Archive for the ‘engineering’ category

Aug 23, 2023

An Incredible New Crystal Can Transform Light Into Mechanical Work

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, engineering

Almost all forms of modern consumer technology are powered by electrochemical energy, otherwise known as batteries. Lithium-ion batteries, for example, transform chemical reactions into direct current energy while also producing a few side effects (mainly heat). But what if there was another way to power gadgets—say, lasers?

That’s the idea behind new research from the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and CU-Boulder. In a new study published this month in the journal Nature Materials, the team—led by chemical and electrical engineering professor Ryan Hayward—explored ways to leverage tiny crystals and directly transform light into mechanical work. At scale, such a breakthrough could remove the need for bulky batteries and all of the thermal management that comes with it.

Aug 22, 2023

Neural Navigators: How MIT Cracked the Code That Relates Brain and Behavior in a Simple Animal

Posted by in categories: education, engineering, neuroscience

MIT researchers have created a detailed map of neuron activity in the C. elegans worm, revealing how neurons encode behavior. Using cutting-edge technology, they discovered neurons’ capability to adjust their encoding based on various factors and conditions. Their findings provide a comprehensive neural behavior atlas for further studies.


MIT is an acronym for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is a prestigious private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts that was founded in 1861. It is organized into five Schools: architecture and planning; engineering; humanities, arts, and social sciences; management; and science. MIT’s impact includes many scientific breakthroughs and technological advances. Their stated goal is to make a better world through education, research, and innovation.

Aug 21, 2023

Light-responsive nanocrystal array lifts 10,000 times its own mass

Posted by in categories: chemistry, engineering, physics, transportation

Researchers have developed a novel material using tiny organic crystals that convert light into a substantial mechanical force able to lift 10,000 times its own mass. Without the need for heat or electricity, the photomechanical material could one day drive wireless, remote-controlled systems that power robots and vehicles.

Photomechanical materials are designed to transform light directly into mechanical force. They result from a complex interplay between photochemistry, polymer chemistry, physics, mechanics, optics, and engineering. Photomechanical actuators, the part of a machine that helps achieve physical movements, are gaining popularity because external control can be achieved simply by manipulating light conditions.

Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder, have taken the next step in the development of photomechanical materials, creating a tiny organic crystal array that bends and lifts objects much heavier than itself.

Aug 20, 2023

Brain Photobiomodulation Devices

Posted by in categories: engineering, health, neuroscience

Vielight brain photobiomodulation devices combine electrical engineering and neuroscience to improve brain health and performance.

Aug 19, 2023

Materials to feed the green energy revolution

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, engineering, sustainability

Dr Kathryn Mumford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Melbourne, specialising in separation processes in ion exchange, solvent absorption and solvent extraction technologies. In collaboration with industry, her recent research has pioneered a more efficient, greener process to produce lithium carbonate.

Dr Mumford leads the Sustainable Resources platform, which focuses on research to support the transition to green energy, reduce environmental impact and develop smart mining and processing. Here, she discusses how the platform is tackling the industry’s greatest challenges, and the role the sector will play in decarbonising the world.

I’ve been thinking about sustainability and environmental health throughout my whole career. I saw the consequence of waste and was compelled to develop ways to reduce its impact. My PhD was around environmental clean-up, specifically cleaning up tip sites and fuel spills at contaminated sites in Antarctica – I’ve since been back to Antarctica seven times on clean-up missions.

Aug 18, 2023

Bigger and better quantum computers possible with new ion trap, dubbed the Enchilada

Posted by in categories: computing, economics, engineering, nuclear energy, quantum physics, security

Another concern was the dissipation of electrical power on the Enchilada Trap, which could generate significant heat, leading to increased outgassing from surfaces, a higher risk of electrical breakdown and elevated levels of electrical field noise. To address this issue, production specialists designed new microscopic features to reduce the capacitance of certain electrodes.

“Our team is always looking ahead,” said Sandia’s Zach Meinelt, the lead integrator on the project. “We collaborate with scientists and engineers to learn about the kind of technology, features and performance improvements they will need in the coming years. We then design and fabricate traps to meet those requirements and constantly seek ways to further improve.”

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia Labs has major research and development responsibilities in nuclear deterrence, global security, defense, energy technologies and economic competitiveness, with main facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Livermore, California.

Aug 17, 2023

Organoids shown to speed glycoengineered vaccine development

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, engineering

Testing the efficacy of a vaccine candidate is typically a long process, with the immune response of an animal model taking around two months.

A multi-institution team, led by Matt DeLisa, the William L. Lewis Professor in the Smith School of Chemical Biomolecular Engineering, at Cornell Engineering, is developing a method that is more than an order of magnitude faster.

Using a biomaterials-based organoid, developed in the lab of former Cornell professor Ankur Singh, now at the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the team was able to assess the strength of the immune response in just days.

Aug 15, 2023

Australian Researchers Create Technique for Engineering Blood Vessels Using Natural Tissue

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, neuroscience

Blood vessels form the transportation network within our bodies. They are streets where red and white blood cells drive. They are the delivery system to oxygenate our brain and other vital organs and muscles. There are other highways in our bodies such as our nervous and lymphatic systems, but blood vessels are the ones that are central to healthy heart function and keeping our brain supplied with oxygen. When blood vessels are compromised we can suffer a stroke, heart attack, aneurysm or die.

When usual causes of heart attacks are blocked coronary arteries. The coronary arteries supply blood and oxygen to the heart. When partially blocked people experience symptoms like angina. When blocked they can suffer a myocardial infarction, the fancy name for a heart attack.

Today, harvested blood vessel grafts from human donors or the patient are used for bypassing coronary blood vessel blockages. But researchers at the University of Melbourne believe that fabricated blood vessel tissue that can be shaped to any need would be an effective substitute for existing grafts. The team in its search for a graft alternative has combined a variety of materials and living tissue with a fabrication technique to create complex blood vessels that can serve multiple purposes.

Aug 15, 2023

Uncovering the local atomic structure of zeolite using optimum bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy

Posted by in categories: engineering, nanotechnology

Zeolites have unique porous atomic structures and are useful as catalysts, ion exchangers and molecular sieves. It is difficult to directly observe the local atomic structures of the material via electron microscopy due to low electron irradiation resistance. As a result, the fundamental property-structure relationships of the constructs remain unclear.

Recent developments of a low-electron dose imaging method known as optimum bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (OBF STEM) offers a method to reconstruct images with a high signal-to-noise ratio with high dose efficiency.

In this study, Kousuke Ooe and a team of scientists in engineering and nanoscience at the University of Tokyo and the Japan Fine Ceramics Center performed low-dose atomic resolution observations with the method to visualize atomic sites and their frameworks between two types of zeolites. The scientists observed the complex atomic structure of the twin-boundaries in a faujasite-type (FAU) zeolite to facilitate the characterization of local atomic structures across many electron beam-sensitive materials.

Aug 15, 2023

Neolithic people were capable of complex engineering

Posted by in category: engineering

According to a study published in the journal Nature Water, Neolithic people living in China were capable of complex engineering feats without the need for a centralised state authority.

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