Thought for the month

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” Lucius Anneaus Seneca, Roman philosopher and statesman (c 4 BC – AD 65).

Friday, 26 August 2016

Wash on command

On the bleeding edge of the Internet of Things, washing machines and other appliances are embedding voice interfaces connected over cloud services to some of the world’s most sophisticated data analytics.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Space oddities?

The Space History sale at Bonhams New York July 20 made $1,315,063. The sale quickly soared with the first lot, a full-scale lab model of the Sputnik 1 satellite, achieving more than ten times its estimate.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Rise of the OLED

Organic light-emitting diodes are becoming a major market for advanced materials suppliers. Long researched in labs worldwide, OLED displays are becoming a market reality, especially in mobile phones.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Bone hard

The mechanical properties of the intermetallic compound β-Ti3Au suggest that this material is well suited for medical applications where Ti is already used, with some examples including replacement parts and components (both permanent and temporary), dental prosthetics, and implants.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Attracting electrons

Electrons have potential for mutual attraction. Nanotube system overcomes natural repulsion in possible step toward advanced superconductors.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Where's the dark matter?

The world’s most sensitive dark matter detector has just completed its 20 month search for the "missing mass" of the universe. It found none.

Friday, 12 August 2016

New imec partnership in Florida

imec, the Leuven based nanoelectronics research centre  has opened a new facility in Osceola, Florida devoted to photonics and high-speed electronics IC design.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

We all need a road map

The 2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors has been published.

Monday, 8 August 2016

It's a gas!

The Tanzanian East African Rift Valley could soon become a much needed new major source of helium gas.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Osmotic power

EPFL researchers have devised a system that generates electricity from osmosis. It consists of a salt water containing compartment separated from another containing fresh water by a thin membrane of molybdenum disulphide. The membrane has a hole, or nanopore, through which ions pass into the fresh water until the two fluids’ salt concentrations are equal. As the ions pass through the nanopore, their electrons are transferred to an electrode generating a current. According to their calculations, a one metre square membrane with 30% of its surface covered by nanopores should be able to produce 1MW of electricity.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Science fixes?

Are most papers generated for the advancement of careers rather than advancement of human knowledge? Should research funding be allocated by lottery? Do we reward splashy results over rigorous methodology? Not random ramblings but ideas from a thought provoking article based on the responses of 270 (predominantly) biomedical and social scientists in the USA. It aims to identify perceived problems facing science and offers fixes for each. A small, limited survey but it certainly raises questions and probably has lessons and ideas for a much wider community.

Monday, 1 August 2016

M&M launch of Pathfinder Software Platform

“Researchers and scientists in microscopy labs are challenged to obtain consistent, reliable and rapid answers when analyzing the most complex chemical and elemental samples,” said Kevin Fairfax, business director, surface analysis and microanalysis, for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Pathfinder software is designed to deliver actionable results. It takes advantage of advanced computing power and features an intuitive design that supplements an electron microscope image by rapidly identifying the chemical phases in the sample. Pathfinder represents an industry shift toward push-button operation that eliminates the need for subjective user interpretation.”

Friday, 29 July 2016

50 hours a week

Science says you shouldn't work more than this number of hours a week

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Sketch and shop

Computer sketches set to make online shopping much easier

Monday, 25 July 2016

Green therapy

Dose of nature is just what the doctor ordered

Friday, 22 July 2016

Flower power

KIT scientists increase the efficiency of solar cells by replicating the structure of petals

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Six of the best

SEMI and Solid State Technology Announce the 2016 “Best of West” Award Finalists

Monday, 18 July 2016

Eat like a Martian?

Four crops grown in simulated Martian soil are safe to eat. Dutch scientists are testing more crops to see if they can grow safely on Mars.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Be a Martian

Mars needs YOU! In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers . . . but most of all YOU!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Weights are measured

As part of the project to redefine the kilogram the NIST-4 watt balance has completed new measurements of Planck’s constant. The value of h being 6.62606983 x 10–34 kg.m2/s with an uncertainty of plus or minus 22 on the last two digits.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Beam me up Houston

Researchers at the University of Houston have used surface-enhanced near-infrared absorption spectroscopy for chemical and refractive index sensing.

Friday, 8 July 2016

China retains lead

China has kept its number one ranking in the latest TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers. The new system is built entirely using processors designed and made in China it can perform at 93 petaflops/s with a peak power consumption of 15.37 MW.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Nano-watermark

Ever bought a fake Rolex or counterfeit Chopard? Probably not, but recent work by EPFL based start-up Nanoga may reduce the chances even further. The team has developed a deposition and photolithographic technique to put a nanoscopic watermark onto glass. The nano-watermark being visible under ultraviolet light. Initially developed for high-end sapphire crystal watches, the company has patented a system of photonic watermarks for glass, ceramic and metal.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Art non nouveau

Most organisations have a depressing hidden storeroom, the repository for the unloved and unwanted, the graveyard for no longer used equipment. We are grateful for Neil Davey (Thermo Fisher Scientific) for alerting us to Northwestern University’s brilliant solution; redefine old apparatus as artwork. Gate B11 at Chicago O’Hare airport has an interesting exhibit. The VG VG FIM100 atom-probe field-ion microscope was originally installed by our own Carl Richardson many years ago. I await seeing the diamond encrusted Escalab MkII on show at Heathrow.