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Published on April 25th, 2018 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on April 25th, 2018 | By: April Gocha

[Images above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Salt boosts creation of 2-D materials

A dash of salt can simplify the creation of 2-D materials, and thanks to Rice University scientists, the reason is becoming clear. The scientists used salt to make a “library” of 2-D materials that combined transition metals and chalcogens.

 

This 2-D nanosheet expands like a Grow Monster

Engineers discovered that tiny crystal lattices called “self-assembling molecular nanosheets” expand when exposed to light. The advancement could form the backbone of new light-powered actuators, oscillators, and other microscopic electronic components.

 

​World’s hardest material, diamond, is flexible in nanoscale needles

Diamond, the world’s hardest natural material, is also flexible when made into nanoscale needles, according to a surprising discovery by an international team of scientists that includes researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

 

Robot developed for automated assembly of designer nanomaterials

A research team led by the The University of Tokyo has developed an automated robot that greatly speeds up the collection of 2-D crystals and their assembly to form van der Waals heterostructures.  

 

Nanoparticle research provides new applications for industry and everyday life

A team at the University of Texas at Austin is innovating optical nanotechnologies in health, energy, manufacturing, and national security. The scientists use low-power optical tweezing to manipulate metal nanoparticles of a wide range of materials, sizes, and shapes.

 

Graphene changes elastic properties depending on applied force

Scientists have described a universal characteristic in which many unique graphene properties are “hidden”. It turned out that abnormal graphene behavior can be fully characterized by Poisson ratio, which determines material capability to shrink or extend in transverse dimension.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Organic solar cells reach record efficiency, benchmark for commercialization

In an advance that makes a more flexible, inexpensive type of solar cell commercially viable, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated organic solar cells that can achieve 15% efficiency.

 

A higher-energy, safer, and longer-lasting zinc battery

A team of researchers at the University of Maryland together with colleagues at the U.S. Army Research Lab and NIST has combined old battery technology (metallic zinc) with new (water-in-salt electrolytes) to create a water-based zinc battery that is powerful, rechargeable, and safe.

 

Sodium ion batteries use copper sulfide as anodes  

A KAIST research team recently developed sodium ion batteries using copper sulfide anode. This finding will contribute to advancing the commercialization of sodium ion batteries and reducing the production cost of any electronic products with batteries.

 

Energy conversion: Optical ‘overtones’ for solar cells

Nanosystems Initiative Munich scientists from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich have found a new effect regarding the optical excitation of charge carriers in a solar semiconductor. It could facilitate the utilization of infrared light, which is normally lost in solar devices.

 

Porous salts for fuel cells

Scientists have developed a new class of crystalline porous organic salts with high proton conductivity for applications such as proton-exchange membranes for fuel cells. Polar channels that contain water play a critical role in proton conduction.

 

Battery’s hidden layer revealed

An international team now understands the chemistry of the microscopically thin layer that forms between the liquid electrolyte and solid electrode in lithium-ion batteries. The results are being used in improving the layer and better predicting battery lifetime.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Rare earth magnet recycling is a grind—this new process takes a simpler approach

A new recycling process developed at the Critical Materials Institute turns discarded hard disk drive magnets into new magnet material in a few steps, and tackles both the economic and environmental issues typically associated with mining e-waste for valuable materials.

 

Research team engineers a better plastic-degrading enzyme

A breakthrough in enzyme research led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Portsmouth has improved a variant of an enzyme that can breakdown ubiquitous plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET.

 

Efforts to develop water recycling technologies

Scientists at the University of Texas at Arlington have expanded a partnership with oil field equipment supplier Challenger Water Solutions to develop water recycling technologies that will transform waste from unconventional oil and gas development into reusable water.

 

Carbon dioxide as a raw material

Researchers at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum have found a way to turn climate-damaging CO2 into an alcohol that could serve as a raw material for the chemical industry—without producing large amounts of salt waste that usually arise.

 

 

BIOMEDICINE

 

This material uses energy from ambient light to kill hospital superbugs

A new material that harnesses the power of ambient light to produce bacteria-killing molecules could help stem the spread of hospital infections. The covering is made of polyurethane embedded with tiny semiconductor nanoparticles called quantum dots.

 

Soil metals linked with cancer mortality

Epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant, and other associations. These statistical links suggest an influence of metals from the earth’s surface on the geographical distribution of tumors.

 

Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

 

New cellular insights in bone development

Most of us don’t think about our teeth and bones until one aches or breaks. A team of engineers has looked deep within collagen fibers to see how the body forms new bone and teeth, seeking insights into faster bone healing and new biomaterials.

 

Nanoparticles for lung cancer pass next test

The most common type of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, continues to be difficult to treat. Jefferson College researchers are developing a new treatment approach based on nanotechnology that was recently shown to be effective in mouse models of the disease.

 

Researchers develop injectable bandage

With a gelling agent commonly used in preparing pastries, researchers have successfully fabricated an injectable bandage to stop bleeding and promote wound healing. The material uses kappa-carrageenan and nanosilicates to form injectable hydrogels.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Performing under pressure: Modeling oxidation in high-stress materials

As certain alloys are exposed to extreme stress and temperatures, an oxide film begins to form, causing the alloys to break down even more quickly. Chinese researchers have started to chip away at why these materials corrode under mechanical stress.

 

Flexible TVs and high performance wearable smart tech one step closer

An international team of researchers has developed a thin film transistor made out of an oxide semiconductor. The thin film transistor is the first oxide-semiconductor based transistor that is capable of operating at a benchmark speed of 1 GHz.

 

New tool speeds up the design of wearable tech

People could soon power items such as mobile phones by simply using their daily movements. The technology is centered on materials that become electrically charged after they come into contact with each other, known as “triboelectric materials.”

 

Strain sensing clothes monitor your movements

Deakin Institute for Frontier Materials scientists have developed strain sensing textiles that could be used to produce compression garments to monitor professional athletes or to allow patients to track and compile data while undergoing physical rehabilitation.

 

Engineers develop technique to make adaptive materials

Engineers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the University of Maryland have developed a technique that causes a composite material to become stiffer and stronger on-demand when exposed to ultraviolet light.

 

New theory shows how strain makes for better catalysts

Brown University researchers have developed a new theory to explain why stretching or compressing metal catalysts can make them perform better. The theory could open new design possibilities for new catalysts with new capabilities.

 


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