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[Images above] Credit: NIST


A compass pointing west

Using a layer of cobalt atoms sandwiched between platinum layer and aluminum oxide layer, Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich researchers discovered a special phenomenon of magnetism in the nano range, whereby atomic compass needles do not only align in a North-South direction, but also in an East-West direction.

Layered liquids arrange nanoparticles into useful configurations

Materials scientists at Duke University theorized a new “oil-and-vinegar” approach to engineering self-assembling materials of unusual architectures made of spherical nanoparticles. In the proof-of-concept paper, nanoparticles could be made out of anything.


Record efficiency for perovskite-based light-emitting diodes

An international collaboration led by Linköping University discovered a particular perovskite material that gives highly efficient light-emitting diodes in the near-infrared region. The external quantum efficiency of the material is 21.6 percent, which is a record.


3D-printed tissues may keep athletes in action

Scientists at Rice University and the University of Maryland printed a scaffold with custom mixtures of a polymer (as cartilage “chondral tissue”) and a ceramic (as bone “osteo”)  with imbedded pores that would allow a patient’s own cells and blood vessels to infiltrate the implant, eventually allowing it to become part of the natural bone and cartilage.


Cleaning up oil using magnets

An interdisciplinary group of researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg  developed iron oxide particles that can attract all types of hydrocarbons. The magnetic particles and their shells can then be removed from water relatively simply, and then cleaned and reused.

New ‘blue-green’ solution for recycling world’s batteries

Rice University researchers used an environmentally friendly deep eutectic solvent to extract valuable elements from the metal oxides commonly used as cathodes in lithium-ion batteries. The solvent extracted more than 90 percent of cobalt from powdered compounds, and a smaller but still significant amount from used batteries.


EPA funding research on using hemp as a sustainable alternative to concrete

The Environmental Protection Agency is funding a research project looking into the sustainable production of hempcrete, a natural alternative to fossil-based concrete. The common method for pulping hemp to use its fibers is wasteful; the EPA grant will go toward developing hempcrete using a more sustainable pulping process.


First explanation for mechanism behind magnetism-driven NTE derived in 40 years

Waseda University scientists provided a theoretical explanation for why negative thermal expansion (NTE) appears in inverse perovskite antiferromagnets Mn3AN (where A = Zn, Ga, etc.). They say their theory revealed NTE is not specific to inverse perovskites but might be expected in other crystal structures.

New research explores graphene-silicon devices for photonics applications

University of Delaware researchers engineered a silicon-graphene device that can transmit radiofrequency waves in less than a picosecond at a sub-terahertz bandwidth. They are now looking at more components based on a similar structure.

3D printer threads electronic fibers onto fabrics

Chinese scientists used a 3D printer equipped with a home-made coaxial nozzle to directly print fibers on textiles and demonstrated that it could be used for energy-management purposes. Their 3D printed E-textiles used two inks—a carbon nanotube solution to build the conductive core of the fibers, and silkworm silk for the insulating sheath.

‘Featherweight oxygen’ discovery opens window on nuclear symmetry

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis discovered and characterized a new form of oxygen dubbed “featherweight oxygen”—the lightest-ever version of the familiar chemical element oxygen, with only three neutrons to its eight protons.