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Published on May 4th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD


Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on May 4th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST




Nanowire personal cooling units on the horizon

Penn State materials researchers re creating a nanowire material that is flexible, easily manufactured and environmentally friendly and could cool with an electric field safe for human use. Their vertically aligned ferroelectric barium strontium titanate nanowire array can cool about 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit using 36 volts, an electric field level safe for humans.


NREL finds nanotube semiconductors well-suited for PV systems

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Lab discovered single-walled carbon nanotube semiconductors could be favorable for photovoltaic systems because they can potentially convert sunlight to electricity or fuels without losing much energy. The research builds on the Nobel Prize-winning work that explains the rate at which an electron can move from one chemical to another.


Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material

Two-dimensional phosphane, a material known as phosphorene, has potential application as a material for semiconducting transistors in ever faster and more powerful computers. Now, a team including researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed a new method to quickly and accurately determine that orientation using the interactions between light and electrons within phosphorene and other atoms-thick crystals of black phosphorus.


University of Illinois researchers create one-step graphene patterning method

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a one-step, facile method to pattern graphene by using stencil mask and oxygen plasma reactive-ion etching, and subsequent polymer-free direct transfer to flexible substrates.





3D-printed foam outperforms standard materials

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory material scientists have found that 3D-printed foam works better than standard cellular materials in terms of durability and long-term mechanical performance. As an improved alternative, scientists at the additive manufacturing lab at LLNL recently demonstrated the feasibility of 3D printing of uniform foam structures through a process called direct-ink-write.


Cool method for making waveguides

Silicon-based films that are useful for waveguides have been made at temperatures low enough to be compatible with standard manufacturing processes. A low-temperature method to produce films based on silicon and nitrogen, which can be used to channel light in devices, has been developed by researchers at Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore.


Ingenious method enables sharper flat-panel displays at lower energy costs

A perpetual quest of manufacturers and viewers is for ever-brighter colors and better images for flat-panel displays built from less expensive materials that also use less electricity. An intriguing method discovered by Sandia National Laboratories researchers and collaborators at NIST may be that next step. It uses super-thin layers of inexpensive electrochromic polymers to generate bright colors that, for the first time, can be rapidly altered.





Cleaning up hybrid battery electrodes improves capacity and lifespan

Hybrid batteries that charge faster than conventional ones could have significantly better electrical capacity and long-term stability when prepared with a gentle-sounding way of making electrodes. Called ion soft-landing, a high-precision technique developed at Pacific Northwest National Lab resulted in electrodes that could store a third more energy and had twice the lifespan compared to those prepared by a conventional method


Floating solar power plants possible with novel platforms

According to engineers at Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), there is an obvious solution to this expansive problem. The team has developed a unique concept that comes in the form of a floating platform called a Heliofloat. The platform would function as a sea-based solar power station.





UO scientist on team hoping to crack glass mysteries

So what is glass? It behaves like a solid but its atoms are totally disordered, like a fluid. What then, at a microscopic level, defines a solid? A new initiative—”Cracking the Glass Problem”—is pursuing these questions, and the UO’s Eric Corwin has a role. The 4–7 year project will study the transition from liquid to solid as temperature changes in glasses and other materials.


Origin of Earth’s oldest zircon crystals

New research suggests that the very oldest pieces of rock on Earth—zircon crystals—are likely to have formed in the craters left by violent asteroid impacts that peppered our nascent planet, rather than via plate tectonics as was previously believed. The tiny crystals probably formed in huge impact craters not long after Earth formed, some 4 billion years ago.


With simple process, engineers fabricate fastest flexible silicon transistor

One secret to creating the world’s fastest silicon-based flexible transistors: a very, very tiny knife. Working in collaboration with colleagues around the country, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers have pioneered a unique method that could allow manufacturers to easily and cheaply fabricate high-performance transistors with wireless capabilities on huge rolls of flexible plastic.


Toward dissolvable electronics for implants and sensors

Tiny electronic sensors and devices that can be implanted in the body and then dissolve almost without a trace are getting closer to reality. Scientists have tested several biodegradable materials, including DNA, proteins and metals, for making transient electronics. Now one team has taken another step toward this goal by creating a dissolvable device component out of egg proteins, magnesium and tungsten.


Atoms placed precisely in silicon can act as quantum simulator

UNSW researchers have made another advance towards the development of a silicon-based quantum computer. In a proof-of-principle experiment, they have demonstrated that a small group of individual atoms placed very precisely in silicon can act as a quantum simulator, mimicking nature—in this case, the weird quantum interactions of electrons in materials.


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