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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Stanford engineers develop a computer that operates on water droplets

Computers and water typically don’t mix, but in Manu Prakash’s lab, the two are one and the same. Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, and his students have built a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. The work combines manipulating droplet fluid dynamics with a fundamental element of computer science—an operating clock.

Diamond-like coatings save fuel

Scientists already know how to coat components with diamond-like carbon to minimize friction. But now Fraunhofer researchers have developed a laser arc method with which layers of carbon almost as hard as diamond can be applied on an industrial scale at high coating rates and with high thicknesses. By applying carbon coatings to engine components such as piston rings and pins, fuel consumption can be reduced.

Researchers demonstrate ‘no-ink’ color printing with nanomaterials

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are giving new meaning to the term “read the fine print” with their demonstration of a color printing process using nanomaterials. In this case, the print features are very fine—visible only with the aid of a high-powered electron microscope. The method involves the use of thin sandwiches of nanometer-scale metal-dielectric materials known as metamaterials that interact with light in ways not seen in nature.

Stable perovskite solar cells developed through structural simplification

A team from the National Institute for Materials Science has successfully developed perovskite solar cells with good reproducibility and stability as well as exhibiting ideal semiconducting properties. The team proposed an equivalent circuit model that explains the semiconducting properties of perovskites based on analysis of the internal resistance of perovskite solar cells. This model indicated that a transport process may suppress the efficiency of perovskite solar cells.

Rapid, noninvasive, repetitive, and on-demand healing of electrical conductors

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have come up with the idea of a light-powered healable electrical conductor. Light-powered healing is implemented via the use of a photochromic soft material, which can be directionally moved along the light polarization. This unique directionality of the material’s movement with respect to light polarization enables an efficient healing process, regardless of crack propagation directions, light incident angles, and the number of cracks.

Futuristic components on silicon chips fabricated successfully

A team of IBM researchers in Zurich, Switzerland has developed a relatively simple, robust, and versatile process for growing crystals made from compound semiconductor materials that will allow them be integrated onto silicon wafers—an important step toward making future computer chips that will allow integrated circuits to continue shrinking in size and cost even as they increase in performance.