Materials & Innovations

Say goodbye to nasal swabs—researchers use breathalyzers to detect COVID-19

By Lisa McDonald / June 30, 2020

Deep nasal swabs are currently the main testing method for COVID-19. Researchers at The Ohio State University are investigating using a specially designed breathalyzer instead, which has the potential to provide results faster and at less cost.

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Butter-like ceramic interlayer may solve interface instability of solid-state batteries

By April Gocha / June 19, 2020

Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology and Xi’an Jiaotong University developed a new ceramic interlayer—a butter-like mixture of glass-ceramic nanoparticles within an ionic liquid—that provides adequately high ionic conductivity, high thermal stability, and low interfacial resistance to potentially make solid-state batteries a commercial reality.

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Light is the new heat—ultrafast heating system using photon energy

By Lisa McDonald / June 16, 2020

The idea of harnessing photons rather than electricity to produce heat has gained increasing attention in recent years. In a new research brief, ACerS Fellow Akio Ikesue and colleagues describe a photonic heating system based on transparent yttria alumina garnet ceramics.

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Video: Harvest solar energy from outer space

By Lisa McDonald / June 3, 2020

In their search for places to install PV infrastructure, solar companies have taken several creative approaches, including floating solar panels on reservoirs and co-locating them with crops. Space-based solar power is another concept studied since the 1970s, and this May, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory launched the first orbital experiment with space-based solar power.

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Ultrafast high-temperature sintering—opening the door to AI-driven materials discovery

By Lisa McDonald / May 15, 2020

Artificial intelligence techniques hasten the process of identifying new ceramic and glass compositions, but current synthesis methods limit how quickly new compositions can be experimentally tested. University of Maryland researchers and colleagues developed a new ultrafast high-temperature sintering method that could greatly speed up ceramic synthesis.

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Toward commercial viability—tellurium stabilizes lithium deposition in Li-S batteries

By Lisa McDonald / May 12, 2020

Lithium-sulfur batteries could enable the next generation of high-energy-density rechargeable batteries—but only if lithium deposition is stabilized. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found adding elemental tellurium to the cathode may solve this challenge.

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Breaking orbital symmetry—researchers achieve arbitrary control of light chirality

By Lisa McDonald / May 8, 2020

Controlling the chirality of light is important in many fundamental and applied studies. An international research collaboration designed and fabricated a metasurface that can control chirality by breaking the symmetry of light’s orbital angular momentum.

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To infrared and beyond: Proposed quantum-based photodetector may expand spectral operating range

By Lisa McDonald / May 1, 2020

Since 2000, infrared photodetector technology has experienced rapid development—particularly quantum-based detectors. Now, researchers in Russia, Japan, and the United States developed a model for a detector that could operate in the far-infrared and even terahertz spectral ranges.

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Video: Ceramic 3D printing aids production of vaccines

By Lisa McDonald / April 29, 2020

In response to COVID-19, many companies and individual researchers are turning to additive manufacturing to quickly produce essential medical devices. An EU-funded project is using ceramic 3D printing to create devices used in vaccine purification processes.

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An X-cellent application—2D perovskites improve X-ray imaging

By Lisa McDonald / April 28, 2020

Rapid improvement of perovskites in photovoltaic applications over the past decade has caught the attention of scientists in other fields, sparking research there as well. Now, researchers from Los Alamos and Argonne National Laboratories developed perovskite-based X-ray detectors that are a hundred times more sensitive than conventional silicon-based detectors.

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