New Technology

What new technology does is create new opportunities

Month: January 2017

New technique controls crystalline structure of titanium dioxide

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for controlling the crystalline structure of titanium dioxide at room temperature. The development should make titanium dioxide more efficient in a range of applications, including photovoltaic cells, hydrogen production, antimicrobial coatings, smart sensors and optical communication technologies.

Titanium dioxide most commonly comes in one on of two major “phases,” meaning that its atoms arrange themselves in one of two crystalline structures. These phases are “anatase” or “rutile.” The arrangement of atoms dictates the material’s optical, chemical and electronic properties. As a result, each phase has different characteristics. The anatase phase has characteristics that make it better suited for use as an antibacterial agent and for applications such as hydrogen production. The rutile phase is better suited for use in other applications, such as photovoltaic cells, smart sensors and optical communication technologies.

“Traditionally, it has been a challenge to stabilize titanium dioxide in the desired phase,” says Dr. Jay Narayan, John C. Fan Distinguished Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the work. “The material tends to transform into the anatase phase below 500 degrees Celsius [C], and transform into the rutile phase at temperatures above 500 C.

“We have now developed a technique that precisely controls the phase, or crystalline structure, of titanium dioxide at room temperature — and stabilizes that phase, so it won’t change when the temperature fluctuates. This process, called phase tuning, allows us to fine-tune the structure of the titanium dioxide, so that it has the optimal structure for a desired application.”

The process begins by using a widely available sapphire substrate that has the desired crystalline structure. Researchers then grow a template layer of titanium trioxide on the substrate. The structure of the titanium trioxide mimics the structure of the sapphire substrate. The titanium dioxide is then grown on top of the titanium trioxide template layer.

The structure of the titanium dioxide differs from the titanium trioxide — but is dictated by the structure of that template layer. This means that you can create the titanium dioxide in any phase, simply by modifying the structure of the titanium trioxide and sapphire substrate.

This works because of a process called domain matching epitaxy (DME). In DME, the lattice planes in the template layer line up with the lattice planes of the material being grown on that template. Lattice planes are the lines, or walls, which constitute a crystal.

The researchers have also demonstrated how this technique can be used with silicon computer chip substrates, which can be integrated into electronics such as smart sensors.

Handphone as a Modern Lifestyle

samsung s4Handphone has become the new technology of today’s lifestyle. As a proof, children as young as 7 years old are already using handphones. Thinking back at a decade ago, handphones are still bulky and expensive and they are only used by some people such as businessman and the rich. Today, handphones are largely used by most of us. It has been the primary needs of our daily life. In this rapidly changing world, technology is growing and handphones are getting affordably cheap.

There are a lot of important usages we can get from handphone. Let’s take a look at some of its positive effects. As its primary usage, of course, it is use as a way of communication. We can communicate anywhere we want as long as it has signal. For example, in Indonesia there are a lot of people working in other countries; handphones enable them to communicate with their family, especially for people living in the countryside. Short Message System which is also known as SMS is very popular among the youngsters. This is because SMS is much cheaper than making a call, thus makes them able to communicate without fearing of spending too much expenses. Multimedia Message System which is also known as MMS is very useful because we can send photos or pictures easily. Handphone can also be called as our personal secretary. It is already embedded with a lot of business applications such as calendar, reminder, calculator, notes, Microsoft office, and now it already supports Wi-Fi so that we can access to email, messenger and browse the web everywhere we want. These effects increase our society’s interaction and economical growth, and easy internet connection network brings us closer to what’s happending in the world around us. Another purpose is, it can be used as a source of entertainment such as game applications, radio FM and music player. We are no longer required to bring walkman and other game consoles, thus affect our moods as a tranquilizer to relax.

Besides of its positive effects, there are also negative effects too. As we all know, the spreading of pornography is getting more and more uncontrollable and handphone can be use as a tool of this reason. Pornography can be transfer easily through MMS, Wi-Fi and GPRS connection. This pornography influences the moral of the people. Some people are concerned that internet could be exploited for serious crimes. It also can be use as a way of cheating; there are some cases where students are using their handphones to cheat by sending SMS to some friends, another case is, teachers and students find it rather disruptive as it distracts the concentration of other pupils when they are using phones during lessons and starts to ring. This negative effect wasted teachers’ time by scolding pupils and slowed the class progression. The other effect is that it can give some negative effect for our health, due to its radiation that is emitted while using handphones. This might affect our health issue as it expose us with more radiation and extensive exposure of radiation leads us to injuries that damages our tissues and cells in the body. It can also be use as a way of communication at the wrong hands, for example criminal communicates to other criminals to break the law by doing criminal acts. These dishonorable acts bring great effects in our society.

As we know that children may be more vulnerable than adults to the potential risks of using mobile phones. Therefore, it is important for parents to monitor their children’s activities on the phone. In my opinion, handphone is an incredible invention with great usages provided we, as users, are completely aware of the negative and harmful effects that is affecting ourselves and the society. We have to be responsible for our behaviours, so that other people does not feel uncomfortable or even opposed by our acts.

Samsung’s mobile phone sales decline

Samsung Electronics has reported a 4% fall in sales at its mobile phone unit.

Revenues in the sector fell to 33.4 trillion won ($32.3bn; £23.3bn) in the January-to-March period.

But the South Korean company said operating profit for its mobile phone unit rose 18% from the previous three months, in part due to “positive impact from adjustments of one-off expenses”.

Samsung is the world’s biggest mobile phone maker and handsets account for the bulk of the firm’s profits.

The figures came as the electronics giant reported a net profit of 7.57 trillion won (£4.4bn; $7.5bn) for the first quarter, up from 7.3 trillion won (£4.2bn; $7bn) in the previous three months.

Maturing market?

This is further evidence that the global market for smartphones is maturing

Andrew Milroy, Frost & Sullivan

The success of its Galaxy range of smartphones has been one of the biggest drivers of Samsung’s growth in recent years.

It helped the company dislodge Nokia as the world’s biggest phone maker in 2012.

However, competition in the sector has been increasing, forcing manufacturers to lower their prices and hurting their profitability.

At the same time, demand for smartphones in developed markets – which have been key drivers of growth of the sector so far – has also begun to slow.

“This is further evidence that the global market for smartphones is maturing and as the pace of growth which firms such as Samsung have enjoyed in recent years is slowing,” said Andrew Milroy, an analyst with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

He added that “the company will have to look at introducing lower cost models in emerging markets to sustain the business.”

For its part, Samsung has been looking to tap into the emerging markets by launching low cost handsets there.

However, it has been facing increased competition on that front as well, especially from Chinese firms such as Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE.

5 Best Travel Headphones

I travel a lot. I also review headphones. Figuring out what headphones are the best for travel seems like a logical idea. More than just a “these seem cool” list, these are all headphones I’ve personally reviewed or at least heard, plus I’ve included links to other reviewers that like them too.

So, what are the 5 Best Travel Headphones?

Check out the 2015 version of this article: Best Travel Headphones 2015!

Before we get going, if you’re curious about the value of high-end headphones, or have questions about headphones in general, first check out Are Expensive Headphones Worth It?, What Are The Best Headphones?, Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It?, Glossary of Headphone Terms, Best Headphone Test Tracks, Noise Cancelling Vs. Noise Isolating Headphones, and 10 Headphones Better Than Beats.

5) Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2

What are they: Small, lightweight in-ear headphones with a unique and clever way of securing to your head.

Why they’re good: These are the most comfortable in-ear headphones I’ve ever tried, and they’re also some of the best sounding. Rich, full bass that’s not boomy. Clear, open treble that’s not harsh. I loved the originals. These new models I’ve only had a chance to listen to briefly, but they sounded good.

Who else likes them: Sound&Vision liked them. CNET gave them 4/5 stars. PCMag gave them 4.5/5.

Other options: Not everyone finds the C5s comfortable. This is the problem with all in-ear headphones, but perhaps more so given the C5′s unique design. I find them perfect, others not so much. Because everyone’s ears are different, some in-ears fit some people, and not others, even with all the foam and/or rubber tips available. Also check out the gorgeous RHA T10s, or the much cheaper $100 NHT Superbuds which are also great.

4) JH Audio JH16 Pro

What are they: Custom-molded, high-end in-ear monitors

Why they’re good: They fit perfectly because they’re built to fit your actual ears. You get molds made, and the headphones are built from these modes. Multiple drivers supply some of the best sound you’ve ever heard.

Who else likes them: CNET’s Steve Guttenberg’s a fan.

Other options: If the JH16 Pros are too pricy ($1,149 and up), there are models with fewer drivers that don’t sound quite as good, but still offer the custom-molded design. The Shure SE846 are a touch cheaper, and sound incredible.

3) AKG K490 NC  

What are they: Highly-portable on-ear headphones

Why they’re good: Not everyone likes in-ear headphones. Though over-ear headphones offer better sound isolation (i.e., are quieter), they tend to be bulky. The AKG K490s are smaller than over-ear headphones, but still offer excellent sound quality and active noise cancelling.

Who else likes them: Headphone reviewer extraordinaire, Brent Butterworth from Sound and Vision magazine.

Other options: Brent mentions that some might like the similar (but $50 more expensive) K495s, which have a little more bass..

2) PSB M4U 2

What are they: Over-ear noise cancelling headphones from one of the most lauded speaker designers in the industry. Check out Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It? for more info on NC.

Why they’re good: The sound, oh the sound. One reviewer said: “Not only does the M4U 2 sound like a really great speaker, it sounds like a great speaker in a great listening room.”

Who else likes them: Sound and Vision magazine awarded them product of the year last year (I was part of the voting, fwiw).

Other options: Well, the headphones in the #1 spot, if you want better noise cancelling (but not as good sound quality).

1) Bose QC25s

Why they’re good: These are probably the best selling travel headphones on the market, and it turns out, rightly so. They have the best noise cancelling of any headphone I’ve tested, by far. And that’s not just subjective “these sound quieter,” but verified with objective headphone testing gear. They don’t sound nearly as good as the PSBs, but they sound decent enough.

Who else likes them: I did an exhaustive test, where I compared the best noise cancelling headphones on the market.

Other options: The PSBs, for people who want better sound at the “expense” of a little noise cancelling. As I mentioned before, I reviewed the QC20s from Bose and they offer even better noise cancelling, but are nicely small earbuds. Check out Bose QuietComfort 25 Vs QuietComfort 20 for the pros and cons of both.

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