ManufacturingBuilding the Second Machine Age
Manufacturing The Age of Robots
Manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing are revolutionising the way we produce things. Automation continues from the first to the second machine age to transform the way we work. This department tracks the development of manufacturing technology and the impact it is having on our economy and society.
Could the manufacture of the integrated circuits and chips for our everyday electronic devices be made simpler, safer and cheaper simply by being able to switch coloured light on and off?
Researchers from QUT, Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Belgium’s Ghent University have stepped towards this by pioneering a system that modulates visible, coloured light to change the reactions of a powerful chemical coupling agent.
Algorithm allows 3-D printers to “read ahead” of their programming to boost speeds. A major drawback to 3-D printing – the slow pace of the work – could be alleviated through a software algorithm developed at the University of Michigan.
Rice University researchers use 3-D printers to turn century-old theory into complex schwarzites. Rice University engineers are using 3-D printers to turn structures that have until now existed primarily in theory into strong, light and durable materials with complex, repeating patterns. The porous structures called schwarzites are designed with computer algorithms, but Rice researchers found they could send data from the programs to printers and make macroscale, polymer models for testing.
Artist’s conception of doping process Breakthrough could launch organic electronics beyond cellphone screens
A discovery by an international team of researchers from Princeton University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Humboldt University in Berlin points the way to more widespread use of an advanced technology generally known as organic electronics. The research, published Nov. 13 in the journal Nature Materials, focuses on organic semiconductors, a class of materials prized for their applications in emerging technologies such as flexible electronics, solar energy conversion, and high-quality color displays for smartphones and televisions.
Easy-to-use spectrometer costs less than $300, holds promise for remote medical diagnostics. Spectral images, which contain more color information than is obtainable with a typical camera, reveal characteristics of tissue and other biological samples that can’t be seen by the naked eye.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new route to ultra-low-power transistors using a graphene-based composite material. As transistors are squeezed into ever smaller areas within computer chips, the semiconductor industry struggles to contain overheating in devices.
Electronic circuits reveal when a plant begins to experience drought conditions. Engineers have created sensors that can be printed onto plant leaves and reveal when the plants are experiencing a water shortage, which could give farmers an early warning when their crops are in danger.
Light-based devices could be used as biomedical sensors or as flexible connectors for electronics. Researchers have developed a way to make optically based microchips that can flex and bend like rubber and could be used for skin-mounted diagnostics or flexible strain sensors.
Perovskites are a type of mineral and class of materials, and have been attracting a great deal of attention for their potential applications to technologies such as those used in solar cells. These unique materials have well-ordered structures and show many interesting properties that could be useful in other areas of electronics. Such a variety of properties in the same structural backbone allows different kinds of perovskites, with different properties, to be evenly joined together without breaking lattice coherency.
Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers, researchers report in a study that could help bring optical communication onto silicon chips.
Manufacturing Department Head