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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Self-healing material could plug life-threatening holes in spacecraft (video)

For astronauts living in space with objects zooming around them at 22,000 mph like rogue super-bullets, it’s good to have a backup plan. Now a team reports on a new material that heals itself within seconds and could prevent structural penetration from being catastrophic. The researchers made a new kind of self-healing material by sandwiching a reactive liquid in between two layers of a solid polymer. When they shot a bullet through it, the liquid quickly reacted with oxygen from the air to form a solid plug in under a second.

Nanoparticles in pages of The Drinkable Book make water drinkable

Human consumption of bacterially contaminated water causes millions of deaths each year throughout the world—primarily among children. While studying the material properties of paper as a graduate student, Theresa Dankovich discovered and developed an inexpensive, simple, and easily transportable nanotechnology-based method to purify drinking water. She calls it The Drinkable Book, and each page is impregnated with bacteria-killing metal nanoparticles.

Record-high pressure reveals secrets of matter

A research team at Linköping University, together with colleagues in Europe and the United States, has shown that at extremely high pressure even the innermost electrons in the atomic nuclei of the metal osmium begin to interact with each other, a phenomenon never witnessed before. With great precision the team has then been able to measure temperature and relative positions of atoms in a small crystalline piece of osmium. Compressing osmium at high pressure, the researchers found an unexpected anomaly in the relationship between the interatomic distances.

Single-crystal phosphors suitable for ultra-bright, high-power white light sources

The Optical Single Crystals Group at NIMS, in collaboration with Tamura Corporation and Koha Co. Ltd., successfully developed single-crystal phosphors that use a blue laser diode as an excitation light source, are suitable for ultra-bright, high-power white lighting, and have outstanding temperature characteristics.

Graphene oxide’s secret properties revealed at atomic level

A Northwestern University team has found that graphene oxide’s seemingly undesirable defects surprisingly give rise to exciting mechanical properties. The researchers used a unique experimentation and modeling approach to examine the mechanics of this previously ignored material at the atomic level. What they discovered could potentially unlock the secret to successfully scaling up graphene oxide, an area that has been limited because its building blocks have not been well understood.