[Image above] Credit: NIST
The mirrors of space telescopes are made of special, ultrastable ceramics such as silicon carbide. In order to plan the exact dimensions correctly, even at low temperatures, the precise thermal expansion of the materials used must be known. A team at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt measured the thermal expansion of these ceramics as well as that of single-crystal silicon in the temperature range from ‑266 °C to 20 °C with high accuracy.
A new analysis by researchers at MIT might change the technology for producing X-rays in the next few years. The finding, based on a new theory backed by exact simulations, shows that a sheet of graphene could be used to generate surface waves called plasmons when the sheet is struck by photons from a laser beam. These plasmons in turn could be triggered to generate a sharp pulse of radiation, tuned to wavelengths anywhere from infrared light to X-rays.
The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab recently unveiled a new capability: the Intermediate Energy X-ray beamline at sector 29. Using relatively low-energy X-rays, the beamline will help illuminate electronic ordering and emergent phenomena in ordered materials to better understand the origins of distinct electronic properties. Another important feature for users is a greater ability to adjust X-ray parameters to meet experimental needs.
Birmingham Zoo veterinarians and researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham are using materials science to improve the industry standard for repairing elephants’ tusks. The new resin is replacing a metal ring that is typically used to prevent cracks from furthering down an elephant’s tusk. The team recently innovated and tested a composite fiberglass and carbon-fiber band and resin on an actual elephant’s tusk.
Engineers from IST, University of Lisbon tested the seismic behavior of full-scale recycled concrete structures. The structures were subjected to horizontal forces until they collapsed to evaluate their seismic capacity. The behavior of the structures was accurately predicted with common engineering methods and the capacity of the recycled concrete structures was the same as the capacity of a conventional concrete structure also tested.
In an important step toward creating a practical underwater glue, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have designed a synthetic material that combines the key functionalities of interfacial mussel foot proteins, creating a single, low-molecular-weight, one-component adhesive. Key to this technology is the synthesis of a material that combines the key functional molecular groups of several residues found in the biological adhesion proteins.