Antenna design turns entire vehicles into broadcasting equipment

High-frequency antennas transmit radio waves across vast distances and even over mountain ranges using very little energy, making them ideal for military communications. These devices, however, have one big problem: They need to be huge to operate efficiently.

Instead of adding more bulk, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers are working to increase the effective size of antennas by turning the military vehicles that carry them into transmitters — using the structures that support the antennas themselves to help broadcast signals.

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UW-Madison engineers reveal record-setting flexible phototransistor

MADISON, Wis. -- Inspired by mammals' eyes, University of Wisconsin-Madison electrical engineers have created the fastest, most responsive flexible silicon phototransistor ever made.

The innovative phototransistor could improve the performance of myriad products -- ranging from digital cameras, night-vision goggles and smoke detectors to surveillance systems and satellites -- that rely on electronic light sensors. Integrated into a digital camera lens, for example, it could reduce bulkiness and boost both the acquisition speed and quality of video or still photos.

Developed by UW-Madison collaborators Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and research scientist Jung-Hun Seo, the high-performance phototransistor far and away exceeds all previous flexible phototransistor parameters, including sensitivity and response time.

The researchers published details of their advance this week in the journal Advanced Optical Materials.

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UW-Stout: 8th Annual Manufacturing Advantage Conference & Technology Showcase November 4-5, 2015

University of Wisconsin - Stout Campus: Menomonie, Wisconsin

The Manufacturing Advantage Conference provides a forum for manufacturers from across the region to learn best practices and participate in practical learning through interactive, hands-on breakout sessions, industry-expert keynote speakers and ample networking opportunities. We strive to carry on a solid tradition of providing impactful experiences to help manufacturers succeed in the areas of strategic direction, top-line growth, process improvement and people and culture.

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Lovell looks to boost Marquette research

Marquette University President Michael Lovell says he wants to double research at Marquette over the next five years.

Speaking at Thursday’s WIN-Milwaukee meeting, Lovell highlighted investments the university has made in facilities and programs that foster innovation, including the purchase of 12.5 acres in downtown Milwaukee that will house an athletic research facility. Developed in partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks and an unnamed health care provider, Lovell said the facility will provide a global draw to the university.

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UW-Madison: Dark energy to be topic of Space Place event

"To Infinity and Beyond: The Accelerating Universe," a live broadcast from the World Science Festival about dark energy, an antigravitational force that confounds the conventional laws of physics, will be hosted on the evening of May 28 by UW-Madison'sSpace Place.

Originating from New York and moderated by internationally known theoretical physicist and bestselling author Lawrence Krauss, the broadcast will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Space Place, the UW-Madison astronomy outreach outpost, is located in the Villager Mall, 2300 S. Park St. The event will be held in the mall atrium.

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UWM receives $300,000 to create 'Innovation Corps' site

UWM receives $300,000 to create 'Innovation Corps' site

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel April 21, 2015

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $300,000, three-year grant to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to become an "Innovation Corps" site to recruit and train 90 teams to commercialize their research over the next three years.

UWM is collaborating on the project with Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Concordia University Wisconsin.

The I-Corps program, part of the federal agency's National Innovation Network, is the "gold standard" for accelerating ideas into the marketplace, said Brian Thompson, president of the UWM Research Foundation.

"This is a way to excite faculty about entrepreneurial thinking and how research can be applied to real products that can get to market," said Ilya Avdeev, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Milwaukee program.

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UW-Milwaukee researchers to lead search for gravitational waves

By Mark Johnson

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will lead a new effort to detect low-frequency gravitational waves, a discovery that would give mankind a new picture of the universe and confirm one of the last unresolved predictions of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.

The project, which includes more than 60 scientists and students at 11 institutions, has just received a five-year, $14.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

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Stem cell advance yields mature heart muscle cells

by Renee Meiller

A team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has induced human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to differentiate toward pure-population, mature heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes.

A substrate patterned with a precisely sized series of channels played a critical role in the advance.

Published online in the journal Biomaterials, the research could open the door to advances in areas that include tissue engineering and drug discovery and testing.

Researchers currently can differentiate hESC into immature heart muscle cells. Those cells, however, don't develop the robust internal structures — repeating sections of muscle cells called sarcomeres — that enable cardiomyocytes to produce the contracting force that allows the heart to pump blood. Other cell components that allow heart muscle cells to communicate and work together also are less developed in immature cardiomyocytes.

One barrier to efforts to produce more mature cells is the culture surface itself; hESC are notoriously finicky. "It's really hard to culture stem cells effectively and to provide them with an environment that's going to help them to thrive and differentiate in the way you want," says lead author Wendy Crone, a professor of engineering physics, biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering at UW-Madison.

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Oil spill cleanup by sponge: Madison scientists tout tidy technology

By Thomas Content of the Journal Sentinel

In a development arising from nanotechnology research, scientists in Madison have created a spongelike material that could provide a novel and sustainable way to clean up oil spills.

It's known as an aerogel, but it could just as well be called a "smart sponge."

To demonstrate how it works, researchers add a small amount of red dye to diesel, making the fuel stand out in a glass of water. The aerogel is dipped in the glass and within minutes, the sponge has soaked up the diesel. The aerogel is now red, and the glass of water is clear.

"It was very effective," said Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, who runs a biotechnology-nanotechnology lab at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery in Madison.

"So if you had an oil spill, for example, the idea is you could throw this aerogel sheet in the water and it would start to absorb the oil very quickly and efficiently," said Gong, a University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor of biomedical engineering. "Once it's fully saturated, you can take it out and squeeze out all the oil."

The material's absorbing capacity is reduced somewhat after each use, but the product "can be reused for a couple of cycles," Gong said.

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UW 'ideas factory' looks to turn research into economic growth

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

When Rebecca Blank arrived at the University of Wisconsin-Madison last summer, she became chancellor of one of the largest academic research universities in the world, but one that has an uneven track record for commercializing that work.

UW-Madison had nearly $1.2 billion in research spending yet launched only four start-ups in 2012, according to the Association of University Technology Managers. Blank wants to improve that performance and has a great opportunity in front of her.

As she settles into the job, Blank is overseeing the hiring of three key economic development leaders and a new university-driven commercialization effort. Blank says she wants "a real step-up in ways we engage in the economic development agenda for the state."

During a four-year stint as deputy U.S. commerce secretary, Blank says she learned that economically successful regions attract investment and industries by building partnerships between the public, private and educational sectors — and there is always a large research institution involved.

"The University of Wisconsin-Madison is that research center. It is the ideas factory and the innovation center for the state," Blank said. "It has got to be a partner with the state and with the private sector if we're going to attract the high-tech manufacturing, nutrition, software, health care businesses of the 21st century."

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