close
close

Techwatch: Four of the latest developments in the field of engineering and technology

From perovskite displays to 2D goldene, here are some of the latest tech innovations from Australia and beyond.

Innovation in Australia and around the world continues apace – here are four of the latest technological developments.

Perovskite displays

The next generation of mobile phone screens could act as solar chargers, according to new research recently published in Nature Electronics. The new perovskite LED display uses the same crystalline structures as photovoltaic solar cells to not only absorb, but also generate light with brightness many times greater than current displays.

The light-sensitive PeLED also makes it possible to detect touch and image objects, opening the door to the new display that replaces several sensor components in existing mobile devices.

The PeLED display allows mobile devices to be powered by the sun. Image credit: Nature Electronics

“The perovskite LED display can be used simultaneously as a touch screen, ambient light sensor and image sensor (including for fingerprint drawing) without the need to integrate additional sensors,” the study authors said.

“Thanks to the light-to-electricity conversion efficiency of the pixels, the screen can also act as a photovoltaic device that can charge the equipment.”

Universal blood group

In an effort to address the global shortage of donor blood and blood products, biotechnologists and scientists from two Northern European universities – the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and Lund University, Sweden – may have found at least a partial solution .

A new process could ensure that all blood donations are universally accepted. Image credits: Getty Images

Their work, recently published in Nature Microbiology, describes how they use enzymes produced by common gut bacteria to remove the A and B antigens from red blood cells, creating essentially neutral group O blood cells that can be administered universally .

This would reduce the need for type matching, allowing any blood donation to be given to any recipient.

“For the first time, the new enzyme cocktails remove not only the well-described A and B antigens, but also extended variants that were previously not recognized as problematic for transfusion safety,” said Maher Abou Hachem, co-corresponding author of the study and scientist. at the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at DTU.

Condor wing tip

In another example of engineering biomimicry, researchers from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta in Canada have created a five-meter-long wing attachment for wind turbines, inspired by the aerodynamics of the Andean condor.

Bio-inspired winglets increase turbine efficiency. Image credit: Biome Renewable’s condor-inspired winglet RahamyBahambary et al. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

They found that retrofitting the winglet to an existing turbine blade increased the pressure difference between the suction surface and the pressure surface along the wingspan of the blade, increasing turbine efficiency by 10 percent.

A prototype built by partner industrial design firm Biome Renewables confirmed that the winglet contributed to greater torque and therefore higher efficiency than simply increasing the surface area of ​​the blade.

“In summary, the results of the wake study and power production suggest that this bio-inspired design can increase the power output of the wind turbines,” the researchers said.

2D golden

Researchers from Linköping University in Sweden have successfully synthesized the first free-standing single layer of gold atoms, called ‘goldene’. This ultra-thin material is one 500th the thickness of gold leaf.

Goldene can play a crucial role in the advancement of electronics. Image credits: Getty Images

By exploiting gold’s plasmonic characteristics, goldene could efficiently separate water molecules to produce hydrogen, using solar energy. Unlike previous 2D metals such as lead and tin, goldene exists independently, without the need to be bonded to other materials.

The innovative production technique, involving layers of titanium, carbon and gold intercalation, overcomes the challenges associated with clumping and offers potential scalability for industrial applications.

The method, described in Nature Synthesis, not only advances goldene’s capabilities, but also opens up possibilities for isolating other 2D metals, or ‘metals’, that could drive innovation across multiple sectors.

Related Posts