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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Ultra-enriched silicon paves the road to quantum computing

Using a relatively straightforward technique, a team of NIST researchers has created what may be the most highly enriched silicon currently being produced. The material is more than 99.9999% pure silicon-28 (28Si), with less than 1 ppm of the problematic isotope silicon-29 (29Si).

Recycling old batteries into solar cells

A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries—a potential source of lead pollution—into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power. It is based on a recent development in solar cells that makes use of organolead halide perovskite.

Moore quantum materials: Recipe for serendipity

Rice University physicist Emilia Morosan is embarking on a five-year quest to cook up a few unique compounds that have never been synthesized or explored. Morosan is no ordinary cook; her pantry includes metals, oxides and sulfides, and her recipes produce superconductors and exotic magnets.

Promising ferroelectric materials suffer from unexpected electric polarizations

Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered nanoscale asymmetries and charge preferences hidden within ferroelectrics that may explain their operational limits. The researchers used a suite of state-of-the-art techniques to reveal never-before-seen electric field distributions in ferroelectric thin films.

Fixing a source of sewer corrosion

(C&EN) Today’s underground sewer infrastructure is under a chemical threat from sulfide-induced concrete corrosion. To better understand the current impact of chemicals on sewer pipes, University of Queensland researchers report the results of a two-year sampling campaign along with a water-treatment industry survey and computer model scenario analysis.

Seven tiny grains captured by Stardust likely visitors from interstellar space

Since 2006, when NASA’s Stardust spacecraft delivered its aerogel and aluminum foil dust collectors back to Earth, a team of scientists has combed through the collectors in search of rare, microscopic particles of interstellar dust. The team now reports that they have found seven dust motes that probably came from outside our solar system.

Nanoscale lubricating systems can ease friction between surfaces

Diamond-like-carbon (DLC) coatings are an innovative technology, exhibiting the twin properties of mechanical toughness and ultralow friction. Researchers from the A*STAR Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore have now uncovered critical clues for designing better systems to lubricate and protect DLC coatings.