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Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Jun 17, 2024

Charge your Laptop in a Minute? Supercapacitors can help; new research offers clues

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, computing, engineering, mobile phones, sustainability, transportation

Imagine if your dead laptop or phone could charge in a minute or if an electric car could be fully powered in 10 minutes. While not possible yet, new research by a team of CU Boulder scientists could potentially lead to such advances.

Published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers in Ankur Gupta’s lab discovered how ions, move within a complex network of minuscule pores. The breakthrough could lead to the development of more efficient energy storage devices, such as supercapacitors, said Gupta, an assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering.

“Given the critical role of energy in the future of the planet, I felt inspired to apply my chemical engineering knowledge to advancing energy storage devices,” Gupta said. “It felt like the topic was somewhat underexplored and, as such, the perfect opportunity.”

Jun 17, 2024

From Common White Powder to Quantum Innovation: Unlocking Nearly Noiseless Qubits

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, engineering, particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers discovered that bismuth atoms embedded in calcium oxide can function as qubits for quantum computers, providing a low-noise, durable, and inexpensive alternative to current materials. This groundbreaking study highlights its potential to transform quantum computing and telecommunications.

Calcium oxide is an inexpensive, chalky chemical compound frequently used in the manufacturing of cement, plaster, paper, and steel. However, the common material may soon have a more high-tech application.

Scientists used theoretical and computational approaches to discover how tiny, lone atoms of bismuth embedded within solid calcium oxide can act as qubits — the building blocks of quantum computers and quantum communication devices. These qubits were described by University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering researchers and their collaborator in Sweden on June 6 in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

Jun 17, 2024

Revolutionary Rover Tech Tames Extreme Moon Temperatures

Posted by in categories: climatology, engineering, space

A team from Nagoya University invented a heat-switch device for lunar rovers to withstand the Moon’s extreme temperatures. The technology optimizes thermal control, alternating between cooling and insulating, facilitating longer missions with less energy.

Astronauts navigating the moon’s terrain in a vehicle contend with not only the perils of zero gravity and potential crater falls, but also drastic temperature swings. The moon’s climate ranges from searing highs of 127°C (260°F) to bone-chilling lows of −173°C (−280°F).

Team from Nagoya University in Japan developed a heat-switch device designed to enhance the durability of lunar rovers. Their collaborative research with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency was featured in the journal Applied Thermal Engineering.

Jun 15, 2024

Voyager 1 Returning Science Data From All Four Instruments

Posted by in categories: engineering, health, particle physics, science, space

Most distant spacecraft, #Voyager1, is now returning data from all four science instruments for the first time following a technical issue last November.


NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft is conducting normal science operations for the first time following a technical issue that arose in November 2023.

The team partially resolved the issue in April when they prompted the spacecraft to begin returning engineering data, which includes information about the health and status of the spacecraft. On May 19, the mission team executed the second step of that repair process and beamed a command to the spacecraft to begin returning science data. Two of the four science instruments returned to their normal operating modes immediately. Two other instruments required some additional work, but now, all four are returning usable science data.

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Jun 14, 2024

Researchers create nanocubes forming floating checkerboards via self-assembly

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology

Researchers have engineered nanosized cubes that spontaneously form a two-dimensional checkerboard pattern when dropped on the surface of water. The work, published in Nature Communications (“Self-assembly of nanocrystal checkerboard patterns via non-specific interactions”), presents a simple approach to create complex nanostructures through a technique called self-assembly.

“It’s a cool way to get materials to build themselves,” said study co-senior author Andrea Tao, a professor in the Aiiso Yufeng Li Family Department of Chemical and Nano Engineering at the University of California San Diego. “You don’t have to go into a nanofabrication lab and do all these complex and precise manipulations.”

Each nanocube is composed of a silver crystal with a mixture of hydrophobic (oily) and hydrophilic (water-loving) molecules attached to the surface. When a suspension of these nanocubes is introduced to a water surface, they arrange themselves such that they touch at their corner edges. This arrangement creates an alternating pattern of solid cubes and empty spaces, resulting in a checkerboard pattern.

Jun 14, 2024

Engineering brain assembloids to interrogate human neural circuits

Posted by in categories: engineering, genetics, neuroscience

A protocol is described for generating human brain assembloids and performing viral labeling and retrograde tracing, 3D live imaging of axon projection and optogenetics with calcium imaging and electrophysiological recordings to model neural circuits.

Jun 13, 2024

Tunable entangled photon-pair generation in a liquid crystal

Posted by in categories: engineering, quantum physics

One of the most remarkable features discovered in these experiments is the unprecedented tunability of the two-photon state, achieved by manipulating the LC molecular orientation. By re-orienting the molecules through the application of an electric field, we can dynamically switch the polarization state of the generated photon pairs. This level of control over the photon pairs’ polarization properties is a crucial advancement, offering opportunities for quantum-state engineering in the sources with pixelwise-tunable optical properties, both linear and nonlinear.

Alternatively, we can manipulate the polarization state by implementing a molecular orientation twist along the sample. This approach adds versatility to the design and utilization of LC-based photon-pair sources. Moreover, a strong twist along the sample can markedly increase the efficiency of a macroscopically large source, similar to the periodic poling of bulk crystals and waveguides, but much simpler technologically, as the structure is self-assembled and may be tuned with temperature and electric field39. Owing to their nonlinear coefficient comparable to the best nonlinear crystals, such as lithium niobate, and high damage threshold, FNLCs are perfectly suitable for practical applications. Furthermore, high-quality LC devices such as LC displays are made on an industrial scale, which, combined with our work, opens a path to scalable and cheap production of quantum light sources while exceeding the existing ones in efficiency and functionality.

In the future, the electric-field tuning could be expanded to multi-pixel devices, which have the potential to generate tunable high-dimensional entanglement and multiphoton states. Furthermore, FNLCs can self-assemble in a variety of complex topological structures, which are expected to emit photon pairs in complex, spatially varying beams (structured light), such as vector and vortex beams40. The liquid nature of FNLCs opens a path to their integration with existing optical platforms such as fibres41, waveguides42 and metasurfaces43.

Jun 12, 2024

Quantum dot based metasurface enables two objects to exist in the same space

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, nanotechnology, quantum physics

In relationships, sharing closer spaces naturally deepens the connection as bonds form and strengthen through increasing shared memories. This principle applies not only to human interactions but also to engineering. Recently, an intriguing study was published demonstrating the use of quantum dots to create metasurfaces, enabling two objects to exist in the same space.

Professor Junsuk Rho from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Chemical Engineering, and the Department of Electrical Engineering, PhD candidates Minsu Jeong, Byoungsu Ko, and Jaekyung Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Chunghwan Jung, a PhD candidate, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) employed Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) to fabricate metasurfaces embedded with quantum dots, enhancing their luminescence efficiency. Their research was recently published in Nano Letters (“Printable Light-Emitting Metasurfaces with Enhanced Directional Photoluminescence”).

(Left) Schematic diagram of the fabrication of a luminescence-controlled metasurface using the nanoimprint lithography process. (Right) Experiment evaluating the performance of the metasurface’s luminescence control. (Image: POSTECH)

Jun 12, 2024

Scientists Achieve Million-Fold Energy Enhancement in Diamond Optical Antennas

Posted by in categories: energy, engineering, physics

Theory has become practice as new work from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering taps diamond defects’ remarkable ability to concentrate optical energy.

Researchers have developed atomic antennas using germanium vacancy centers in diamonds, achieving a million-fold optical energy enhancement. This advancement allows the study of fundamental physics and opens new research avenues. The collaboration between theoretical and experimental teams was essential to this breakthrough.

Atomic antennas: harnessing light for powerful signals.

Jun 11, 2024

World’s heaviest soaring bird inspires wind power design

Posted by in categories: engineering, military, sustainability

When placed at the tip of a turbine blade, the c-shaped “winglet” inspired by the condor reduces drag, potentially increasing the turbine’s efficiency by up to 10% in optimal conditions, according to a study published in the journal Energy.

The wings of soaring birds have also been adapted for use in commercial and military aircraft around the world to increase their lift, says co-author Brian Fleck, a professor of mechanical engineering and expert in fluid dynamics.

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