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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Researchers use nanoparticles to increase power, improve eye safety of fiber lasers

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory doped silica fiber with rare earth element holmium, achieving an 85% efficiency with a laser that operates at a 2 microns wavelength, which is considered an “eye-safer” wavelength, rather than the traditional 1 micron.

Unconventional phenomena triggered by acoustic waves in 2D materials

Researchers at the Institute for Basic Science and colleagues reported a novel phenomenon, called Valley Acoustoelectric Effect, which takes place in 2D materials. The researchers modeled the propagation of surface acoustic waves and found waves drag electrons and holes, creating an electric current with conventional and unconventional components.

Physicists discover new quantum trick for graphene: magnetism

While trying to replicate the finding that graphene becomes a superconductor when twisted to a certain angle, Stanford University physicists discovered that another angle causes the graphene to display orbital ferromagnetism.

Oddball edge wins nanotube faceoff

Rice University theoretical researchers discovered nanotubes with segregated sections of “zigzag” and “armchair” facets growing from a solid catalyst are far more energetically stable than sections in a circular arrangement.


Materials scientists uncover source of degradation in sodium batteries

University of California Santa Barbara researchers found that when hydrogen penetrates a sodium manganese dioxide cathode, its presence enables the manganese atoms to break loose from the manganese-oxide backbone that holds the material together, leading to degradation of the battery.

Discovery paves way for new generation of solar cells

A study led by KU Leuven explains how caesium lead triiodide, a promising type of perovskites, can be stabilized by binding a thin film of these perovskite solar cells to a sheet of glass. As a result, the crystals turn black, enabling them to absorb sunlight.

A good first step toward nontoxic solar cells

Washington University engineers believe they found a more stable, less toxic semiconductor for solar applications using a double perovskite oxide discovered through data analytics and quantum-mechanical calculations. The material—made of potassium, barium, tellurium, bismuth, and oxygen—was one of an initial 30,000 potential bismuth-based oxides.

‘Deforming’ solar cells could be clue to improved efficiency

Researchers from University of Warwick found that the strain gradient in solar cells, through physical force or induced during the fabrication process, can prevent photo-excited carriers from recombining, leading to an enhanced solar energy conversion efficiency.


Lots of lead in the water? Maybe manganese is to blame

Washington University researchers showed that in conjunction with certain other chemicals, naturally occurring manganese can affect the water in lead pipes. In the presence of oxidants, manganese can become manganese oxide, which acts as a catalyst and increases conversion rate from lead carbonate to lead dioxide.

Solar panels cast shade on agriculture in a good way

Researchers have found agrivoltaics, the practice of co-locating crops under the shade of solar panels, creates a mutually beneficial relationship. The environment under the panels stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winters, which lessens rates of evaporation of irrigation waters and protects plants from becoming stressed.


Researchers pave the way to salt-resistant concrete

Researchers from Brunel University London devised a new concrete mix that absorbs 64% less water and 90% less salt than normal concrete, whilst being up to 42% stronger, by incorporating a sodium acetate compound into concrete at the mixing stage.


Nanoscribe and researchers pioneer 3D fabrication technique for glass microstructures

Researchers from University of Freiburg, ETH Zurich, University of Würzburg, and micro-scale 3D printing company Nanoscribe GmbH are pioneering a method for producing hollow 3D glass structures for microfluidic applications.

Search for new semiconductors heats up with gallium oxide

University of Illinois electrical engineers say beta-gallium oxide could convert power faster and more efficiently than today’s leading semiconductor materials, gallium nitride and silicon, if the etching process used to create the material can be sped up.