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Nanotubes may give the world better batteries

Rice University scientists are counting on films of carbon nanotubes to make high-powered, fast-charging lithium metal batteries a logical replacement for common lithium-ion batteries. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour showed thin nanotube films effectively stop dendrites that grow naturally from unprotected lithium metal anodes in batteries. Over time, these tentacle-like dendrites can pierce the battery’s electrolyte core and reach the cathode, causing the battery to fail.

An evaluation of mouse dynamics for intrusion detection

Researchers at Sapientia University in Romania and Université de Lyon have recently carried out a performance evaluation of unrestricted mouse usage for impostor detection. Their findings, pre-published on arXiv, suggest that drag-and-drop mouse actions are the most helpful for detecting intruders.

Researchers build an artificial fly brain that can tell who’s who

Despite the simplicity of their visual system, fruit flies are able to reliably distinguish between individuals based on sight alone. This is a task that even humans who spend their whole lives studying Drosophila melanogaster struggle with. Researchers have now built a neural network that mimics the fruit fly’s visual system and can distinguish and re-identify flies. This may allow the thousands of labs worldwide that use fruit flies as a model organism to do more longitudinal work, looking at how individual flies change over time. It also provides evidence that the humble fruit fly’s vision is clearer than previously […]

Researchers develop small device that bends light to generate new radiation

When physicists bend very intense beams of charged particles in circular orbits near the speed of light, this bending throws off bits of light, or X-rays, called synchrotron radiation. The U-M-led researchers used their device to bend visible light to produce light with a wavelength in the terahertz range. This range of wavelength is considerably larger than that of visible light, but much smaller than the waves your microwave produces—and can penetrate clothing.

Tiny diamond invention could help launch rockets into space

Scientists at ANU have invented tiny diamond electronic parts that could outperform and be more durable than today’s devices in high-radiation environments such as rocket engines, helping to reach the next frontier in space. The team has developed a new type of ultra-thin transistor, which is a semiconductor widely used to amplify or switch electronic signals and electrical power in devices such as tablets, smart phones and laptops. Lead researcher Dr. Zongyou Yin said the new diamond transistors were promising for applications in spacecraft or car engines.

Spinning the light: The world’s smallest optical gyroscope

Gyroscopes are devices that help vehicles, drones, and wearable and handheld electronic devices know their orientation in three-dimensional space. They are commonplace in just about every bit of technology we rely on every day. Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, each spinning on a different axis. But open up a cell phone today, and you will find a microelectromechanical sensor (MEMS), the modern-day equivalent, which measures changes in the forces acting on two identical masses that are oscillating and moving in opposite directions. These MEMS gyroscopes are limited in their sensitivity, so optical gyroscopes have been developed to perform […]

Team study breaks Forster resonant energy transfer (FRET) distance limit

Using engineered nanocomposite structures called metamaterials, a City College of New York-led research team reports the ability to measure a significant increase in the energy transfer between molecules. Reported in the journal ACS Photonics, this breakthrough breaks the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) distance limit of ~10-20 nanometers, and leads to the possibility of measuring larger molecular assemblies. “Energy transfer between molecules plays a central role in phenomena such as photosynthesis and is also used as a spectroscopic ruler for identifying structural changes of molecules,” said Vinod Menon, professor of physics in City College’s Division of Science. “However, the process […]

Neural networks enable learning of error correction strategies for quantum computers

Quantum computers could solve complex tasks that are beyond the capabilities of conventional computers. However, the quantum states are extremely sensitive to constant interference from their environment. The plan is to combat this using active protection based on quantum error correction. Florian Marquardt, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, and his team have now presented a quantum error correction system that is capable of learning thanks to artificial intelligence.

Emissions-free hydrogen production edges closer with new pilot site in Denmark

An EU initiative will facilitate the production, storage and supply of hydrogen for a wide range of end users. It will help integrate green power into the energy system in a flexible way.
With increased efforts to cut carbon emissions, electric power from renewables has emerged as a vital energy source. Thanks to its strong potential to support energy transition, the role of hydrogen as a versatile, clean and safe energy carrier is widely recognised.

Spread of self-driving cars could cause more pollution – unless the electric grid transforms radically

The world is on the cusp of dramatic changes in the ways people own, operate and power their means of transportation. Known as the “three revolutions,” a term coined by UC Davis transportation professor Daniel Sperling, the new trends are: electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and sharing-oriented business models (think Uber and Lyft). Optimistically, these revolutions could make our cities a dreamscape of walkable urbanism that will reduce accidents to near zero and make more space for bikes, trees, pedestrians and small businesses while emitting no carbon emissions.

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