Category Archives: Engineering and Technology

Electrical engineers break power and distance barriers for fiber optic communication

Electrical engineers have broken key barriers that limit the distance information can travel in fiber optic cables and still be accurately deciphered by a receiver. Photonics researchers at the University of California, San Diego have increased the maximum power — and therefore distance — at which optical signals can be sent through optical fibers. This advance has the potential to increase the data transmission rates for the fiber optic cables that serve as the backbone of the internet, cable, wireless and landline networks. The research is published in the June 26 issue of the journal Science. The new study presents a solution to a long-standing roadblock to increasing data transmission rates in optical fiber: beyond a threshold power level, additional power increases irreparably distort the information travelling in the fiber optic cable.

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Tunable liquid metal antennas

Researchers have held tremendous interest in liquid metal electronics for many years, but a significant and unfortunate drawback slowing the advance of such devices is that they tend to require external pumps that can’t be easily integrated into electronic systems. So a team of North Carolina State University (NCSU) researchers set out to create a reconfigurable liquid metal antenna controlled by voltage only, which they describe in the Journal of Applied Physics, from AIP Publishing.2015051911015280

A metal composite that will (literally) float your boat

Researchers have demonstrated a new metal matrix composite that is so light that it can float on water. A boat made of such lightweight composites will not sink despite damage to its structure. The new material also promises to improve automotive fuel economy because it combines light weight with heat resistance. Although syntactic foams have been around for many years, this is the first development of a lightweight metal matrix syntactic foam. It is the work of a team of researchers from Deep Springs Technology (DST) and the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering.2015051310984960