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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Scientists develop ultrathin terahertz source

Physicists from the University of Sussex developed an extremely thin, large-area semiconductor surface source of terahertz, composed of just a few atomic layers and compatible with existing electronic platforms.

Kirigami-style fabrication may enable new 3D nanostructures

Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University developed a new technique that mimics the ancient Japanese art of kirigami to fabricate complex 3D nanostructures. They cut into uniform structural films, and when forces are applied in a certain direction, a structure pops up.


Homing in on longer-lasting perovskite solar cells

Researchers led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a data fusion approach to identify long-lasting perovskite formulations. The iterative method uses an automated system to guide production and testing, then uses machine learning to go through results and combine with first-principles physical modeling, which guides the next round of experiments.

Scientists design ‘smart’ device to harvest daylight

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore designed a “smart” device to harvest daylight and relay it to underground spaces. An acrylic ball acts as the solar concentrator, and the focused sunlight is then collected into an optical fiber cable and transported along to the end that is deployed underground.

Tandem catalyst converts propane to propylene

By combining the catalytic powers of platinum and indium oxide in finely tuned nanoparticles, researchers improved a reaction that converts propane into propylene, an important process in the petrochemical industry. The nanostructured tandem catalysts host different reactions side-by-side on a single nanoparticle.

Carbon-neutral ‘biofuel’ from lakes

University of Basel researchers made the first concrete proposals for extracting methane from lakes. They suggest using a hydrophobic gas-liquid membrane contactor so that a methane-containing gas mixture can be separated from water and the methane concentrated. Zeolite minerals are particularly suitable for enrichment.

New 3D microbatteries stand up to industry standard thin-film counterparts

Researchers led by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign developed a fabrication process that builds microbatteries with thick, 3D electrodes using lithography and electrodeposition—and seals each unit in a gel electrolyte-filled package. The new prototype shows the highest peak power density of any reported microbatteries.

Researchers develop alternative to lithium-ion batteries

IIT Hyderabad researchers developed a 5V dual-carbon battery using self-standing carbon fiber mats as both electrodes. The cell provides an energy density of 100-watt hour per kilogram approximately and can be extended up to 150-watt hour per kilogram with modifications.


Molybdenum titanium carbide viable in additive manufacturing

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists proved molybdenum titanium carbide, a refractory metal alloy that can withstand extreme temperature environments, can also be crack free and dense when produced with electron beam powder bed fusion. Their finding indicates the material’s viability in additive manufacturing.


New early warning system for self-driving cars

Technical University of Munich researchers developed a new early warning system for vehicles that uses artificial intelligence to learn from real traffic situations. A study carried out with the BMW Group shows the system can warn seven seconds in advance against potentially critical situations the cars cannot handle alone—with over 85% accuracy.

A new technique to synthesize superconducting materials

University of Rochester researchers report a new technique to also create superconducting materials at lower pressures. They separated hydrogen atoms from yttrium with a thin film of palladium. The resulting yttrium superhydride is superconducting at 12°F and about 26 million pounds per square inch.

Lab-made hexagonal diamonds stiffer than natural diamonds

Washington State University researchers created hexagonal diamonds large enough to measure their stiffness using sound waves. They found these human-made diamonds are stiffer than cubic diamonds found in nature.

Micromirror arrays in smart windows for daylight steering

Researchers demonstrated the potential of micromirror arrays in smart windows to decrease energy consumption. Current smart glazings are optimized either for winter or summer, and so cannot ensure energy-saving performance year-round. In contrast, orientation of the micromirror array can be controlled to optimize performance.