[Image above] Credit: NIST
Charging and discharging rechargeable batteries can lead to repeated shedding and reformation of its “skin” layer that consumes lithium irreversibly, degrading the battery’s performance over time. Now a team of researchers at MIT and Tsinghua University in China has found a novel way around that problem: creating an electrode made of nanoparticles with a solid shell, and a “yolk” inside that can change size again and again without affecting the shell.
Easily manufactured, low cost, lightweight, flexible dielectric polymers that can operate at high temperatures may be the solution to energy storage and power conversion in electric vehicles and other high temperature applications, according to a team of Penn State engineers. “Ceramics are usually the choice for energy storage dielectrics for high temperature applications, but they are heavy, weight is a consideration and they are often also brittle,” says Qing Wang, professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State.
Crackpot idea or recipe for success? This is a question entrepreneurs often face. Is it worth converting the production process to a new, ecologically better material? Empa has developed an analysis method that enables companies to simulate possible scenarios—and therefore avoid bad investments. Here’s an example: Nanofibers made of carrot waste from the production of carrot juice, which can be used to reinforce synthetic parts.
Northeastern physicists Swastik Kar and Srinivas Sridhar have discovered an entirely new material spun out of boron, nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen that shows evidence of magnetic, optical, and electrical properties as well as thermal ones. Its potential applications run the gamut: from 20-megapixel arrays for cellphone cameras to photo detectors to atomically thin transistors that when multiplied by the billions could fuel computers.
A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has recently produced some promising results toward that goal, developing a new method to extract more efficient and polarized light from quantum dots (QDs) over a large-scale area. Their method, which combines QD and photonic crystal technology, could lead to brighter and more efficient mobile phone, tablet, and computer displays, as well as enhanced LED lighting.
Molybdenum ditelluride is a crystalline compound that if pure enough can be used as a transistor. Last year a multi-discipline research team led by South Korea’s Institute for Basic Science Center for Integrated Nanostructure Physics at Sungkyunkwan University devised a fabrication method for the creation of pure MoTe2. Not only did they succeed, they were able to make two types of it—a semiconducting variety and a metallic variety—which are both stable at room temperature.