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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Researcher uses vibrations to identify materials’ composition

A researcher now at the University of Central Florida has developed a new method for identifying materials’ unique chemical “fingerprints” and mapping their chemical properties at a much higher spatial resolution than ever before. The UCF team has come up with a hybrid form of atomic force microscopy that produces a much clearer chemical image. Hybrid Photonic-Nanomechanical Force Microscopy (HPFM) can discern a sample’s topographic characteristics together with the chemical properties at a much finer scale.

Tantalizing discovery may boost memory technology

Scientists at Rice University have created a solid-state memory technology that allows for high-density storage with a minimum incidence of computer errors. The memories are based on tantalum oxide, a common insulator in electronics. Applying voltage to a 250-nanometer-thick sandwich of graphene, tantalum, nanoporous tantalum oxide and platinum creates addressable bits where the layers meet. Control voltages that shift oxygen ions and vacancies switch the bits between ones and zeroes.

NSF funds industry/university center for atomically thin coatings

The study and development of atomically thin coatings will be the focus of a one of a kind NSF funded university/industry center. Led by Penn State, in collaboration with Rice University in Houston, the Industry/University Collaborative Research Center will design and develop advanced two-dimensional coatings engineered to solve fundamental scientific and technological challenges that include: corrosion, oxidation and abrasion, friction and wear, energy storage and harvesting, and the large-scale synthesis and deposition of novel multifunctional coatings.

KAIST develops fiber-like light-emitting diodes for wearable displays

Researchers from KAIST have developed fiber-like LEDs that can be applied in wearable displays. The team discarded the notion of creating LED displays on a plane. Instead, they focused on fibers and developed a fiber-like LED that shared the characteristics of both fabrics and displays. The essence of this technology, the dip-coating process, is to immerse and extract a 3-D polymer fiber from a solution, which functions like thread. Then, the regular levels of organic materials are formed as layers on the thread.

Researchers pioneer use of capsules to save materials, streamline chemical reactions

Chemists working in a variety of industries and fields typically go through a laborious process to measure and mix reagents for each reaction they perform. And many of the common reagents they use sit for months or years on shelves in laboratories, where they can react with oxygen and water in the atmosphere, rendering them useless. Researchers at MIT now describe a technique that could help avoid this costly waste and greatly reduce the number of steps a chemist must perform to prepare common compounds.

NASA selects proposals to build better batteries for space exploration

NASA’s Game Changing Development program has selected two proposals for Phase II awards targeted toward developing new energy storage technologies to replace the battery systems currently used by America’s space program. Addressing several high priority challenges, NASA is making significant investments to achieve safe and affordable deep space exploration. The development of high-energy storage devices will reduce the mass required to store electrical power in space and better enable the agency’s future robotic and human exploration missions.

An advanced system based on discrete events paves the way for automated industrial monitoring

Individual operations on the shop floor of an industrial plant can be tracked using a sophisticated automated monitoring system that employs advanced mathematical techniques. To track work in progress, A*STAR scientists combined the popular radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags with rigorous computational processing of ‘discrete-event observers’. This system will enable managers to make better, more timely decisions.