- Supercomputers Aid Discovery of New, Inexpensive Material to Make LEDs with Excellent Color Quality, Liezel Labios, February 26, 2018, Scientific Computing -- Engineers have discovered a new phosphor material for white LEDs that’s inexpensive and easy to make. Phosphors are crystalline powders that absorb energy from blue or near-UV light and emit light in the visible spectrum, making them a key ingredient to making white LEDs. The phosphors currently being used in most commercial white LEDs have several disadvantages. Many are made of expensive rare-earth materials which are expensive and difficult to manufacture. In addition, they produce LEDs with poor color quality. This new phosphor material avoids these issues. The material is made of earth-abundant elements and produces LEDs that render colors more vividly and accurately. The team used data mining and computational tools to discover the material. For the full article head over to Scientific Computing.
- Inspired by nature: Design for new electrode could boost supercapacitors’ performance, UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering of Applied Science, February 26, 2018, PHYS.ORG -- Mechanical engineers have designed a super-efficient and long-lasting electrode for supercapacitors. The design was inspired by the structure and function of leaves on tree branches. Supercapacitors are rechargeable energy storage devices that deliver more power for their size than similar-sized batteries. They also recharge faster and last longer. This new electrode is 10 times more efficient than other designs. The design provides the same amount of energy storage and delivers as much power as similar electrodes while being much smaller and lighter. During experiments, the device produced 10 times more power than other designs and retained 95 percent of its capacitance after 10,000 charging cycles. The electrode performs well in acidic conditions and high temperatures, both environments in which supercapacitors could be used. For more information visit PHYS.ORG.
- New technique allows printing of flexible, stretchable silver nanowire circuits, North Carolina State University, February 26, 2018, EurekAlert -- A new technique allows rearchers to print circuits on flexible, stretchable substrates using silver nanowires. Due to the flexibility, stretchability and conductive properties of silver nanowires, they show potential for use in a variety of applications, like prosthetic and wearable health sensors. Until now, there have been significant challenges to printing highly integrated circuits using silver nanowires. This new method uses electrohydrodynamic printing, which relies on electrostatic force to eject ink from the nozzle and draw it to the appropriate site on the substrate. The team used their new technique to create prototypes that make use of the silver nanowire circuits, including a glove with an internal heater. The team is confidant that their approach could be used in the development of flexible, stretchable electronics. For the full article check out EurekAlert.
- Augmented Reality Lets Students Operate A Chemical Plant, University of Rochester, February 26, 2018, ECN -- A new innovative, augmented reality (AR) teaching experiment has been performed to help STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) undergraduate students learn. In the exercise, coffee mugs became virtual 10-cubic meter reactors and continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR), popsicle sticks served as virtual pipes that connect them, a nob let students adjust the temperature inside each reactor, and QR coding on the bottom of the reactors allowed a camera inside the table to capture each reactor’s location. The information was then relayed to a computer where the simulations were run and a projection inside the table flashed the results on the tabletop in real-time. This is a hands-on, tactile, collaborative lab in which students can explore putting together multiple reactors at different temperatures and see what effect this has on optimizing a chemical reaction. Educators believe this kind of real-world experimentation will help both students and engineers in the field. For the full article check out ECN.
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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.