Chemical engineers have generated ultra-pure green light for the first time.

The new light-emitting diode paves the way for visibly improved color quality in a new generation of ultra-high definition displays for TVs and smartphones.

Electronic devices must first be able to produce ultra-pure red, blue, and green light in order to enable the next generation of displays to show images that are clearer, sharper, richer in detail, and with a more refined range of colors. For the most part, this is already possible for red and blue light; green light, however, has been at the limits of technology.

This is due mainly to human perception, since the eye is able to distinguish between more intermediary green hues than red or blue ones. “This makes the technical production of ultra-pure green very complex, which creates challenges for us when it comes to developing technology and materials,” says Sudhir Kumar of ETH Zurich, co-lead author of the study.

Ultra-pure green plays a key role in extending the color range, or gamut. Ultimately, new hues arise from the technical mixture of three base colors: red, blue, and green. The purer the base colors, the broader the range of hues a screen can display. The new LED is in line with 97 to 99 percent of the international standard for Ultra HD, Rec.2020. By comparison, the purest color TV displays currently available on the market cover on average only 73.11 to 77.72 percent; none exceeds 80 percent.


MicroscopeA team of engineers has found a simple, economical way to make a nano-sized device that can lift many times its own weight.

Their creation weighs 1.6 milligrams (about as much as five poppy seeds) and can lift 265 milligrams (the weight of about 825 poppy seeds) hundreds of times in a row.

Its strength comes from a process of inserting and removing ions between very thin sheets of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), an inorganic crystalline mineral compound. It’s a new type of actuator—devices that work like muscles and convert electrical energy to mechanical energy.

The discovery—an “inverted-series-connected (ISC) biomorph actuation device”—appears in Nature.

“We found that by applying a small amount of voltage, the device can lift something that’s far heavier than itself,” says Manish Chhowalla, professor and associate chair of the materials science and engineering department of in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University.

“This is an important finding in the field of electrochemical actuators. The simple restacking of atomically thin sheets of metallic MoS2 leads to actuators that can withstand stresses and strains comparable to or greater than other actuator materials.”


MedicineResearchers have developed a new method for evaluating drug safety that can detect stress on cells at earlier stages than current methods, which mostly rely on detecting cell death.

The new method uses a fluorescent sensor that is turned on in a cell when misfolded proteins begin to aggregate—an early sign of cellular stress. The method can be adapted to detect protein aggregates caused by other toxins as well as diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

“Drug-induced protein stress in cells is a key factor in determining drug safety,” says senior author Xin Zhang, assistant professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State.

“Drugs can cause proteins—which are long strings of amino acids that need to be precisely folded to function properly—to misfold and clump together into aggregates that can eventually kill the cell. We set out to develop a system that can detect these aggregates at very early stages and that also uses technology that is affordable and accessible to many laboratories,” Zhang says.


Researchers have found a way to use magnetic nanoparticle clusters to punch through biofilms to reach bacteria that can foul water treatment systems.

The nanoclusters then deliver bacteriophages—viruses that infect and propagate in bacteria—to destroy the bacteria, usually resistant to chemical disinfection.

Without the pull of a magnetic host, these “phages” disperse in solution, largely fail to penetrate biofilms and allow bacteria to grow in solution and even corrode metal, a costly problem for water distribution systems.

The Rice University lab of environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez and colleagues in China developed and tested clusters that immobilize the phages. A weak magnetic field draws them into biofilms to their targets.

“This novel approach, which arises from the convergence of nanotechnology and virology, has a great potential to treat difficult-to-eradicate biofilms in an effective manner that does not generate harmful disinfection byproducts,” Alvarez says.

Biofilms can be beneficial in some wastewater treatment or industrial fermentation reactors owing to their enhanced reaction rates and resistance to exogenous stresses, says graduate student and co-lead author Pingfeng Yu.


LightA new device improves on the sensitivity and versatility of sensors that detect doping in athletics, bomb-making chemicals, or traces of drugs. It could also cut costs.

To conduct these kinds of searches, scientists often shine light on the materials they’re analyzing. This approach is known as spectroscopy, and it involves studying how light interacts with trace amounts of matter.

One of the more effective types of spectroscopy is infrared absorption spectroscopy, which scientists use to sleuth out performance-enhancing drugs in blood samples and tiny particles of explosives in the air.

While infrared absorption spectroscopy has improved greatly in the last 100 years, researchers are still working to improve the technology.

“This new optical device has the potential to improve our abilities to detect all sorts of biological and chemical samples,” says Qiaoqiang Gan, associate professor of electrical engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at University at Buffalo. Gan is lead author of the study.


On July 25, a district judge signed an order instructing Apple to pay $506 million to the University of Wisconsin’s Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) for infringing on the research arm’s U.S. patent.

According to reports, WARF sued Apple in 2014 for infringing on U.S. Patent No. 5,781,752, which the foundation claims Apple’s A7, A8, and A8X chips are based on. The new order signed by U.S. District Judge William Conley reinforces the initial infringement charge Apple faced while awarding WARF $4.35 for every iPad and iPhone produced with the previously mentioned chip, totaling some $506 million.

This from ARS Technica:

Apple has already filed papers to appeal the jury’s verdict. A second WARF lawsuit against Apple, accusing a newer generation of products, is on hold while Apple appeals the first verdict.

WARF was one of the first university institutions to dive heavily into patent litigation. In a stream of lawsuits, WARF has demanded that it be paid royalties on a vast number of semiconductors.


Micromotors Powered by Bacteria

Researchers are using genetically engineered E. coli to power micromotors, with the swimming bacteria causing the motors to rotate in a similar fashion to a river rotating a watermill.

“Our design combines a high rotational speed with an enormous reduction in fluctuation when compared to previous attempts based on wild-type bacteria and flat structures,” says Roberto Di Leonardo, co-author of the new research. “We can produce large arrays of independently controlled rotors that use light as the ultimate energy source. These devices could serve one day as cheap and disposable actuators in microrobots for collecting and sorting individual cells inside miniaturized biomedical laboratories.”


Fitness trackerA new biosensor technology, commonly referred to as a “lab on a chip,” could monitor your health and alert you of exposure to bacteria, viruses, and pollutants.

“This is really important in the context of personalized medicine or personalized health monitoring,” says Mehdi Javanmard, co-author of the recently published work on the development. “Our technology enables true labs on chips. We’re talking about platforms the size of a USB flash drive or something that can be integrated onto an Apple Watch, for example, or a Fitbit.”

This from Rutgers University:

The technology, which involves electronically barcoding microparticles, giving them a bar code that identifies them, could be used to test for health and disease indicators, bacteria and viruses, along with air and other contaminants, says Javanmard, senior author of the study.

In recent decades, research on biomarkers—indicators of health and disease such as proteins or DNA molecules—has revealed the complex nature of the molecular mechanisms behind human disease. That has heightened the importance of testing bodily fluids for numerous biomarkers simultaneously, the study says.


According to a new report by IBM, consumers are taking cybersecurity issues seriously, with 56 percent stating that security and privacy will be a key factor in future vehicle purchasing decisions. This is leading automakers to take a hard look at potential points of exploitation, suspicious behavior, and response systems.

As technology advances, cars are becoming much more than just a mode of transportation. Stocked with sensors and computers, your vehicle acts as a kind of moving data center. With the rise of the Internet of Things, car technology is also being integrated with outside devices. While this seamless experience is beneficial in many ways for consumers, it also opens up vulnerabilities in technologies capable of being compromised and hacked.


By: Peter Byrley, University of California, Riverside

A smartphone touchscreen is an impressive piece of technology. It displays information and responds to a user’s touch. But as many people know, it’s easy to break key elements of the transparent, electrically conductive layers that make up even the sturdiest rigid touchscreen. If flexible smartphones, e-paper and a new generation of smart watches are to succeed, they can’t use existing touchscreen technology.

We’ll need to invent something new – something flexible and durable, in addition to being clear, lightweight, electrically responsive and inexpensive. Many researchers are pursuing potential options. As a graduate researcher at the University of California, Riverside, I’m part of a research group working to solve this challenge by weaving mesh layers out of microscopic strands of metal – building what we call metal nanowire networks.

These could form key components of new display systems; they could also make existing smartphones’ touchscreens even faster and easier to use.

The problem with indium tin oxide

A standard smartphone touchscreen has glass on the outside, on top of two layers of conductive material called indium tin oxide. These layers are very thin, transparent to light and conduct small amounts of electrical current. The display lies underneath.

When a person touches the screen, the pressure of their finger bends the glass very slightly, pushing the two layers of indium tin oxide closer together. In resistive touchscreens, that changes the electrical resistance of the layers; in capacitive touchscreens, the pressure creates an electrical circuit.


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