Materials & Innovations

Multifunctional materials for next-gen devices: Flame-resistant composite achieves low thermal and high electrical conductivities

By Lisa McDonald / May 12, 2023

As new energy conversion and miniaturized electronic systems are developed, it is desirable to have a material that exhibits both extremely low thermal and high electrical conductivities. University of Bayreuth researchers fabricated a flexible carbon/silicon nonwoven composite with such properties, as well as being flame resistant and thermally stable.

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A solid contender—new oxygen-ion battery may be ‘excellent’ solution for large energy storage systems

By Lisa McDonald / May 2, 2023

Solid-state batteries are an emerging energy storage technology that are safer than conventional lithium-ion batteries. In an open-access paper, researchers at TU Wien demonstrated a novel solid-state battery composition that may offer certain advantages over other battery technologies—oxygen-ion batteries.

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Discovery of ferroelectricity in elementary substance expands understanding of this property

By Lisa McDonald / April 14, 2023

Ferroelectricity traditionally is believed to only occur in compounds. However, in the past decade, some theoretical works suggested that ferroelectricity is possible in certain elementary substances. Now researchers in China and Singapore experimentally confirmed ferroelectricity in monolayer α-phase bismuth.

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Video: Swiss startup cracks the 1-kW ceiling for production of solar hydrogen

By Lisa McDonald / April 12, 2023

Producing hydrogen through water electrolysis is not yet financially viable due to challenges with scaling up the process. A concentrated solar power system developed by Swiss startup SoHHytec succeeded in cracking the 1-kW ceiling for the production of solar hydrogen.

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Entering uncharted waters: Researchers observe piezoelectric effect in liquids for the first time

By Lisa McDonald / April 11, 2023

All known piezoelectric materials to date are solids. But a shocking discovery at Michigan State University turns this conventional wisdom on its head. They observed the piezoelectric effect in two room-temperature ionic liquids, and this discovery could necessitate a modification of current piezoelectric theory.

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Doing double duty—researchers develop metalenses that offer both spatial and spectral control of light

By Guest Contributor / March 3, 2023

Traditionally, metalenses offer either spatial or spectral control of light, not both. However, a new metalens developed by researchers from Columbia University and the City University of New York offers both functionalities.

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Small scale, big discoveries: Reducing thickness of antiferroelectric films turns them ferroelectric

By Lisa McDonald / February 14, 2023

While size effects in ferroelectric materials have been extensively studied, there are far fewer studies on how structure and properties evolve in antiferroelectric materials with reduced dimensions. In a recent open-access paper, researchers report the surprising discovery that below a certain thickness, antiferroelectric films will become completely ferroelectric.

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Introduction to “Ceramic matrix composites” for ACT @ 20

By Jonathon Foreman / February 8, 2023

To celebrate the milestone of the 20th volume of the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, the editorial team assembled a selection of journal papers representing the excellent work from the advanced ceramics community. The focus this month is ceramic matrix composites.

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Beyond oxides: Successful plastic deformation in silicon nitride thanks to dual-phase structure

By Guest Contributor / January 24, 2023

Most explorations of plastic deformation in ceramics have focused on oxide systems. A recent study led by researchers at Tsinghua University in China demonstrated the possibility of plastic deformation in nonoxide ceramics as well, specifically silicon nitride, by harnessing a dual-phase structural configuration.

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How sweet it is: Accidental discovery leads to microprinting method for highly curved, complex surfaces

By Guest Contributor / January 13, 2023

Through an accidental discovery, NIST researcher Gary Zabow discovered a new microprinting method based on sugar and corn syrup that allows microscale arrays to be deposited with precision on highly curved, complex surfaces.

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