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Clemson researchers recently held international ceramic tile conference

Ceramic tile manufacturing and trade delegates from 15 countries met with Clemson University advanced-materials researchers last week to discuss standards for the materials used to cover floors, walls and countertops. Technical Committee 189 has met previously in Istanbul and London, said John Sanders, the committee secretary and director of Clemson University’s National Brick Research Center. The committee is part of the International Organization for Standardization, based in Switzerland.

Using sand to improve battery performance

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have created a lithium ion battery that outperforms the current industry standard by three times. The key material: sand. The researchers have focused on using silicon dioxide at the nanoscale level as a replacement for graphite battery anodes.

Peeling back the layers of thin film structure and chemistry

Perovskites—any material with the same structure as calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3)—continue to entice materials scientists with their ferroelectricity, ferromagnetism, catalytic activity, and oxygen-ion conductivity. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory recently found that, instead of having a uniform distribution of elements, there are drastic differences in composition between perovskite thin-film layers.

Researchers discover boron “buckyball”

Researchers from Brown University, Shanxi University, and Tsinghua University in China have shown that a cluster of 40 boron atoms forms a hollow molecular cage similar to a carbon buckyball. It’s the first experimental evidence that a boron cage structure—previously only a matter of speculation—does indeed exist.

New holography technology could change the way we view the world

Tel Aviv University researchers have developed highly efficient holography based on nanoantennas that could be used for security as well as medical and recreational purposes. Their research uses the parameters of light itself to create dynamic and complex holographic images, permitting newly designed holograms to replicate the appearance of depth without being replotted. 

Chemists develop technology to produce clean-burning hydrogen fuel

Rutgers researchers have developed a technology that could overcome a major cost barrier to make clean-burning hydrogen fuel—a fuel that could replace expensive and environmentally harmful fossil fuels. The new technology, based on carbon nanotubes, promises commercially viable hydrogen production from water. The technology uses a novel catalyst that performs almost as well as cost-prohibitive platinum electrolysis reactions.