Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found a way to grow aluminum nitride crystals large enough to slice into semiconductor substrates. The crystals can be used to make blue and ultraviolet lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). "Semiconductor light sources have always been very attractive because of their ruggedness and economy," says Leo Schowalter, professor of physics at Rensselaer. "But the color of LEDs has been pretty much limited to red. Green and blue LEDs are also needed if we are to create traffic signals, automobile lighting, flat-screen TV sets, and other applications where long life and high efficiency are important." A Rensselaer researcher, Glen Slack, has demonstrated that you can grow aluminum nitride crystals in a tungsten crucible at 2,300C. However, at that temperature, the aluminum attacks the grain boundaries in the tungsten, and the crucible doesn't survive very long. Schowalter and Slack have now solved the problem and formed a company to make the aluminum nitride crystals. E-mail email@example.com.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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