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[Images above] Credit: NIST


MXenes: The perfect lubricant

Vienna University of Technology researchers, together with groups from Saarland University, Purdue University, and Universidad de Chile, showed MXenes are an excellent solid lubricant that is extremely durable and performs its task even under the most difficult conditions.

Identification of the wettability of graphene layers at the molecular level

Researchers at the Institute for Basic Science and Korea University revealed the origin of graphene’s wettability by observing hydrogen-bond structure of water molecules at graphene–water interfaces using vibrational sum-frequency generation spectroscopy.

Electrons in twisted graphene ‘freeze’ when heated

Two independent teams of researchers unearthed an analogue to the Pomeranchuk effect for electrons in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene. Specifically, they found that the Fermi liquid phase transforms to a solid-like highly exotic correlated metal phase upon heating near a metal-like filling of one electron per moiré site in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene.

Physicists map new route to control sound in thin films

University of Oregon physicists described a theoretical path to make artificial composite thin films in which sound waves can be stopped, reversed, and even stored for later use.


Balloons test environmental safety of advanced solar power tower technology

Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories used 22-foot-wide tethered balloons to collect samples of airborne dust particles to ensure the safety of an emerging solar-power technology. The falling-particle receiver works by dropping dark, sand-like ceramic particles through a beam of concentrated sunlight, then storing the heated particles.

Study paves the way for new photosensitive materials

Arizona State University researchers are investigating the molecular dynamics of titania clusters, a basic step toward development of more efficient photocatalysts. They tracked the subtle movements of energy using a femtosecond laser and pump-probe spectroscopy.


Offshore wind firm to work with researchers on recycling glass fibers to tackle blade waste

The University of Strathclyde signed a memorandum of understanding with Aker Offshore Wind and Aker Horizons to scale-up and commercialize a process that centers around recycling glass-reinforced polymer composites used in wind turbine blades.

Fiber optic cable monitors microseismicity in Antarctica

At the Seismological Society of America’s 2021 Annual Meeting, researchers shared how they are using fiber optic cable to detect the small earthquakes that occur in ice in Antarctica. The results could be used to better understand the movement and deformation of the ice under changing climate conditions.

Cleaner water through corn

Engineers at University of California, Riverside described an energy-efficient way to put corn stover back into the economy by transforming it into activated carbon for use in water treatment. Their corn-derived activated carbon absorbed 98% of the water pollutant vanillin.


ACI Foundation funds eight research projects

The American Concrete Institute Foundation’s Concrete Research Council selected eight research projects to receive grants, including projects analyzing mechanical behaviors of concrete and establishing guidelines. The Council chose these projects based on impact to industry, ACI Committee engagement, and collaboration with other funders, organizations.

‘Fingerprint’ for 3D printer accurate 92% of time

University at Buffalo researchers showed 3D printers can be identified by thermodynamic properties, which could aid in protecting intellectual property and security. Specifically, an extruder’s hot end has its own unique heating properties, which can be used to identify the specific extruder and, thus, the 3D printer model.

SMART breakthrough in materials discovery enables ‘twistronics’ for bulk systems

Researchers from the Low Energy Electronic Systems Interdisciplinary Research Group at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology showed that the same phenomena leading to formation of moiré superlattices in 2D systems can be translated to tune optical properties of 3D bulk-like hexagonal boron nitride, even at room temperature.


A first step for humans on Mars: NASA’s rover makes oxygen

The Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE , produced just under 6 grams of oxygen from Mars’ atmosphere, which is 95% carbon dioxide. It did so using solid oxide electrolysis, a process that strips oxygen atoms away from CO2 molecules.

Boosting fiber optics communications with advanced quantum-enhanced receiver

National Institute of Standards and Technology and University of Maryland researchers showed how quantum-enhanced receivers could play a critical role in improving performance of fiber optic networks while reducing error bit rate and energy consumption.

AI agent helps identify material properties faster

Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum, National Synchrotron Light Source II, and University of Liverpool showed how artificial intelligence can make XRD data analysis faster and more accurate. The algorithm is suitable for both organic and inorganic material systems and can be expanded to other forms of characterization, such as spectroscopy.

New AI tool calculates materials’ stress and strain based on photos

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers developed a technique to quickly determine certain properties of a material, like stress and strain, based on an image of the material showing its internal structure. Specifically, they used a machine learning technique called a generative adversarial neural network.

Fast material manipulation through a laser

Researchers from the Fritz Haber Institute and the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter found that ultrafast switches in material properties can be prompted by laser pulses, knowledge which may enable new transistor concepts.

Study provides detailed look at intriguing property of chiral materials

Researchers led by University at Buffalo made a direct comparison between an experiment and ab-initio quantum theoretical calculations to verify magneto-chiral dichroism theory, which states the left- and right-handed forms of a chiral material absorb light differently, in ways that mirror one another.