Like the regular-sized copper wires that power our lamps and computers, miniscule copper nanowires are great at conducting electricity. Duke Professor Benjamin Wiley and his team are investigating how to brew up films thin sheets of copper nanowires that are precisely tailored to work as inexpensive, transparent electrodes in devices like touch screens, light-emitting diodes, and solar cells.
For David Johnston, drones are the perfect surveillance tool to spy on marine wildlife. Johnston and his team of ecologists, stationed at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC, use unmanned aerial systems rigged with cameras and infrared sensors to map coastal habitats, like oyster reefs and seagrass, and to track ocean species like seals, sea turtles and sharks.
Turbulent storms in stock price and demand are illuminated in this Mahato-winning illustration by Ashleigh Swingler. Created using software developed by Laurens Howle, the zig-zagging line shows swings in the price of Nasdaq’s QQQ stock during January 2016: a zig to the left signals a price drop, and a zag to the right signals a price increase.
It takes a well-trained eye to spot an irregular heartbeat in the peaks and valleys of an electrocardiogram. The same goes for identifying an extinct ape from a single fossilized tooth, or telling an original van Gogh from a fake.
But in recent years, applied mathematician Ingrid Daubechies has been training computers to churn through ECG tracings, high-resolution scans of fossils, paintings and other complex digital data and work things out automatically.
Once they've mastered the skills of toddlerhood, humans are pretty good at what roboticists call "motion planning"—reaching around obstacles to precisely pick up a soda in a crowded fridge, or slipping their hands around a screen to connect an unseen cable.
But for robots with multi-jointed arms, motion planning is a hard problem that requires time-consuming computation. Simply picking an object up in an environment that has not been pre-engineered for the robot may require several seconds of computation.
Researchers from Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill are testing the ability of drones to detect sharks in coastal waterways.
In a collaborative study funded by North Carolina Aquariums, the researchers are examining whether drones can effectively pinpoint bonnethead sharks in different habitats and water conditions.
The electrical conductivity of a sheet of graphene under a magnetic field is depicted by the colors in these two images. As the magnetic field increases from the bottom to the top of the image, the conductivity decreases (brighter colors). Superconductivity should only exist at low magnetic fields, as seen in the left panel.
Less than three months after devastating floods washed over parts of South Carolina, Duke’s ResearchMobile trundled down to Columbia, one of the hardest-hit areas, and set up shop in the parking lot of a shuttered Piggly Wiggly. Eight Duke students and two faculty spent part of their winter break to sit down with locals in a cubicle in the upfitted RV and say, “Tell us about what happened and how it affected you.”
Treatments for devastating diseases like cancer and HIV sometimes begin with a single cell. These gold spirals, each thinner than a human hair, are part of a cell-sorting microchip developed by Benjamin Yellen’s team at the Pratt School of Engineering. When an electric field is applied, each spiral acts as a miniature antenna, producing electric forces that exert precise control on biological cells.