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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Flexible 2D material discovered at UT Austin

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin used supercomputers to discover 2D arsenic chalcogenides that show ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties. The super-thin structure makes these materials ideal for use in miniaturization of next-gen flexible electronic devices.

MXenes: Toward ultrahigh-temperature ceramics

Researchers showed the potential of MXenes as ultrahigh-temperature ceramics, with structural stability in high temperatures of over 1,500°C. This finding opens the possibility of MXene applications in hypersonic flights, propulsion, and space re-entry vehicles.

Size matters when it comes to atomic properties

A study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, has yielded new answers to fundamental questions about the relationship between the size of an atom and its other properties, such as electronegativity and energy.

Research finds surprising electron interaction in ‘magic-angle’ graphene

Researchers led by Brown University found a new way to precisely probe the nature of the superconducting state in magic-angle graphene by bringing a sheet of magic-angle graphene in very close proximity to another type of graphene sheet called a Bernal bilayer, which allowed them to manipulate the Coulomb interaction.


New porous material promising for making renewable energy from water

Researchers at Linköping University developed a nanoporous cubic silicon carbide that exhibits promising properties to capture solar energy and split water for hydrogen gas production.

Big breakthrough for ‘massless’ energy storage

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology produced a structural battery that performs ten times better than all previous versions. It contains carbon fiber that serves simultaneously as an electrode, conductor, and load-bearing material.

A way to prevent short-circuiting in next-gen lithium batteries

To overcome the problem of dendrite formation in batteries, researchers led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology made a semisolid electrode, in contact with a solid electrolyte material. The semisolid electrode provided a kind of self-healing surface at the interface, rather than a brittle surface that could lead to tiny cracks that provide the initial seeds for dendrite formation.

How a lithium-metal electrode ages

Researchers at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory looked at “calendar aging,” or the process that causes a battery that is turned off to gradually lose its charge and eventually some of its capacity to store energy. They discovered that the nature of the battery electrolyte has a big impact on aging.

Electrode interphase formation

Materials scientists studied nucleation and growth of the solid electrolyte interphase in atomic detail and found that a smooth layer only formed at low overpotentials. The solvent also influenced the overpotential.


Plants would grow well in solar cell greenhouses

Researchers at North Carolina State University showed that lettuce can be grown in greenhouses that filter out wavelengths of light used to generate solar power. They have forthcoming work that delves into greater detail about the ways in which harvesting various wavelengths of light affects biological processes for lettuces, tomatoes, and other crops.

Making plastics production more energy efficient

Northwestern University researchers engineered two catalysts that lead to high propylene yields using less energy: a platinum-based catalyst that selectively removes hydrogen from propane to make propylene, and an indium oxide-based catalyst that selectively burns the hydrogen, but not the propane or propylene.

Why commercialization of carbon capture and sequestration has failed and how it can work

There are 12 essential attributes that explain why commercial carbon capture and sequestration projects succeed or fail in the U.S., according to researchers at the University of California, San Diego. They evaluated the relative influence of the factors by building two statistical models and complementing the empirical analysis with a model derived through expert assessment.

New analysis shows potential for ‘solar canals’ in California

Researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz, UC Water, and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced suggest that covering California’s 6,350 km network of public water delivery canals with solar panels could be an economically feasible means of advancing both renewable energy and water conservation.


Researchers develop first self-cooling laser made with a silica fiber

Stanford University researchers along with collaborators discovered a silica composition that allows for self-cooling optical fibers. The temperature of a self-cooling silica fiber laser does not fluctuate, so the frequency and power of the light that they emit are more stable over time than lasers with external cooling.

Researchers break bonds in molecular nitrogen with calcium

A research team at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg demonstrated that calcium is able to break the highly-stable nitrogen bond at –60°C. Despite the fact that the process is neither catalytic nor economical, it provides new fundamental and important insights into bond breaking reactions with calcium.

Catching electrons in action in an antiferromagnetic nanowire

Michigan Technological University researchers found chromium-doped nanowires with a germanium core and silicon shell can be an antiferromagnetic semiconductor. The germanium electrons act as an exchanger between unconnected chromium atoms.

Ultrasensitive flow microsensors

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed a thin and sensitive flow sensor based on graphene to pull in charge from continuous aqueous flow. The graphene flow sensor can detect flow rate as low as a micrometer per second and holds the potential to distinguish minimal changes in blood flow in capillary vessels.

Spontaneous superconducting currents in Sr2RuO4

Researchers at Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Technical University of Dresden, and Paul Scherrer Institute showed that when uniaxial pressure is applied to Sr2RuO4, the transition splits into two: first superconductivity, then spontaneous currents. This splitting is important because it shows definitively that the second transition is real.

Artificial neuron device could shrink energy use and size of neural network hardware

University of California, San Diego researchers developed a nanometer-sized artificial neuron device that can run neural network computations using 100 to 1,000 times less energy and area than existing hardware based on complementary metal-oxide semiconductors.

These LEGO-like modular bricks help kids learn about energy and technology as they play

Joul, named after the unit of energy, is a set of modular, magnetic blocks that help kids understand how energy powers their world. Comprising three types of blocks—generators, batteries, and output blocks—Joul allows kids to experiment with forms of energy and learn how it can be harnessed from different sources, stored, and used.