Download PDF: HDIAC Currents: September 6, 2017

Alternative Energy

Silicon Solves Problems for Next-Generation Battery Technology

“Silicon – the second most abundant element in the earth's crust – shows great promise in Li-ion batteries, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland. By replacing graphite anodes with silicon, it is possible to quadruple anode capacity.”

No Batteries Required: Energy-Harvesting Yarns Generate Electricity

“An international research team led by scientists at The University of Texas at Dallas and Hanyang University in South Korea has developed high-tech yarns that generate electricity when they are stretched or twisted.”

Solar Cell Breakthrough Paves the Way for New Applications

“An international scientific collaboration has successfully integrated a sub-micron thin, nanophotonic silicon film into a crystalline solar cell for the first time.”

A Low-Cost Method for Solar-Thermal Conversion That's Simpler and Greener

“Researchers led by Yuan Yang, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Columbia Engineering, along with colleagues at the Department of Chemistry at Columbia University and at Stanford University, have developed a new, scalable, and low-cost "dip and dry" method for fabricating a highly efficient selective solar absorber (SSA) that can harness and convert sunlight to heat for use in a wide range of energy-related applications, from heating water and generating steam to residential heating.”

Stretchable Biofuel Cells Extract Energy from Sweat to Power Wearable Devices

“A team of engineers has developed stretchable fuel cells that extract energy from sweat and are capable of powering electronics, such as LEDs and Bluetooth radios. The biofuel cells generate 10 times more power per surface area than any existing wearable biofuel cells. The devices could be used to power a range of wearable devices.”


Leti and Partners Develop Pressure-Based Fingerprint Sensor

“European R&D project known as PiezoMAT (PIEZOelectric nanowire MATrices), comprised of Leti, an advanced-research institute within the CEA Technological Research Division, and several partners, has developed a pressure-based fingerprint sensor with a resolution that’s more than twice as high as current U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requirements.”

CBRN Defense

Radiation Analysis Software from Sandia Lab Helps Emergency Responders

“Sandia National Laboratories developed a tool called InterSpec, available for both mobile and traditional computing devices, can rapidly and accurately analyze gamma radiation data collected at the scene.”

Detecting Carriers of Dirty Bombs

“Researchers have developed a new system that will be able to detect possible carriers of radioactive substances, even in large crowds of people. This solution is one of the defensive measures being developed as part of the REHSTRAIN project, which is focused on security for TGV and ICE high-speed trains in France and Germany.”

New App Helps Improve Radiation Detection at Ports

“A new smart phone application launched by the IAEA will help distinguish between alarms due to harmless amounts of naturally occurring radiation and alarms that might be a cause for concern from a security standpoint and warrant further investigation.”

Targeting Fluoride Ions for Nerve Agent Detection

“Current chemical detectors are either complex instruments requiring technical user training, or rely on special low-cost detection paper which may give false positives depending on environmental factors. Fluorescence-based detection may be instrumental in closing these gaps by providing an accurate, easy-to-use tool to help responders quickly identify threats.”

DoD to Conduct Study of Pluristem’s Radiation Exposure Countermeasure

“Pluristem Therapeutics Inc., developer of placenta-based cell therapy products, has announced that a pilot study of the company’s PLX-R18 cell therapy will be initiated by the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI), part of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU).”

Critical Infrastructure Protection

Urban Floods Intensifying While Countryside Drying Up

“A global analysis of rainfall and rivers has discovered a growing pattern of intense flooding in urban areas coupled with drier soils in rural and farming areas. The study reviewed data collected from more than 43,000 rainfall stations and 5,300 river monitoring sites across 160 countries.”

Monitoring Network Traffic More Efficiently

“Researchers have come up with a new approach to network monitoring that provides great flexibility in data collection while keeping both the circuit complexity of the router and the number of external analytic servers low.”

Cultural Studies

Colombia Agrees to Cease-Fire with Leftist ELN Guerrilla Group

“Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos announced on Monday that his government will sign a cease-fire deal with the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) after months of peace talks with the rebel group.”

Homeland Defense & Security

Acting Like a Muscle, Nano-Sized Device Lifts 165 Times Its Own Weight

“Rutgers University-New Brunswick engineers have discovered a simple, economical way to make a nano-sized device that can match the friendly neighborhood Avenger, on a much smaller scale. 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.”

Future Spy Satellites Just Got Exponentially Smaller

“Future spy satellites may unfold like origami birds, collecting image data along long, flat sensor arrays that weigh almost nothing. By replacing the bulky telescopic lenses that make today’s spy sats among the biggest and most expensive things in space, light-sensitive microchips promise far cheaper access to orbital imagery.”


Cognitive Fatigue After TBI Linked with Activation of Caudate

“Findings underscore the role of the caudate nucleus in the mechanism of cognitive fatigue in traumatic brain injury. Researchers have further elucidated the mechanisms for cognitive fatigue, a disabling symptom that affects many individuals after traumatic brain injury (TBI).”

Harnessing AI to Catch Disease Fast

“Up to 27,000 microbiology laboratories around the world could benefit from a ground-breaking automation technology. The Automated Plate Assessment System (APAS) can automatically screen microbiology culture plates for the presence of various disease-causing pathogens, revolutionizing the workflow in modern microbiology labs.”

Researchers Develop Lassa Fever Treatment Effective Eight Days After Infection

“A collaborative team of scientists, led by a group at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, have successfully protected nonhuman primates against one of the most deadly viruses in the world, Lassa fever, eight days after they became infected.”

Flooding from Hurricane Harvey Causes a Host of Public Health Concerns

“Houston’s drinking water system is being stressed by overflowing water reservoirs and dams, breached levees and possible problems at treatment plants and in the water distribution system. Houston has at least a dozen sites that have been designated environmentally hazardous, so there is a risk of petrochemical contamination. As if those are not bad enough, the “unprecedented” amount of water leads to the perfect breeding opportunities for mosquitoes, which are vectors of Zika and many other infectious diseases.”

'Seeing' Robot Learns Tricky Technique for Studying Brain Cells in Mammals

“Now, for the first time, a team of scientists led by Professor Simon Schultz and Dr Luca Annecchino at Imperial College London has developed a robot and computer programme that can guide tiny measuring devices called micropipettes to specific neurons in the brains of live mice and record electrical currents, all without human intervention.”

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N. Korea Nuclear Test 10 Times More Powerful than Hiroshima: Japan

“Japan Wednesday again upgraded its estimated size of North Korea's latest nuclear test to a yield of around 160 kilotons -- more than ten times the size of the Hiroshima bomb.”

Haley: Nuke Deal Allows Iran to Become New North Korea

“Washington's ambassador to the United Nations warned Tuesday that, if left unchanged, the Iran nuclear deal could allow Tehran to pose the same kind of missile threat to US cities as North Korea.”

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