Materials

Predicting wildfires with CAT scans

Engineers at Stanford have used X-ray CT scans, more common in hospital labs, to study how wood catches fire. They’ve now turned that knowledge into a computer simulation to predict where fires will strike and spread.

Slow-light beam-steering

Researchers have fashioned ultrathin silicon nanoantennas that trap and redirect light, for applications in quantum computing, LIDAR and even the detection of viruses.

To solve climate change, we must deal with heat

Almost all of the world’s energy use involves heat, from making steel to refrigerating food. Deep decarbonization without breakthroughs in thermal science and engineering seems inconceivable. Three leaders in the area highlight five important topics to explore.

A new ultrafast insulin

Stanford researchers tested a new insulin drug in diabetic pigs and found that it was twice as fast-acting as traditional insulin.

Storing data on 2D metals

Researchers have invented a way to slide atomically-thin layers of 2D materials over one another to store more data, in less space and using less energy.

Artificial synapse works with living cells

Researchers have created a device that can integrate and interact with neuron-like cells. This could be an early step toward an artificial synapse for use in brain-computer interfaces.

Desalination solution

Desalination – the conversion of saltwater to freshwater – has been limited by high operational costs. A new device capable of turning desalination waste into commercially valuable chemicals could make the process cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Experimental two-in-one shot could aid diabetics

Researchers have developed a way to combine insulin with a second hormone known as amylin, to create a two-in-one injection that could, if proven safe and effective in human trials, make it easier for diabetics to more effectively control their blood sugar levels.