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.
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.
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.
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.
Washington State University physicists have found a way to write an electrical circuit into a crystal, opening up the possibility of transparent, three-dimensional electronics that, like an Etch A Sketch, can be erased and reconfigured.
The work, to appear in the on-line journal Scientific Reports, serves as a proof of concept for a phenomenon that WSU researchers first discovered by accident four years ago.
“It opens up a new type of electronics where you can define a circuit optically and then erase it and define a new one,” said Matt McCluskey, a WSU professor of physics and materials science. “It’s exciting that it’s reconfigurable. It’s also transparent. There are certain applications where it would be neat to have a circuit that is on a window or something like that, where it actually is invisible electronics.”