Magnesium silicide (Mg2Si) is a thermoelectric material that can convert heat into electricity. Though it is known that adding antimony impurities enhances the performance of Mg2Si, the mechanisms underlying this effect are unclear. Now, scientists from Japan shed light on the effects of these impurities at the atomic level, taking us closer to arriving at a practical way of efficiently harvesting waste heat from cars and thermal power plants to produce clean energy.
Using a brain-inspired approach, scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a way for robots to have the artificial intelligence (AI) to recognise pain and to self-repair when damaged.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland have developed a microchip technology that can convert invisible near-infrared laser light into any one of a panoply of visible laser colors, including red, orange, yellow and green. Their work provides a new approach to generating laser light on integrated microchips.
Physicists from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Rochester have made a breakthrough in the long sought-after quest for a room-temperature superconductor, what they call the "holy grail" of energy efficiency.
Compressing simple molecular solids with hydrogen at extremely high pressures, University of Rochester scientists have, for the first time, created material that is superconducting at room temperature. Featured as the cover story in Nature, the work was conducted by the lab of Ranga Dias. His research team combined hydrogen with carbon and sulfur to photochemically synthesize simple organic-derived carbonaceous sulfur hydride in a diamond anvil cell.
Powerful picosecond generators are in demand in various fields of experimental electrophysics to produce ultrashort electron beams and X-ray pulses in vacuum diodes and to form runaway electron flows in gases and researchers are constantly striving to obtain shorter and more powerful pulses. In Review of Scientific Instruments, scientists showed compact solid-state pulse generators could generate electrical pulses of less than one-billionth of a second in duration and up to 50 billion watts in power.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science are the first to create an even more exotic form of the exciton-polariton, one which has a defined quantum spin that is locked to its direction of motion. Depending on the direction of their spin, these helical topological exciton-polaritons move in opposite directions along the surface of an equally specialized type of topological insulator.
Electronic data is being produced at a breath-taking rate. Around ten zettabytes (ten trillion gigabytes) of data is stored in global server farms, and that's doubling every two years. With computing already consuming 8% of global electricity, low-energy data-storage is a key priority. Next-generation 'multi-state' memory offers a highly energy efficient, low-cost, fast-access solution: stepping 'beyond binary' to store more data than just zeros and ones.
A team of researchers at Columbia University and the University of Washington has discovered that a variety of exotic electronic states, including a rare form of magnetism, can arise in a three-layer graphene structure.
Two-dimensional semiconductors offer a possible solution to the limited potential for further shrinking of traditional silicon-based electronics: the long-predicted end of 'Moore's Law'. 2D-based electronics, which could eliminate wasted dissipation of heat and allow for very fast, ultra-low energy operation, could be enabled by a new liquid-metal deposition technique developed at UNSW.