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Published on May 11th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD


Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on May 11th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST





3-D printed bone with just the right mix of ingredients

Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University set out to make a composite material that would combine the strength and printability of plastic with the biological “information” contained in natural bone. They report that, to make a good framework for filling in missing bone, mix at least 30% pulverized natural bone with some special man-made plastic and create the needed shape with a 3-D printer.


Developing additive manufacturing methods for personalized medicine

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a particulary flexible additive manufacturing method that allows them to produce bone implants, dentures, surgical tools, or microreactors in almost any conceivable design. “We have no limitations in terms of type or color of material for the target components. This allows us to process ceramics, glass, plastic, or even metal using thermoplastic 3D printing.”





Catalytic nanocages: Hollow and filled with potential

Catalytic nanocages, which are tiny, open structures with reactive surfaces that could boost key chemical processes, are notoriously difficult to synthesize. Scientists recently succeeded in a new approach: they built the hollow structures by depositing platinum onto a palladium template and then etching away the template. The result? Tiny cages with catalytic surfaces inside and out.


Visualizing the lithiation of a nanosized iron-oxide material in real time

A team of scientists from Brookhaven National Lab, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Maryland, College Park, has developed an electron microscopy technique to visualize—in real time and at high resolution—atomic-scale reaction pathways involved in battery discharge. The team’s findings about how lithium migrates at the nanoscale could help improve the electrochemical performance of comparable electrode materials in lithium-ion batteries.


Small and powerful: Pushing the boundaries of nanomagnets

The Department of Energy reports that researchers have built extremely small, thermally stable magnetic particles with magnetic properties comparable to some rare earth magnets, the strongest permanent magnets ever created. These CoFe2C magnets are as small as 5 nm and can lead to nanomagnets that work at room temperature.


Method to improve photoluminescence efficiency of 2-D semiconductors

A team led by researchers from the National University of Singapore has developed a method to enhance the photoluminescence efficiency of tungsten diselenide, a 2-D semiconductor, paving the way for the application of such semiconductors in advanced optoelectronic and photonic devices.





The future of low-cost solar cells

Developing solar technologies, which include dye-sensitized solar cells, organic photovoltaics, perovskite photovoltaics, and inorganic quantum dot solar cells, enjoy rock-star status. But where do these emerging photovoltaic technologies stand today? Are they confined to university research labs? Are they being developed by technology incubators and start-up companies?


Missouri S&T team boosts lithium-ion battery performance

Missouri University of Science and Technology researchers are working to solve the problem of short-life of lithium-ion batteries like those used in laptops and cellphones, making them reliable and longer-lasting using a thin-film coating technique called atomic layer deposition. The team lead a study to dope and coat lithium magnesium nickel oxygen (LMNO) with iron oxide through ALD—at the same time.


Clues on the path to a new lithium battery technology

Rechargeable lithium air batteries are a next-generation technology. However, currently they run out of steam after only a few charging cycles. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the Forschungszentrum Jülich have now investigated the processes and discovered a possible culprit: highly reactive singlet oxygen, which is released when the batteries are charged.


Speedy ion conduction in solid electrolytes clears road for advanced energy devices

A team led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has used state-of-the-art microscopy to identify a previously undetected feature, about 5 nanometers wide, in an LLTO oxide solid electrolyte. The work experimentally verifies the importance of that feature to fast ion transport, and corroborates the observations with theory. The new mechanism points out a new strategy for the design of highly conductive solid electrolytes.





Emphasis on data wrangling brings materials science up to speed

The arrival of this “fourth paradigm” of science, which is data-driven discovery, lagged behind in materials science compared to other areas of research, particularly bioinformatics, says Dr. Ankit Agrawal, a research professor at Northwestern University focused on blending high performance computing and data mining tools. Materials science had catching up to do. Although the supercomputing and simulation sides of the problem were well understood, particularly in molecular dynamics and other areas, the materials science barrier was more grounded. The data needed to be accessible before the field could progress.


Molybdenum disulfide holds promise for light absorption

Mechanics know molybdenum disulfide as a useful lubricant in aircraft and motorcycle engines and in the CV and universal joints of trucks and automobiles. Rice University engineering researcher Isabell Thomann knows it as a remarkably light-absorbent substance that holds promise for the development of energy-efficient optoelectronic and photocatalytic devices.


Research shows atomic oxidation could lead to corrosion-resistant pipes

Using state-of-the-art in situ microscopy techniques, scientists at Binghamton University were able to watch the oxidation of copper—the primary building material for millions of miles of water piping—at the atomic level as it was happening. What they saw could help create pipes with better corrosion resistance.


New fabrication, thermo-optical tuning of whispering gallery microlasers

Scientists from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology have developed a new technique to fabricate glass microlasers and tune them using compressed air. Taking advantage of the different melting temperatures of silica and Er or Yb doped phosphate glass, OIST scientists have devised a new way to produce microlasers via glass wetting, or glass-on-glass fabrication.


Upgrades to launch pad flame trench include installation of new refractory bricks

In June 2015, NASA awarded a contract to J.P. Donovan Construction of Rockledge, Florida, to upgrade the flame trench and provide a new flame deflector. This system is critical to safely containing the plume exhaust from the massive rocket during launch. Construction workers have been busy, removing old adhesive material and preparing the walls for brick installation on the north side of the trench.


The art—and science—behind treasured Japanese porcelain

Porcelain connoisseurs have prized the traditional Japanese-style ceramics called akae, typically known for Kakiemon-style ware, for centuries. Its paintings feature a vivid red color against a milky white background. Artisans have passed on their techniques to produce this type of porcelain for generations, but these methods are poorly documented. Now scientists report a practical method for preparing red paints for high-quality akae.


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