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+ - Computer's Heat Sink Used To Slash Cost Of Medical Diagnostic Test->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Researchers have harnessed that heat from a computer CPU to run the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify DNA in a blood sample. The team developed software that cycles the temperature of the CPU to drive PCR’s three distinct steps.The method allowed them to detect miniscule amounts of DNA from a pathogenic parasite that causes Chagas disease. They hope their technique will lead to low-cost diagnostic tests in developing countries."
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+ - Researchers Print Electronic Memory On Paper->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Electronics printed on paper promise to be cheap, flexible, and recyclable, and could lead to applications such as smart labels on foods and pharmaceuticals or as wearable medical sensors. Many engineers have managed to print transistors and solar cells on paper, but one key component of a smart device has been missing—memory. Now a group of researchers has developed a method that uses ink-jet technology to print resistive random access memory on an ordinary piece of 8.5 by 11 inches paper. The memory is robust: Engineers could bend the device 1,000 times without any loss of performance."
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+ - Reproducing a Monet Painting with Aluminum Nanostructures->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Plasmonic printing is a recently developed method to create color images using different shapes and sizes of gold or silver nanostructures. It relies on the oscillations of electrons in the metal surfaces and can produce images with a resolution 100 times that of a common desktop printer. Now researchers have expanded the color palette of the technique using tiny aluminum-capped nanopillars. Each pixel consists of four nanopillars; tuning the diameters and arrangement of the pillars produced a palette of more than 300 different colors. Using these pixels, the researchers created a microscale reproduction of Claude Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise.”"
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+ - Spinning Stretchy Graphene Oxide Yarns

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "Chemists report a new process for making carbon fibers from graphene oxide that promises to be a scalable, organic-solvent-free route to new kinds of strong, lightweight materials. They coat a large surface with an aqueous solution of graphene oxide and let the water evaporate, leaving a dried sheet of the nanomaterial. Then by taping down one end of the sheet and attaching an electric screwdriver to the other end (video), they can spin the sheet into a yarn. The fibers are tough and stretchy, elongating 76% before fracturing. Unlike conventional carbon fibers, these graphene oxide fibers can be knotted and knitted, opening up potential applications in energy-storing textiles, novel optical materials, and wearable electronics."

+ - First Transistors Made Entirely Of 2-D Materials->

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "Two independent research groups report the first transistors built entirely of two-dimensional electronic materials, making the devices some of the thinnest yet. The transistors, just a few atoms thick and hence transparent, are smaller than their silicon-based counterparts, which would allow for a super-high density of pixels in flexible, next-generation displays. The research teams, one at Argonne National Laboratory and the other at the University of California, Berkeley, used materials such as tungsten diselenide, graphene, and boron nitride to make all three components of a transistor: a semiconductor, a set of electrodes, and an insulating layer. Electrons travel in the devices 70 to 100 times faster than in amorphous silicon. Such a high electron mobility means the transistors switch faster, which dictates a display’s refresh rate and is necessary for high-quality video, especially 3-D video."
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+ - Printing Holograms At Home->

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "Holograms are a common security element on banknotes, credit cards, passports, and medicine packaging. Consumers usually can’t make their own holograms, because the images are recorded and printed with costly instruments and complex methods. Now a fast, simple holography technique can produce a hologram within a few seconds and with some common materials. Researchers at Cambridge University used permanent-marker ink coated on plastic as the recording medium. Ultrashort pulses of light from a common Nd:YAG laser engraved the holographic pattern by heating up the ink and vaporizing it. The new technique can record holograms directly on curved surfaces and on any type of material, such as tape or a plastic bottle cap. The researchers envision integrating the technology into desktop printers so that anyone could make holograms at home."
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+ - An Electrochemical Method Rapidly Produces High-Quality Graphene ->

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "Graphene is easy to acquire in small amounts. But mass production of the strong, conductive, two-dimensional carbon material for commercial uses remains a challenge. Now, scientists have shown they can rapidly produce large quantities of graphene using a bath of inorganic salts and an electric current. Researchers placed two electrodes, one made of platinum and the other of graphite, into an inorganic salt solution, and ran a direct current through them. The graphite electrode shed layers of carbon into the solution, turning more than 75% of the electrode into graphene flakes. In one test using ammonium sulfate as the salt, the researchers were able to produce approximately 16.3 g of graphene in 30 minutes. The researchers see the potential to scale up production to the kilogram scale needed for industrial use."
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+ - Promising Solar Cell Materials Also Emit Laser Light->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Perovskites have recently become a hot topic in photovoltaics research. They have high light-to-electricity conversion efficiencies, and are inexpensive and easy to make. Scientists in the U.K. now show that the materials also can be used to make lasers. The researchers demonstrated that a perovskite can convert 70% of absorbed light into emitted light. This remarkably high luminescent efficiency suggests the materials could be used in low-cost lasers and LEDs."
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+ - Simple Coating Boosts Efficiency of Thin-Film Silicon Solar Cells->

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "A light-absorbing coating made of metal nanoparticles transforms a low-efficiency solar cell made of an inexpensive form of silicon into one with promising performance. Researchers placed four layers of nanoparticles on top of a 12-micrometer-thick solar cell made of metallurgical silicon, which is one-tenth the cost of the single-crystalline silicon used to make the most efficient solar cells. The resulting device absorbs 98% of the sunlight that hits it and converts nearly 11% of the light into electrical energy. Further research on this coating of metal nanostructures could help improve the performance of other kinds of solar panels without adding much to their cost, the developers say."
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+ - Sulfur Polymers Could Enable Long-Lasting, High-Capacity Batteries->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Lithium-sulfur batteries promise to store four to five times as much energy as today’s best lithium-ion batteries. But their short lifetimes have stood in the way of their commercialization. Now researchers demonstrate that a sulfur-based polymer could be the solution for lightweight, inexpensive batteries that store large amounts of energy. Battery electrodes made from the material have one of the highest energy-storage capacities ever reported"
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+ - Cleaner Graphene Offers Better Device Performance->

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "Graphene has a dirty little secret. When researchers build electronic devices with it, the standard process they use to move sheets of the delicate, single-atom-thick material into place can lead to contamination or damage that reduces device performance. But now, researchers in Taiwan have developed a simple and elegant way to transfer graphene that keeps the material clean. To test their new transfer method, the researchers made a series of devices, including graphene-based transistors. Electrical charges could move 50% faster through the transistors than in those made with graphene transferred by the conventional method. One researcher suggests the new method could be used to make a type of extremely low-power transistor with interesting quantum effects, called a BiSFET, which ideally needs very clean graphene."
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+ - October 2015: The End of the Swipe-and-Sign Credit Cards in USA->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "US banks and merchants are shifting to a more secure way of authorizing credit card transactions in which customers will enter a personal identification number (PIN) at checkout instead of signing a receipt.

The US is the last major market in the world using the signature system, which is part of the reason why a disproportionate amount of credit card fraud happens here. The change is especially relevant given the massive fraud perpetrated against customers of Target in the fall. During a Congressional hearing last week, Target CFO John Mulligan said the company is accelerating the $100 million effort to switch to the so-called "chip and pin" system.

The change won't happen all at once. Banks must issue cards with microprocessors and merchants need the right equipment to process the so-called "chip and PIN transactions," which is likely to happen gradually. But Visa, American Express, and MasterCard have announced that banks and merchants that have not adopted the technology for face-to-face transactions by October 2015 will be liable for fraudulent purchases. That's a strong incentive to get up to date. The new system will also prepare merchants and banks to transition to contactless payments in the near future."

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+ - Device Mines Precious Phosphorus From Sewage->

Submitted by ckwu
ckwu (2886397) writes "Scientists predict that the scarcity of phosphorus will increase over the next few decades as the growing demand for agricultural fertilizer depletes geologic reserves of the element. Meanwhile, phosphates released from wastewater into natural waterways can cause harmful algal blooms and low-oxygen conditions that can threaten to kill fish. Now a team of researchers has designed a system that could help solve both of these problems. It captures phosphorus from sewage waste and delivers clean water using a combined osmosis-distillation process. The system improves upon current methods by reducing the amounts of chemicals needed to precipitate a phosphorus mineral from the wastewater, thus bringing down the cost of the recovery process."
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+ - Green-Building Labels Trigger A Race To The Top->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Rib eye steaks, washing machines, and even buildings can don labels signaling their environmental sustainability. As the number of organizations that hand out these ecolabels grows, some researchers wonder if the tags are merely window dressing or if they actually push producers to improve the sustainability of their goods. In a new study, economists looked at the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program (LEED), which certifies buildings that use resources efficiently and are built with sustainable materials. The researchers show, for the first time, that this ecolabel provides a marketing bonus that pushes firms to construct buildings that are more sustainable than they would have otherwise."
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+ - Plastic Films Pin Water Droplets Like Rose Petals Do->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice (2611475) writes "Materials scientists often turn to the plant kingdom for ideas on how to design surfaces that trap or repel water. Some have mimicked the surfaces of rose petals to engineer nanoscale patterns that cling to water droplets. Now researchers report a simple method to print large-area, water-pinning plastic films. They etch the nanoscale patterns onto a metal or silicon drum, heat the drum, and then press it against sheets of plastic to emboss the sheets with the nanoscale features. With a practical manufacturing method, water-trapping plastics could find commercial applications, such as controlling condensation in greenhouses or liquid flow in microfluidic devices."
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