Jennifer Lewis made a discovery that could effect the future of electrical ceramics. The University of Illinois professor is working with NASA's office of Biological and Physical Research and studying how materials form when gravity is not present. By subtracting gravity from the process, she sees what happens when a given material is produced. Lewis co-authored a paper describing a process called "nanoparticle haloing" that stabilizes particles in fluids and prevents them from coagulating into a disordered structure. She indicates that by varying the composition of colloidal fluids and gels, researchers produce systems whose properties vary dramatically. "This designer capability will assist us in developing improved materials for photonics that control the flow of light," she says. For more information, go to http://colloids.mse.uiuc.edu or http://spaceresearch.nasa.gov. Content for the colloids website includes copies of Lewis's research papers and links to professional societies.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
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