Researchers at Oxford University’s Physics Department have developed an extraordinarily versatile proximity sensor for the detection of objects, composed of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, ceramics, glasses and plastics. This new device could be used as a position or speed sensor in automotive suspension, gearbox and engine management systems, amongst many other uses.
Researchers had identified the need for a relatively simple, but highly versatile proximity sensor to detect the motion of a wide variety of metals and non-metals. Existing proximity sensors tended to rely on magnetic induction, reluctance or Hall effect devices for their performance characteristics, which in automotive ignition sensors can lead to poor slow running performance.
The Oxford invention consists of an electronic oscillator circuit, an antenna, and a discrete sensor element, all of which could be encapsulated into a single compact unit. The sensor is able to detect any relative movement between the object to be sensed and the sensor by detecting the perturbation of the electromagnetic field generated by the antenna. The sensor is highly versatile and can simultaneously detect changes in the both the electric or magnetic properties of the target object. The sensor itself requires no adjustment to change modes and generates a signal regardless of which parameter of the target object is changing. Tests have shown that a wide range of materials can be detected, ranging from ferromagnets, non-ferromagnets and non-ferrous metals, to ceramics and plastics.
Jennifer Johnson | alfa
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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