[Image above] Credit: NIST
Researchers at Ohio State University have discovered how to control heat with a magnetic field. Their study describes how a magnetic field roughly the size of a medical MRI reduced the amount of heat flowing through a semiconductor by 12%. The study is the first ever to prove that acoustic phonons—the elemental particles that transmit both heat and sound—have magnetic properties. The implication: In materials such as glass, stone, plastic—materials that are not conventionally magnetic—heat can be controlled magnetically, if you have a powerful enough magnet.
By figuring out how to precisely order the molecules that make up what scientists call organic glass—the materials at the heart of some electronic displays, light-emitting diodes and solar cells—a team of chemists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has set the stage for more efficient and sturdier portable electronic devices and possibly a new generation of solar cells based on organic materials. The new organic glasses “have the molecules oriented in specific ways, standing up or lying down,” one of the researchers explains. The orientation affects performance and can confer greater levels of efficiency and durability in the devices they are used in.
Researchers at the ThermoPlastic Composite Research Center in Enschede (Netherlands) were recently successful in overcoming the last hurdle to use thermoplastic composites in the automotive industry—to design practically faultless components and to make the process for doing so predictable. Thermoplastic composites are ‘futuristic materials’ that are ultra-light, while being strong and rigid and also sustainable and recyclable. The research makes it possible to determine at an early stage of the design process whether a component can be manufactured.
A $25.8m (£17.3m) award that will put Cardiff University at the cutting edge of semiconductor technology has been announced by UK Government. The award will underpin the Compound Semiconductor Research Foundation—the first of its kind in the UK, with potential to become one of the leading clusters in Europe. The Foundation will drive the testing and development of ground-breaking technology that lies behind global ‘megatrends,’ including smart phones and tablets, powering change across sectors including healthcare, biotechnology, and mass communications.
The final report and toolkit from a 2014 summit focusing on advancing diversity and inclusion in the science and engineering workplace are now available for free online. The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society sponsored Diversity in the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Professions, held in July 2014 in Washington, D.C. The final report provides insights and recommendations to shape future initiatives supporting the development of a more diverse and inclusive professional community in the minerals, metals, and materials fields.
Four researchers from West Virginia University, in conjunction with the federal Materials Genomics Initiative, are finding ways to more quickly design materials that will find their ways to the marketplace. Just as the Human Genome Initiative in the 1990s sequenced human DNA for the subsequent identification and analysis of genes, so too will the Materials Genome Initiative sequence materials for identifying new properties for a variety of applications.