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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Graphene nanomechanical switches could make electronics smaller and ultralow-power

Researchers led by Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology pursued a graphene nanoelectromechanical switch based on the doubly-clamped suspended graphene beam with the hexagonal boron nitride contact at the switching terminal.

Blocking radio waves and electromagnetic interference with the flip of a switch

Drexel University researchers developed a thin film device, fabricated by spray coating a layer of MXenes, that can block electromagnetic radiation with the flip of a switch. The key to eliciting bidirectional tunability of the shielding is using the flow and expulsion of ions to alternately expand and compress the space between the MXene’s layers.

Unconventional experiments produce new nanoscale particles with big potential

Researchers at The Pennsylvania State University used unoptimized conditions to produce many nanoparticles at once. This approach allowed them to discover novel nanoparticles, which combine many different materials in various arrangements.


New solar tech is nearly 10X more efficient at splitting water

University of Michigan researchers developed a solar panel that achieved 9% efficiency in converting water into hydrogen and oxygen. The outstanding result comes from two advances: being able to concentrate sunlight without destroying the semiconductor, and simultaneously using both the higher and lower energy parts of the solar spectrum.

Smaller, cheaper flow batteries for clean energy

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology developed a more compact flow battery cell configuration that reduces the size of the cell by 75%, and correspondingly reduces the size and cost of the entire flow battery.

New battery could prevent post-hurricane electric vehicle fires

Researchers led by University of Central Florida developed an aqueous battery that replaces the organic solvents found in electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries with saltwater. Key to the battery’s design is its nanoengineered surface, consisting of a forest-like 3D zinc–copper anode containing a thin zinc-oxide protective layer on top.

Developing weak-acid washing strategy for layered nickel-rich cathode

Researchers etched a layered nickel-rich material with a trace amount of boric acid and used it as a model to demonstrate the influences of weak acid treatment on the surface phase regulations. Their study confirmed the negative effects of intrinsic NiO phase and residual lithium compounds on the surface of nickel-rich materials.

How heat pumps of the 1800s are becoming the technology of the future

Innovative thinking has done away with problems that long dogged heat pumps—and both scientists and environmentalists are excited about the possibilities. A Knowable Magazine article explores this topic.


Caturo: The smallest concentric tube robot ever made

Researchers at University Burgundy Franche-Comté built the smallest ever concentric tube robot, which they named Caturo. Caturo is characterized by a submillimeter glass polymer capillary tube with a diameter of just 90 µm. Using a precurved optical fiber as part of the robot allows the researchers to bring laser light directly to the surgical spot.


Inside the ‘world-leading’ research facility testing homes’ resilience to extreme weather

Conceived by the University of Salford, the £16 million Energy House 2.0 project can simulate extreme weather conditions and temperatures to test the effectiveness of new homes and technologies.

Researchers employ solar thermal energy to recycle waste concrete

Indian Institute of Technology Madras researchers developed a treatment process involving solar thermal energy to recycle construction and demolition debris. Waste concrete from demolition was heated using solar radiation to produce recycled concrete aggregate that was higher quality compared to those obtained from mechanical crushing.


An optical fiber that keeps data safe even after being twisted or bent

Physicists at the University of Bath used topology to develop a new kind of optical fiber that features several light-guiding cores linked together in a spiral. Light can hop between these cores but becomes trapped within the edge thanks to the topological design. These edge states are protected against disorder in the structure.


Discovery of a new form of carbon called long-range ordered porous carbon

Researchers at the Institute for Basic Science and the University of Science and Technology of China discovered a new form of carbon formed by heating fullerenes with lithium nitride. Called long-range ordered porous carbon, it consists of broken C60 cages that are connected with long-range periodicity.

Unraveling Auger recombination in bipolar devices under high carrier injection

Nagoya Institute of Technology researchers identified the effects of carrier concentration and traps on Auger recombination rate. They used an optical technique called time-resolved free carrier absorption to measure excited carrier recombination in 4H-SiC.

Ceramic composite enables optical beam that pulls macroscopic objects via laser light

Qingdao University of Science and Technology researchers created a proof-of-concept optical tractor beam that pulls macroscopic objects via laser light. The device is based on a composite graphene-silicon dioxide structure that, when irradiated with a laser, creates a reverse temperature difference, which pushes an object toward the laser’s source.