New pre-approved contracts speed access to DOE labs

By / November 24, 2008

DOE has developed two pre-approved, standardized contracts that will now make it easier for academia and industry to use its world-class research facilities. One of the model contracts covers proprietary research, while the other addresses non-proprietary scientific investigations. Both are applicable at all designated DOE user facilities and labs, requiring minimal – if any –…

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‘Dancing’ atoms may lead to logic switches, nano-scale detectors

By / November 21, 2008

Two Johns Hopkins researchers believe they have developed a new method to use lasers to manipulate electrons in a crystal array, and if the discovery holds up to testing, it could lead to new forms of computer memory, biohazard alarms and cancer cell detectors. Alexander Kaplan, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer…

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Video of the week – Nanotube speakers

By / November 19, 2008

We posted about this novel use of carbon nanotubes as audio speakers on Monday, but today we have a video of the real deal, courtesy of the American Chemical Society. The first part of the video shows the transparency of such a speaker. The second part is an illustration of the way the CNTs create…

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Group thinks its ‘black silicon’ boosts photoconductive gain

By / November 3, 2008

Why settle for one photon when you can get 200-300? That’s the idea behind a new material being developed by SiOnyx, a new Massachusetts company. The company using a method to reshape the surface of silicon to create cones that it says makes the material effectively function as “sponge for light.” is making a new type of silicon…

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Thin film sandwich feeds hunger for superconductors

By / November 1, 2008

Though looking sort of glum at the time, Ivan Bozovic is successfully leading Brookhaven Labs’ thin-film superconductor project. Researchers at DOE’s Brookhaven National Lab have developed a sandwich of thin films that, at the point where the films touch, offers a nanometer-sized area of superconductivity. Moreover, as reported in the Oct. 9 edition of Nature magazine, the superconductivity…

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Chinese academy reports ZnO nanorod FET breakthrough

By / October 25, 2008

The Chinese Academy of Science reports that scientists at its Institute of Microelectronics have successfully formed a zinc oxide nanorod field-effect transistor, the “first of its kind as a nano device.” The ZnO nano materials, such as nanowires, nanorods, nanobands and nanorings, attract intense worldwide attention for their unique optical, semiconducting and piezoelectric properties. At…

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