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[Image above] Credit: NIST

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum finally finds a home at Alfred University

It was 30 years ago when the late Robert Turner, a professor emeritus of ceramic art, observed that “Alfred University really should have a museum of ceramic art.” He made the comment to Marlin Miller, a 1954 alumnus of Alfred University who has served on the Board of Trustees since 1972 and is a chairman emeritus. Miller still recalls the conversation; it was behind his recent decision to make a gift to the University to finally construct the museum.


Graphene makes rubber more rubbery

Researchers from the University of Manchester have shown that adding a very small amount of graphene to rubber films can increase both their strength and the elasticity by up to 50%. In their experiments, the scientists tested two kinds of rubbery materials—natural rubber, comprised of polyisoprene, and man-made polyurethane. In most cases, the resulting composite material could be stretched to a greater degree and with greater force before it broke.

Unveiling the electron’s motion in a carbon nanocoil

Researchers at Toyohashi Tech, University of Yamanashi, National Institute of Technology, Gifu College, and Tokai Carbon Co. Ltd. have established that the resistivity of carbon nanocoils increases with coil diameter. This required the development of a precise resistivity measurement method, using a focused ion beam and nanomanipulator technique to select a sample with the desired coil geometry and then make firm electrical connections to the instrument’s electrodes.


Researchers dispute reported break­through in lithium-battery technology

Recent research published in the prestigious journal Science described a breakthrough in lithium-battery technology—the super-efficient source of power for everything from smartphones and laptops to electric cars. However, a number of battery experts, including Northeastern’s K.M. Abraham, an inventor of Li-air technology, doubt the team’s claims, and penned dissents explaining why in Science last week.

Cooling, time in the dark preserve perovskite solar power

A new study has found both the cause and a solution for the pesky tendency of perovskite solar cells to degrade in sunlight, a research breakthrough potentially removing one roadblock to commercialization for this promising technology. In a key finding, researchers at Los Alamos National Labo have found those degraded devices exhibit self-healing powers when given a little time in the dark.

Power up when the temperature is down

Transporting power sources in the coldest places may be easier with a new re-chargeable, non-metallic battery from Japan. Chemists from Hiroshima University developed a new synthesis method for organic radical batteries that are re-chargeable and continue to function at below-freezing temperatures. This “eco battery” could provide portable sources of power in environments like refrigerated factories or extreme winter environments.

Solar cells of the future could be based on iron molecules

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have successfully explained how iron-based dyes work on a molecular level in solar cells. The goal is to be able to use iron-based dyes in solar cells in the future. By using iron instead of other more expensive and rare metals, the production of solar cells and light catchers will become cheaper and more environmentally friendly.


First industrial internet solution for a printed electronics plant

VTT’s printed electronics pilot plant in Finland has moved into a new era—an industrial internet-based solution, the first for the printed electronics production in the world, has been installed for the control of the plant. Environmental conditions affecting sensitive roll-to-roll production can be monitored, and temperature, humidity, and pressure measurements can be performed.

Printing metal in midair

A team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have innovated an eye-popping new way of printing complex metallic architectures—as though they are seemingly suspended in midair. This laser-assisted direct ink writing method allows microscopic metallic, free-standing 3-D structures to be printed in one step without auxiliary support material.


Scientists create ‘rewritable magnetic charge ice’

 A team of scientists working at Argonne National Lab and led by Northern Illinois University researchers has created a new material, called “rewritable magnetic charge ice,” that permits an unprecedented degree of control over local magnetic fields and could pave the way for new computing technologies. Magnetic charge ice is 2-D and could be applied to other thin materials, such as graphene.

Towards decommissioning Fukushima: ‘Seeing’ boron distribution in molten debris

Japanese researchers have mapped the distribution of boron compounds in a model control rod, paving the way for determining re-criticality risk within a reactor. The team mapped distribution of molten boron debris and simultaneously determined its chemical state with a soft X-ray emission spectrometer equipped to a type of scanning electron microscope. Boron compounds each showed different peak structures on the X-ray spectrum.

Self-healing, flexible electronic material restores functions after many breaks

Electronic materials have been a major stumbling block for the advance of flexible electronics because existing materials do not function well after breaking and healing. A new electronic material created by an international team, however, can heal all its functions automatically even after breaking multiple times. This material could improve the durability of wearable electronics.

Team measures microscale granular crystal dynamics for first time

University of Washington mechanical engineers have for the first time observed and analyzed collective interparticle vibrations in 2-D microscale granular crystals. This understanding and ability to predict how these tiny arrays of particles behave as forces are applied is a first step in creating novel materials that could be used for everything from impact mitigation to signal processing, disease diagnosis, or even making more controllable solid rocket propellants.

High-efficiency power amplifier could bring 5G cell phones

A new highly efficient power amplifier for electronics developed at Purdue University could help make possible next-generation cell phones, low-cost collision-avoidance radar for cars, and lightweight microsatellites for communications. The new amplifier design is complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS)-based, meaning it could reduce manufacturing costs and power consumption while boosting performance.

Gallium could be used as a new reversible adhesive

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are suggesting gallium as a reversible adhesive. By inducing slight changes in temperature, they can control whether a layer of gallium sticks or not. This is based on the fact that gallium transitions from a solid state to a liquid state at around 30ºC.