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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Supercapacitors: Toward high-energy-density materials

AIMR researchers have developed a supercapacitor material that has a high charge storage capacity per unit mass and operates over a very wide voltage range. Previously, the team had found that two-component oxyhydroxides offer high specific capacitances but have narrow working potential windows because they are unstable at high potentials. To overcome this limitation, they produced a three-component system by doping a nickel hydroxide with copper and manganese.

Don’t call them stiff: Metal organic frameworks show unexpected flexibility

Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are proving to be incredibly flexible with a myriad of potential applications including as antimicrobial agents, hydrogen-storage materials, and solar-cell components. And despite their rigid-sounding name, researchers are reporting that MOF structures are also dynamic—much more so than previously thought.

Insights into catalytic converters: X-rays reveal interactions of active metals with gas molecules

How do catalytic converters work? Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology studied the reactions under close-to-reality conditions: With the help of X-rays, they observed interactions of the nitrogen monoxide pollutant molecule and of the reduction agent ammonia with iron and copper centers, where the reaction takes place. Their results can now be used to further improve the exhaust gas aftertreatment.

New molecular butterflies help advance energy research

Imagine a family of butterflies fluttering around in a controlled lab space. Except, the butterflies aren’t really butterflies. They are molecules designed and produced at Florida State University as new functional materials that have a wide range of applications from molecular sensors to light-controlling devices. The scientists recently described how these rationally designed molecular butterflies can emit different colors, corresponding to different energy levels, by control.

Materials Science and Engineering Data Challenge

The Air Force Research Lab in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Standards and Technology has announced the Materials Science and Engineering Data Challenge. This Grand Challenge aims to demonstrate how publicly accessible digital data can be used to advance Materials Science and Engineering knowledge, accelerate materials discovery and facilitate integration into new technologies.

Sol-gel capacitor dielectric offers record-high energy storage

Using a hybrid silica sol-gel material and self-assembled monolayers of a common fatty acid, researchers have developed a new capacitor dielectric material that provides an electrical energy storage capacity rivaling certain batteries, with both a high energy density and high power density. The new material is composed of a silica sol-gel thin film containing polar groups linked to the silicon atoms and a nanoscale self-assembled monolayer of an octylphosphonic acid, which provides insulating properties.