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Thermochromic Windows Convert Sunlight into Electricity

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33415
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

Relying on advanced materials such as perovskites and single-walled carbon nano-tubes, a window technology was developed that responds to heat by transforming from transparent to tinted. As the window darkens, it generates electricity. The color change is driven by molecules (methylamine) that are reversibly absorbed into the device. When solar energy heats up the device, the molecules are driven out, and the device is darkened. When the Sun is not shining, the device is cooled back down, and the molecules re-absorb into the window device, which then appears transparent.

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Sandwiching Materials in Nanoelectronics

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33376
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

Many of today's silicon-based electronic components contain 2D materials such as graphene. Incorporating 2D materials like graphene — which is composed of a single-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms — into these components allows them to be several orders of magnitude smaller than if they were made with conventional 3D materials. In addition, 2D materials also enable other unique functionalities. But nanoelectronic components with 2D materials have an Achilles’ heel — they are prone to overheating. This is because of poor heat conductance from 2D materials to the silicon base.

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Ionization-Based Multidirectional Flow Sensor

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33380
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

One significant area of research in fuel cell technology includes systems in which a fuel cell is combined with another power generation device (a turbine, for example) to create a hybrid system that combines the advantages of the two standalone systems, resulting in a high fuel-to-electricity conversion efficiency. Burners are used as the primary or auxiliary energy source in the turbine portion of the hybrid system. These burners usually have one or more sources or inlets using one or more hydrocarbon-based fossil fuels such as natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and liquid hydrocarbon-based fuels. Accurate monitoring and control of such a combustion process is very important to ensure the efficient and safe operation of the hybrid systems.

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Five Industry Trends Disrupting the Design and Manufacturing World

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33417
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

The engineering and manufacturing world is rapidly changing — are you changing with it? The claim of “reinventing” the fundamental tools of an industry is a bold one, but that's exactly what's happening now as the design, engineering, and product development software that manufacturers depend on every day is rapidly responding to meet new demands and challenges.

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Lightweighting Parts Using 3D Metal Printing

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33421
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

Metal additive manufacturing (3D printing), also known as Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) or Powder Bed Fusion (PBF), is changing the way metal parts are designed and produced. New software, processes and materials are redefining manufacturing value equations for specific types of parts, which can lead to improvements on existing products, new business models and new markets.

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Ultralight Gloves Provide Realistic Haptic Feedback

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33382
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

Engineers and software developers are seeking to create technology that lets users touch, grasp, and manipulate virtual objects while feeling like they are actually touching something in the real world. An ultralight glove — weighing less than 8 grams per finger — was developed that enables users to feel and manipulate virtual objects. The system provides extremely realistic haptic feedback and could run on a battery, allowing for freedom of movement.

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Simulation for Everyone

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33419
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

With the computational power and software available today, numerical simulation is a real option to quickly get answers to complicated technical, scientific, and engineering questions. Not only has the hardware doubled computing capacity every 18 months or so over the past decades, but the numerical algorithms have improved at the same rate.

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Optimizing Plasma Treatments to RESOLVE Challenging Adhesion Issues

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33423
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

The process of determining the ideal plasma treatment that will resolve a challenging bonding or adhesion issue is an exact science, often the domain of chemists and physicists.

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Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33384
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

A process has been developed that enables the production of a 2-mm flat camera. The lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets, similar to the eyes of an insect. The facetVISION camera is suitable for use in the automotive and printing industries, in medical engineering, and in smartphones.

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Chip with Micro-Hotplate for Self-Healing and Sustainable Electronics

  • Magazine Article
  • TBMG-33388
Published 2018-12-01 by Tech Briefs Media Group in United States

Heat treatment, also known as annealing, is a common step in the semiconductor fabrication process. A buildup of radiation-induced localized charge within the semiconductor and insulator alters local field distribution, threshold voltage, and leakage current. NASA's patent-pending technology implements an annealing process on a system level directly on a chip for annealing defects and improving device performance with heating done in the laboratory.