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New device could turn heat energy into a viable fuel source

Yi Gu

A new device being developed by Washington State University physicist Yi Gu could one day turn the heat generated by a wide array of electronics into a usable fuel source.

The device is a multicomponent, multilayered composite material called a van der Waals Schottky diode. It converts heat into electricity up to three times more efficiently than silicon — a semiconductor material widely used in the electronics industry. While still in an early stage of development, the new diode could eventually provide an extra source of power for everything from smartphones to automobiles.

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WSU News
Science Daily
AZO Materials
All About Circuits
Solid State Technology

A New World of Microscopes

Matt McCluskey
Matt McCluskey

Four years removed from a frustrating “out of focus” problem with his confocal microscope, Washington State University (WSU) physicist Matthew McCluskey finds himself in the unexpected position of founder and chief technology officer of his own startup company, Klar Scientific.

Klar Scientific specializes in the development of optical instruments for materials characterization—some of which arise from McCluskey’s improvisation while working on semiconductor characterization in his lab at WSU.

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Laboratory Equipment


Could crystal-based electronics enable medtech innovation?

Matt McCluskey
Matt McCluskey

New crystal-based electronics – in which a laser etches electronic circuitry into a crystal – could enable better electrical interfaces between implantable medical devices and biological tissue, according to the lead researcher behind the technology.

“Electrical conductivity affects how cells adhere to a substrate. By optically defining highly conductive regions on the crystal, cells could be manipulated and perhaps used in bioelectronic devices,” Matt McCluskey, a Washington State University professor of physics and materials science, told MDO.

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Medical Design & Outsourcing


WSU scientists help detect gravitational waves for third time

Sukanta Bose

Three billion years ago in a distant galaxy, two massive black holes slammed together, merged into one and sent space–time vibrations, known as gravitational waves, shooting out into the universe.

The waves passed through Earth and were detected early this year by an international team of scientists, including WSU physicists Sukanta Bose, Bernard Hall and Nairwita Mazumder.

The newfound black hole, first reported in the journal Physical Review Letters in June, has a mass about 49 times that of the sun. The collision that produced it released more power in an instant than is radiated by all the stars and galaxies in the universe at any moment.

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WSU News

Quantum tractor beam could tug atoms, molecules

Philip Marston

The wavelike properties of quantum matter could lead to a scaled-down version of Star Trek technology. A new kind of tractor beam could use a beam of particles to reel in atoms or molecules, physicists propose in the May 5 Physical Review Letters.

“The idea is very reasonable,” says Philip Marston of Washington State University in Pullman. Although the results are still theoretical, “I think somebody will probably find some way to demonstrate this in the lab,” Marston says.

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Science News