RIP materialsGIRL

I started materialsGIRL because I couldn’t find an online community to discuss materials science. This seemed like a huge ‘unmet need’ to me, but ultimately I failed to build a critical mass. Here is the welcome message on materialsGIRL for context: Welcome to materialsGIRL - a community enthusiastic about making materials. We encourage anyone interested in learning about materials to join, regardless of your education, background, discipline or specialty. GIRL stands for Group Interaction Reinforces Learning - we hope to develop tools to promote scientific understanding, collaboration & discourse. »

Open-Source Utility for Stereolithography

The key to successful stereolithography (SLA)1 3D printing lies at the intersection of chemistry, hardware and software. The photopolymer recipe, the optics of the printer, and the print settings are all interdependent. If you make a big change to one, you will likely need to tweak the other two. Despite the fact that SLA printing is now fully democratized (there is a Kickstarter running right now for (yet another) $150 SLA printer), there is not much useful information online about how to ‘dial-in’ a reliable SLA printing process. »

An Open Source Stack for Physical Science Startups

It is hard enough running a ‘hard tech’ startup. Hardware is one thing, but companies bringing physical science innovations to the world have it toughest of all. Mother nature can be a very cruel compiler. Do not abandon hope! There are many tools available to help you on your journey. As with most things in life, the best ones are (often) free. Here, I have curated a short list of open source apps and tools that have been useful to us at polySpectra. »

SF Cleantech Pitchfest

I gave a short presentation on my ARPA-E supported project towards paint-on window coatings at Berkeley Lab’s Cleantech Pitchfest in San Francisco on June 1, 2016. To view the entire Pitchfest with the other 5 presenters, see https://youtu.be/gMCt2f_NlEY DIY Efficient Windows: Applying paint-on coatings for energy-efficient windows Replacing millions of porous windows with energy-efficient versions in older buildings and homes can be prohibitively expensive. Berkeley Lab’s Raymond Weitekamp, a Caltech PhD, has a new approach: an inexpensive, paint-on, energy-efficient coating that can be applied simply and evenly without the help of a professional—while the windows are still in place. »

What is Structural Color?

Our everyday sense of color is based on the absorption of light. If our shirt appears red, a dye or pigment is absorbing all of the colors except for red. By contrast, structural color is based on reflection, not absorption. Structural color is an important consequence of the fact that light is a wave. We can define the color either through the wavelength — the physical distance between the repeating crests, or the period — the amount of time for the wave to repeat. »