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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Step right up for bigger 2D sheets

Rice University researchers constructed simulations that show atom-sized steps on a substrate have the remarkable ability to keep monolayer crystal islands in alignment as they grow. If the conditions are right, the islands join into a larger crystal without grain boundaries, a structure characteristic of 2D materials grown via chemical vapor deposition.

Graphene reveals electrons move like viscous liquids

Researchers at The University of Manchester discovered electrons in graphene act like a very unique liquid. They found this “electron fluid” moves with two separate viscosities, which shows that the Hall effect is no longer as universal as it was thought to be.

Smoothing out the wrinkles in graphene

MIT researchers applied a wax coating to a graphene sheet and heated it, which caused the wax to expand and smooth out graphene to reduce wrinkles. The wax-coated graphene performed four times better than graphene made with traditional polymer-protecting layer.

The moiré patterns of three layers change the electronic properties of graphene

Scientists from Swiss Nanoscience Institute and University of Basel placed a layer of graphene between two boron nitride layers and found the superposition of all three layers created an even larger superstructure than possible with only one layer.


More efficient chemical processes across spectrum of industries

A research collaboration compared how fast specific chemicals can be made on a variety of metal-oxide catalysts to gain insights on what properties result in best metal-oxide catalysts. They found oxide properties that are easy to determine, such as the Gibbs Free Energy of formation of the oxide, can predict an oxide’s reactivity.

Right electrolyte doubles novel 2D material’s ability to store energy

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Drexel University, and their partners found the surfaces of MXenes can be covered with diverse terminal groups, which interact strongly/specifically with different solvents/dissolved salts in electrolyte. A good electrolyte solvent–electrode match may increase charging speed or boost storage capacity.

New volumetric 3D printing process may pave way to 3D printed solar cells

Startup T3DP integrated volumetric 3D printing in the perovskite solar cell manufacturing process, leveraging a Stanford study on honeycomb shielded perovskite cells. Their first two patents were approved in 2018 and they are now looking to scale up.


‘Stained glass’ technique kills deadly hospital bacteria

Aston University researchers discovered a technique similar to medieval stained glass-making that completely eradicates the deadliest hospital infections within hours. Using a bioactive phosphate glass containing small amounts cobalt, they achieved a “complete kill” of E. coli and Candida albicans, and a near-complete kill of Staphylococcus aureus.

New graphene-based device is first step toward ultrasensitive biosensors

Researchers at University of Minnesota combined graphene with nanosized gold ribbons to create a single-atom-thick graphene layer device. When they shone light on the device, they created a plasmon wave, and when they inserted protein molecules between the graphene and the metal, they harnessed enough energy to view single layers of protein molecules.


With nanotubes, genetic engineering in plants is easy-peasy

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley grafted DNA onto a carbon nanotube to deliver a gene into plant cells. The gene’s effect lasted only a few days, however, expressing a gene for a short time can still tell scientists a lot about the gene’s role in the cell.

An easier way to engineer plants

MIT researchers created nanoparticles consisting of carbon nanotubes wrapped in chitosan and delivered them into plant cells through use of the lipid exchange envelope penetration mechanism. Because the engineered genes are carried only in chloroplasts, they can be passed to offspring but cannot be transferred to other plant species.


ACI investigates bond and crack behaviour of infra-lightweight concrete

The American Concrete Institute released a paper which summarises an investigation into the bond and crack behaviour of reinforced infra-lightweight concrete (ILC).  The study also assessed the flexural behaviour of ILC beams.

New method opens the way for cutting tools with longer lifetime

Linköping University researchers developed a theoretical model that shows what happens in titanium aluminium nitride as it degrades; specifically, shows which atoms are displaced and the property consequences. The researchers hope their method will be useful for manufacturing industry.


Adjustable tinted windows now electronically controlled

University of Nevada researchers used nickel oxide, lithium ions, and a gel electrolyte to create smart windows that switch uniformly between a clear state and a state blocking 94 percent of light. They cycled the glass between opaque and transparent over 4,000 times without significant degradation, and they say the glass is compatible with flexible layers.

Unlocking the untapped potential of light in optical communications

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology fabricated a multiplexer/demultiplexer module based on a property of light that was not being exploited in communications systems: the optical vortex. Such devices will be crucial for improving optical networks.