The Tek Pulse: The latest and greatest engineering and science posts


Informative, innovative and interesting articles from our favorite blogs


  1. Scientists discover new ways to twist and shift light, National Physical laboratory, January 14, 2018, PHYS.ORG -- New research in photonics could open doors to new quantum technologies and telecom systems. The research results revealed unusual qualities in light that could lead to entirely new electronic devices and applications. Light is commonly used in electronics for telecommunications and computing. For example, optical fibers are used to facilitate telephone calls and internet connections around the world. In their paper, researchers described how light can be controlled in an optical ring resonator – a small device that can store very high light intensities. In this device, wavelengths of light resonate around the device. The study explains that optical ring resonators identified the interplay of spontaneous symmetry breaking. The team analyzed how the time between pulses of light varied and how it was polarized, which revealed new ways to manipulate light. As a possible application, it could be used to combine and rearrange optical pulses, like in telecommunication networks. The technology could also be used in atomic clocks and it will help scientists better understand how to manipulate light in photonic circuits, sensors and quantum technologies. For the full article visit PHYS.ORG.
  2. 2D materials may enable electric vehicles to get 500 miles on a single charge, University of Illinois at Chicago, January 14, 2018, ECN -- Lithium-air batteries are poised to become the next replacement for lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power electric vehicles, cell phones and computers. Lithium-air batteries can store 10 times more energy than their counterparts and are much lighter, which could allow them to be more energy efficient. However, lithium-air batteries are still in the experimental stages of development. Researchers have recently synthesized several 2D materials that could serve as catalysts in lithium-air batteries. Catalysts help increase the rate of chemical reactions in the batteries and can significantly boost the ability for the battery to hold and provide energy. Several 2D materials, when incorporated into experimental lithium-air batteries and the catalyst, allowed the battery to hold up to 10 times more energy than lithium-air batteries with a traditional catalyst. With these 2D materials, we could see vehicles getting 400 to 500 miles per charge -- a huge breakthrough in energy storage. For more information visit ECN.
  3. Next generation photonic memory devices are light-written, ultrafast and energy efficient, Eindhoven University of Technology, January 14, 2019, ScienceDaily -- A new ‘hybrid technology’ combines the advantages of light and magnetic hard drives. Light is the most energy-efficient way of moving information; however, it’s difficult to store. Currently, data centers rely primarily on magnetic hard drives. But with hard drives, information is transferred at a very high energy cost. The switching of the magnetization requires multiple laser pulses and thus, long data writing times. This new hybrid technology involves ultra-short (femtosecond) light pulses that allow data to be directly written in a magnetic memory in a fast and highly energy-efficient way. Additionally, as soon as the information is stored, it moves forward leaving space to empty memory domains to be filled with new data. This technology promises to revolutionize the process of data storage in photonic integrated circuits. The research group is also currently busy with the investigation on the read-out of the magnetic data, which can be done all-optically. For the full article check out ScienceDaily.
  4. Scientists Are Legit Building a Steam-Powered Spaceship, And It Sounds Awesome, Brandon Specktor, January 14, 2019, LiveScience -- Scientists have teamed up with a private space and mining company to develop a small, steam-powered spacecraft capable of getting fuel from asteroids, planets and moons. This microwave-sized lander, called WINE (World Is Not Enough), could theoretically power itself on an indefinite number of missions – as long as it lands somewhere with H20. The prototype craft recently completed its first test mission on a simulated asteroid surface in California. The lander used a compact drilling apparatus to successfully mine the fake comet for water. WINE then converted that H20 into rocket propellant and launched itself into the air using a set of steam-powered thrusters. The researchers spent three years developing new steam propulsion computer models and equations to help the craft optimize its operations in response to varying gravitational demands. NASA helped fund the early stages of the project. For more information check out LiveScience.
  5. And lastly, the most popular Tektronix download of the week goes to – Tektronix Oscilloscope Accessories Selection Guide. Our latest application note will help you to find probes and accessories to adapt your oscilloscope to your specific application needs and environment.

Download your copy today!


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