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Published on April 12th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on April 12th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Major breakthrough in smart printed electronics from 2-D nanomaterials

Researchers in AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science research center hosted in Trinity College Dublin, have fabricated printed transistors consisting entirely of 2-D nanomaterials for the first time.

 

Ultrathin superconducting nanowire film has space tech applications

Experimental physicists at Saarland University have developed a thin nanomaterial with superconducting properties. Below about –200°C, these materials conduct electricity without loss, levitate magnets and can screen magnetic fields.

 

Gray tin exhibits novel topological electronic properties in 3-D

In a new discovery, alpha-tin, commonly called gray tin, exhibits a novel electronic phase when its crystal structure is strained, putting it in a rare new class of 3-D materials called topological Dirac semimetals. Only two other such materials are known to exist, discovered as recently as 2013.

 

Nanowire ink enables flexible, programmable electronics on various materials

Duke University researchers have created a new ‘spray-on’ digital memory using only an aerosol jet printer and nanoparticle ink. The device, which is analogous to a 4-bit flash drive, is the first fully-printed digital memory suitable for practical use in simple electronics such as environmental sensors or RFID tags.

 

Carbon nanotubes self-assemble into tiny transistors

Carbon nanotubes can be used to make very small electronic devices, but they are difficult to handle. University of Groningen scientists, together with colleagues from the University of Wuppertal and IBM Zurich, have developed a method to select semiconducting nanotubes from a solution and make them self-assemble on a circuit of gold electrodes.

 

Researchers “iron out” graphene’s wrinkles

Engineers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.

 

Open-source software unlocks 3-D view of nanomaterials

Now it’s possible for anyone to see and share 3-D nanoscale imagery with a new open-source software platform developed by researchers at the University of Michigan, Cornell University, and open-source software company Kitware Inc.

 

Photonic crystal and nanowire combo advances ‘photonic integration’

While bigger nanowires can improve light confinement and performance, it increases both energy consumption and device footprint—both of which are considered ‘fatal’ when it comes to integration. Addressing this problem, researchers came up with an approach that involves combining a sub-wavelength nanowire with a photonic crystal platform.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Low-cost ‘solar absorber’ promising for future power plants

Researchers have shown how to modify commercially available silicon wafers into a structure that efficiently absorbs solar energy and withstands the high temperatures needed for “concentrated solar power” plants that might run up to 24 hours a day.

 

Clarifying how lithium ions ferry around in rechargeable batteries

Scientists at the Institute for Basic Science observe the real-time ultrafast bonding of lithium ions with the solvents, in the same process that happens during charging and discharging of lithium batteries, and conclude that a new theory is needed

 

Stanford scientist’s new approach may accelerate design of high-power batteries

A new Stanford study describes a model for designing novel materials used in electrical storage devices, such as car batteries and capacitors. This approach may dramatically accelerate discovery of new materials that provide cheap and efficient ways to store energy.

 

Seaweed: From superfood to superconductor

Seaweed could turn out to be an essential ingredient in the development of more sustainable ways to power our devices. Researchers have made a seaweed-derived material to help boost the performance of superconductors, lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells.

 

New efficiency record for low-cost solar cell

Researchers at The Australian National University have achieved a new record efficiency for low-cost semi-transparent perovskite solar cells in a breakthrough that could bring down the cost of generating solar electricity. The team has achieved 26% efficiency.

 

Renewable energy needed to drive uptake of electric vehicles

Plugging into renewable energy sources outweighs the cost and short driving ranges for consumers intending to buy electric vehicles, according to a new study. Queensland University of Technology researchers said environmental performance was more important than price or range confidence for electric vehicle consumers.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

New study defines best materials for carbon capture, methane selectivity

Natural gas producers want to draw all the methane they can from a well while sequestering as much carbon dioxide as possible, and could use filters that optimize either carbon capture or methane flow. No single filter will do both, but thanks to Rice University scientists, they now know how to fine-tune sorbents for their needs.

 

Graphene sieve turns seawater into drinking water

New research from the University of Manchester demonstrates the real-world potential of graphene oxide membranes for providing clean drinking water. The group found a strategy to avoid swelling of the membrane when exposed to water and can precisely control pore size in the membrane.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Innovative glass sensor can screen toxic drugs, help develop biomaterials, and more

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have found an innovative new use for a simple piece of glass tubing: weighing things. Their glass tube sensor will help speed up chemical toxicity tests, shed light on plant growth, and develop new biomaterials, among many other applications.

 

Materials may lead to self-healing smartphones

Taking a cue from the Marvel Universe, researchers report that they have developed a self-healing polymeric material with an eye toward electronics and soft robotics that can repair themselves. The material is stretchable and transparent, conducts ions to generate current and could one day help your broken smartphone go back together again.

 

Colloidal silica particle coating enables next-generation optics at National Ignition Facility

A new anti-reflective coating and a novel chemical process for laser optics, developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers, represents an important breakthrough in its effort to boost the energy of the National Ignition Facility’s 192 giant lasers and cut the cost of repairing or replacing damaged optics vital to its operation.

 

Bone-inspired steel cracks less under pressure

To mimic bone’s structural variability, researchers fabricated steel with thin, alternating nanoscale layers of different crystal structures, some of which were just unstable enough to morph a bit under stress. That complicated microstructure prevented cracks from spreading in a straight line, slowing their take-over and preventing the material from collapsing.

 

New type of sensor material developed

Hokkaido University scientists have succeeded in developing a nickel complex that changes color and magnetism when exposed to methanol vapor. The new material can potentially be used not only as a chemical sensor, but also with future rewritable memory devices.

 

Modern alchemy creates luminescent iron molecules

A group of researchers at Lund University in Sweden have made the first iron-based molecule capable of emitting light. This could contribute to the development of affordable and environmentally friendly materials for e.g. solar cells, light sources and displays.

 

Turning back time: Watching rust transform into iron

Using a state-of-the-art microscopy technique, experimenters at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and their colleagues have witnessed a slow-motion, atomic-scale transformation of rust—iron oxide—back to pure iron metal, in all of its chemical steps.

 

A novel method for the fabrication of active-matrix 3-D pressure sensors

A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has created a 3-D, tactile sensor that could detect wide pressure ranges from human body weight to a finger touch. This new sensor with transparent features is capable of generating an electrical signal based on the sensed touch actions, also, consumes far less electricity than conventional pressure sensors.

 


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