CTT-other mat stories

Tiny particles could help verify goods

A team of MIT researchers has invented a new type of tiny, smartphone-readable particle that they believe could be deployed to help authenticate currency, electronic parts, and luxury goods, among other products. The particles, which are invisible to the naked eye, contain colored stripes of nanocrystals that glow brightly when lit up with near-infrared light. The new particles are about 200 microns long and include several stripes of different colored nanocrystals, known as “rare earth upconverting nanocrystals.” These crystals are doped with elements such as ytterbium, gadolinium, erbium, and thulium, which emit visible colors when exposed to near-infrared light. By altering the ratios of these elements, the researchers can tune the crystals to emit any color in the visible spectrum.

Novel technique opens door to better solar cells, superconductors and hard drives

A team of scientists at the National University of Singapore has successfully developed a technique to study the interface between materials, shedding light on the new properties that arise when two materials are put together. With a better understanding of how materials interface, scientists can tweak the properties of different materials more easily, and this opens doors to the development of better solar cells, novel superconductors and smaller hard drives. Some of the most exciting condensed matter physics problems are found at the interfaces of dissimilar materials. “If you put two materials together, you can create completely new properties,” explains lead scientist Andrivo Rusydi. “The problem is that we do not fully understand what is happening at the interface yet.” To resolve this long-standing mystery in the physics of condensed matter, the NUS scientists investigated the interface between strontium titanate and lanthanum aluminate, two insulators that become conductors at their interface. 

Israeli tech turns jellyfish into paper towels

(The Times of Israel) Cine’al Ltd., an Israeli nanotechnology start-up, is developing technology to turn jellyfish into “super-absorbers,” making the much-disdained sea creature suitable for use in diapers, tampons, medical sponges, even paper towels. Hydromash, the dry, flexible, strong material Cine’al is developing, is made from jellyfish and is allegedly several times more absorbent than the “quicker picker-upper” paper towels from the popular TV commercials. Highly absorbent products are made of synthetic materials such as super-absorbing polymers (SAP). The challenge was to find a bio-degradable material that was at least as absorbent. TAU researchers found the solution in jellyfish, composed of 90 percent water, living constantly in water and with bodies that can absorb and hold high volume of liquids without disintegrating or dissolving.

Storedot’s next generation smartphone battery fully charges your mobile in 30 seconds

StoreDot Ltd unveiled a ground-breaking battery capable of charging your smartphone and other devices in just 30 seconds. Incredibly, this means smartphone users will be able to charge their phones in less time than StoreDot needs to explain how this cutting-edge technology works. The company produces “nanodots” derived from bio-organic material that, due to their size, have both increased electrode capacitance and electrolyte performance, resulting in batteries that can be fully charged in minutes rather than hours. Those multifunctional nanodots are chemically synthesized bio-organic peptide molecules that change the rules of mobile device capabilities. 

Scientists gain new insight into mysterious electronic phenomenon

For more than a quarter of a century, high-temperature superconductors—materials that can transmit electric current without any resistance—have perplexed scientists who seek to understand the physical phenomena responsible for their unique properties. Thanks to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have identified and solved at least one paradox in the behavior of high-temperature superconductors. The riddle involves a phenomenon called the “pseudogap,” a region of energy levels in which relatively few electrons are allowed to exist. When comparing theoretical calculations of the pseudogap effect with the observed behavior of the material, researchers made a surprising and perplexing discovery. Based on well-established mathematical models, they had anticipated that the pseudogap would cause the superconductivity of the material to vanish, but for some reason the material demonstrated higher superconductivity than predicted.