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How to increase the data storage density of HDDs: Just add salt

A team of researchers from Singapore has moved the goalposts yet again and shown that traditional hard disk drives still have some life in them by developing a process that can increase the data recording density of HDDs to six times that of current models. The researchers from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, who worked in collaboration with the National University of Singapore and the Data Storage Institute, liken the new process to packing a suitcase—the neater you pack, the more you can carry. Joel Yang, the IMRE scientist who heads the project, found that adding sodium chloride—or table salt—to a developer solution used in existing lithography processes produced highly defined nanostructures down to 4.5 nm half pitch, without the need for expensive equipment upgrades.

Algorithm said to identify best natural-gas storage materials

Northwestern University researchers claim they have developed an algorithm that can identify the best materials to store natural gas in. A recent Nature Chemistry article reports that in 72 hours researchers  generated more than 137,000 hypothetical metal-organic framework structures. This number is much larger than the total number of MOFs reported to date by all researchers combined (approximately 10,000 MOFs). The Northwestern team then reduced that number down to the 300 most-promising candidates for high-pressure, room-temperature methane storage.

Big Innovations from Small Science

In an article in Ceramic Industry, Scott Rickert says nanotechnology is changing the rules in ceramics. It’s the key to new and enhanced properties that have applications across the spectrum of the industry, from piezoelectrics and whitewares to refractories and fuel cells. Problems long thought to be unsolvable begin to unravel with nanotechnology. Performance that seemed unattainable looms on the horizon. The potential is vast, and the science is delivering results now. In some cases, the news is what nanoscale ceramics can bring to other fields. In other cases, the story is nanotechnology’s impact on the ceramic industry.

Shirt capable of converting body heat into electricity

The engineers at electronics company Imec claim that the completely hidden thermoelectric generator can harness the body’s heat to generate electricity that could power low-energy wearable electronics. The TEG comprises 16 ‘thermopiles’, which are the individual electronic components responsible for converting heat into electricity. The voltage they generate is directly proportional to the temperature gradient across them.

ITRI Introduces Spray-IT, the First Low-Cost Green Spray-On Glass & Surface Coating to Keep Buildings Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter

ITRI (Industrial Technology Research Institute), a Taiwanese high-tech research and development institution, introduces Spray-IT, the first eco-friendly, thermal spray coating for use on glass and building material to lower energy costs. Spray-IT provides an inexpensive lithium-fluorine codoped tin oxide coating material called LiFTO that is suitable for spraying directly onto glass or tile surfaces, to form an insulation layer. The LiFTO coating can be applied easily either indoors or in open-air conditions. Both manufacturing of the coating material and deployment are easy and economical, making it more affordable for businesses and individuals to use the technology to reduce energy bills.