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Published on June 22nd, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on June 22nd, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

MANUFACTURING

 

Developing a new material for stronger 3-D prints

Although additive manufacturing is often called 3-D printing, it’s actually a series of 2-D layers stacked on top of one another to form a part. This layering process can create varying strength relative to the properties of each plane. In advanced applications where consistent strength throughout the part is required, the layering process creates anisotropy, or varying properties in different directions.

 

Engineer discovers light can stamp out defects in semiconductors for better solar panels, LEDs

A new theory has been developed that suggests that adding light during the manufacturing of semiconductors can reduce defects and potentially make more efficient solar cells or brighter LEDs. The role of light in semiconductor manufacturing may help explain many puzzling differences between processing methods as well as unlock the potential of materials that could not be used previously.

 

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

A new approach to building efficient thermoelectric nanomaterials

By doping a thermoelectric material with minute amounts of sulfur, a team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found a new path to large improvements in the efficiency of materials for solid-state heating and cooling and waste energy recapture. This approach profoundly alters the electronic band structure of the material—bismuth telluride selenide—improving the so-called “figure of merit.”

 

New nanomaterial offers promise in bendable, wearable electronic devices

An ultrathin film that is both transparent and highly conductive to electric current has been produced by a cheap and simple method devised by an international team of nanomaterials researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University. The film—actually a mat of tangled nanofiber, electroplated to form a “self-junctioned copper nano-chicken wire”—is also bendable and stretchable.

 

Drum beats from a one atom thick graphite membrane

Researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, have demonstrated the ability to manipulate the vibrations of a drum of nanometer scale thickness—realizing the world’s smallest and most versatile drum. This work has implications in improving the sensitivity of small detectors of mass—very important in detecting the mass of small molecules like viruses.

 

Shaping atomically thin materials in suspended structures

Researchers at Tohoku University have realized wafer-scale and high yield synthesis of suspended graphene nanoribbons. The unique growth dynamic has been elucidated through comparing experiments, molecular dynamics simulations and theoretical calculations made with researchers from the University of Tokyo and Hokkaido University.

 

 

ENERGY

 

New generation of high-efficiency solar thermal absorbers developed

Researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter are one step closer to developing a new generation of low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. The structure is one of the world’s first examples of a tri-layer metasurface absorber using a carbon interlayer. The system uses amorphous carbon as an inter-layer between thin gold films with the upper film patterned with a 2-D periodic array using focused ion beam etching.

 

Novel capping strategy improves stability of perovskite nanocrystals

Perovskite materials have shown great promise for use in next-generation solar cells, LEDs, sensors, and other applications, but their instability remains a critical limitation. Researchers at UC Santa Cruz attacked this problem by focusing on perovskite nanocrystals, in which the instability problems are magnified by the large surface area of the particles relative to their volume.

 

Conversion efficiency of 18.2% achieved using perovskite solar cells

A research group at National Institute for Materials Science in Japan achieved energy conversion efficiency exceeding 18% using standard size perovskite solar cells. This measurement was made by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology—an internationally recognized independent organization for solar cell evaluation.

 

Efficient hydrogen production made easy

New research from Los Alamos National Lab researchers presents one of the best hydrogen water splitting electrocatalysts to date. If you use a process to get hydrazine to help, you create hydrogen from water by changing conductivity in a transitional metal dichalcogenide, a transformation with wide potential applications in energy and electronics.

 

Hotter all the way: Lithium wall contains plasma without cooling it

Did you know that lithium may be a vital part of fusion reactors, which harness the same reaction that fuels our sun? Fusion reactors require walls that don’t sputter out metals or overly cool the plasma at the heart of the reaction. Researchers demonstrated that lithium-coated walls can handle temperatures exceeding 200 eV.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Spintronics: Resetting the future of heat assisted magnetic recording

Scientists have examined thin films of dysprosium-cobalt sputtered onto a nanostructured membrane at BESSY II. They showed that new patterns of magnetization could be written in a quick and easy manner after warming the sample to only 80ºC, which is a much lower temperature as compared to conventional heat assisted magnetic recording systems.

 

Chemists invent new supercapacitor materials

Scientists at the University of Amsterdam’s Van’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences have invented a new type of supercapacitor material with a host of potential applications. The materials were developed as solid catalytic electrodes for fuel cells. By modifying the surface of these materials, the scientists created a highly porous yet well-structured compound.

 

New material, picked by computers, could boost power of vacuum electronics

Electrical and materials engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a substance that could vastly improve technologies powered by intense, focused beams of electrons. This new material, a member of a broad class of compounds called perovskites, could boost the output power of the electron beam and enable long-range communications or remote sensing for a fraction of the current energy costs.

 

Underlying connection found between diverse materials with extreme magnetoresistance

A new study from the Cava lab has revealed a unifying connection between seemingly unrelated materials that exhibit extreme magnetoresistance, the ability of some materials to drastically change their electrical resistance in response to a magnetic field, a property that could be useful in magnetic memory applications.

 

Liquid crystals open new route to planar optical elements

Researchers at Osaka University developed a technology to control the light wavefront reflected from a cholesteric liquid crystal—a liquid crystal phase with a helical structure. The new technology enables planar optical components to be made with functionality by design, contributing to the miniaturization of catoptrics devices.

 

Key compound for high-temperature superconductivity has been found

A research group in Japan found a new compound H5S2 that shows a new superconductivity phase on computer simulation. Further theoretical and experimental research based on H5S2 predicted by this group will lead to the clarification of the mechanism behind high-temperature superconductivity, which takes place in hydrogen sulfide.

 


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