[Image above] Credit: NIST
The technology behind 3-D printing is growing more and more common, but the ability to create designs for it is not. Researchers at MIT and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel aim to change that, with a new system that automatically turns CAD files into visual models that users can modify in real time, simply by moving virtual sliders on a Web page. Once the design meets the user’s specifications, he or she hits the print button to send it to a 3-D printer.
Researchers at MIT have developed a family of materials that can emit light of precisely controlled colors—even pure white light—and whose output can be tuned to respond to a wide variety of external conditions. The materials could find a variety of uses in detecting chemical and biological compounds, or mechanical and thermal conditions. The material is a metallic polymer gel made using rare-earth elements.
A group of scientists from Russia, the United States, and China, have predicted the existence of a new 2-D carbon material, a “patchwork” analogue of graphene called phagraphene, using computer simulations. “Unlike graphene, a hexagonal honeycomb structure with atoms of carbon at its junctions, phagraphene consists of penta-, hexa- and heptagonal carbon rings. Its name comes from a contraction of penta-hexa-hepta-graphene,” says one of the researchers.
Construction and maintenance of roads and buildings use up lots of money and resources. Asphalt roads wear out over time, and acquiring concrete for buildings means digging deeper and deeper into quarries for material. But new recycling technologies may take some of the pressure off the world’s resources while keeping roads paved and buildings safe.
By combining designer quantum dot light-emitters with spectrally matched photonic mirrors, a team of scientists with Berkeley Lab and the University of Illinois created solar cells that collect blue photons at 30 times the concentration of conventional solar cells, the highest luminescent concentration factor ever recorded. This breakthrough paves the way for the future development of low-cost solar cells that efficiently utilize the high-energy part of the solar spectrum.
A Florida State University engineering professor has developed a new highly efficient and low cost light emitting diode that could help spur more widespread adoption of the technology. The new technology uses a combination of organic and inorganic materials. The material, which dissolves and can be applied like paint, shines a blue, green, or red light and can be used to make a light bulb. But what makes it really special is that it’s far simpler to manufacture than existing products on the market.