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Other materials stories that may be of interest

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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Electric transport across molybdenum disulfide grain boundaries

The Institute for Basic Science has reported results correlating the flake merging angle with grain boundary properties and proven that increasing the merging angle of grain boundaries drastically improves flow of electrons. This correlates to an increase in the carrier mobility from less than 1 cm2V-1s-1 for small angles, to 16 cm2V-1s-1.

Increasing oil’s performance with crumpled graphene balls

Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered that crumpled graphene balls are an extremely promising lubricant additive for automobile engines. In a series of tests, oil modified with crumpled graphene balls outperformed some commercial lubricants by 15%, both in terms of reducing friction and the degree of wear on steel surfaces.

Clarifying the role of magnetism in high-temperature superconductors

A collaboration of scientists from RIKEN, Osaka University, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, and Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute have published research clarifying the role of magnetism in a new type of high-temperature superconductor. The research provides a better understanding of the atomic-scale behavior of these materials.

Heavy fermions get nuclear boost on way to superconductivity

In a surprising find, physicists from the United States, Germany, and China have discovered that nuclear effects help bring about superconductivity in ytterbium dirhodium disilicide (YRS), one of the most-studied materials in a class of quantum critical compounds known as “heavy fermions.” The discovery marks the first time that superconductivity has been observed in YRS.


CaO makes the graphene hierarchy for high-power lithium-sulfur batteries

A research group from China, led by Tsinghua University, has developed a novel kind of hierarchical porous graphene via a versatile chemical vapor deposition on CaO templates for high-power lithium-sulfur batteries. Based on this concept, they obtained a hierarchical porous structure of graphene with abundant microsized inplane vacancies, mesosized wrinkled pores, and macrosized strutted cavities.

Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials

An international research team has simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. The research team used a crystalline silicon core and applied layers of dopant-free type of silicon called amorphous silicon. They applied ultrathin coatings of molybdenum oxide at the sun-facing side of the solar cell and lithium fluoride at the bottom surface. The two layers act as dopant-free contacts for holes and electrons, respectively.

You’ll never ‘be-leaf’ what makes up this battery!

Scientists at the University of Maryland have a new recipe for batteries: Bake a leaf, and add sodium. They used a carbonized oak leaf, pumped full of sodium, as a demonstration battery’s anode. The lower side of the maple leaf is studded with pores for the leaf to absorb water. In this new design, the pores absorb the sodium electrolyte. At the top, the layers of carbon that made the leaf tough become sheets of nanostructured carbon to absorb the sodium that carries the charge.


Scientists create graphene barrier to precisely control molecules for making nanoelectronics

Gardeners often use sheets of plastic with strategically placed holes to allow their plants to grow but keep weeds from taking root. Scientists from UCLA’s California NanoSystems Institute have found that the same basic approach is an effective way to place molecules in the specific patterns they need within tiny nanoelectronic devices.

For this nanocatalyst reaction, one atom makes a big difference

Combining experimental investigations and theoretical simulations, researchers at Georgia Tech have explained why platinum nanoclusters of a specific size range facilitate the hydrogenation reaction used to produce ethane from ethylene. The research offers new insights into the role of cluster shapes in catalyzing reactions at the nanoscale, and could help materials scientists optimize nanocatalysts for a broad class of other reactions.


New nanosheet growth technique has potential to revolutionize nanotechnology industry

After six years of painstaking effort, a group of University of Wisconsin-Madison materials scientists believe their breakthrough in growing tiny sheets of zinc oxide could have huge implications for the future of nanomaterial manufacturing. The group has developed a novel technique for synthesizing 2-D nanosheets from compounds that do not naturally form the atomic-layer-thick materials.