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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Metallurgist named CEO of Google

Google recently announced a corporate restructure and named metallurgist, Sundar Pichai as its new CEO. Pichai, 43, born in India, trained as a metallurgical engineer before moving to the U.S. He joined Google in 2004 after studying at Stanford University, Calif.


New material science research may advance tech tools

Researchers from Louisiana State University, Fudan University, the University of Florida, and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures in Nanjing, China, conducted research on materials that separate into different regions through a process called electronic phase separation, which is poorly understood. Their research advances the understanding of how these materials can be manipulated without having to discover new materials, change the chemical concentration, or apply external magnetic fields.

Solar energy conversion: Full steam ahead for 3-D graphene

AIMR researchers have developed an eco-friendly steam generator powered only by sunlight that can purify brackish or polluted water. This technology is based on a 3-D nanoporous graphene material that both captures light and moves water into local hot zones—a combination that converts sunlight into steam with a remarkably high efficiency of 80%.

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes

One distinct way of wrapping a droplet is to use a thin sheet that calls on capillary action to naturally wrap a droplet in a blanket of film. Now, experimental and theoretical physicists and a polymer scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have teamed up to use much thinner sheets than before to achieve this wrapping process. Thinner, highly bendable sheets lift these constraints and allow for a new class of wrapped shapes.

Super water-repellant coatings can now take the pressure

Conventional superhydrophobic coatings that repel liquids by trapping air inside microscopic surface pockets tend to lose their properties when liquids are forced into those pockets. In this work, extremely water-repellant or superhydrophobic surfaces were fabricated that can withstand pressures that are 10 times greater than the average pressure a surface would experience resting in a room. The surfaces resist the infiltration of liquid into the nanoscale pockets.

Gas sensors sound the smoldering fire alarm

Smoke detectors are everywhere, but still thousands of people die in fires annually. Fire gas detectors, which detect carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, identify fires at an early stage. Thanks to a new measurement principle developed by Fraunhofer researchers, these costly sensors will soon be inexpensive and ready for the mass market. “Ours responds only to carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide—it ignores other gases. By using roll-to-roll processing, we can produce the sensors very inexpensively, making it affordable for consumers,” one researcher says.