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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Study: Apple’s new iPhones score big in durability

Apple’s new and bigger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are more durable than last year’s model and a leading Android phone, a study says. Apple’s iPhone 6, whose screen measures 4.7 inches, did the best across a variety of tests that measures how prone smartphones are to break due to everyday accidents.

A nanosized hydrogen generator made of graphene

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have created a small scale “hydrogen generator” that uses light and a two-dimensional graphene platform to boost production of the hard-to-make element. The two-dimensional chain of carbon atoms not only gives and receives electrons, but can also transfer them into another substance.

Novel oxides could advance memory devices

Researchers at City College of New York have discovered new complex oxides that exhibit both magnetic and ferroelectric properties. Using an innovative inorganic synthesis technique, researchers prepared a mineral previously unknown in nature that is based on barium, titanium and manganese.

First water-based nuclear battery can generate electrical energy

For the first time using a water-based solution, researchers at the University of Missouri have created a long-lasting and more efficient nuclear battery that could be used for many applications such as a reliable energy source in automobiles and also in complicated applications such as space flight.

Toward optical chips: MoS2 light emitters tuned to different frequencies

Researchers from MIT have described a new technique for building MoS2 light emitters tuned to different frequencies, an essential requirement for optoelectronic chips. Since thin films of material can also be patterned onto sheets of plastic, the same work could point toward thin, flexible, bright, color displays.

Making quantum dots glow brighter

Researchers from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of Oklahoma have found a new way to control the properties of quantum dots, those tiny chunks of semiconductor material that glow different colors depending on their size.

Shrink-wrapping spacesuits made of shape-memory alloy

MIT researchers are one step closer to engineering an active, “second-skin” spacesuit with the development of active compression garments that incorporate small, springlike coils that contract in response to heat. The coils are made from a shape-memory alloy.

Research helps uncover mechanism behind solid-solid phase transitions

Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Soochow University in Suzhou, China, and Solvay, have studied colloidal solid-solid transitions with single-particle resolution and have discovered a surprising mechanism that facilitates one of these routes. They found that some crystals have an easier time of making the solid-solid transition if they take it in two steps.