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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Surprising discoveries about 2-D molybdenum disulfide

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have used a unique nano-optical probe to study the effects of illumination on 2-D semiconductors at the molecular level. The team used the “Campanile” probe it developed to make some surprising discoveries about molybdenum disulfide, a member of a family of semiconductors, called “transition metal dichalcogenides, whose optoelectronic properties hold great promise for future nanoelectronic and photonic devices.

‘Yellow chemistry’ turns sulfur waste into plastics

While many scientists are hard at work on “green chemistry” projects that will benefit the environment, there are a handful of researchers at the University of Arizona who are starting a trend of their own—”yellow chemistry.” That’s because their main ingredient is sulfur, a yellow waste product from petroleum refining and natural gas production.

Color-changing polymer may signal traumatic brain injuries in soldiers, athletes (video)

A bomb blast or a rough tackle can inflict brain damage that destroys lives. Yet at the time of impact, these injuries are often invisible. To detect head trauma immediately, a team of researchers has developed a polymer-based material that changes colors depending on how hard it is hit. The goal is to someday incorporate this material into protective headgear, providing an obvious indication of injury.

Snake scales protect steel against friction

A snake moves without legs by the scales on its belly gripping the ground. It generates friction at the points needed to move forwards only and prevents its scales from being worn off by too much friction. Researchers of KIT have found a way to transfer this feature to components of movable systems. In this way, durability of hip prostheses, computer hard disks, or smartphones might be enhanced.

Dancing droplets launch themselves from thin fibers

We’ve all seen dewdrops form on spider webs. But what if they flung themselves off of the strands instead? Researchers at Duke University and the University of British Columbia have now observed this peculiar phenomenon. As long as the strands are moderately hydrophobic and relatively thin, small droplets combining into one are apt to dance themselves right off of the tightrope. The discovery could form the basis of new coalescer technologies for water purification, oil refining, and more.

Breakthrough optics pave way for new class of intriguing technologies

A new class of fascinating technologies—including optics in computing, telecommunications links and switches, and virtually any other optical component—could be created simply by configuring a mesh of light-controlling devices known as interferometers. This is similar to the way electronic semiconductors can fashion the wide array of digital technologies we have at our disposal today.

Louisiana Tech University researchers to contribute to NSF-funded consortium

Through a $20 million NSF grant recently awarded to the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Louisiana Tech University’s Consortium for Innovation in Manufacturing and Materials (CIMM) will focus on two broad aspects of materials manufacturing: multi-scale replication and forming technologies, and adaptive manufacturing of small numbers of application-specific structures using laser-based 3-D printing.