nano-capacitors: A team of scientists from the Carnegie Mellon University in the US has discovered a nanocrystalline material that is cheaper, more stable and produces a higher quality energy storage capacity for use in industrial and portable consumer electronic products. The discovery has important implications for increasing the longevity of rechargeable car batteries, fuel cells and other battery-operated electronic devices, says Prashant Kumta, who led the team. The material the researchers used is called vanadium nitride.
jellyfish explosion: A team of researchers has found that jellyfish have overtaken fish in terms of the biomass they contribute in a heavily fished region off the coast of Namibia. The findings represent a careful quantitative analysis of what's been called a "jellyfish explosion" after intense fishing in the area in the last few decades. The scientists, belonging to universities in African and European countries, noted that prior to their study, less formal observations had revealed that jelly fish are now so numerous in the region that they significantly interfere with fishing operations and industrial water-uptake systems.
accurate time: An experimental atomic clock based on a single mercury atom is at least five times more precise than the US national standard clock that is based on a "fountain" of caesium atoms, according to physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The experimental clock, which measures the oscillations of a mercury ion (an electrically charged atom), would neither gain nor lose a second in about 400 million years. Such ultra-precise clocks can be used to improve synchronisation in navigation and positioning systems, telecommunications networks, and wireless and deep-space communications.
fibre sight: In a radical departure from conventional lens-based optics, scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US have developed an optical system made of mesh-like webs of light-detecting fibres. The system can measure the direction, intensity and phase of light (a property used to describe a light wave) without the lenses, filters or detector arrays. The researchers say the new system will have potential applications ranging from improved space telescopes to clothing that provides situational awareness to soldiers or even the visually impaired.
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