17-02-2014   -   Physics

Physicists reveal novel magnetoelectric effect that makes it possible to control magnetism with an electric field, ie "switching mechanism". The novel mechanism may provide a new route for using multiferroic materials for the application of RAM (random access memories) in computers and other devices, such as printers. The researchers studied a new predicted state of the multiferroic bismuth ferrite, a compound that can change its electrical polarization when under a magnetic field or magnetic properties when under an electric field. Because of these effects, bismuth ferrite interests researchers who want to design novel devices—based on magnetoelectric conversion. The "coupling mechanism" in bismuth ferrite between magnetic order and electrical polarization order is required for this phenomenon to be clearly understood. More

  16-02-2014   -   Chemistry

Carbon nanotube fibers outperform copper in carrying electrical current. On a kg-per-kg basis, carbon nanotube-based fibers have greater capacity to carry electrical current than copper cables of the same mass, according to new research. While individual nanotubes are capable of transmitting nearly 1,000 times more current than copper, the same tubes coalesced into a fiber using other technologies fail long before reaching that capacity. But a series of recent tests showed the wet-spun carbon nanotube fiber still handily beat copper, carrying up to four times as much current as a copper wire of the same mass. More

  03-02-2014   -   Chemistry

New instrument to study complex molecules invented. Known as 2DIR for short, the the world’s first fully automated dual-frequency, two-dimensional infrared spectrometer boasts vast research and commercial uses. It gives scientists a powerful new method to study DNA and other complex molecules by measuring distances and angles between molecular substructures, thus unraveling three-dimensional molecular structures while tracking changes at an ultra-fast time scale. The superior sensitivity and ease of operation of the instrument make the 2DIR method accessible for researchers in various areas of science. More

  01-02-2014   -   Energy

Energy storage in miniaturized capacitors may boost green energy technology. "Supercapacitors" take the energy-storing abilities of capacitors (which store electrical charge that can be quickly dumped to power devices) a step further, storing a far greater charge in a much smaller package. Recently, researchers describe the possibility of fabricating a new class of high heat-tolerant electronics that would employ supercapacitors made from a material called calcium-copper-titanate, or CCTO, which the researchers have identified for the first time as a practical energy-storage material. More

  29-01-2014   -   ICT

A new long-range wireless tag detection system, with potential applications in health care, environmental protection and goods tracking, can pinpoint items with near 100 per cent accuracy over a much wider range than current systems. The new system improves the accuracy of passive (battery-less) RFID tag detection from roughly 50 per cent to near 100 per cent, and increases the reliable detection range from two to three metres to approximately 20 metres. More

  03-11-2013   -   Chemistry

Sun 3 Nov 2013.Evidence for a new nuclear 'magic number'. Researchers have come one step closer to understanding unstable atomic nuclei. Scientists have now provided evidence for a new nuclear magic number in the unstable, radioactive calcium isotope 54Ca. They show that 54Ca is the first known nucleus with 34 neutrons (N) where N = 34 is a magic number. More

  31-10-2013   -   Chemistry

Thu 31 Oct 2013. Chemists use MRI to peek at temperatures of gases inside catalytic reactors. Chemists report a new "green chemistry" method that may have far-reaching applications. In a significant step toward improving the design of future catalysts and catalytic reactors, the chemists have developed a method to map the temperatures of reacting gases inside a catalytic reactor at the microscale. More

  09-05-2013   -   Maths

Thu 9 May 2013 Mathematicians Help Unlock Brain Function. Researchers describe how different areas in the brain can have an association despite a lack of direct interaction. The research team combined two different human brain networks -- one that maps all the physical connections among brain areas known as the backbone network, and another that reports the activity of different regions as blood flow changes, known as the functional network. They showed that the presence of symmetrical neurons within the backbone network might be responsible for the synchronised activity of physically distant brain regions.More

  09-05-2013   -   Energy

Wed 8 May 2013 A giant leap to commercialization of polymer solar cell. Researchers demonstrated high-performance polymer solar cells (PSCs) with power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 8.92% which is the highest values reported to date for plasmonic PSCs using metal nanoparticles "Multipositional Silica-Coated Silver Nanoparticles for High-Performance Polymer Solar Cells". A polymer solar cell is a type of thin film solar cells made with polymers that produce electricity from sunlight by the photovoltaic effect. Most current commercial solar cells are made from a highly purified silicon crystal. The high cost of these silicon solar cells and their complex production process has generated interest in developing alternative photovoltaic technologies. Compared to silicon-based devices, PSCs are lightweight (which is important for small autonomous sensors), solution processability (potentially disposable), inexpensive to fabricate (sometimes using printed electronics), flexible, and customizable on the molecular level, and they have lower potential for negative environmental impact. Polymer solar cells have attracted a lot of interest due to these many advantages. Although these many advantages, PSCs currently suffer from a lack of enough efficiency for large scale applications and stability problems but their promise of extremely cheap production and eventually high efficiency values has led them to be one of the most popular fields in solar cell research. More

  10-03-2013   -   Physics

Sun 10 Mar 2013 Long predicted atomic collapse state observed in graphene. The first experimental observation of a quantum mechanical phenomenon that was predicted nearly 70 years ago holds important implications for the future of graphene-based electronic devices. Working with microscopic artificial atomic nuclei fabricated on graphene, a collaboration of researchers have imaged the “atomic collapse” states theorized to occur around super-large atomic nuclei. Atomic collapse is one of the holy grails of graphene research, as well as a holy grail of atomic and nuclear physics. While this finding represents a very nice confirmation of basic relativistic quantum mechanics predictions made many decades ago, it is also highly relevant for future nanoscale devices where electrical charge is concentrated into very small areas.more

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