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Published on March 29th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on March 29th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Nanotube film may resolve longevity problem of challenger solar cells

Researchers from Aalto University, Uppsala University, and École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have lengthened the lifetime of perovskite solar cells by using nanotube film to replace the gold used as the back contact and the organic material in the hole conductor.

 

Electronic oscillations in graphene could make tabletop or even handheld X-ray source

Electronic oscillations in graphene could make a tabletop—or even handheld—source of X-rays a reality. A collaboration between the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and MIT has proposed a versatile, directional X-ray source that could fit on a laboratory bench and is based on the intriguing 2-D material graphene.

 

Researchers use cryo-mill to turn circuit boards into separated nanodust powders 

Researchers at Rice University and the Indian Institute of Science have an idea to simplify electronic waste recycling: Crush it into nanodust. Specifically, they want to make the particles so small that separating different components is relatively simple compared with processes used to recycle electronic junk now.

 

Electrocrystallization: Breakthrough in gold nanoparticle research

A research team at the University of Padova and University of Jyväskylä demonstrates how it is possible to obtain very high quality crystals formed of gold nanoparticles. The team has developed an electrochemical method that allows growing high-purity crystals in large quantities and very high crystallographic quality.

 

Engineering team develops novel nanofiber solution for clean, fresh air

A research team has successfully concocted a novel nanofiber solution that creates thin, see-through air filters that can remove up to 90% of PM2.5 particles and achieve high air flow of 2.5 times better than conventional air filters. As an added bonus, this eco-friendly air filter improves natural lighting and visibility while blocking harmful ultraviolet rays.

 

Graphene shows potential to create self-healing robot skin

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology believe that graphene could lead to the development of flexible sensors that mimic the self-healing properties of human skin. The researchers used a sub-nano sensor that uses graphene to sense a crack as soon as it starts nucleation and even after the crack has spread a certain distance.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Non-toxic thermoelectric material generates electricity through hot and cold

Thanks to the discovery of a new material by University of Utah engineers, a cooking pan could charge a cellphone in just a few hours. The team has found that a combination of calcium, cobalt, and terbium can create an efficient, inexpensive, and bio-friendly material that can generate electricity through a thermoelectric process involving heat and cold air.

 

Working towards super-efficient, ultra-thin silicon solar cells

The solar cell industry continues to favor inorganic crystalline silicon photovoltaics. While thin-film solar cells offer several advantages—including lower manufacturing costs—long-term stability of crystalline silicon solar cells, which are typically thicker, tips the scale in their favor.

 

‘Virtual batteries’ could lead to cheaper, cleaner power

In theory, the grid could employ a battery to keep supply and demand in balance. In a new paper, however, MIT researchers argue that “smart appliances” in homes and offices and electric cars could, collectively, act as a massive battery, offering a lower-cost, lower-emission alternative to backup power generation in the grid.

 

Enzyme function inhibits battery aging, researchers show

The excited oxygen molecule singlet oxygen is the main cause of aging in cells. To counter this, nature uses an enzyme called superoxide dismutase to eliminate superoxide as a free radical. A study has now stumbled upon astonishing parallels of oxygen chemistry in battery systems.

 

World’s most efficient, environment-friendly solar cells

In the future, solar cells can become twice as efficient by employing a few smart little nano-tricks. Researchers are currently developing the environment-friendly solar cells of the future, which will capture twice as much energy as the cells of today. The trick is to combine two different types of solar cells to utilize a much greater portion of the sunlight.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Warning of shortage of essential minerals for laptops, cell phones, wiring

Researchers say global resource governance and sharing of geoscience data is needed to address challenges facing future mineral supply. Specifically of concern are a range of technology minerals, which are an essential ingredient in everything from laptops and cell phones to hybrid or electric cars to solar panels and copper wiring for homes.

 

Space tech advances with these GaN-based device results

Gallium nitride is a vital piece of technology with reaching influence in a variety of fields, including cosmic operations. Recently, imec and its partners Thales Alenia Space have uncovered promising results for future space-based technology.

 

Scientists discover new ‘boat’ form of promising semiconductor GeSe

Princeton researchers have discovered a new form of the simple compound GeSe that has surprisingly escaped detection until now. This so-called beta-GeSe compound has a ring type structure like graphene and its monolayer form could have similarly valuable properties for electronic applications.

 

New electron source for materials analysis

Physicists have succeeded in accelerating the determination of material properties as well as making it more efficient. They have developed a special electron source which greatly simplifies the measurement of material surfaces and shortens the time needed for a measurement from days to minutes.

 

Nano-polycrystalline film leads to stronger magnetism compared to single-crystal films

Nanoscale pillar-shaped distribution of iron in strontium titanate can change its magnetic and magnetooptical response drastically, say researchers. Surprisingly, the polycrystalline film on the silicon substrate showed stronger magnetism than a single crystalline film.

 

Transparent silver: Tarnish-proof films for flexible displays, touch screens

The thinnest, smoothest layer of silver that can survive air exposure has been laid down at the University of Michigan, and it could change the way touchscreens and flat or flexible displays are made. By combining the silver with a little bit of aluminum, the researchers applied an anti-reflective coating to make one thin metal layer up to 92.4% transparent.

 

A tough coat for silicon

Supercritical carbon dioxide delivers protective molecules to semiconductor surfaces. A simple, green method that applies a protective coating to semiconductors could help to develop these materials for many applications, from batteries to biosensors. A*STAR researchers have developed a new way to deliver the protective molecules using supercritical carbon dioxide.

 


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