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Nanotech ink turns paper into batteries - News - Windows for Devices

Researchers at Stanford University have created a battery by baking paper onto which has been applied an ink containing a mixture of carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires. The battery can be crumpled or even soaked in acidic or basic solutions without performance degradation, and can be charged and discharged an order of magnitude more often than lithium batteries. The battery also discharges quickly so the technology could also be used to make cheap supercapacitors.

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Plastic bags recycled into nanotubes - tech - 11 December 2009 - New Scientist

A technique has been developed to convert discarded plastic bags into nanotubes for use in batteries, generating a product more valuable than the original waste material. The bags are "cooked" at above 600C in the presence of cobalt acetate catalyst, causing the bonds to break down and carbon nanotubes to grow on thesurface of the catalyst. The cobalt acetate then becomes the anode of a lithium battery.
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Breathing batteries could store 10 times the energy - tech - 19 May 2009 - New Scientist

UK researchers have developed a lithium-ion battery that uses air and porous carbon, rather than lithium cobalt oxide, as a anode. The resulting battery has a higher energy density than traditional lithium batteries, potentially a ten-fold increase. The carbon anode allows air to react with lithium ions, making it more like a fuel cell than a battery. More work is required before the battery can be commercialized.

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Major breakthrough in lithium battery technology reported

Canadian researchers have demonstrated the first robust lithium-sulphur battery, as well as a new approach to creating composite materials. Lithium-sulphur batteries have been long been sought because they have potential for high energy densities and sulphur is cheaper to obtain than materials currently used in lithium-based batteries. The team developed a nano-casting technique consisting of a structure of nanoscale carbon rods seperated by empty channels. The rods kept the channels open until molten sulphur was added. Capillary forces drew the sulphur into the channels where it solidified into sulpher nanofibers. The resulting battery demonstrated 3 times the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries. The researchers are currently ironing out the details with an eye to commercialization.
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All your movies on a single DVD: study

Australian researchers have developed a new type of DVD with a storage capacity 10,000 times that of current systems. The DVD is coated with gold nanorods, allowing them to encode information not only spatially but also using different optical wavelengths and polarization angles. They are currently working out issues with the speed at which data can be written and expect that a commercial version of the system will not be seen for more than 5 years.
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New memory material may hold data for one billion years

The Doomsday Book survived more than 900 years but today's digital memory devices have lifespans of only a few decades. Researchers, though, have developed a new type of memory system that is expected to have a lifespan of almost 1 billion years with a theoretical maximum recording density of 1 terabyte per square inch. Each bit in the system consists of an iron nanoparticle, trapped in a carbon nanotube, that can be moved from one end of the tube to the other using electricity. A one or zero is read by determining in which end of the tube the iron nanoparticle resides.

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Bendable Concrete Heals Itself -- Just Add Water

Japanese researchers have developed a type of bendable concrete that is able to be bent into a U-shape without breaking. And when hairline cracks form under the strain, they heal themselves after a few days of light rain.
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Technology Review: Blogs: arXiv blog: Acoustic superlens could cloak objects from sonar

University of Illinois researchers have developed a method for bending sound waves using metamaterials that holds the promise of being adapted for a sonic cloaking device. The device was originally developed as a sonic superlens, but the approach can, in principal be adapted to cloak an object from sonar.

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University of Miami physicist develops battery using new source of energy

Researchers at the University of Miami have developed a battery that stores energy as a magnetic field. The magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) device, dubbed a "spin battery", involves applying a magnetic field to nano-magnets, generating a spin polarized current. The developers expected some sort of storage effect, perhaps lasting milliseconds, but what they observed was the storage of over 100 times the voltage they expected, and for times in the tens of minutes. They hope that this device will eventually lead to better solid-state data storage and batteries for everything from cell phones to cars.

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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts & Culture | Caravaggio was early 'photographer'

An italian researcher suggests that the 16th century artist Caravaggio may have used light-sensitive materials to detect light reflect from a hole in his ceiling, onto the subject, and then onto the canvas. The afterimage would have lasted for 30 minutes, during which time he could paint the image over the projection. The researcher noted that most of his early subjects were left-handed, an anomaly that could be explained if the painter were working with a mirror image. The researcher stressed that this does not detract from the artist's ability; rather it adds to his ability to master a technique far ahead of his time.
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Ice that burns could be a green fossil fuel - environment - 26 March 2009 - New Scientist

Scientists may have come up with a way to make extracting methane from clathrate hydrate, found in arctic permafrost and on the sea floor, carbon neutral. Clathrate hydrates "prefer" carbon dioxide, and experiments have shown that pumping carbon dioxide in clathrates releases the stored methane. The result: carbon dioxide is sequestered and we have methane for use.
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Neutron tracks revive hopes for cold fusion - physics-math - 23 March 2009 - New Scientist

Just when thought it was safe to go back to the lab... cold fusion is back again. A researcher at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command believes that the have found evidence of nuclear fusion in a palladium salt solution. The researchers discovered a small number of "triple tracks" in a plastic material used as a detector when a charge was applied to a solution of palladium chloride, lithium chloride, and deuterium oxide. Triple tracks typically indicate the presence of high-energy neutrons, such as would be produced by nuclear fusion.
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Atomic construction yields punchier power store - tech - 15 March 2009 - New Scientist

University of Maryland researchers have developed a new type of electrostatic capacitor that could replace batteries in some future devices. The new capacitor is, in fact, 10 billion nano-capacitors covering an area 50 nanometres across. The resulting system can discharge quickly (a 1 kg capacitor can deliver 1 megawatt) and has a storage capacity approaching that of supercapacitors (2500 joules per kilogram). They hope to use this device as part of a battery-capacitor hybrid.
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Robots could flex muscles that are stronger than steel - tech - 19 March 2009 - New Scientist

Scientists have developed a material made of ribbons of nanotubes that expand up to 220% when a voltage is applied, then return to normal when the voltage is removed, all within a few milliseconds. The material is apparently stronger than steel and stiffer than diamond, and operates over a range of temperatures extending from liquid nitrogen to above the melting point of iron. The downfall is that the material, made from an aerogel, is 1000 times less dense than human muscle. As a result, large volumes of the material are needed o achieve a strength approaching that of the human arm.
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Technique Disables Plutonium's Use in Bombs: Discovery News

Israeli researchers have discovered that by doping plutonium with americium, a waste product from nuclear reactors, the result is a fuel that can burn but requires extensive processing to make it useful for nuclear weapons, with the exception of "dirty bombs".
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Self-Healing Car Coating Repairs Scratches : Discovery News

University of Mississippi researchers have developed a polyurethane coating that is able to repairs scratches if left in the sun for a few hours. The key is a minuscule amount of chitosan, related to chitin which is found in lobster and crab shells. When the material is scratched, the chitosan reforms its bonds, pulling the polyurethane along. Within an hour the scratch is gone. They are now planning to conduct long-term testing so they can determine if it is commercially viable.
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'Nanoball' batteries could recharge car in minutes - tech - 12 March 2009 - New Scientist

Researchers at MIT have developed a lithium battery that charges 100 times faster than current lithium battery designs. The trick is a cathose made up of tiny balls of lithium iron phosphate, 50 nm in diameter, that speed the lithium ion discharge process. They predict that a cell phone with this type of battery would charge in about 10 seconds, and a hybrid car in about 5 minutes.
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Sun-powered device converts CO2 into fuel - tech - 18 February 2009 - New Scientist

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have developed a device composed of titanium dioxide nanotubes coated with copper and platinum that is able to convert carbon dioxide and water into methane using only solar energy. The conversion rate is still far too low to make the process commercializable, but is a 20 faster higher than previous approaches. They expect that they can increase the conversion rate by up to 2 orders of magnitude by tweaking the process.

January 2010

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