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Published on January 25th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on January 25th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Graphene’s sleeping superconductivity awakens

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have found a way to trigger the innate, but previously hidden, ability of graphene to act as a superconductor—meaning that it can be made to carry an electrical current with zero resistance. This was achieved by coupling it with a material called praseodymium cerium copper oxide.

 

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting

Princeton engineering researchers have illuminated another path forward for LED technologies by refining the manufacturing of light sources made with crystalline substances known as perovskites. The researchers developed a technique in which nanoscale perovskite particles self-assemble to produce more efficient, stable and durable perovskite-based LEDs.

 

Ultra-fast, ultra-sensitive platinum selenide gas sensors

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland have shown that platinum selenide, a little-studied transition metal dichalcogenide has potential for a variety of uses. In particular, platinum selenide is an excellent high performance gas sensor, and fabrication is compatible with silicon chip foundrys.

 

Real-time scans of self-healing nanoparticles show their energy storage potential

Researchers at Stanford University have captured real-time, dynamic visualizations of atoms that could someday help our phone batteries last longer and our electric vehicles go farther on a single charge. Their experiments focused on hydrogen moving into palladium, a class of reactions known as an intercalation-driven phase transition.

 

Graphene photodetector enhanced by fractal golden ‘snowflake’

Researchers from Purdue University have found that a snowflake-like fractal design, in which the same pattern repeats at smaller and smaller scales, can increase graphene’s inherently low optical absorption. The results lead to graphene photodetectors with an order-of-magnitude increase in photovoltage, along with ultrafast light detection and other advantages.

 

Researchers build carbon nanotube transistors that outperform those made with silicon

A team of researchers at Peking University has built a carbon nanotube-based working transistor and report that it outperformed larger transistors made with silicon. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes how they built the transistor, how it performed and the challenges that still remain before such transistors can be mass produced.

 

 

ENERGY

 

A breath of fresh air: Improving zinc-air batteries

A*STAR researchers have found that nanoparticles containing three different layers of material can help to boost the performance of a zinc-air battery. These three-layer nanoparticles efficiently transformed oxygen to hydroxide in a single step. The researchers tested their electrode in a zinc-air battery and found that it could outperform a conventional platinum catalyst electrode.

 

A novel way to put flame retardant in a lithium ion battery

Researchers at Stanford University have found a novel way to introduce flame retardant into a lithium ion battery to prevent fires from occurring. The new approach involves encapsulating a common flame retardant called triphenyl phosphate in an extremely tiny sheath made of plastic fibers and then inserting several of them into the electrolyte that sits between the anode and cathode.

 

A big nano boost for solar cells

Solar cells convert light into electricity. While the sun is one source of light, the burning of natural resources like oil and natural gas can also be harnessed. However, solar cells do not convert all light to power equally, which has inspired a joint industry-academia effort to develop a potentially game-changing solution.

 

Faster recharging batteries possible after new insights

A research team has used a powerful combination of structural experiments and computer simulations to unravel for the first time why adding charged potassium into tunnel-like structures of low-cost manganese oxide has a strong beneficial effect on the battery performance. They discovered that adding positively charged ions increased how fast lithium moves within the tunnel structures, which is crucial to improving the charging of batteries.

 

A better way to make renewable hydrogen

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Lab developed a method that boosts the longevity of high-efficiency photocathodes in photoelectrochemical water-splitting devices. NREL researchers determined that greater photocathode stability and high catalytic activity can be achieved by depositing and annealing a bilayer of amorphous titanium dioxide (TiOx) and molybdenum sulfide (MoSx) onto GaInP2.

 

 

BIOMEDICINE

 

‘Superhemophobic’ titanium surfaces could form basis for biocompatible medical devices

Medical implants like stents, catheters and tubing introduce risk for blood clotting and infection—a perpetual problem for many patients. Colorado State University engineers offer a potential solution: A specially grown, “superhemophobic” titanium surface that’s extremely repellent to blood.

 

Nanofibers developed for healing bone fractures

A dissertation from the University of Helsinki has developed processes for fibrous and thin-film biomaterials that can be used as scaffolding for bone regeneration and in other bone impants. In future, it may be possible to use nanofibers to improve the attachment of bone implants, or the fibers may be used directly to scaffold bone regeneration.

 

 

MANUFACTURING

 

Researchers develop ways to improve machining, milling processes

Fixing flaws introduced during the machining of large components used in the aircraft and heavy equipment industries can be time-consuming for manufacturers—and costly if they must scrap the flawed parts after they’ve been fabricated. A new approach developed by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology is helping manufacturers eliminate those flaws before the parts are created.

 

3-D printing could transform future membrane technology

Researchers at the University of Bath suggest developments in 3-D printing techniques could open the door to the advancement of membrane capabilities. This work is the first time the properties of different 3-D printing techniques available to membrane fabrication have been assessed.

 

Perfect powder: Laboratory perfects metal powders for manufacturing

A high-pressure gas atomization process has garnered Ames Laboratory at least 16 patents over the last two decades and created a spin-off company. It’s all because of the smooth spherical metal particles produced by Ames Laboratory’s gas atomization method, an improvement over traditionally manufactured powders.

 

Vader systems creates liquid metal 3-D printer for manufacturing

A father and son team have created a liquid metal 3-D printing machine that could represent a significant transformation in manufacturing. The machine is so novel it represents a quantum leap in the ability to print three-dimensional objects in metal. Other metal printers exist, but most use a process of laying down powered metal and melting it with a laser or electron beam.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Discovery could lead to jet engines that run hotter—and cleaner

Researchers here have made a discovery in materials science that sounds like something from the old Saturday morning cartoon Super Friends: They’ve found a way to deactivate “nano twins” to improve the high-temperature properties of superalloys that are used in jet engines.

 

Technology creates color-changing metal by applying thin coating of semiconducting materials

A research team from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology has succeeded in developing a technology that can control various color changes by coating several nanometers of semiconducting materials on a metal substrate. The research team coated a thin germanium film on a gold substrate using oblique angle deposition.

 

The world’s tightest knot could yield new building materials

Scientists from the University of Manchester have tied the world’s tightest knot using molecular strands. The knot was made possible by a new technique for braiding molecular strands. The technique has enabled scientists to loop strands into tighter and more complex formations. Ultra-tight molecular knots could pave the way for a new class of advanced materials.

 

Magnesium is ready for take off

Researchers at Birmingham City University are hoping to transform the fortunes of magnesium this year, by showcasing it as a viable alternative for luxury car makers and the aerospace industry. It comes as the institution has signed an exclusive partnership with the world’s largest producer of magnesium components, Meridian.

 

Phase transition discovery opens the door to new electronics

A group of European scientists led by researchers at TU Delft has discovered how phase transitions propagate throughout materials called ‘nickelates’. The discovery improves our understanding of these novel materials, which can potentially be used in future electronics.

 

Researchers discover self-assembling 2-D and 3-D materials

Self-assembly of matter is one of the fundamental principles of nature, directing the growth of larger ordered and functional systems from smaller building blocks. Now, researchers report a novel discovery of self-assembling 2-D and 3-D materials that are formed by tiny gold nanoclusters of just a couple of nm in size.

 


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