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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Maglev train breaks own speed record

A Japanese maglev that is the fastest passenger train in the world has broken its own speed record. Operator JR Central said the train reached 603 kilometers per hour (375 miles per hour) in a test run on Tuesday, surpassing its previous record of 361 mph (581 kph) set in 2003. The train traveled for just over a mile (1.8 kilometers) at a speed exceeding 600 kph (373 mph).

Whiteboards of the future: New electronic paper could make inexpensive electronic displays

Researchers from the University of Tokyo have revamped an old e-paper concept to make an inexpensive handwriting-enabled e-paper well suited to large displays like whiteboards. The display is made from bicolored microparticles about 0.1 millimeters in diameter. One hemisphere of each particle is black and carries a negative charge, while the other is white and carries a positive charge. The particles are sandwiched between two electrodes. By switching the direction of the voltage across the electrodes the background display can be switched between black and white.

New paper opens door to the study of a new class of materials

A new paper by a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame describes how an accurate statistical description of heterogeneous particulate materials, which is used within statistical micromechanics theories, governs the overall thermo-mechanical properties. This detailed statistical description was computed using a novel adaptive interpolation/integration scheme on the nation’s largest parallel supercomputers.

Printing silicon on paper, with lasers

A group of researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has pioneered a method that allows silicon itself, in the polycrystalline form used in circuitry, to be produced directly on a substrate from liquid silicon ink with a single laser pulse—potentially ousting its pale usurpers. The capacity for printing silicon ink onto substrates has existed for some time, but necessitated a 350 °C thermal annealing step. The researcher’s new method completely bypasses this step, transforming the liquid silicon directly into polysilicon.

How to maximize the superconducting critical temperature in a molecular superconductor

An international research team has investigated the electronic properties of a family of unconventional superconductors based on fullerenes, which have the highest known superconducting critical temperature among molecular superconductors. The team was able to demonstrate the guiding influence of the molecular electronic structure in controlling superconductivity and achieving the maximum critical temperature, opening the way to new routes in the search of new molecular superconductors with enhanced figures of merit.

Sputtering start for flat materials

A*STAR researchers have developed a method for creating large areas of atom-thin material for use in electronic devices. The team has demonstrated a technique for creating a single atomic layer of 2-D semiconductor molybdenum disulfide. The team fired a beam of argon ions at a molybdenum target in a vacuum chamber, and ejected atoms assembled onto a heated substrate of sapphire or silicon. The team found that they could grow monolayer, bilayer, trilayer or thicker samples by altering the power of the argon-ion beam or the deposition time.

Crystal clear: crystal breeding factory uncovered

Lancaster University chemists in collaboration with international colleagues have uncovered a ‘Crystal Nuclei Breeding Factory’ which, they say, will lead to a more effective and efficient development of quality chemical products. The researchers have ‘mapped out’ in diagram format the actual movements made by chemical molecules on their breeding journey using computer simulations. The simulations rely on understanding the ‘forces’ between the atoms from which they compute what the molecules do, rather like predicting by calculation how a billiard ball is likely to make a break.