Basic science

Toward next-gen thermochromic glass: Researchers improve understanding of insulator-metal transition in vanadium dioxide films

By Lisa McDonald / September 18, 2020

Vanadium dioxide is being actively investigated for use in thermochromic glass due to its insulator-metal transition. However, the mechanism behind this transition is still not well understood. Researchers in Russia used the framework of blow-up overheating instability to improve understanding of this transition.

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I th‘ink’ we have a solution: Researchers explain mechanism behind uniform deposition of 2D materials for printed electronics

By Lisa McDonald / August 28, 2020

In 2017, an international team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge found a certain alcohol-based solvent allowed uniform deposition of inks containing 2D materials—a result important to advancing printed electronics. Now, the team has proposed a mechanism to explain their finding.

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Achieve dynamic control of light—liquid crystals offer way to reconfigure optical properties of metalenses

By Lisa McDonald / August 25, 2020

Metalenses are an emerging technology for controlling light that could someday replace traditional lenses. However, they generally lack dynamic control over their optical properties and are limited to passive optical applications. Researchers from the United States and Italy investigated infiltrating metalenses with liquid crystals to allow for dynamic control.

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Will it spall? Phase diagrams, thermal expansion, and barrier coating degradation

By Jonathon Foreman / August 11, 2020

Thermal and environmental barrier coatings are often used to protect turbine blades made from ceramic matrix composites—but these coatings are prone to damage caused by environmental silicate contamination. In three papers published in JACerS, researchers provide extensive insights into the many aspects of damage.

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Storing charge in sodium-ion batteries: Study supports “three-stage” model for hard carbon anodes

By Lisa McDonald / July 28, 2020

In developing sodium-ion batteries, hard carbon is the material most often used for the anode, but unknowns concerning the charge storage mechanism in this material hinder further development. Researchers have proposed several models to explain the charge storage mechanism, and a recent study lends support for the three-stage “adsorption-intercalation-adsorption” process.

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Faster is not always easier—grain boundary diffusion of cations in fluorite and perovskite oxides

By Lisa McDonald / July 10, 2020

Fast grain boundary diffusion of cations is a well understood phenomenon in metals—but much less is known about this phenomenon in oxygen-ion conducting metal oxides. Researchers at RWTH Aachen University simulated this diffusion and found that although metal ions move faster along the boundaries than in bulk, the process is not necessarily less energy intensive.

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Fluorescing boron nitride nanotubes provide look at material’s motion in solution

By Lisa McDonald / June 5, 2020

Understanding how nanotubes move in solution is useful for both processing the material and for application in fluid environments, such as the body. Researchers at Rice University investigated how boron nitride nanotubes move in solution and found they behave like rigid rods, just like carbon nanotubes.

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Not just the edges—defects impart electrocatalytic properties to entire graphene surface

By Lisa McDonald / May 29, 2020

Defects in a material’s structure offer scientists a way to alter certain material properties. In a new study, three researchers in Russia investigate how different defects in graphene alter the material’s electron transfer kinetics.

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Exploring the mechanical behavior of MOF glasses

By Lisa McDonald / May 26, 2020

Metal-organic frameworks have immense potential in various applications but are difficult to synthesize in bulk. Fabricating MOFs in the glassy phase provides the necessary stability for bulk synthesis, and two new studies investigate the mechanical properties of these unique glasses.

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Bioactive glasses meet dendritic cells—exploring effects of bioactive glass ionic dissolution on the immune system

By Lisa McDonald / May 22, 2020

Bioactive glasses are considered biocompatible—but there still is much unknown about how these glasses interact with the immune system. In a recent open-access study, researchers in Germany explored how ions released during bioactive glass dissolution affect dendritic cells, a specialized immune cell that plays a crucial role in initiating primary immune responses.

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