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[Image above] Credit: NIST

NRL scientists discover novel metamaterial properties within hexagonal boron nitride

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientists, in collaboration with researchers from around the world, have demonstrated that confined surface phonon polaritons within hexagonal boron nitride exhibit unique metamaterial properties that enable novel nanoscale optical devices for use in optical communications, super-resolution imaging, and improved infrared cameras and detectors.

Heat-conducting plastic developed

The spaghetti-like internal structure of most plastics makes it hard for them to cast away heat, but a University of Michigan research team has made a plastic blend that does so 10 times better than its conventional counterparts. The new material, which is actually a blend, results from one of the first attempts to engineer the flow of heat in an amorphous polymer.

Research yields material made of single-atom layers that snap together like Legos

Physicists at the University of Kansas have fabricated an innovative substance from two different atomic sheets that interlock much like Lego toy bricks. The researchers said the new material—made of a layer of graphene and a layer of tungsten disulfide—could be used in solar cells and flexible electronics.

Self-doping may be the key to superconductivity in room temperature

Swedish materials researchers investigated the superconductor YBa2Cu3O7-x using advanced X-ray spectroscopy and found that its chains react to cooling by self-doping. By combining RIXS and model calculations, the researchers also found that self-doping is accompanied by changes in the copper-oxygen bonds that link the planes with the chains.

Microbullet hits confirm graphene’s strength

Rice University researchers report that firing microscopic projectiles at multilayer sheets of graphene allowed them to determine just how hard it is to penetrate at the nano level—and how strong graphene could be in macroscopic applications. The researchers suggest the technique could help measure the strength of a wide range of materials.

Shaping the future of energy storage with conductive clay

Materials scientists from Drexel University invented a clay that is both highly conductive and can easily be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes. The clay, which already exhibits conductivity on par with that of metals, can be turned into a film—usable in an electrode—simply by rolling or pressing it.