Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs
- New way to make light interact with matter, MIT, June 4, 2018, ScienceDaily -- A new way of enhancing the interactions between light and matter could someday lead to more efficient solar cells, and new lasers and LEDs that could have fully tunable color emissions. The principle behind this new approach is a way to get the momentum of light particles or photons to more closely match that of electrons, which is usually many orders of magnitudes greater. Due to the disparity in momentum, these particles interact weakly. Bringing the photon’s momentum closer together allows for greater control over their interactions. Improving the interactions of light with silicon could be an important milestone toward integrating photonics with electronic semiconductor chips. This approach is different in the sense that the team is trying to change the light instead of the silicon. The work is still in the theoretical stage, but it could lead to solar cells capable of absorbing a wider range of light wavelengths, which would make the devices more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity. For the full article visit ScienceDaily.
- Satellite Data Helps Cut City Heat, CORDIS, June 4, 2018, Wireless Design & Development -- A new project, URBANFLUXES, has addressed the challenge of combating heat in cities. Cities around the world are becoming hotter due to heat released by human activities. This is exacerbated by heat waves, altering the energy balance of urban areas and thus adversely affecting the local environment and health of residents. Air conditioning systems, traffic emissions and industry contribute to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. The project used Earth Observation (EO) satellite to identify Urban Energy Budget (UEB) spatial patterns. Researchers studied the urban climate in three European cities and calculated the separate contributions of urban structures, air conditioning, green spaces and mobility to urban heat. The goal was to develop an EO-based methodology. The team successfully developed a method capable of deriving UEB from current and future EO systems based on data from the Copernicus program’s Sentinels missions. For the first time ever, scientists were able to use satellite data to accurately estimate at the local scale highly concentrated areas of heat and high levels of anthropogenic heat. For more information visit Wireless Design & Development.
- Standard announced for braille displays across different operating systems and hardware, Nancy Owano, June 4, 2018, TechXplore -- A new standard for braille displays is now available. The standard is beneficial for people who have low vision or are blind. The standard will enable users to use braille readers as plug-and-play devices across a wide hardware ecosystem in the same way that users can plug in a USB mouse or keyboard. In fact, those who depend on braille devices will no longer need to worry about different hardware and software. The World Health Organization estimates that 253 million people have a form of visual impairment. Technology can play an important role in creating opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision. With the finalized standard (slated to take effect in 2019), device manufacturers and operating system providers will have to make new hardware and software updates to support it. For more information check out TechXplore.
- Peering at atomic structures with no more than pencil and paper, Sam Million-Weaver, June 4, 2018, PHYS.ORG -- Modeling the molecular structure of a crystal’s surface requires powerful computers, but engineers have devised a simpler method. The new strategy could lead to ultrafast computer chips based on materials other than silicon. With some small tweaks, the team predicted structures that were quantitatively very accurate. They were so accurate that this new approach offers a quick and easy procedure to zero in on promising materials for use in advanced electronics, like quantum computers. The approach involved counting, governed by basic chemistry rules. The team simply counted all the electrons each atom brings to the surface, tallied the electrons predicted to be in bonds and checked to see if those numbers matched. The counting is so straightforward that it can be done with pencil and paper. Counting rules are known to work well for simple materials; however, scientists assumed that the electron clouds for metallic atoms were too complicated. This research team proved that assumption wrong. For the full article visit PHYS.ORG.
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