Materials & Innovations

String-based extraction could revolutionize lithium production

By Lisa McDonald / November 10, 2023

With the drastic increase in demand for lithium, new sources and extraction methods are needed to secure sufficient supply. Princeton University researchers led development of a new passive method for extraction of lithium from saltwater. The method, if advanced to industrial scale, could significantly decrease both the time and amount of land necessary for lithium production.

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Video: Nature-inspired paint offers rapid and reversible color change

By Lisa McDonald / November 8, 2023

Many animals in nature have special pigment cells that allow them to change the color of their skin in response to various stimuli. Now, Northeastern University researchers combined one of those pigments, called xanthommatin, with titanium dioxide to create a paint that can rapidly and reversibly change color in response to light.

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Monolayer silicon carbide achieved with both top-down and bottom-up synthesis methods

By Lisa McDonald / November 3, 2023

Theoretical studies have predicted that 2D silicon carbide in a stable honeycomb structure is possible, but experimentally achieving this material has proven difficult. Two recent papers successfully synthesized monolayer silicon carbide using top-down and bottom-up synthesis methods, respectively.

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Reducing aggregate toxicity: Graphene oxide may aid in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

By Lisa McDonald / October 31, 2023

In vitro studies have demonstrated the potential of graphene oxide to help treat Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the buildup of harmful amyloid-β aggregates. Researchers in Sweden and Denmark used yeast as a model system to explore graphene oxide’s potential in vivo.

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A new way to self-heal: Electron beam radiolysis drives crack repair in titanium dioxide

By Lisa McDonald / October 27, 2023

Ceramic materials that can self-heal cracks would help reduce maintenance and inspection costs while enhancing component reliability and lifespan. Researchers at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities made a counterintuitive discovery of a new way to self-heal cracks in ceramics—through electron beam radiolysis.

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Quantum dots may lead to cost-effective mid-infrared light sources and sensors

By Lisa McDonald / October 6, 2023

Quantum dots are emerging as a cost-effective materials system for both emitting and detecting mid-infrared light. Philippe Guyot-Sionnest’s group at the University of Chicago is working on developing this technology, and their latest paper describes a quantum-dot-based light source that is as efficient as current commercial devices.

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Mitigating the spread of respiratory illnesses: DOD funds research into portable, easy-to-use breath analyzers

By Lisa McDonald / October 3, 2023

Breath analyzers are handheld, rapid testing devices that could transform how the medical community diagnoses diseases and disorders. A new program housed under the U.S. Department of Defense aims to accelerate development of breath analyzers for rapid diagnosis of respiratory illnesses among warfighters. The program has so far provided funding to three different organizations, including ACerS Fellow Perena Gouma’s research group at The Ohio State University.

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Harnessing nature for nano design—glass-coated DNA scaffolds demonstrate potential as lightweight and high-strength materials

By Lisa McDonald / September 29, 2023

In recent decades, researchers have explored using deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as a scaffold for programmable nanostructures. Now, researchers at Columbia University, the University of Connecticut, and Brookhaven National Laboratory collaborated to show that glass-coated DNA scaffolds have potential as lightweight and high-strength materials.

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Building with nature: Fungi show promise as green construction material

By Guest Contributor / September 26, 2023

More and more companies and organizations are considering the potential of mycelium, the root-like structure of most fungi, as a green construction material. Today’s CTT spotlights several recent innovations in this area.

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Video: Ensuring water access in arid environments—pilot fog catcher system simultaneously collects and cleans water

By Lisa McDonald / September 6, 2023

Fog catching provides people living in dry but foggy areas with a stable water source. But air pollution can make the collected water unsafe for use unless it is treated. Researchers led by ETH Zurich developed a system for simultaneously harvesting and cleaning the water collected from fog nets.

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