By Jon Binner, Paul Hogg and John Murphy (Eds.)

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Since the glass itself is photosensitive, a photomask is used to produce close tolerance components, irregular shapes and intricate patterns. Potential applications for the materials include gas and fluid manifolds for biotechnology and laboratory analysis equipment, dialysis blocks, fluid metering devices, fine mesh screens, filters and pneumatic logic circuits. 05 mm diameter apertures. With these materials, features can be simultaneously and photochemically etched, which makes them cost efficient to produce compared with conventional cutting, drilling and other machining processes, Corning says.

4 Creep-resistant silicon nitride Silicon nitride that resists creep is the result of a joint research project in Japan. The material was developed under a commission from the New Energy Development Organization (NEDO). Japanese organisations Toshiba Corp. Denki Kagaku Kogyo KK, Kobe Steel Ltd and the Government Industrial Research Institute of Nagoya were all involved in the work. Results of simulation tests using turbine blades made from the material suggest that it may have a working life of 10 000 hours, compared with just a few hours for its conventional counterparts.

This could make the product more marketable, reports New Scientist. 8 Strong artificial diamonds Artificial diamonds which are expected to have higher strength, hardness and thermal conductivity than natural diamonds have been synthesised by General Electric Corp (GEC) in Schenectady, New York, USA. The synthesized diamond consists of 99% carbon-13 (seven neutrons in the nucleus, rather than the six in carbon-12), reports the Nikkei Industrial Daily. So far, the maximum size of diamond achieved by GEC is said to be 3 carats.

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