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The Journey Behind The Discovery Of The Material

Conductive materials are used in common electronic devices like smartphones and solar cells. However, these conductors contain Indium, which is increasingly expensive. To create a low-cost conductive material, the researchers at the University of Minnesota grew a thin film using barium, oxygen, and a unique chemical precursor of tin. The advantage of replacing Indium with these elements, is that they are far cheaper and increase the film’s ability to chemically react too.


We were quite surprised at how well this unconventional approach worked the very first time we used the tin chemical precursor

Those were the words said by Abhinav Prakash, first author of the study at the University of Minnesota.

Applications of the new material

There are quite a number of important applications for this new material and it might shape the future of the electronics industry. Solar power is an increasingly sought out power resource. But at the same time, it is expensive to use. Roping in this new material will cut down the costs to implement solar panels and will increase their efficiency too.

More efficient and less expensive solar cells could prove as a strong competition to the overly used fossil fuels. Doing so, the earth’s natural resources can be conserved, thereby saving the environmental destruction.

Apart from solar power, the new material can be put to an abundant use with the personal electronic devices. Laptops, smartphones and other devices use conductive elements and replacing them with the new one could prove very efficient, in terms of cost and power consumption.

Owing to its high conductivity, it can one day be used to to build smaller, faster, more powerful devices.


What You Need to Know About Onshore Wind Farms





Within days of winning the election, Britain’s new Labour government lifted a rule that had stopped new onshore wind farms from being built. The previous Conservative government had implemented the rule in 2015. Environmentalists have praised the decision as a positive first step in the new government’s fight against climate change. However, people who are wary of onshore wind farms will probably be worried about them. What is the difference between power that comes from the land and power that comes from the sea? Why have people been against it?

How do wind farms work?

People have tried to use the power of the wind for their own purposes for a long time. It’s a great way to gain energy, but it can be hard to master. One of the newest examples of this is modern wind turbines. Using the wind’s motion to make electricity is how they work.

The blades of a wind turbine are made to look like airplane wings and are strong and light. They are connected to a hub and make up a rotor as a whole. This part of the machine spins when air moves across the blades. It also turns something called a low-speed shaft. The shaft is also linked to a gearbox that changes the shaft’s slow spin motion into a fast rotary motion. Next, this turns a drive shaft that gives power to an electric generator.

What is wind energy on land?

In terms of technology, there is no difference between wind turbines that are on land and those that are at sea. The only clear difference is where they are.

Onshore wind farms are groups of wind turbines that are put up in rural areas where the wind blows steadily and strongly. Open plains, the coast, hills, and mountain passes are often good places for them to live. Offshore wind farms are the same as onshore ones; the only difference is that they are out at sea and get their power from the wind that blows across the water.

Each turbine is placed so that it captures the most wind and doesn’t cause turbulence on another turbine when they are all put together. Because of the different types of terrain, there aren’t any set patterns for how they should be laid out, but there are some that are thought to be the best. Depending on the situation, they can be put in either a straight line or a grid.

No matter how they are set up, each turbine makes electricity that is sent to a substation and then to the grid, where homeowners and businesses can use it.

What are the pros and cons of wind farms that are built on land?

It is well known that wind farms that are farther out to sea tend to work better. This is because the wind speed at sea is higher and more consistent, so fewer turbines are needed to make the same amount of energy as ones on land. Larger projects can also be done because the sea is open. The more turbines you have, the more clean energy you make.

Offshore wind farms need more complicated infrastructure to support them, which makes them more expensive to build and keep up. But the same things that make them great for making electricity also make them hard to get to when they need to be fixed. They are also usually owned by bigger companies rather than smaller ones in the area, which means that they are not closely watched by people in the area.

Onshore wind farms, on the other hand, are easier to build and produce less pollution, and the land around them can still be used for farming. Building and maintaining them doesn’t cost much, and the extra power they add to the grid can lower your electricity bills. On the other hand, large-scale construction projects also create more skilled jobs in the energy sector.

But onshore wind farms don’t produce as much power as offshore ones, and a lot of people don’t like the way they look or how they affect the environment. The first one has to do with the worry that these buildings are dangerous for birds and bats.

In the scientific community, there is still disagreement about how strong this is. It looks like some birds are killed by wind turbines, but not nearly as many as are killed each year by housecats, other buildings, or even fossil fuel operations, which are what wind farms are trying to replace.

Concerns have also been raised about bats, and environmentalists are divided on the issue. On the one hand, they want clean energy to help fight climate change, but they also don’t want to put at risk the lives of animals that are already in danger of going extinct.

Onshore wind farms can be built in a way that doesn’t harm the wildlife nearby, though. After ten years of work, designers of wind turbines have found ways to make them visible to animals. On the other hand, wind farms don’t have to be built in places where bats are nesting or swarming.

But this is just one answer. Bats are drawn to wind turbines, which have often killed them while they were looking for places to nest or insects. To stop this from happening, the times and conditions under which wind turbines are used can be changed to fit how bats behave.

When the wind speed is above a certain level, many of the bat species that are most vulnerable to wind turbines cannot fly. This is because they are small, fluffy, and cute. It is possible to drastically lower the number of bat deaths by only using turbines when the wind speed is low.

But the most common reason people give for not supporting wind power is that it looks bad. People worry that putting up wind farms in rural areas will ruin the beauty of the land and make it look less “natural.”

This objection is not only shortsighted when you think about how bad climate change will be for future generations if nothing is done to stop it, but it also comes up a lot. People used to be against windmills for the same reasons, and now they are seen as iconic symbols of the same rural feelings that make people against wind turbines today.

For these new energy-generating structures to be aesthetically pleasing in the long term, people in the area need to start seeing them as part of the landscape instead of just money-making assets owned by corporations.


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To make up for a lack of workers, Japan’s railways now have huge humanoid robots doing work





JR West is going to fix its railway system in a very Japanese way: by using high-tech robots that look like people.

Starting this month, the company will use big robots that look like Mecha to do a lot of maintenance work on its railway infrastructure. For example, they will paint the support structures above the tracks and cut down tree branches that get in the way of the trains.

The flexible arms can reach heights of up to 12 meters (39 feet) and lift things that weigh up to 40 kilograms (88 pounds). They can also be fitted with different tools to do a wide range of odd jobs.

A person can sit in the truck that goes with the working mechanoid and use a joystick and VR goggles connected to a camera on the bot’s head to control its movement.

Below is a video that shows how the technology works. In one part of the montage, the robot is even seen using a circular saw to cut down tall trees. But don’t worry—the people who made the machine think it’s a safe pair of hands.

JR West recently said that they worked with robotics company Jinki Ittai and tech company Nippon Signal to create the technology. They did this to make their employees safer and lower the risk of accidents at work.

They also said that “labor shortages” were a big reason for the new technology. Japan has one of the oldest populations in the world. About 29% of the people there are over 65 years old. It will be a problem for a lot of people, including the economy, which is already having a hard time because of a lack of workers.

Robots and other new technologies are often blamed for “stealing jobs” from people, but it looks like they can also be used to fill in for workers who aren’t available.

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Lasers with “unmatched” power have been made smaller, cheaper, and stronger





The future will have a lot of lasers, as we’ve learned from almost all sci-fi movies. They will power our quantum computers and be used to look into microscopic spaces in science experiments. They will also be used in medicine, surgery, and eye health checks. The options are endless. One problem is that the best ones we have so far—titanium-sapphire or Ti:sapphire lasers made with titanium ion-doped sapphire crystals—are too big and pricey for most people to use.

So you can see why it’s so exciting that researchers at Stanford University have made a Ti:sapphire laser that can fit on a chip. It costs three orders of magnitude less and is four orders of magnitude smaller than any Ti:sapphire laser made so far. It can be measured in millimeters instead of tens of meters. It’s even much more efficient than the ones that came before it.

In a statement, Jelena Vuković, the Jensen Huang Professor in Global Leadership, a professor of electrical engineering, and the lead author of the paper introducing the chip-scale Ti:sapphire laser, said, “This is a complete departure from the old model.”

“Soon, any lab could have hundreds of these useful lasers on a single chip instead of one big, pricey laser,” Vučković said. “And a green laser pointer can power it all.”

The big step forward is due to two new ideas: First, the team didn’t work with Ti:sapphire by itself. Instead, they put it on a silicon dioxide insulator. The titanium they did use was only a few hundred nanometers thick. It was then polished and etched with a swirl of very small ridges. A waveguide is the name for the shape, which looks like a firehose that has been coiled up.

A small heater warms up the light that goes through this waveguide. This lets the team, or whoever ends up using this potentially soon-to-be-common technology, tune the laser to any wavelength they need.

The tiny laser could be very useful in many areas of science. Ti:sapphire lasers are very useful in quantum optics, spectroscopy, and neuroscience because they have the highest gain bandwidth. This means that they can send out energy across a wider range of wavelengths than other lasers.

Joshua Yang, a doctoral student in Vučković’s lab and co-first author of the study, said that they’re also very fast. They can send out pulses of light every quadrillionth of a second, which is about fourteen orders of magnitude faster than a regular laser.

That performance does cost something, though. It could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just to buy the basic kit for a Ti:sapphire laser. You’ll need extra space to put it in because it takes up about the same space as, say, four bowling balls. Plus, you’ll need a lot of other high-powered lasers, each of which costs tens of thousands of dollars, to power it.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the technology isn’t very popular right now. That would all change, though, if it were chip-sized, said Yang. “These powerful lasers can be used for a lot of different important tasks when you go from tabletop size to making something that can be made on a chip for such a low price,” he said. “A chip is small.” It’s easy to carry. It works well and doesn’t cost much. It doesn’t have any moving parts. And a lot of them can be made.

What’s the bonus? This kind of scaling down doesn’t just make Ti:sapphire lasers cheaper and smaller; it makes them better.

In terms of math, intensity is equal to power times area. That is why Yang said, “If you keep the same power as the large laser but make the area where it is focused smaller, the intensity goes through the roof.” “The fact that our laser is small helps us make it work better.”

“What’s not to like?” This opens up Ti:sapphire lasers to more people.

The paper has been published in Nature magazine.

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