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[Image above] Credit: NIST

This smartphone case is 3X harder than steel

Yale scientists have created a thin, lightweight smartphone case out of bulk metallic glasses that is harder than steel and as easy to shape as plastic. With a new technique, called thermoplastic forming, bulk metallic glasses can be shaped like plastics and thus don’t require massive amounts of energy.

Hydrogen production breakthrough could herald cheap green energy

Chemists from the University of Glasgow report on a new form of hydrogen production that is 30 times faster than current methods. The new method allows larger-than-ever quantities of hydrogen to be produced at atmospheric pressure using lower power loads, typical of those generated by renewable power sources.

Excitonic dark states shed light on TMDC atomic layers

A team of Berkeley Lab researchers believes it has uncovered the secret behind the unusual optoelectronic properties of single atomic layers of transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) materials, the two-dimensional semiconductors that hold great promise for nanoelectronic and photonic applications.

New family of materials for energy-efficient information storage and processing

Multiferroic materials are promising candidates for the magnetoelectric memory effect, due to the coexistence of electric and magnetic orders. A new family of multiferroic materials—hexagonal rare earth ferrites—have demonstrated ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties simultaneously.

Scientists shed light on organic photovoltaic characteristics

Scientists from NIST have developed a method that allows the prediction of the current density-voltage curve of a photovoltaic device. This new method uses a common measurement technique (impedance spectroscopy) that is affordable, widely available to manufacturers, and relatively easy to perform.

Rice rolls ‘neat’ nanotube fibers

Single-walled carbon nanotubes in new fibers created at Rice University line up like a fistful of uncooked spaghetti. The tricky bit is keeping the densely packed nanotubes apart before they’re drawn together into a fiber. But put enough nanotubes into such a solution, and they’re caught between the repellant forces and an inability to move in a crowded environment.

Moving silicon atoms in graphene with atomic precision

An international collaboration between the University of Vienna and research teams from the U.K. and the U.S. has shown how an electron beam can move silicon atoms through the graphene lattice without causing damage. The research combines advanced electron microscopy with demanding computer simulations.