The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts

Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs

  1. Single metalens focuses all colors of the rainbow in one point, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, January 1, 2018, EurekAlert -- A team of researchers have developed the first single lens that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light, including white light, in the same spot and in high resolution. This breakthrough has only ever been achieved in conventional lenses by stacking multiple lenses. Focusing the entire spectrum of light is challenging because each wavelength moves through materials at different speeds. For instance, red moves faster than blue, which results in image distortions, or chromatic aberrations. Camera and optical instruments use multiple curved lenses to correct the aberrations, adding bulk to the device. So the team at Harvard created metalenses, which are thin, easy to fabricate and cost-effective. The metalenses use arrays of titanium dioxide nanofins to eliminate chromatic aberration. The next step is to scale up the lens to 1 cm in diameter. This would open up possibilities for use in virtual and augmented reality. For more information, visit EurekAlert.

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  2. Carving Out Circuits that Click into Place, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, December 29, 2017, ECN -- A team has created a “plug-and-play” approach for the assembly of electronic systems. The technique uses integrated circuits as Lego-like building blocks. This unique method creates completely new options for manufacturing electronic devices, like computers, smartphones and robots. Existing technologies for building such devices rely on complex automated manufacturing processes. These require high-precision equipment to align and package thousands of components. Once aligned, the components are connected to printed circuit boards using tiny pins. This process doesn’t suit the emerging electronic systems that demand greater miniaturization and better accuracy and precision. The new method involves building blocks, which present complementary geometries to produce electronic systems via lock-and-key-type assembly to eliminate any steps that require bonding or soldering. The approach makes the assembly simple, easy and highly reliable for flexible electronic systems. For the full article check out ECN.  

  3. Non-Electric Batteries Could Store Solar Energy, Kenny Walter, December 29, 2017, Research & Development -- A team of chemists have developed an energy density storage system that can store two times more than previous systems. The new system can reach an average of 510 Joules, while other high-energy storage systems reach around 200 Joules. With improved energy density systems, we could see new technologies like solar pads that collect energy from the Sun by day and then store it for heating food, living spaces, clothing or blankets at night. This could be particularly useful in areas with no access to a power grid. To create the energy storage system, the team used a flexible polymer, resembling a string of lights. For more information on the design and development of the system visit Research & Development.

  4. Targeted Creation and Control of Photons: Thanks to a New Design for Optical Antennas, University of Wurzburg, December 29, 2017, Wireless Design & Development -- Physicists have solved a major problem and established a new set of rules regarding optimized optical antennas. So far, it has been difficult to produce and control photons with optical antennas. The team’s new rules could result in antennas for light, enabling precise control of photon emission and subsequent propagation. The team built their novel antennas with the help of their new rules and they managed to extract far more photons from an emitter than previous antenna types derived from radio technology. With these new antennas, we could see a host of new possibilities, including tiny, multifunctional light pixels that could be used to build 3D displays or reliable single-photon sources for quantum computers or even optical microscopes to map individual molecules. For the full article head over to Wireless Design & Development.

  5. And lastly, the most popular Tektronix download of the week goes to Troubleshooting Analog to Digital Converter Offset Using a Mixed Signal Oscilloscope. Our latest application note provides a procedure for performing quick checks on an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) system. The technique uses a ramp signal from a function generator to stimulate the system, including signal conditioning at the ADC front end.

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Do you have a great article, blog or idea that you’d like to see featured in our series? Please be sure to share in the comments below. Stay tuned next week for another installment of The Tek Pulse, featuring more trending articles from the engineering, technology and science worlds.

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