OMS header

[Image above] Credit: NIST

Piezoelectric washer can accurately measure a bolt’s clamping force

A piezoelectric load-sensing washer being developed by University of Alabama in Huntsville researchers provides a more accurate way to measure the clamping force exerted by the bolt it is on. The uses piezoelectric filaments connected to a handheld device that registers the preload value by reading the electrical output of the filaments.

Zinc oxide nanopyramids may prevent medical implant infections

A common ingredient in sunscreen could be an effective antibacterial coating for medical implants such as pacemakers and replacement joints. University of Michigan researchers found that a coating of zinc oxide nanopyramids can disrupt the growth of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), reducing the film on treated materials by over 95%.

New ORNL device combines power of mass spectrometry, microscopy

A tool that provides world-class microscopy and spatially resolved chemical analysis shows considerable promise for advancing a number of areas of study. The hybrid optical microscope/mass spectrometry-based imaging system developed at Oak Ridge National Lab operates under ambient conditions and requires no pretreatment of samples to analyze chemical compounds with sub-micron resolution.

Membrane “nano-fasteners” key to next-generation fuel cells

Scientists at KAIST have developed a new way of making fuel cell membranes using nanoscale fasteners, paving the way for lower-cost, higher-efficiency and more easily manufactured fuel cells. The researchers achieved this by molding a pattern of tiny cylindrical pillars on the face of the hydrocarbon membrane. The pillars protrude into a softened skin of the electrode with heat, and the mechanical bond sets and strengthens as the material cools and absorbs water.

A new slant on semiconductor characterization

Researchers at Northwestern University have created a new mathematical method that has made semiconductor characterization more efficient, more precise, and simpler. By flipping the magnetic field and repeating one measurement, the method can quantify whether or not electrical conductivity is uniform across the entire material—a quality required for high-performance semiconductors.

Quantum dots made from fool’s gold boost battery performance

If you add quantum dots to a smartphone battery it will charge in 30 seconds, but the effect only lasts for a few recharge cycles. However, a group of researchers at Vanderbilt University report that they have found a way to overcome this problem: Making the quantum dots out of iron pyrite, commonly known as fool’s gold, can produce batteries that charge quickly and work for dozens of cycles.

Structure of “concrete disease” solved

When bridges, dam walls, and other structures made of concrete are streaked with dark cracks after a few decades, the culprit is AAR: the alkali-aggregate reaction. Also called the “concrete disease” or even “concrete cancer”, it is a chemical reaction between the material and moisture. Researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute and Empa have now solved the atomic structure of the material produced and have thereby discovered a previously unknown crystalline arrangement of the atoms.

Economic LED recycling

Light emitting diodes are used in a great number of products like televisions and lamps or luminaires. Moreover they are penetrating the automotive lighting market to an ever greater degree. Nevertheless, there are no suitable recycling processes available today for these items. Researchers have developed a method to mechanically separate LEDs.