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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Separating rare earth metals with UV light

Researchers from the KU Leuven have discovered a method to separate two rare earth elements—europium and yttrium—with UV light instead of with traditional solvents. UV light neutralizes one positive charge per europium ion, allowing the rare earth to be separated from a mixed solution. Their findings offer new opportunities for the recycling of fluorescent lamps and low-energy light bulbs.

NSF funds a unique program to train graduate STEM students

A curriculum in density-functional theory (DFT) for graduate students in STEM fields is the goal of an NSF grant of nearly $3 million over five years awarded to a team of Penn State faculty. DFT is a powerful quantum theory that is a crucial component in the Materials Genome Initiative, which emphasizes efforts to train American innovators to discover, develop, manufacture and deploy advanced materials in a more expeditious and economical way.

NASA test materials to fly on Air Force space plane

Building on more than a decade of data from International Space Station research, NASA is expanding its materials science research by flying an experiment on the U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane. By flying the Materials Exposure and Technology Innovation in Space investigation on the X-37B, materials scientists have the opportunity to expose almost 100 different materials samples to the space environment for more than 200 days.

Inkjet printing process for Kesterite solar cells

A research team at HZB has developed an inkjet printing technology to produce kesterite thin film absorbers. Based on the inkjet-printed absorbers, solar cells with total area conversion efficiency of up to 6.4 % have been achieved. Although this is lower than the efficiency records for this material class, the inkjet printing minimizes waste and has huge advantages for industrial production.

Scientists develop mesh that captures oil—but lets water through

The unassuming piece of stainless steel mesh in a lab at The Ohio State University doesn’t look like a very big deal, but it could make a big difference for future environmental cleanups. Water passes through the mesh but oil doesn’t, thanks to a nearly invisible oil-repelling coating on its surface. In tests with a water–oil mixture, water filtered through the mesh and oil collected on top of the mesh, and rolled off easily into a separate beaker when the mesh was tilted.

New thin, flat lenses focus light as sharply as curved lenses

Caltech engineers have created flat microlenses with performance on a par with conventional, curved lenses. These lenses can be manufactured using industry-standard techniques for making computer chips, setting the stage for their incorporation into electronics such as cameras and microscopes, as well as in novel devices.