Want your computer to go faster? Just add light

Every second, your com­puter must process bil­lions of com­pu­ta­tional steps to pro­duce even the sim­plest out­puts. Imagine if every one of those steps could be made just a tiny bit more effi­cient. “It would save pre­cious nanosec­onds,” explained North­eastern Uni­ver­sity assis­tant pro­fessor of physics Swastik Kar.

Scientists complete top quark puzzle

Scientists on the CDF and DZero experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have announced that they have found the final predicted way of creating a top quark, completing a picture of this particle nearly 20 years in the making.

3D printer creates transformative device for heart treatment

Using an inexpensive 3-D printer, biomedical engineers have developed a custom-fitted, implantable device with embedded sensors that could transform treatment and prediction of cardiac disorders.

Does climate engineering have a future?

With global greenhouse gas emissions continuing to increase proposals to limit the effects of climate change through the large-scale manipulation of the Earth system are increasingly being discussed.

Vibration energy the secret to self-powered electronics

A multi-university team of engineers has developed what could be a promising solution for charging smartphone batteries on the go — without the need for an electrical cord.

How to make cheaper second-gen biofuel

Producing second-generation biofuel from dead plant tissue is environmetally friendly - but it is also expensive because the process as used today needs expensive enzymes, and large companies dominate this market.

A new laser for a faster Internet

The study was published the week of February 10–14 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work is the result of a five-year effort by researchers in the laboratory of Amnon Yariv, Martin and Eileen Summerfield Professor of Applied Physics and professor of electrical engineering; the project was led by postdoctoral scholar Christos Santis (PhD '13) and graduate student Scott Steger.

Will plug-in cars crash the electric grid?

Selecting a Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf — or one of many other new models — shoppers in the United States bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars in 2013. That’s a tiny slice of the auto market, but it’s up eighty-four percent from the year before. In Vermont, as of January 2014, there were 679 plug-in vehicles, according to the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. That’s two hundred percent growth over 2013.

New, inexpensive production materials boost promise of hydrogen fuel

Generating electricity is not the only way to turn sunlight into energy we can use on demand. The sun can also drive reactions to create chemical fuels, such as hydrogen, that can in turn power cars, trucks and trains.

Rise of the compliant machines

Are we on the brink of a robotics revolution? That’s what numerous media outlets asked last December when Google acquired eight robotics companies that specialize in such innovations as manipulation, vision, and humanoid robots.

Using holograms to improve electronic devices

A team of researchers from the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering and Russian Academy of Science have demonstrated a new type of holographic memory device that could provide unprecedented data storage capacity and data processing capabilities in electronic devices.

A step closer to a photonic future

The future of computing may lie not in electrons, but in photons – that is, in microprocessors that use light instead of electrical signals. But these so-called photonic devices are typically built using customized methods that make them difficult and expensive to manufacture.

An essential step toward printing living tissues

A new bioprinting method developed at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) creates intricately patterned 3D tissue constructs with multiple types of cells and tiny blood vessels. The work represents a major step toward a longstanding goal of tissue engineers: creating human tissue constructs realistic enough to test drug safety and effectiveness.

Pond-dwelling powerhouse's genome points to its biofuel potential

Duckweed is a tiny floating plant that's been known to drive people daffy. It's one of the smallest and fastest-growing flowering plants that often becomes a hard-to-control weed in ponds and small lakes. But it's also been exploited to clean contaminated water and as a source to produce pharmaceuticals.

Kinetic battery chargers get a boost

New technology to capture the kinetic energy of our everyday movements, such as walking, and to convert it into electrical energy has come a step closer thanks to research to be published in the International Journal Biomechatronics and Biomedical Robotics.  

Embarking on geoengineering, then stopping, would speed up global warming

Spraying reflective particles into the atmosphere to reflect sunlight and then stopping it could exacerbate the problem of climate change, according to new research by atmospheric scientists at the University of Washington.

Solar-induced hybrid fuel cell produces electricity directly from biomass

Although low temperature fuel cells powered by methanol or hydrogen have been well studied, existing low temperature fuel cell technologies cannot directly use biomass as a fuel because of the lack of an effective catalyst system for polymeric materials.

Evolution stuck in slime for a billion years

Tasmanian researchers have revealed ancient conditions that almost ended life on Earth, using a new technique they developed to hunt for mineral deposits.

New 'pomegranate-inspired' design solves problems for lithium-ion batteries

An electrode designed like a pomegranate – with silicon nanoparticles clustered like seeds in a tough carbon rind – overcomes several remaining obstacles to using silicon for a new generation of lithium-ion batteries, say its inventors at Stanford University and the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

Is truth stranger than fiction? Yes, especially for science fiction

From warp drives to hyperspace, science fiction has continuously borrowed from, and sometimes anticipated, the state of the art in scientific progress. This has resulted in the perception that science and science fiction have a causal relationship, one finding direction from and fulfilling the science fantasy laid out before it.