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Published on October 4th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on October 4th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Optoelectronics advance thanks to 2-D material phototransistors

Imaging, photodetectors, and biological sensors are a few applications that benefit from optical sensors operating in the near infrared. Thanks to advances in the high-volume synthesis of graphene, researchers have been on the hunt for more 2-D materials with near infrared-device potential.

 

Nanoscale energy harvesters show large scale impact

The production of nanoscale devices has drastically increased with the rise in technological applications, yet a major drawback to the functionality of nanosized systems is the need for an equally small energy resource. To address this, researchers have been modeling new piezoelectric energy harvester technology at the nanoscale level.

 

First 2-D field-effect transistor (FET) made of a single material

A research team at the Institute for Basic Science has developed the first -2D electronic circuit (FET) made of a single material. The study shows a new method to make metal and semiconductor from the same material in order to manufacture 2-D FETs.

 

Straining the memory: Prototype strain engineered materials are the future of data storage

Researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design and Shanghai Institute of Microsystems and Information Technology have nano-engineered a superlattice data storage material. Data is recorded at the interfaces of the superlattice layers.

 

New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices

A team of Graphene Flagship researchers led by the University of Manchester report the first new type of quantum oscillation in thirty years. This occurs by applying a magnetic field and it is the first of its kind to be present at high temperature and on the mesoscale. This research also sheds light on the Hofstadter butterfly phenomenon.

 

Honey: A cost-effective, non-toxic substitute for graphene manipulation

A nanomaterials scientist at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific was having stomach pains last year. So begins the story of the accidental discovery that honey—yes, the bee byproduct—is an effective, non-toxic substitute for the manipulation of the current and voltage characteristics of graphene.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Hybrid indium-lithium anodes provide fast interfacial ion transport

Novel lithium electrodes coated with indium could be the basis for more powerful, longer-lasting, rechargeable batteries. The coating hinders undesirable side-reactions between the electrode and electrolyte, provide a more uniform deposition of lithium when charging, and augments storage in the lithium anode via alloying reactions between lithium and indium.

 

Semitransparent and flexible: Solar cells made from atomically thin sheet

Researchers at Tohoku University have developed an innovative method for fabricating semitransparent and flexible solar cells with atomically thin 2-D materials. The new technology improves power conversion efficiency of up to 0.7%—this is the highest value for solar cells made from transparent 2-D sheet materials.

 

A little tension yields enormous solar crystals

 In the race to replace silicon in low-cost solar cells, semiconductors known as metal halide perovskites are favored because they can be solution-processed into thin films with excellent photovoltaic efficiency. A collaboration between KAUST and Oxford University researchers has now uncovered a strategy that grows perovskites into centimeter-scale, highly pure crystals thanks to the effect of surface tension.

 

A solid pathway toward hydrogen storage

An inexpensive and useful layered superconductor compound also may be an efficient solid-state material for storing hydrogen. The Department of Energy’s Energy Materials Network consortium approach to accelerate material discovery and development is starting to pay off.

 

Wearable solar thermoelectric generator created

A recent study led by researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has introduced a new advanced energy harvesting system, capable of generating electricity by simply being attached to clothes, windows, and outer walls of a building. This new device is based on a temperature difference between the hot and cold sides.

 

Energy harvested from evaporation could power much of US

In the first evaluation of evaporation as a renewable energy source, researchers at Columbia University find that U.S. lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 gigawatts of power, nearly 70% of what the United States currently produces.

 

Scientists make atoms-thick Post-It notes for solar cells and circuits

University of Chicago and Cornell University researchers describe an innovative method to make stacks of semiconductors just a few atoms thick. The technique offers scientists and engineers a simple, cost-effective method to make thin, uniform layers of these materials, which could expand capabilities for devices from solar cells to cell phones.

 

Step towards better ‘beyond lithium’ batteries

Researchers at the University of Bath showed that titanium dioxide can be modified to allow it to be used as an electrode in multivalent batteries. The scientists deliberately introduced defects in titanium dioxide to form high concentrations of microscopic holes, and showed these can be reversibly occupied by magnesium and aluminum.

 

 

BIOMEDICINE

 

Innovation could mean flexible rechargeable batteries for pacemakers

Experts at Queen’s University Belfast have designed a flexible and organic alternative to the rigid batteries that power up medical implants. The flexible supercapacitor is made up of non-flammable electrolytes and organic composites, which are safe to the human body.

 

Ancient ink for cancer treatment

For hundreds of years, Chinese calligraphers have used a plant-based ink to create beautiful messages and art. Now, one group reports that this carbon nanoparticle ink could noninvasively and effectively treat cancer cells that spread, or metastasize, to lymph nodes.

 

New self-powered paper patch could help diabetics measure glucose during exercise

A new paper-based sensor patch developed by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York could allow diabetics to effectively measure glucose levels during exercise. The self-powered, wearable and disposable biosensor integrates a vertically stacked, paper-based glucose/oxygen enzymatic fuel cell into a standard Band-Aid adhesive patch.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

A dream of foam: Better concrete, beer froth, and ice cream

ETH Zurich researchers have discovered a new method to design stable foams. Their findings could make beer froth and ice cream last longer—and revolutionize construction materials such as concrete. The researchers showed how particular particles act as a stabilizer and protect small bubbles against shrinkage.

 

Enhancing the sensing capabilities of diamonds with quantum properties

Remove a few carbons in a pure diamond lattice and swap some others for nitrogen, and you get a diamond with special quantum-sensing properties. When a nitrogen atom is next to the space vacated by a carbon atom, it forms what is called a nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center. Now, researchers have shown how they can create more NV centers, which makes sensing magnetic fields easier.

 

New technique accurately digitizes transparent objects

A new imaging technique makes it possible to precisely digitize clear objects and their surroundings, an achievement that has eluded current state-of-the-art 3-D rendering methods. The ability to create detailed, 3-D digital versions of real-world objects and scenes can be useful for improving design or quality assurance in the production of clear products and even for preserving rare or culturally significant objects.

 

Engineers explore origami to create folding spacecraft

An ancient art form has taken on new shape at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Origami, the Japanese tradition of paper-folding, has inspired a number of unique spacecraft designs here. It’s little wonder that it fascinates NASA engineers: origami can seem deceptively simple, hiding complex math within its creases.

 

 


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