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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Drexel to host nation’s first international conference on MXene research

Drexel University will host more than 2,000 researchers from around the world for a virtual conference, August 3–7, to share their work and learn about the latest discoveries related to MXene. This conference is the fourth international gathering focused exclusively on these materials and the first to be held in the United States.

Using protons to tune interlayer forces in van der Waals materials

A Chinese-Australian collaboration demonstrated that interlayer coupling in a van der Waals material can be largely modulated by a protonic gate, which injects protons to devices from an ionic solid.

A new synthesis method for three-dimensional nanocarbons

Researchers at Nagoya University Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules developed a new method for the synthesis of 3D nanocarbons. The method involves connecting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons using a palladium catalyst to produce eight-membered rings via cross-coupling, the first reaction of its type in the world.

Researchers develop technique for processing surfaces on an atomic scale

Researchers at Vienna University of Technology developed a nano-structuring method in which certain layers of material can be perforated extremely precisely and others left completely untouched, even though the projectile penetrates all layers.

Physicists find misaligned carbon sheets yield unparalleled properties

University of Texas at Dallas and Yale University researchers described how the ability of twisted bilayer graphene to conduct electrical current changes in response to mid-infrared light. Specifically, they found mid-infrared photoresponse was unusually strong and largest at the twist angle of 1.8 degrees.

Mediator atoms help graphene self-heal

Researchers in Korea, the U.K., Japan, the U.S., and France found so-called “mediator atoms”—carbon atoms that do not fit properly into the graphene lattice—act as catalysts to help bonds break and form.


Scientists develop new material for longer-lasting fuel cells

Researchers produced high-quality graphene decorated with platinum nanoparticles in a one-pot synthesis, and these graphene-based catalysts were more durable than commercially available hydrogen fuel cell catalysts.

Perovskite mineral supports solar-energy sustainability

In a paper comparing energy and life-cycle environmental impacts of modern tandem solar cells, Cornell University engineers found photovoltaic wafers in solar panels with all-perovskite structures outperform photovoltaic cells made from state-of-the-art crystalline silicon as well as perovskite-silicon tandem cells.

Slow, low-energy charging of lithium batteries creates glassy lithium

Researchers from Idaho National Laboratory and University of California, San Diego showed slow, low-energy charging causes lithium atoms to deposit on electrodes in a disorganized way that improves charging behavior. This noncrystalline, “glassy” lithium had never been observed, and creating such amorphous metals traditionally is extremely difficult.


Transforming e-waste into a strong, protective coating for metal

Researchers report a selective, small-scale microrecycling strategy for e-waste. They heated glass and plastic powder from old computer monitors to generate silicon carbide nanowires that were combined with ground-up circuit boards and put on steel substrate. After another heating, it formed a silicon-carbide enriched hybrid layer atop the steel.

How to mix old tires and building rubble to make sustainable roads

Researchers at RMIT University showed a blend of old tires, building rubble could be used to create a sustainable road-making material. Designed to be a base layer, the recycled blend is more flexible than standard materials, making roads less prone to cracking.

Scientists identify new catalysts for more efficient water splitting

Researchers led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore unravelled, at the atomic scale, how spinel oxides work to speed up water electrolysis. They then used machine learning to select new spinel oxides with increased catalytic activity.

Nanolubricant makes household fridges more efficient

Researchers at University of Johannesburg in South Africa found adding multi-walled carbon nanotubes to a common refrigerant can reduce a domestic refrigerator’s power consumption nearly 30%. They will now test different types of nanoparticles to determine whether they reduce power consumption in vapor compression refrigeration systems.


New printing process advances 3D capabilities

University of Massachusetts Lowell researchers pioneered a new 3D printing technology that combines elements of 3D printing and injection molding. The innovation typically produces objects about three times faster than conventional 3D printing.

Guinness certifies world’s longest 3D-printed concrete bridge in China

Last year in February, a team at the Tsinghua University School of Architecture built a 26.3 meter long concrete bridge, claimed to be the world’s longest 3D printed bridge. Just last Tuesday, the bridge was certified by the Guinness World Records as the world’s longest 3D printed concrete bridge.


Serendipity broadens the scope for making graphite

Curtin University researchers discovered a new way to make crystalline graphite. It does not require typical metal catalysts or special raw materials to turn carbon into crystalline graphite. Instead, it was discovered by a research student in a lab, using an atomic absorption spectrometer, a piece of equipment developed to analyze composition of liquids.

Steps toward room-temperature superconductivity

Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University layered 2D molybdenum sulfide with molybdenum carbide and found superconductivity occurs at 6 Kelvin. Although the finding itself is not remarkable—other materials superconduct at temps as high as 150 Kelvin—it was unexpected and suggests a new method to increase superconductivity.

Faster LEDs for wireless communications from invisible light

To avoid confusion with visible and infrared solar light, Tohoku University researchers aimed to improve LEDs that specifically communicate via deep ultraviolet light, which can be detected without solar interference. They found the deep ultraviolet LEDs were smaller and much quicker in their communications than traditional LEDs at that speed.

Epitaxial antiperovskite/perovskite heterostructures for materials design

Researchers in the U.S., Norway, China, and South Korea successfully layered perovskites and antiperovskites together to create an interface with unique electrical properties for applications in a new class of quantum materials.

Study of biomaterial microstructures may lead to synthetic low-density materials

Ling Li, professor at Virginia Tech, received an NSF Faculty Early Career Development CAREER award to support research to study the structural designs and formation mechanisms of biomineralized architected materials. He says the work will provide lessons on the design and fabrication of synthetic low-density materials.