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NRC releases report on energy efficiency in autos by 2050
10 Jun | MRS BulletinFull Text External Link Indicator
"The National Research Council finds that by the year 2050, the United States may be able to reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 80% for cars and small trucks through a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels like biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. While achieving these goals will be difficult, improving technologies driven by strong and effective policies could make deep reductions possible. The Council details its findings in the report, “Transitions to Alternative Vehicles and Fuels.”"
Nano Focus: High-capacity fiber-optic communications at the speed of light uses air as the medium
10 Jun | MRS BulletinFull Text External Link Indicator
"Improving data transmission across computer networks is key to advancing the performance of modern data centers and massively parallelized supercomputers. Optical fibers provide outstanding transmission bandwidth, but light propagates 31% slower in a silica glass fiber than in vacuum, thus introducing a time delay. Air guidance in hollow-core fibers can improve this significantly, but it has proven challenging to achieve the combined values of loss, bandwidth and mode-coupling characteristics required for high-capacity data transmission.

Addressing this challenge, F. Poletti and colleagues from the University of Southampton have now fabricated hollow-core photonic-bandgap fibers (HC-PBGFs) that are capable of achieving both low surface scattering loss and wide surface-mode-free transmission bandwidth simultaneously (see Figure). This represents the first demonstration of fiber-based wavelength division multiplexed data transmission at close to (99.7%) the speed of light in a vacuum." Jean L. Njoroge
Nano Focus : Gold nanoparticles tailored to visualize fingerprints in reverse
10 Jun | MRS BulletinFull Text External Link Indicator
"When forensic scientists attempt to visualize latent fingerprints, they typically rely on reagents that respond to amino acids or sebaceous materials. This type of visualization makes fingerprint ridges more apparent, but the quality of the print is highly reliant on the amount of residue left behind. As Sanaa Shenawi, Nimer Jaber, Joseph Almog, and Daniel Mandler from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have reported in the May issue of Chemical Communications (DOI: 10.1039/c3cc41610k; p. 3688), fingerprints on paper can now be visualized with a chemical method that enhances the areas of the paper that are not covered by sebaceous matter. With this technique, the sebaceous material serves as a mask that protects the paper from the chemical reaction, and the prints appear as a “negative” or “reversed” image. According to Almog, “Despite the plethora of quite sophisticated fingerprint reagents that currently exist, there is still a need for more sensitive ones, since in criminal investigations, a considerable portion of the latent prints still escape detection.”" Anthony S. Stender
Theoretical Thermocrystals Control Heat Like Sound
29 Jan | Materials360OnlineFull Text External Link Indicator
"Martin Maldovan of MIT has produced the theoretical framework that could make possible better control of heat flow in materials through the careful design of thermocrystals comprising alloys containing nanoparticles. This framework could lead to heat waveguides, heat lensing, thermal diodes, and thermal cloaking, among other long term potential applications." Tim Palucka