Materials & Innovations

Author Q&A: The Alchemy of Us explores our transformative relationship with materials

By April Gocha / April 24, 2020

A new book out this month, The Alchemy of Us by Ainissa Ramirez, tells the story of materials science through a perhaps unexpected lens—by sharing not only the stories of materials discoveries but also how those discoveries shaped us, society, and history.

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Transparent ceramic materials may make self-driving vehicles faster and safer

By Lisa McDonald / April 21, 2020

For self-driving vehicles to become a common reality, the laser surveying system LiDAR must be improved. Researchers from Alfred University developed a transparent ceramic that could prove to be an ideal lasing material for LiDAR.

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Peeking at the past—Bricks used to characterize past presence of radioactive materials

By Lisa McDonald / April 7, 2020

For successful nuclear nonproliferation initiatives, authorities must be able to detect and characterize radioactive sources—but how can they do so if the radioactive material was removed before they arrived? Researchers at North Carolina State University developed a technique that allows retrospective characterization of radioactive sources.

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Brush your way to a whiter smile—piezocatalysis effect offers nondestructive tooth whitening

By Lisa McDonald / March 24, 2020

Common teeth whitening methods can damage teeth. Researchers in China propose a tooth whitening method based on the piezocatalysis effect may serve as an effective, nondestructive alternative.

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A “green” development for St. Patrick’s Day: Ultra-safe and high-energy batteries

By Lisa McDonald / March 17, 2020

Did you remember to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day? We’re celebrating the day by highlighting some “green” energy research at The Pennsylvania State University on a stable and high-energy battery made possible thanks to a self-heating ability.

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Data that lasts—modification of ferroelectric transistor structure improves memory retention

By Lisa McDonald / March 10, 2020

Ferroelectric field-effect transistors are nonvolatile memory devices that nondestructively read stored data. However, data retention times in these devices are short. Purdue University researchers suggest a modification to conventional Fe-FET structure could overcome this obstacle.

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Video: A direct approach to creating AC batteries

By Lisa McDonald / March 4, 2020

Battery efficiency is hindered in part by the fact that battery current must be converted from direct to alternating for use in many devices. A University of Cambridge startup company, AC Biode, looks to remove that obstacle by creating batteries that use AC.

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Integrated energy management looks to graduate smart homes to the next level

By April Gocha / February 11, 2020

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in early January 2020, new devices and solutions centered around smart home technologies—but will new solutions for energy management lead to the next evolution of smart homes?

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Films fix flaws: MXenes for guided bone regeneration

By Lisa McDonald / February 11, 2020

A lot of research focuses on environmental and energy applications of MXenes, but there are plenty of potential biomedical applications as well. Three researchers at Sichuan University in China investigate using MXene films as a barrier membrane in guided bone regeneration.

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Bacteria bind bricks to create sustainable living building material

By April Gocha / February 4, 2020

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder designed a living building material cemented together with cyanobacteria-secreted calcium carbonate—offering possibilities for construction in resource-limited settings.

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