Our roadways should get safer in the future, now that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed a way to accurately and reliably measure how light reflects off stop signs and other road markings.
© R. Rathe
Road signs and markings are designed to be visible at night by retroreflectivity—that is, they reflect some of the light emitted by a vehicle’s headlights back toward the driver’s eyes. However, measurements of retroreflectivity have varied so much among different devices and laboratories that federal transportation officials have been unable to define minimum standards for this Congressionally mandated characteristic.
Recently, NIST established a facility—funded by the Transportation Research Board of the National Cooperative Research Program—that resolves numerous measurement problems and improves accuracy. Inside the facility, one finds a long black tunnel with a set of tracks on which sits an instrumented platform. Signs or materials are mounted on the platform, which can be moved 3 to 30 meters (10 to 100 feet) from a light source at one end of the tunnel. Using custom software, scientists precisely control all of the components and measure the characteristics of light reflected from the sign to a detector located close to the source.
Laura Ost | NIST
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Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
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The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
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Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
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