You could hardly find greater contrasts in one and the same team. Plastic is light and inexpensive, but insulates electric current. Metal is resilient and conducts electricity, but it is also expensive and heavy. Up to now, it has not been possible to combine the properties of these two materials. The IFAM in Bremen has devised a solution that combines the best of both worlds without requiring new machinery to process the components.

The fast pace of growing computing power could be sustained for many years to come thanks to new research from the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) that is applying advanced techniques to magnetic semiconductors.

Moore's Law observed that the density of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles every two years. Components have shrunk over time to achieve this, but experts believed that when the characteristic transistor size reduces below ~ 20 nm, heating and quantum effects will become so severe that they will not be of practical use.

The first robot that can jump like a grasshopper and roll like a ball could play a key role in future space exploration.

The 'Jollbot' has been created by Rhodri Armour, a PhD student from the University of Bath. It's hoped his creation, which can jump over obstacles and roll over smoother terrain, could be used for space exploration or land survey work in the future.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Radar — the technology that tracks enemy bombers and hurricanes — is now being employed to detect another danger: when babies stop breathing.

In a high-tech twist on the remote devices that allow parents to listen to or watch their baby from afar, University of Florida engineering researchers have built a prototype baby monitor that focuses on a baby's breathing. If his or her chest stops moving, the crib-mounted monitor detects the problem and sends an alarm to a portable unit kept by the parents.

The technology of government surveillance has changed dramatically, and the rules governing surveillance should be changed accordingly. Chris Bronk, a fellow in technology, society and public policy at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, makes that argument in a paper published in First Monday, a free, openly accessible, peer–reviewed journal devoted to the Internet.

Sometimes physicists resort to tried and trusted model-making tricks. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, the University of Stuttgart and the Colorado School of Mines have constructed micromachines using the same trick that model makers use to get ships into a bottle where the masts and rigging of the sailing ship are not erected until it is in the bottle. In the same way, the scientists link the valves, pumps and stirrers of a microlaboratory to create a micro device on a chip.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Dec. 1, 2008 – Imagine a self-powering cell phone that never needs to be charged because it converts sound waves produced by the user into the energy it needs to keep running. It's not as far-fetched as it may seem thanks to the recent work of Tahir Cagin, a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

A super-efficient system that has the potential to power, heat and cool homes across the UK is being developed at Newcastle University.

It works by burning vegetable oil to power a generator and provide electricity for the home. The waste heat from this process is then used to provide heating and hot water and is also converted to cool a fridge.

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated their ability to measure relatively low levels of stress or strain in regions of a semiconductor device as small as 10 nanometers across. Their recent results* not only will impact the design of future generations of integrated circuits but also lay to rest a long-standing disagreement in results between two different methods for measuring stress in semiconductors.

The lack of common measurement methods among light-emitting diode (LED) and lighting manufacturers has affected the commercialization of solid-state lighting products. In a recent paper,* researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposed a new, economical method to allow LED and lighting manufacturers to obtain accurate, reproducible, and comparable measurements of LED brightness and color.

Researchers working at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated for the first time the existence of a key magnetic—as opposed to electronic—property of specially built semiconductor devices. This discovery raises hopes for even smaller and faster gadgets that could result from magnetic data storage in a semiconductor material, which could then quickly process the data through built-in logic circuits controlled by electric fields.

"Increased services like Video on Demand will put pressure on the system and create an energy bottleneck," said Dr Kerry Hinton of the University's Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and the ARC Special Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN).

In a world-first model of internet power consumption, University of Melbourne researchers have been able to identify the major contributors to Internet power consumption as the take-up of broadband services grows in the coming years.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — New ways of squeezing out greater efficiency from solar photovoltaic cells are emerging from computer simulations and lab tests conducted by a team of physicists and engineers at MIT.

Using computer modeling and a variety of advanced chip-manufacturing techniques, they have applied an antireflection coating to the front, and a novel combination of multi-layered reflective coatings and a tightly spaced array of lines — called a diffraction grating — to the backs of ultrathin silicon films to boost the cells' output by as much as 50 percent.

Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have improved their understanding of the inner workings of our computers and mp3 players, thanks to an exciting new field of research called 'organic spintronics'.

Dr Alan Drew from Queen Mary's Department of Physics and the University of Freiburg, Switzerland, along with colleagues from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)*, Switzerland, has become the first to measure how the magnetic polarisation is lost in a device similar to a hard drive 'read-head' found in every computer produced in the last ten years.

November 23, 2008 -- At the 61st Meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics this week, a team of researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Maryland is reporting research that may soon give avid golfers another way to improve their game.