[Image above] Credit: NIST
As you heat up a piece of iron, the arrangement of the iron atoms changes several times before melting. This unusual behavior is one reason why steel, in which iron plays a starring role, is so sturdy and ubiquitous. But the details of just how and why iron takes on so many different forms have remained a mystery. Recent work at Caltech in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science, however, provides evidence for how iron’s magnetism plays a role in this curious property—an understanding that could help researchers develop better and stronger steel.
The future of electronics could lie in a material from its past, as researchers from The Ohio State University work to turn germanium—the material of 1940s transistors—into a potential replacement for silicon. The researchers have verified that theoretical material germanane can be chemically stable and have created germanane with up to 9% tin atoms incorporated. Tin atoms have strong preference to bond to hydroxide above and below the sheet, and the group is currently developing routes towards preparing the pure tin 2-D derivatives.
Researchers from the University of Portsmouth have discovered that limpets—small aquatic snail-like creatures with conical shells—have teeth with biological structures so strong they could be copied to make cars, boats, and planes of the future. The study examined the small-scale mechanical behavior of teeth from limpets using atomic force microscopy, a method used to pull apart materials all the way down to the level of the atom.
Empa recently held a technology briefing on “Strategies for the sustainable use of critical materials.” The event demonstrated ways in which industry and the research community can counter supply risks and the consequence of the ever greater use of these raw materials by presenting and discussing strategies for the sustainable use of critical materials. The reasons for the high supply risk are the concentration of production of these raw materials in just a few countries, low recycling rates, and poor substitutability.
A team of scientists in Italy and France has created a novel solid-state technology platform that opens the door to the use of terahertz photonics in a wide range of applications. By using an approach that exploits the excitation of plasma waves in the channel of field-effect transistors, they were able to create the first FET detectors based on semiconductor nanowires, designed in a plethora of architectures—including tapers, heterostructures, and metamaterial-antenna coupled.
(Popular Science) A European Union-funded research project is working on turning thrown-away food into graphene, the Guardian reports. What PlasCarb wants to do is to develop a process that harvests the carbon that biogas-making creates and form it into pure graphitic carbon. PlasCarb’s immediate next goal is to make biogas for a year and to figure out a way to clean it of impurities so that it’s amenable to graphitic carbon formation.