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[Image above] Credit: NIST

New formula to speed development of modern materials

Researchers from the University of Houston have devised a new formula for calculating the maximum efficiency of thermoelectric materials, the first new formula in more than a half-century, designed to speed up the development of new materials suitable for practical use. By using the new formula for calculation, scientists will be able to determine whether devices based on a material would generate energy efficiently enough to be worth pursuing.

Structural origin of glass transition

A University of Tokyo research group has demonstrated through computer simulations that the enhancement of fluctuations in a liquid’s structure plays an important role as a liquid becomes a solid near the glass-transition point, a temperature below the melting point. This result increases our understanding of the origin of the glass transition and is expected to shed new light on the structure of liquids, thought until now to have been uniform and random.

First certified efficiency of 15% in perovskite solar cells with area of over 1 cm2

A research group at the National Institute for Materials Science has achieved 15% energy conversion efficiency in perovskite solar cells for the first time in the world as officially recognized by an international public test center. The research group attained increased conversion efficiency and reproducibility of perovskite solar cells by controlling morphology of perovskite layer with new fabricating method.

With 300 km per second to new electronics

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids have discovered that the electrical resistance of a compound of niobium and phosphorus increases enormously when the material is exposed to a magnetic field. This giant magnetoresistance, which is responsible for the large storage capacity of modern hard discs, was previously known to occur in some complexly structured materials. Niobium phosphide or a material with similar properties that can be manufactured more easily could offer an alternative.

Research findings point way to designing crack-resistant metals

The results of a new study to understand the interactions of various metal alloys at the nanometer and atomic scales are likely to aid advances in methods of preventing the failure of systems critical to public and industrial infrastructure. Research led by Arizona State University scientists is uncovering new knowledge about the causes of stress-corrosion cracking in alloys used in pipelines for transporting water, natural gas and fossil fuels—as well as for components used in nuclear power generating stations and the framework of aircraft.

Discovery paves way for new kinds of superconducting electronics

Physicists at UC San Diego have developed a new way to control the transport of electrical currents through high-temperature superconductors—materials discovered nearly 30 years ago that lose all resistance to electricity at commercially attainable low temperatures. Their achievement paves the way for the development of sophisticated electronic devices capable of allowing scientists or clinicians to non-invasively measure the tiny magnetic fields in the heart or brain, and improve satellite communications.