When researchers from the University of Chicago and Penn State University turned on the lights in the lab they were working, they discovered an optical effect that is likely to further new developments in emerging technologies. They found that the lab’s room lights emitted at a wavelength that changed the electronic properties of the materials they were studying.
Quite by chance, the scientists discovered a new way of using light to draw and erase quantum-mechanical circuits like a high tech Etch A Sketch. Using topological insulators, a type of material with rare quantum properties, the researchers “tuned” the energy of their electrons using light without having to touch the materials. This is significant because the materials are fragile, and traditional semiconductor engineering techniques tend to destroy their quantum properties.
The electrons in the insulators are believed to be useful in the development of spin-based electronics and quantum computers. For the first time, researchers were able to draw and erase p-n junctions, one of the central components of a transistor, in a topological insulator. The work should be applicable to a wide range of nanoscale materials, including complex oxides, graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides.
Instead of spending weeks in the cleanroom and potentially contaminating materials, researchers can now sketch and measure devices for experiments in real time and just erase it when they’re done.
University of Utah professors have turned discarded pieces of tortillas into LEDs. The key is food waste. The researchers have synthesized food and beverage waste, including soft drinks, bread and tortillas, into carbon dots (CDs), which ultimately resulted in LEDs.
Quantum dots (QD), or tiny crystals that have luminescent properties and produce light, can be made from many different kinds of materials—some of which are toxic. CDs, or QDs made of carbon, eliminate concerns over toxic waste as the food and beverages themselves are not toxic.
During development, researchers placed the waste into a solvent under pressure and high temperature until the CDs were formed. The waste was heated both directly and indirectly from 30 to 90 minutes. After finding traces of CDs, the researchers illuminated them and monitored their formation and color. Because the dots are only 20 nanometers or smaller in diameter, multiple tests were run to determine the presence of CDs and what optical properties they possess. For comparison, a strand of human hair is approximately 75,000 nanometers in diameter.
Lastly, the CDs were suspended in epoxy resins, heated and hardened for use in LEDs.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 31 percent of food produced in 2014 was not available for human consumption. This makes the new process both cost-effective and environmentally friendly over the commonly used cadmium selenide, which is toxic when broken down and expensive—about $529 for 25 ml.
3D printing is one of the hottest topics in the tech space now, but did you know it is saving lives? Professors from the University of Michigan created a 3D-printed lung split that was used in 2011 to save the life of a six-week-old infant with severe tracheobronchomalacia, a rare disease of the central airways. When the infant’s trachea and left bronchus collapsed, preventing crucial airflow from reaching his lungs, the child underwent a tracheostomy and was put on a ventilator—only it didn’t work.
At the time, only a prototype of the 3D-printed device existed. The doctors obtained emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration. A CT scan of the trachea and bronchus was used to design the device. With computer modeling software, doctors created a splint that perfectly matched the child’s windpipe and printed it with a biodegradable polyester called polycaprolactone.
The splint envelopes the outside of the bronchus. Sutures pass through the splint to tether the trachea, which expands the bronchus and inflates the trachea. The splint opens with growth and will dissolve within three years. While it may sound like science fiction, this successful procedure is paving the way for advances in dissolvable devices printed for medical use and surgical reconstruction.
A “lint-free wiper” Google search yields thousands upon thousands of returns. With all those results, certainly one must actually be “lint-free,” right? Wrong.
That’s because lint refers to the short, fine fibers that pull away from the surface of a fabric. Since fabric is used to make wipers, lint is a natural consequence regardless of fabric type. So, whether you select man-made polyester or nylon, natural cotton or cellulose, or a blend, you can’t completely circumvent lingering lint.
The term “lint-free” originated in the early 1980s with the advent of air particle measurements or “dry testing.” These tests resulted in few, if any, visible particles on wiped surfaces, and hence the phrase was coined. A few years later, “wet testing” revealed significant numbers of particles microscopically. Wiper experts from Berkshire recommend you exercise caution when it comes to “lint-free” wipers, and wipe away the “lint-free” fallacy, particularly in your cleanrooms.
Ever snapped the head off a bolt? Chances are the anti-seize you almost grabbed would have saved you a lot of time, not to mention aggravation.
Although they’ve been around since the 1940s, anti-seize lubricants are widely misunderstood and under-utilized. So, what is the typical application for an anti-seize? Any bolted joint which experiences a high temperature environment and requires future maintenance. It also improves gasket performance, prevents galling, protects against corrosive environments and more.
Is it worth the extra step? If you’re interested in saving time and lowering equipment replacement costs, you may want to consider an anti-seize lubricant.
One application for an anti-seize is during the assembly and disassembly of outside equipment. Anti-seize can be used to fill in the gaps between threads on a bolt. The lubricant protects against moisture and adds lubricity, so the bolt can be easily removed and replaced as needed.
The applications for anti-seize are virtually limitless. Save a bolt or two—and the ensuing headache; try Henkel Loctite anti-seize lubricants for maximum efficiency.