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The blackest material ever made

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There is talk of blacker material than ever in the press release accompanying a new study published in Applied Materials & Interfaces. The MIT researchers report that they have developed a material that is “10 times blacker than previously reported.”

It is a material made of carbon nanotubes placed vertically. These nanotubes were attached to an aluminum foil etched with chlorine. The result is a film that can reflect 99.96% of incoming light at any wavelength, making this film, in turn, a material that, in our view, looks darker than the darkest black we can imagine.

Currently, the film has been used in a work of art produced by Brian Wardle, an aviation and astronautics expert at MIT, and by the artist Diemut Strebe. It is a yellow diamond covered with this ultra-black film.

Practical applications? According to the researchers, the uses for this material could be many. For example, it can be used in optical indicators to reduce glare or in space telescopes to locate exoplanets that more efficiently hide the light from the stars around which they rotate.


See also:

http://news.mit.edu/2019/blackest-black-material-cnt-0913

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsami.9b08290

Image source:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Vantablack_01.JPG

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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Science

New device uses waste electricity from plants and communicates via satellite

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A device that collects electricity from cultivated fields and sends information about the same crops via low-power satellite signals was created by the Dutch company Plant-e and Lacuna Space. It is a project carried out as part of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES), a project of the European Space Agency.

The device can provide information on soil and air humidity and temperature, important information for farmers to keep crops under control. The electricity needed to operate these devices comes from the fact that plants produce organic matter through photosynthesis.

This process, however, does not use all this organic matter to grow plants: part of it is stored in the soil through the roots. Right under the soil, bacteria break it down and release electrons as a sort of “waste.”

The device is capable of collecting these electrons to assimilate that small level of electrical current in order to function and transmit signals.

There is talk of a “new era in sustainable satellite communications,” as Rob Spurrett, the CEO of the company that created the device, defines it. He suggests that the device itself could be used in those regions of the world that are difficult to reach, where there is not a good supply of electricity and an Internet connection and where it is not possible to use solar energy.

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
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602-769-4516
[email protected]
Martin Hill
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Hubble analyzes huge galaxy that contains more than a trillion stars

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A huge new galaxy has been observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. This time the telescope focused its attention on UGC 2885, also known as the “Rubin Galaxy,” in honour of the well-known astronomer Vera Rubin, and about 232 million light-years away from us. It is a gigantic galaxy not only because it is 2.5 times the size of our Milky Way but also because it is estimated to contain more than a trillion stars.

And these characteristics are even more remarkable considering that, as astronomers themselves report, this spiral galaxy seems to have never collided or merged with other galaxies. It simply spent its time creating many stars thanks to the considerable amount of hydrogen it has used for all these millions of years.

Because of this “quiet” nature, the galaxy has also been described by astronomers as a “gentle giant”. Even the supermassive black hole that is believed to be in the centre is half “asleep,” as it only attracts a few filaments of gas because the galaxy does not seem to feed, as all large galaxies do, on much smaller satellite galaxies and this does not bring much new material to the central black hole.

Now researchers want to understand the reasons for the underlying anomaly in this galaxy, basically how it has become so large, growing slowly, without attracting to itself almost nothing but the hydrogen of the filamentous structure of intergalactic space. Perhaps UGC 2885, in the distant past, attracted numerous small galaxies and this could be witnessed by the presence of star clusters, just what researchers are looking for inside this huge galaxy and that would explain its size.

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
---
602-769-4516
[email protected]
Martin Hill
Continue Reading

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Artificial intelligence passes the third grade scientific test for the first time

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A software based on artificial intelligence has passed an eighth American school test (comparable to the third year of high school), according to an article in the New York Times. It is the first time that artificial intelligence has passed a test of this level.

It’s been a few years since hundreds of computer scientists entered a competition to create artificial intelligence that can pass a test of this level, but the only one to pass seems to have been the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

In fact, this Seattle Institute has created a new artificial intelligence system that seems to have passed the scientific test by correctly answering more than 90% of the questions. The software, called Aristo, is designed to mimic the logic of human decision-making.

And it is perhaps precisely for this reason that he managed to overcome not only the questions that made a “simple” information search possible (something that even Google can do now if the questions are very simple), but also questions that needed a real reasoning, essentially the classic and simple “problems” that primary or secondary school students have to solve, issues that, however, require the use of logic.

The standardized scientific tests used in schools are increasingly being used to assess the level of artificial intelligence and the manufacturers themselves see them as excellent benchmarks for understanding the progress and level their software achieves. These types of tests are considered more important than the classic tests based on games such as chess or backgammon.

The latter may, in fact, be governed by the rules to learn, but a scientific test, a series of questions that also includes the use of logic, is more difficult to overcome. Jingjing Liu, one of the Microsoft researchers who has also worked on various Allen Institute initiatives based on artificial intelligence, seems to be cautious and openly declares that it is not yet possible to compare such technology with real human students of the third degree: their ability to reason, at least for the moment, is still superior.

However, the progress that has been made with Aristo can already be used in the short term in a range of different services, ranging from the answers that an Internet search engine can provide to the various tasks that a digital assistant can perform. However, the progress made in artificial intelligence, especially in neural networks that can understand the natural language thanks to models built on the basis of huge amounts of data, does not seem to deny it.


See also:

https://allenai.org/aristo/

Image source:

https://miro.medium.com/max/4000/1*DcHlT-ImdvYaJZL7LWDUUA.jpeg

Martin Hill

An accomplished journalist and freelancer, Martin has held a long career in media and has worked for numerous different agencies. He was an editor for the Arizona Business Gazette for over 10 years before joining the Tucson Weekly (tucsonweekly.com) and founding Hplex Science News, a new publication with the aim of reporting on science news over the internet. Beyond having extensive writing and research experience, Martin is also a science enthusiast with a passion for science and technology. In his younger life, he had studied mechanical engineering before moving on to journalism.
---
602-769-4516
[email protected]
Martin Hill
Continue Reading
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