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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

New information system on raw materials

The Joint Research Centre recently launched the Raw Materials Information System (RMIS), a comprehensive online repository of information on policies, activities, and data related to the European raw materials sector. The RMIS supports a series of European Commission initiatives that aim to tackle the pressure on valuable resources and their more efficient use to the benefit of EU’s economies.

Squeezing out new science from material interfaces

By applying extreme pressure in a diamond anvil cell to metal films on diamond, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have now determined the physical process dominating heat flow into diamond from other materials, which has implications for understanding and improving heat flow between any two materials.

Chemists develop new way to make cost-effective material for electricity storage

University of British Columbia researchers have found a new way to make state-of-the-art materials for energy storage using a cheap lamp from the hardware store. The researchers wanted to find a better way to make coatings that can be painted onto surfaces to conduct electricity or convert electricity into hydrogen fuels. Typically these coatings are made in more extreme conditions with expensive tools and materials.

2-D nitrogen-containing crystal could be potential rival to graphene and silicon

Whereas there are many difficulties in the synthesis of graphene, the team of researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology and Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea synthesized nitrogenated 2-D crystals using a simple chemical reaction in liquid phase without using a template. The unique geometric and electronic structure of the nitrogenated crystals make it potentially suitable for use in electronics, sensors, and catalysis.

Quick, easy, and early diagnosis with rare earth ions

Chemists from the University of Copenhagen and Oxford University have invented a compound that measures oxygen in cells and other biological material with high precision. The compound is based on rare earths emitting colored light that vary in color with the amount of oxygen present in the sample. Because emissions are in the visible range of the spectrum, it will be possible to measure oxygen using the optical microscopes already present in most hospitals.

With a tug and a twist, new chameleon-like material changes color

Taking inspiration from nature, UC Berkeley engineers have created an ultra-thin film that can shift colors as easily as a chameleon’s skin when pulled or twisted. Instead of using chemical dyes or pigments to absorb and reflect light, the engineers manipulated the structure of the material, in this case a film of silicon about a thousand times thinner than a human hair, to do the job. Rows of tiny ridges—each smaller than a wavelength of light—etched onto the film reflect light at different wavelengths, depending upon how far about the ridges are spaced.