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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Sodium titanate: Nanowires show promise for nuclear decontamination

A new way of producing sodium titanate nanowires for decontaminating radiation-tainted water has been developed by AIMR researchers. The team took a method usually used to produce nanoporous gold and applied it to ribbons of a titanium–aluminum alloy: they treated the ribbons at room temperature in aqueous sodium hydroxide and then centrifuged or decanted the resulting solution to obtain sodium titanate nanowires.

‘Pick & mix’ smart materials for robotics

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a simple ‘recipe’ for combining multiple materials with single functions into a single material with multiple functions: movement, recall of movement and sensing—similar to muscles in animals. The materials could be used to make robotics far more efficient by replacing bulky devices with a single, smarter, life-like material.

Physicists fine tune control of agile exotic materials
Physicists have found a way to control the length and strength of waves of atomic motion that have promising potential uses such as fine-scale imaging and the transmission of information within tight spaces. The researchers measured waves called polaritons that can emerge when light interacts with matter. By combining two materials, they produced hybrid polaritons that propagate throughout many layers of a crystalline material and can be controlled with a simple electrical gate.

New polymer-piezoelectric hybrid creates potential for ‘materials that compute’

Moving closer to the possibility of “materials that compute” and wearing your computer on your sleeve, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have designed a responsive hybrid material that is fueled by an oscillatory chemical reaction and can perform computations based on changes in the environment or movement, and potentially even respond to human vital signs. The material system is sufficiently small and flexible that it could ultimately be integrated into a fabric or introduced as an inset into a shoe.

World’s first full-color, flexible, skin-like display

A University of Central Florida lab has developed a technique for creating the world’s first full-color, flexible thin-film reflective display. Traditional displays like those on a mobile phone require a light source, filters and a glass plates. Instead, the team was able to change the color on an ultrathin nanostructured surface by applying voltage. The new method doesn’t need its own light source. Rather, it reflects the ambient light around it.

LiquiGlide slides into consumer space

The days of wasting condiments—and other products—that stick stubbornly to the sides of their bottles may be gone, thanks to MIT spinout LiquiGlide, which has licensed its nonstick coating to a major consumer-goods company. LiquiGlide is a liquid-impregnated coating that acts as a slippery barrier between a surface and a viscous liquid. Applied inside a condiment bottle, for instance, the coating clings permanently to its sides, while allowing the condiment to glide off completely, with no residue.