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Published on June 11th, 2014 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on June 11th, 2014 | By: April Gocha, PhD

 

Shatterproof screens that save smartphones

University of Akron polymer scientists have developed a transparent electrode that could change the face of smartphones, literally, by making their displays shatterproof. Researchers demonstrated how a transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface could be extraordinarily tough and flexible, withstanding repeated scotch tape peeling and bending tests. Currently used coatings made of indium tin oxide are more brittle, most likely to shatter, and increasingly costly to manufacture.

 

Evolution of a bimetallic nanocatalyst

Atomic-scale snapshots of a bimetallic nanoparticle catalyst in action have provided insights that could help improve the industrial process by which fuels and chemicals are synthesized from natural gas, coal, or plant biomass. A multi-national lab collaboration led by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has taken the most detailed look ever at the evolution of platinum/cobalt bimetallic nanoparticles during reactions in oxygen and hydrogen gases.

 

Researchers develop an invisible type of bar code to thwart criminals

(Phys.org) A team of researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts has developed a type of bar coding system that would be almost impossible for criminals to thwart. In this new effort, the researchers have come up with a way to allow for the creation of invisible bar codes that are nearly impossible to replicate after the fact. The idea revolves around several types of metal nanoparticles, each of which has a unique melting point. Mixing the nanoparticles together allows for creating unique thermal signatures.

 

DARPA Z-man program demonstrates human climbing like geckos

DARPA’s Z-Man program has demonstrated the first known human climbing of a glass wall using climbing devices inspired by geckos. The historic ascent involved a 218-pound climber ascending and descending 25 feet of glass, while also carrying an additional 50-pound load in one trial, with no climbing equipment other than a pair of hand-held, gecko-inspired paddles. The novel polymer microstructure technology used in those paddles was developed for DARPA by Draper Laboratory of Cambridge, Mass.

 

Scientists find stronger 3-D material that behaves like graphene

Scientists have discovered a material that has the same extraordinary electronic properties as 2-D graphene, but in a sturdy 3-D form that should be much easier to shape into electronic devices such as very fast transistors, sensors, and transparent electrodes. The material, cadmium arsenide, is being explored independently by three groups, one of which includes researchers at the University of Oxford, SLAC, Stanford, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

 

Supercritical solar—new frontier for power generation

CSIRO has used solar energy to generate hot and pressurised ‘supercritical’ steam, at the highest temperatures ever achieved in the world outside of fossil fuel sources. Supercritical steam is a breakthrough for solar energy and means that one day the sun could be used to drive the most advanced power stations in the world, currently only driven by coal or gas. The world record, set in May this year, was at a pressure of 23.5 megapascals (a measure of force per unit area), and temperatures up to 570 degrees Celsius. It is the combination of pressure and temperature demonstrated at scale that makes this such a breakthrough for solar power.

 

Better tissue healing with disappearing hydrogels

When stem cells are used to regenerate bone tissue, many wind up migrating away from the repair site, which disrupts the healing process. But a technique employed by a University of Rochester research team keeps the stem cells in place, resulting in faster and better tissue regeneration. The key is encasing the stem cells in polymers that attract water and disappear when their work is done. The technique is similar to what has already been used to repair other types of tissue, including cartilage, but had never been tried on bone.


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