Aircraft the size of bees that get the energy they need by feeding themselves a diet of dead flies could be buzzing around the battlefields and motorways of the future, thanks to research in southwest England.
The aircraft, up to 15cm long and equipped with sensors and cameras, could have a number of uses in civilian life and modern warfare, including reconnaissance missions, traffic monitoring or fire and rescue operations. By “digesting” its own fuel, the aircraft could become autonomous and operate without the need for refuelling, changing batteries or recharging from the mains.
The research is being carried out by scientists from the University of Bath and the University of the West of England who are working on different aspects of the technologies involved. The University of Bath researchers are studying the complex aerodynamics needed to fly very small unmanned aircraft. The smaller an aircraft is made, the slower is its speed and the more it is vulnerable to high winds. This means that existing micro air vehicles can only fly for short periods at low speed and are too large to carry out fine manoeuvres.
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For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
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Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
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Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
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Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
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