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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Advanced energy storage material gets unprecedented nanoscale analysis

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Lab have combined advanced in-situ microscopy and theoretical calculations to uncover important clues to the properties of a promising next-generation energy storage material for supercapacitors and batteries.

MIT develops nontoxic way of generating portable power

Researchers at MIT have come up with an alternative system for generating electricity. The new approach is based on a wire made from carbon nanotubes that can produce an electrical current when it is progressively heated from one end to the other, for example by coating it with a combustible material and then lighting one end to let it burn like a fuse.

Nanoplates as catalysts for solar fuels

Solar fuels, clean fuels from sunlight, water and CO2, form an attractive way for storing solar energy in hydrogen or hydrocarbons, for example. The efficiency of this technology still needs a ‘boost’. Researchers at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology of the University of Twente investigated special nanoplates with platinum particles on them, accelerating the chemical conversion.

Nanostructures promise big impact on higher-speed, lower-power optical devices

University of Cincinnati physics research points to new robust electronic technologies using quantum nanowire structures. The researchers claim the secret to the success of this multi-collaborative effort is in the combination of materials used to create the nanowires, which are sprouted from a combination of beads of molten gold scattered across a particular surface.


Wireless electric charging: Future of plug-in electric vehicles is going cordless

What if charging your plug-in electric vehicle was as easy as parking it? No need for cords or cards. Just as wi-fi has freed consumers of wires when accessing the internet, wireless charging technology may soon be as widespread, thanks to research supported by the Energy Department.

Smaller, cheaper microbial fuel cells turn urine into electricity

A new kind of fuel cell that can turn urine into electricity could revolutionize the way we produce bioenergy, particularly in developing countries. The research describes a new design of microbial fuel cell that’s smaller, cheaper and more powerful than traditional ones.

Researchers crack 50-year-old nuclear waste problem, make storage safer

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have adapted a technology developed for solar energy in order to selectively remove one of the trickiest and most-difficult-to-remove elements in nuclear waste pools across the country, making the storage of nuclear waste safer and nontoxic—and solving a decades-old problem.

New ORNL method could unleash solar power potential

Measurement and data analysis techniques developed at Oak Ridge National Lab could provide new insight into performance-robbing flaws in crystalline structures, ultimately improving the performance of solar cells. Armed with information about what electrons are doing inside the material, researchers believe they can make improvements that lead to solar cells that are more efficient and potentially less expensive.


New carbon capture membrane boasts carbon dioxide highways

A new, highly permeable carbon capture membrane developed by scientists from Berkeley Lab could lead to more efficient ways of separating carbon dioxide from power plant exhaust. The researchers focused on a hybrid membrane that is part polymer and part MOF, a porous 3-D crystal with a large internal surface area.

Arsenic water purification with waste materials

Sand, coral and even waste building materials like brick and concrete can become extremely efficient sorbents for water purification from arsenic, if they are treated for this purpose. Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University have revealed a new technology and have succeeded to purify at least 3.6 m3 of water with the help of 200 g of sorbent from the available raw materials, which cost ~$1.

New fuel materials could make nuclear reactors safer

Projects at Penn State are exploring new materials for nuclear fuel, which could make current light water reactors safer. The main focus of the work is to understand how the microstructure impacts a material’s behavior. For these projects, researchers are looking at how the small-scale structures of potential new fuel and cladding materials will behave when exposed to reactor conditions, especially radiation.


Scientists find the temperature at which glass becomes a liquid

Chemical physicists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory discovered that the temperature at which glass-forming materials are deposited on a substrate affects the stability. Their findings show the ability of a technique called inert gas permeation to tell at what temperature a solid “melts.” Their work brings more understanding to the fundamental properties of glass.

Stacked metal plates form lens to focus terahertz radiation

Now, researchers from Brown University have developed a new type of lens for focusing terahertz radiation. The lens, made from an array of stacked metal plates with spaces between them, performs as well or better than existing terahertz lenses, and the architecture used to build the device could set the stage for a range of other terahertz components that don’t currently exist.

‘Disruptive device’ brings xenon-NMR to fragile materials

Here’s a new technology that’s potentially disruptive precisely because it’s non-disruptive: Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have developed a device that enables NMR spectroscopy, coupled with a powerful molecular sensor, to analyze molecular interactions in viscous solutions and fragile materials such as liquid crystals.

New material that can control excitons at room temperature

A team of physicists from the University of California, San Diego and The University of Manchester is creating tailor-made materials for cutting-edge research and perhaps a new generation of optoelectronic devices. The materials make it easier for the researchers to manipulate excitons, which are pairs of an electron and an electron hole bound to each other by an electrostatic force.

Missouri S&T professor aims to improve self-consolidating concrete

A Missouri University of Science and Technology researcher is studying how to make concrete that can be placed without a lot of human intervention, and that can be poured in hard-to-reach places where people can’t easily manipulate it.