A Scientist Proves a Concept, An Engineer Proves its Worth

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While Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, Nikola Tesla made induction motor by using that. Also, John Tyndall demonstrated that light could be conducted through a curved stream of water and a light signal could be bent. Using the same principle, Alexander Graham Bell made a photophone out of it that transmitted a voice signal on the beam of light.

The scientists and engineers have been walking hand in hand since history to come up with wonders. While the geniuses discovered a concept, engineers have used it to create life-changing devices. This decade has also seen geniuses coming up with some brilliant concepts that budding engineers can explore and create a benchmark in the electronics industry. Let us find some of the research by scientists all over the world that can be basic principles on which your new device would work.

Squeeze light into a space smaller than its wavelength

Wonder material graphene keeps astonishing us with every discovery related to it. Scientists from Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), Spain have used graphene to squeeze light into a space smaller than its wavelength. Light cannot be focused on a spot smaller than its own wavelength due to a barrier called diffraction limit which, however, did not apply in this case. The researchers used stacks of 2D materials to build a nano-optical device adding graphene monolayer to it, enabling it to act as semi-metal and guide light in the form of plasmons. These plasmons are oscillations of electrons that can interact strongly with light, hence, can be used to guide it. This step of reaching the ultimate limit of light confinement has opened doors for large possibilities in the field of electronics, sensors, imaging devices and optical communication.

Magnetic wormhole to connect two regions in space

Before you get too excited let’s make it clear that this is not a gravitational wormhole like what was shown in Star Trek allowing humans to teleport from one point in the space to another. However, scientists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona have created a magnetic wormhole which is a tunnel allowing the magnetic field to disappear at one point and then reappear at another. Space between these two points is visible to a human eye but invisible magnetically. This created the illusion that the magnetic field must be travelling through some kind of extra dimension. Oddly enough, it also meant that an isolated magnetic monopole – a magnet with only one pole, North or South – appeared randomly at the end of the tunnel.

The wormhole changes the topology of space by magnetically erasing the inner region of the tunnel from space. The research can be used in practical applications like MRI machines that do not require people to lie inside it. But most importantly, it teaches about ways we can tunnel our way through space – a venture that holds countless possibilities.

Generate electricity from tears

When people see you crying, a good heart will try to find a way to hold your tears. However, a brilliant scientific mind found a way to use them. Your teardrops may not be pearls but they someday might replace a quartz crystal. Geniuses from University of Limerick in Ireland have developed a way to harvest electricity from the tears, saliva and secretion from other parts of our body. It was all possible because of an enzyme called lysozyme generating electricity when it is put under pressure. This discovery of generating piezoelectricity from biodegradable enzyme produced by all human bodies can lead us to a new era of flexible energy-harvesting electronics.

Now Einstein’s spooky action on macroscopic objects

Quantum entanglement which Einstein described as ‘spooky action at a distance’ links particles in a way that they instantly affect each other, even over vast distances. Until now quantum entanglement has only been demonstrated to work at the smallest of scales in systems based on lights and atoms. Recently, the researchers from University of New South Wales in Australia have demonstrated it on the macroscopic level using two 15-micrometre-wide vibrating drum heads.

The work has extended the range of entangled physical systems which has implications for quantum processing, precision measurements and tests of the limits of quantum mechanics. Researchers believe that this work has the potential to lead all kinds of new discoveries in the field from how gravity and quantum mechanics work together to the possibility of teleporting mechanical vibration across entangled objects. The research might bring the era of massive quantum machines.

Inkjet printing to create optical components

Researchers from Switzerland have developed a technique to print optical components such as waveguides through inkjet printing. This because the inkjet printing approach can fabricate electronics and microfluidics, advancing a variety of devices such as optical sensors used for health monitoring, lab-on-chip devices and many more. In Optics Express – a journal of the Optical Society (OSA), the researchers showed that their technique can be used to print 2.5D optical waveguides and tapers made of acrylic polymer. This printing concept can also be used with other materials such as metallic inks to make electronics or sucrose mixtures for biodegradable applications.