One strategy for addressing the world's energy crisis is to stop wasting so much energy when producing and using it, such as in coal-fired power plants or transportation. Nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. Now scientists have discovered a surprising material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to useful electricity. This outstanding property could be exploited in solid-state thermoelectric devices, with potentially enormous energy savings.
Scientists have created a compound semiconductor of nearly perfect quality with embedded nanostructures containing ordered lines of atoms that can manipulate light energy in the mid-infrared range. More efficient solar cells, less risky and higher resolution biological imaging, and the ability to transmit massive amounts of data at higher speeds are only a few applications that this unique semiconductor will be able to support.
Researchers have developed a method to allow a computer to give advice and teach skills to another computer in a way that mimics how a real teacher and student might interact. Researchers had the agents -- as the virtual robots are called -- act like true student and teacher pairs: student agents struggled to learn Pac-Man and a version of the StarCraft video game. The researchers were able to show that the student agent learned the games and, in fact, surpassed the teacher.
By harnessing an electropolymerization process to produce aligned arrays of polymer nanofibers, researchers have developed a thermal interface material able to conduct heat 20 times better than the original polymer. The material can operate at up to 200 degrees Celsius.
Scientists have discovered a potential way to make graphene -- a single layer of carbon atoms with great promise for future electronics -- superconducting, a state in which it would carry electricity with 100 percent efficiency.
It has long been known that light exerts powerful effects on the brain and on our well-being. Light is not only required for vision but is also essential for a wide range of “non-visual” functions including synchronization of our biological clock to the 24h day-night cycle. A novel photoreceptor has now been shown to be an essential component for relaying light information to a set of so-called non-visual centers in the brain. Continuous changes in light throughout the day also change us, new research suggests.
Researchers have developed a statistical method for genetic screens that improves the classic genome-wide association screen, and, applying to autism, have uncovered genes related to the disorder that had not been suggested in previous analyses. The scientists offer evidence that beginning treatment in infants at the first symptoms could change the course of the disease, possibly preventing the permanent “pruning” of neurons, which occurs during the first two years of life, from cementing autistic symptoms in place.
Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new study. In terms of accuracy, it's no video camera. Rather, memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences to aid survival. Love at first sight, for example, is more likely a trick of your memory than a Hollywood-worthy moment.
Scientists have demonstrated broadband terahertz wave generation using metamaterials. The discovery may help develop noninvasive imaging and sensing, and make possible terahertz-speed information communication, processing and storage.
A new nano-membrane made out of the 'super material' graphene is extremely light and breathable. Not only can this open the door to a new generation of functional waterproof clothing, but also to ultra-rapid filtration. The new membrane just produced is as thin as is technologically possible.
Scientists reported the first human recipients of laboratory-grown vaginal organs. They have described long-term success in four teenage girls who received vaginal organs that were engineered with their own cells.
Engineers have demonstrated that it is possible to generate nanostructures from silk in an environmentally friendly process that uses water as a developing agent and standard fabrication techniques. This approach provides a green alternative to the toxic materials commonly used in nanofabrication while delivering fabrication quality comparable to conventional synthetic polymers. Nanofabrication is at the heart of manufacture of semi-conductors and other electronic and photonic devices.
A computer model is a representation of the functional relationship between one set of parameters, which forms the model input, and a corresponding set of target parameters, which forms the model output. A true model for a particular problem can rarely be defined with certainty. The most we can do to mitigate error is to quantify the uncertainty in the model. Scientists have now offered a method to incorporate judgments into a model about structural uncertainty that results from building an 'incorrect' model.
New research demonstrates for the first time that there is a close relationship between body perception and the ability to remember. For us to be able to store new memories from our lives, we need to feel that we are in our own body. According to researchers, the results could be of major importance in understanding the memory problems that psychiatric patients often exhibit.
Scientists have built the thinnest-known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics. The LED is based off of two-dimensional, flexible semiconductors, making it possible to stack or use in much smaller and more diverse applications than current technology allows.
The ultimate challenge in the race to miniaturize light emitting diodes (LED) has now been met: Scientists have developed the first ever single-molecule LED. The device is formed from a single polythiophene wire placed between the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope and a gold surface. It emits light only when the current passes in a certain direction.
"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.
A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has successfully developed a method to chemically exfoliate molybdenum disulfide crystals, a class of chalcogenide compounds, into high quality monolayer flakes, with higher yield...