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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Transition point in semiconductor nanomaterials

Collaborative research at Notre Dame has demonstrated that electronic interactions play a significant role in the dimensional crossover of semiconductor nanomaterials. The team has now shown that a critical length scale marks the transition between a zero-dimensional, quantum dot and a one-dimensional nanowire.

Researchers use microwaves to produce high-quality graphene

Rutgers University engineers have found a simple method for producing high-quality graphene that can be used in next-generation electronic and energy devices. The team found that baking the exfoliated graphene oxide for just one second in a 1,000-watt microwave oven, like those used in households across America, can eliminate virtually all of the oxygen from graphene oxide.

Graphene key to 2-D semiconductor with extraordinary properties

A newly discovered method for making 2-D materials could lead to new and extraordinary properties, particularly in a class of materials called nitrides, say the 2-D-dimensional gallium nitride using graphene encapsulation could lead to applications in deep ultraviolet lasers, next-generation electronics and sensors.

Shape of ‘molecular graphene’ determines electronic properties

Polyaromatic hydrocarbons form an important class of molecules, which can be regarded as small graphene species and which play a prominent role in the development of organic electronics. Scientists now show that the edge structures of these apparently similar molecules are responsible for spectacular differences in transport properties, allowing for smarter design of new materials.


A new technique opens up advanced solar cells

In a photovoltaic cell, light generates opposite charges in the active layer. The charges must then be separated as quickly as possible to keep them from recombining. Using a unique ultra-fast spectroscopic technique, EPFL scientists have now been able to track the fate of charged pairs in an advanced type of solar cells currently under intense research.

Renewable energy breakthrough: Solar-powered reaction 100 times faster

Researchers at Stanford University and the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have developed a tough new catalyst that carries out a solar-powered reaction 100 times faster than ever before, works better as time goes on and stands up to acid. And because it requires less of the rare and costly metal iridium, it could bring down costs.

A virtual flight through a catalyst particle finds evidence of poisoning

Merging two powerful 3-D X-ray techniques, a team of researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Utrecht University in the Netherlands revealed new details of a process known as metal poisoning that clogs the pores of catalyst particles used in gasoline production, causing them to lose effectiveness.


Lowering the cost and environmental footprint of white LEDs

Replacing traditional light bulbs with light-emitting diodes could take a significant bite out of global energy consumption. But making white LEDs isn’t completely benign or budget friendly. To help reduce the environmental footprint and cost of these lights, researchers have developed the first white LED with a hybrid, metal-organic framework material.


Subatomic microscopy key to building new classes of materials

Researchers at Penn State and the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are pushing the limits of electron microscopy into the tens of picometer scale, a fraction of the size of a hydrogen atom. The researchers’ work describes the first atomic scale evidence for strain-induced ferroelectricity in a layered oxide.

Super cement’s secret

Mayenite is one smart cement—it can be turned from an insulator to a transparent conductor and back. It is also suitable for use as semiconductors in flat panel displays. The secret behind mayenite’s magic is a tiny change in its chemical composition. In new work, researchers show how components called electron anions help to transform crystalline mayenite, also called C12A7, into semiconducting glass.

Engineers develop a plastic clothing material that cools the skin

Stanford engineers have developed a low-cost, plastic-based textile that, if woven into clothing, could cool your body far more efficiently than is possible with the natural or synthetic fabrics in clothes we wear today. This new material works by allowing the body to discharge heat in two ways that would make the wearer feel nearly 4ºF cooler than if they wore cotton clothing.

New optical material offers unprecedented control of light and thermal radiation

Engineers from Columbia University have discovered a new phase-transition optical material—samarium nickelate—and demonstrated novel devices that dynamically control light over a much broader wavelength range and with larger modulation amplitude than what has currently been possible. SmNiO3 could potentially transform optoelectronic technologies, including smart windows and infrared camouflage.

Magnetism under the magnifying glass

Being able to determine magnetic properties of materials with sub-nanometer precision would greatly simplify development of magnetic nano-structures for future spintronic devices. Uppsala physicists make a big step towards this goal—they propose and demonstrate a new measurement method capable to detect magnetism from areas as small as 0.5 nm2.

Making the switch, this time with an insulator

Colorado State University physicists have demonstrated a new approach to low-power computer memory. They’ve demonstrated a new way to switch magnetic moments—or direction of magnetization—of electrons in a thin film of a barium ferrite, which is a magnetic insulator. Until this point, scientists have only demonstrated this switching behavior in metal thin films.