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[Images above] Credit: NIST


A new method for depositing manganese oxide thin-films on nanostructured surfaces

Belgium researchers found a cheap, fast method for depositing conformal MnO2 thin films on nanostructured substrates with close-to-monolayer precision. The method repeats cycles of surface-limited adsorption of propargyl alcohol and its oxidation with aqueous potassium permanganate, forming controllable MnO2 amounts on the substrate each cycle.

Stronger graphene oxide ‘paper’ made with weaker units

Northwestern University researchers shows that better graphene oxide “paper” can be made by mixing strong, solid GO flakes with weak, porous GO flakes. The researchers say the finding will be directly applicable to other 2D materials like graphene.

Researchers build a heat shield just 10 atoms thick to protect electronic devices

Stanford University researchers used a layer of graphene and three other sheet-like materials to create a four-layered insulator just 10 atoms deep. These thin materials, stacked like sheets of paper atop hot spots, provide the same insulation as a sheet of glass 100 times thicker.


Organic dye in zinc oxide interlayer stabilizes, boosts performance of organic solar cells

A Chinese-German team of scientists found doping an organic solar cell’s metal oxide interlayer, which connects the electrode and active layer, with a modified organic dye enhances the electrical conductivity of the cells, which increases their performance.


Damaged hearts rewired with nanotube fibers

Scientists at Texas Heart Institute report they used biocompatible carbon nanotube fibers invented at Rice University in studies that showed sewing them directly into damaged tissue can restore electrical function to hearts.

Nanoscale ‘glass’ bottles could enable targeted drug delivery

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers created silica-based hollow spheres around 200 nanometers in size, each with one small hole in the surface that could enable the spheres to encapsulate a wide range of payloads to be released later at certain temperatures only.

Hot dog! Popular fast food inspires 3D bioprinted bone scaffold

Researchers at Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences created a 3D printable material for use in cell scaffold fabrication. The scaffolds are composed of hollow bioceramic tubes and are embedded with bioceramic rods. The biomaterials show excellent properties for loading and releasing drugs and proteins.

Tiny fluorescent carbon dots could make cancer treatment safer and more effective

University of Sheffield researchers developed tiny carbon nanoparticles that can deliver cancer drugs to tumours. Two different versions of the carbon dots were developed as part of the research, one with the drug bound on the surface (PpIX-CD) and one where the drug was inside the dot (PpIX@CD).


Researchers develop cost-effective process to extract rare earths from scrapped magnets

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and colleagues developed a process to extract rare earth elements from scrapped magnets of used hard drives and other sources. They patented and scaled-up the process in lab demonstrations and are working to scale the process further to produce commercial batches of rare earth oxides.


Production of precast concrete product that cures in 24 hours using CO2 takes step forward

LafargeHolcim and Solidia Technologies created a concrete that cures in less than 24 hours through a process that pulls carbon dioxide from atmosphere. Conventional Portland cement-based concrete cures with water and takes nearly 30 days to reach final strength. The product’s first commercial venture will supply a paver and block plant in New Jersey.


Goodbye aberration: Physicist solves 2,000-year-old optical problem

Two researchers from National Autonomous University of Mexico and Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education devised a complicated formula that tells how to design a second optical surface so that it corrects the aberration generated by the first surface.

Researchers build cannon to test seals in coal mines

Mining and explosives engineering researchers at Missouri S&T began testing concrete seals used to close coal mine tunnels by loading an 8-foot cannon with projectiles, shooting them at the seals, and testing their impact. The research could help to improve the design of seals and keep miners safe.

Tiny lensless endoscope captures 3D images of objects smaller than a cell

Researchers developed a self-calibrating endoscope that produces 3D images of objects smaller than a single cell. They added a thin 150-micron-thick glass plate to the tip of a coherent fiber bundle. When the central fiber core is illuminated, it emits a beam that serves as a virtual guide star for measuring how light is transmitted.

Newfound superconductor material could be the ‘silicon of quantum computers’

National Institute of Standards and Technology scientists found uranium ditelluride’s strong resistance to magnetic fields makes it resistance to the errors that can easily creep into quantum computation.