Following my retirement, we have closed our company for new business.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, our email portal remains open and I would be delighted to hear from you and provide ongoing support or advice.

Richard Thomson

support@rta-instruments.com

Companies represented up to the end of December 2023. Please now contact them directly.

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977
requestinfo@k-space.com
https://www.k-space.com

STAIB INSTRUMENTS GmbH
Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0
sales@staibinstruments.com
https://www.staibinstruments.com/

Friday 29 June 2012

Graphene solar cells

Whilst still less than 10% efficient a team at The University of Florida has produced higher efficient graphene solar cells. The group was able to achieve an impressive 8.6 percent efficiency device by chemically doping, the graphene with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide. Their results are published in the online edition of Nano Letters.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Gamma optics

Experimenting at the Institut Laue-Langevin scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt in Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching have been using silicon prisms to look at the diffraction of gamma rays. The group is looking at gamma ray optics applications for the possible three dimensional, micrometre scale brain mapping of the impact of lithium based drugs used to treat depression.

Monday 25 June 2012

Apfel Fernsehen?

Maybe, maybe not. Are Apple really making a TV? A (later denied) press comment last month by Apple's partner Foxconn seemed to indicate that they are working with Sharp in Japan to prepare for production of the Apple television set. However the rumour mill further accelerated with a Reuters story that Apple is looking to buy the German based premium television set manufacturer Loewe AG. If this story ever does end and the fabled TV comes into existence I really cannot even begin to contemplate the queues that will engulf the Apple stores and their environs.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Raspberry snap

Those clever chaps at Raspberry Pi have demonstrated a camera module for their low cost computer ($35 gets you 256Mb RAM, 2 USB port and an Ethernet port and there is a lower spec $25 version). They don’t have a price for the camera module yet as they need to finalise the exact hardware. They have promised to ensure that it’s very affordable.

Monday 18 June 2012

Lobe to joy?

As Beethoven's hearing declined, the composer devised a way to hear music through his jawbone by biting onto a rod attached to his piano. This effect, know as bone/tissue conduction, is being put to good effect by Japanese mobile telephone manufacturer Kyocera to help overcome difficulties in hearing due to high ambient noise. Kyocera's phone display vibrates to create sound waves that are transmitted to your inner ear when you press the phone on your ear. In essence, the phone itself acts like a low powered speaker, but instead of a membrane, it is the actual screen that vibrates to emit sound waves. The sound waves then travel through your ear and skin by tissue conduction to reach the cochlea.

Thursday 14 June 2012

What's in a name?

Quite a lot of money seems to be the answer. The latest BrandZ study by agency Millward Brown confirms that Apple has maintained its place as the world's most valuable brand over the past year, leading a group of technology-related companies. Apple's brand is valued at $183 billion with IBM ($116 billion) second followed by Google, MacDonalds and Microsoft. Interestingly Marlboro moved up one place to seventh place despite anti-smoking campaigns in much of the world. Seven of the top 10 are technology-related firms. Technology and telecomm brands account for about 44% of the value of the 2012 top 100 most valuable brands up from about one third in 2006. Are we surprised to read: within this challenging environment only a few [bank] brands appreciated in value ?

Apple's Tim Cook currently tops the list of US CEO compensation.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Killer LEDs

We are familiar with the ever increasing use of LEDs in display and lighting applications. Recent work by a group at North Carolina State University on carbon reductions within the AlN substrates within AlN/AlGaN LEDs showed a reduction in UV absorption. The work aims to develop energy-efficient LED devices that use ultraviolet light to kill pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, with uses ranging from drinking-water treatment to sterilizing surgical tools. Commercial applications incorporating this technology are being developed via an NC State spin-off company Hexa Tech, Inc.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Transit of Venus

Former colleague and RTA Newsletter reader Greg Parker put overnight effort into downloading images from the orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory between 11:00 pm on the 5th and 6:00 am on the 6th June during the Transit of Venus. He has put the images together into a little animation.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Complimentary Webinar: Unleashing the Power of COMPASS, Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Finding answers to questions raised in advanced materials sciences requires analytical techniques that reveal new insights. In the SEM/EDS field, new software algorithms focus exclusively on the spectrum part of X-ray spectroscopy with the application of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Multivariate Statistical Analysis (MSA) on datasets collected using Spectral Imaging. For more information and webinar times follow this link.