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

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Insights into thermal behavior of metal nitride nanowires could advance optical electronics

Most electronic devices currently contain silicon-based chips. Other semiconducting materials show potential, but need further research to become commercially viable. Researchers at KAUST have thoroughly analyzed one such material—metal-nitride nanowires—bringing them a step closer to being useful.

 

Nanomaterial protects astronauts from radiation in space

Scientists at The Australian National University have designed a new nanomaterial that can reflect or transmit light on demand with temperature control, opening the door to technology that protects astronauts in space from harmful radiation. The material is so thin that hundreds of layers could fit on the tip of a needle and could be applied to any surface, including spacesuits.

 

2-D layered devices can self-assemble with precision

Squid-inspired proteins can act as programmable assemblers of 2-D materials, like graphene oxide, to form hybrid materials with minute spacing between layers suitable for high-efficiency devices including flexible electronics, energy storage systems and mechanical actuators, according to an interdisciplinary team of Penn State researchers.

 

Discovery of nanosheets with the highest ever hydroxyl ion conductivity

A NIMS research group discovered that layered double hydroxide nanosheets have exceptionally high hydroxyl ion conductivity (as high as 10-1 S/cm). This OH- conductivity is 10 to 100 times higher than that of conventional OH- conductors, and is the highest even among inorganic anion conductors.

 

Quantum technology could eliminate counterfeiting

According to a new study by researchers from Lancaster University, fake goods may be on the verge of disappearing thanks to new quantum technology. The researchers created unique atomic-scale identifications based on the irregularities found in 2-D materials like graphene, making it possible to fingerprint them in simple electronic devices and optical tags.

 

Room temperature field-effect transistor using graphene’s electron spin

A graphene-based spin field-effect transistor has been used in an operating at room temperature. Using the spin of the electrons in graphene and other layered material heterostructures the researchers have produced working devices as a step towards integrating spintronic logic and memory devices.

 

 

ENERGY

 

First battery-free cellphone makes calls by harvesting ambient power

University of Washington researchers have invented a cellphone that requires no batteries—a major leap forward in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones. Instead, the phone harvests the few microwatts of power it requires from either ambient radio signals or light.

 

Meniscus-assisted technique produces high efficiency perovskite PV films

A new low-temperature solution printing technique allows fabrication of high-efficiency perovskite solar cells with large crystals intended to minimize current-robbing grain boundaries. The meniscus-assisted solution printing technique boosts power conversion efficiencies to nearly 20% by controlling crystal size and orientation.

 

Self-powered system makes smart windows smarter

Researchers developed a new type of smart window: a self-powered version that promises to be inexpensive and easy to apply to existing windows, with potential to save heating and cooling costs. The window powers itself with a transparent solar cell that harvests near-ultraviolet light.

 

Solar cell design using diverse plant pigments

Researchers at Lomonosov Moscow State University have optimized and characterized TiO₂-based solar cell design using diverse plant pigments. The study involved two types of solar cells with two photosensitizers, thylakoid membrane preparations and anthocyanin-enriched raspberry extracts.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Composite material uses solar energy to remove dye pollutants from water

A novel composite material has been developed by scientists at Swansea University which shows promise as a catalyst for the degradation of environmentally-harmful synthetic dye pollutants, which are released at a rate of nearly 300,000 tonnes a year into the world’s water.

 

Concrete from wood

Houses can be made of wood, as they were in the past—or of concrete, as they are today. To build for tomorrow, the two building methods are being combined: these hybrid structures, which contain both wood and concrete elements, are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary architecture.

 

Announcing the discovery of a new mineral: Nataliyamalikite

In the harshest of environments in far-east Russia, Monash scientists have played a leading role in the discovery of a new mineral, which could revolutionize the future of the mining industry. The mineral—nataliyamalikite—is new, and did not exist before.

 

 

BIOMEDICINE

 

Quantum dots make the leap from TVs to antibacterial eye drops

Quantum dots are transforming electronic displays on TVs and tablets. But now, one group reports that these tiny structures may someday provide relief for eye infections resulting from contact lens wear, trauma or some types of surgeries.

 

3-D-printed implants can improve integration of amputee prosthetic devices with bone

A new study evaluated two additive manufacturing methods for producing either fine or coarse textured titanium implants and compared the strength of bone integration, interlocking, and torque in rats given one or both types of the implants in the distal femurs.

 

Nano-sized MOF drug carriers could be the future for patients with lung disease

Scientists based at Imperial College London have tested a new type of nanoparticle called metal organic frameworks (MOF)—tiny metal cages less than 100 nm across that can be loaded with drug molecules—which they believe could potentially be used to treat patients with a devastating condition called pulmonary arterial hypertension. 

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

‘Near-zero-power’ temperature sensor could make smart devices less power-hungry

Electrical engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a temperature sensor that runs on only 113 picowatts of power. This “near-zero-power” temperature sensor could extend the battery life of wearable or implantable devices, smart home monitoring systems, and more.

 

On the road to creating an electrodeless spacecraft propulsion engine

Researchers from Tohoku University have been trying to find out how the plasma flow is influenced by its environment via laboratory experiments. And in doing so, have made headway on research towards creating an electrodeless plasma thruster used to propel spacecraft.

 

Surprising insights into properties of butterfly wings

A collaboration between biologists and materials scientists is yielding new insights into the wings of the “skipper butterfly” in the Costa Rican rainforest. What they learn could lead to technological advancements in systems ranging from power-efficient computer displays to sensors to energy efficient buildings, windows, and vehicles.

 

Novel technique identifies traces of radioactive material

Researchers have developed a new technique that could improve nuclear nonproliferation and enhance security applications for nuclear waste. This method, developed at North Carolina State University, enables scientists to characterize nuclear material in a location even after the material has been removed.

 

Measurement will help redefine international unit of mass

Using a state-of-the-art device for measuring mass, researchers at NIST have made their most precise determination yet of Planck’s constant, an important value in science that will help to redefine the kilogram, the official unit of mass in the SI, or international system of units.

 

A boost for permanent magnets: Scientists analyze structure and behaviour on atomic level

Scientists have explored on an atomic level how changes in iron content influence the micro-structure of samarium-cobalt based permanent magnets. In the long run, they could contribute to the development of permanent magnets with improved magnetic performance. These magnets can be found in microwave tubes, gyroscopes and satellite controls, for instance.

 


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