Deborah Chung, Ph.D., professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo (Buffalo, NY), discovered semiconducting behavior from an unusual source: a carbon composite. Her work endows structural materials with electronic capabilities without computer chips or electrical leads. Chung says, "We can use the structural material itself as the electronics." Made from carbon fibers embedded in a polymer matrix, the material would be easier and less expensive to fabricate than traditional silicon-based electronics, says Chung. According to the researcher, the process spreads electronic capabilities over a large surface area, therefore heat dissipation--now one of the biggest technological challenges facing electronic packaging--would no longer be a problem. Chung's work was presented at the International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials in San Diego on March 4. Call (716) 645-3811.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.