Images of 2017 in physics

Physics World, Dec 15, 2017 We are fortunate at Physics World that the stories we cover are often highly visual. Physics and astronomy are full of eye-catching imagery and we would like to share with you some of our favourite images of 2017… read more.

Fully screen-printed monoPoly silicon solar cell technology

Source:, December 14, 2017 The technology developed by researchers in Singapore is applicable on both p-type and n-type silicon wafers, features homogenous junctions and standard fire-thorough screen-printed metal contacts with grids on both sides, resulting in a high-efficiency bifacial solar cell. It uses an advanced tunnel oxide and doped silicon layers, enabling excellent surface passivation in the non-contact cell regions along with very low-resistance and low-recombination screen-printed contacts. Using commercially available large-area Cz-Si wafers they recorded an average cell efficiency of 21.5%… read more.

Teaching life a new trick: Bacteria make boron-carbon bonds

Source: Eurekalert, November 29, 2017 Researchers at Caltech used directed evolution method, where enzymes are evolved in a lab to perform desired functions, to coax the bacteria into making boron-containing compounds. They mutated the DNA that encodes the protein and then put the mutated DNA sequences into thousands of bacterial cells. The DNA of successful mutant proteins was then mutated again, and the cycle was repeated until the bacteria making the proteins were highly proficient at assembling the boron-carbon compounds. Their final bacterial creations were up to 400 times more productive than synthetic chemical processes used for the same reaction. […]

Single-photon detector can count to 4

Source: Nanowerk December 15,2017 A team of researchers in the US (Duke University, Ohio State University, industry) used the superconducting nanowire single-photon detector (SNSPD) method to show multi-photon detection indicating number resolution up to four photons. They paid special attention to the specific shape of the initial spike in the electrical signal to correctly count at least four photons traveling together in a packet. Photon-number-resolution is very useful for a lot of quantum information/communication and quantum optics experiment; it could greatly increase the speed of quantum encryption techniques… read more.  Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Creating surfaces that repel water and control its flow

Science Daily, December 13, 2017 To gain better control over the flow of water on superhydrophobic materials, scientists have been etching paths into coatings for the liquid to follow. And although water will take the designated path, it can leave behind a wet trail as the rolling droplets have a different contact angle at the front and back. An international team of researchers (China, US – UMass Amherst) has developed a technique to make the tracks hydrophobic which is critical for keeping water droplets’ spherical shape and minimizing the difference in the front and back contact angles. Testing showed that […]

What does “Sciligent” mean?

Rather than write about it, I made the video below to describe where it comes from.Now, as to the pronunciation, the first “i” is long.  as in SAI – ligent, because the “sci” comes from “science” which also has a long “i” 

DoD/SBIR 14.2 Topics Announced

The latest batch of SBIR’s were announced last week.  You can view them all at the official site and also sign up there for e-mail announcements.   SITIS Topic # Program Solc Agency Title A14-081   SBIR   14.2    Army   Innovative Situational Awareness and Decision Making Algorithms on Open Architecture System-on-Module Q&A   A14-082   SBIR   14.2    Army   Projectile Energy Devices A14-083   SBIR   14.2    Army   Scalable Design Method for Reconfigurable Canard Actuation Systems A14-084   SBIR   14.2    Army   Hybrid Projectile Components Miniaturization A14-085   SBIR   14.2    Army   Hemispheric Imaging System A14-086   SBIR   14.2    Army   Room Temperature Ballistic Testing Backing Material A14-087   […]

Disruptive Innovation Explained by Clayton Christensen

When talking to clients and colleagues the term “disruptive innovation” will often be used.  In fact, this is popular enough that it appears in government solicitations.  Since the term was originated by Clayton Christensen several years ago, it has taken on a variety of different meanings.  It is certainly overused, but I often wonder if it is being misused.  It is important to recognize that the term comes directly from Christensen’s Disruptive Innovation Theory.  And although it has since strayed from this specific definition, it is important to keep its past in mind.Here is the original definition from Christensen:”A disruptive […]

The Three Technology Drivers (according to Neil Tyson)

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, outlines the only technology drivers that have been behind big investment projects from the construction of the pyramids to the exploration of the new world to the Manhattan Project.  Making extraordinary investments in science and technology requires convincing the “checkwriters” (as he describes them) to invest not for reasons like intellectual curiosity or adventure but for very different reasons.  In his survey, despite expecting to find hundreds of reasons, he only found three: The War/Defense/Fear Driver Economic/Promise of Wealth/Greed Driver Tribute to Deity/Royalty/Adoration Check out the following video where he speaks at length about these: His […]