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Published on October 5th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD


Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on October 5th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST




Harnessing the possibilities of the nanoworld

Scientists have long suspected that the way materials behave on the nanoscale is different from how they behave on any other scale—because on a nanoscale, the particles have a really big surface-area-to-volume ratio. This means the energetics of what goes on at the surface become very important, much as they do on the atomic scale, where quantum mechanics is often applied.


3-D-nanoprinting to turbocharge microscopes

Tiny sensors made through nanoscale 3-D printing may be the basis for the next generation of atomic force microscopes. These nanosensors can enhance the microscopes’ sensitivity and detection speed by miniaturizing their detection component up to 100 times. The sensors were used in a real-world application for the first time at EPFL.


Mass producing graphene using microwaves

A new study by an international team of researchers from UNIST and Rutgers University has proved that it is now possible to produce high quality graphene using a microwave oven. The team reports that this new technique may have solved some of graphene’s difficult manufacturing problems.


Russian, Japanese physicists create compact graphene-based plasmon generator

Researchers from Laboratory of 2D Materials’ Optoelectronics, Institute of Radioengineering and Electronics at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technologies, and Tohoku University have found a way of creating plasmon generator, which is the key building block for the future of optoelectronics—by using graphene.





Food additive key to environmentally friendly, efficient, plastic solar cells

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have created an efficient, semi-printed plastic solar cell without the use of environmentally hazardous halogen solvents. These solar cells can be manufactured at room temperature, which has implications for large-scale commercial production.


Crystalline fault lines provide pathway for solar cell current

A team of scientists studying solar cells made from cadmium telluride, a promising alternative to silicon, has discovered that microscopic “fault lines” within and between crystals of the material act as conductive pathways that ease the flow of electric current. This research suggests a strategy for engineering more efficient solar devices that surpass the performance of silicon.


Key to manufacturing more efficient solar cells

In a discovery that could have profound implications for future energy policy, Columbia University scientists have demonstrated it is possible to manufacture solar cells that are far more efficient than existing silicon energy cells by using a new kind of material, a development that could help reduce fossil fuel consumption.


Record for perovskite/CIGS tandem solar module

Whereas their production cost is low, it is in particular the combination of complementary absorber materials in a tandem solar module that increases the power conversion efficiency. Researchers demonstrate that a perovskite/CIGS tandem thin-film solar module that achieves 17.8% in efficiency, surpassing for the first time the efficiency of separate perovskite and CIGS solar modules.


Toward ‘greener,’ inexpensive solar cells

Solar panels are proliferating across the globe to help reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels. But conventional panels are not without environmental costs, too. Now scientists report a new advance toward more practical, “greener” solar cells made with inexpensive halide perovskite materials. They have developed low-bandgap perovskite solar cells with a reduced lead content and a power conversion efficiency of 15%.





Cancer killers: Silica C dots show ability to induce cell death in tumors

Nanoparticles known as Cornell dots, or C dots, have shown great promise as a therapeutic tool in the detection and treatment of cancer. Now, the ultrasmall particles have shown they can do something even better: kill cancer cells without attaching a cytotoxic drug. The work details how C dots, administered in large doses and with the tumors in a state of nutrient deprivation, trigger a type of cell death called ferroptosis.


Create material that is printed in 3-D to regenerate bone

Researchers at the Autonomous University of Puebla developed a biomaterial with the ability to serve as a support for regenerating bone tissue, which is biodegradable and can be printed in 3-D with controlled porosity. The material has the potential to be used as an implant and replace small portions of bone tissue. It is made of degradable polymers and hydroxyapatite, a ceramic mineral found in the body, which are injected into a 3-D printer.


Traveling through the body with graphene

Researchers have succeeded to place a layer of graphene on top of a stable fatty lipid monolayer, for the first time. Surrounded by a protective shell of lipids graphene could enter the body and function as a versatile sensor. The results are the first step towards such a shell, say authors of a new report.





Optical fiber transmits one terabit per second

Technical University Munich researchers have achieved unprecedented transmission capacity and spectral efficiency in an optical communications field trial with a new modulation technique. The breakthrough research could extend the capability of optical networks to meet surging data traffic demands.


New steel for better electric motors under development

A DOE-funded research team is working to develop motors with the stator core (a non-rotating, magnetic part) manufactured with thin layers, or laminations, of a new “electrical steel.” The new steel will be an iron alloy containing 6.5% silicon, twice the amount used in electric motors today. The extra silicon increases the electrical resistivity of the material by about 50%, reducing eddy currents, heat, and power loss in the motor.


Bending semiconductors generates electricity

A research team from the Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2) in Barcelona reports that flexoelectric-like effects are more ubiquitous than previously thought. The ICN2 researchers report that semiconductors, which can be thought of as half-way between electrical insulators and actual metals, also generate electricity in response to bending.


Single photon light emitting diodes for on-chip integration

Researchers from the Graphene Flagship use layered materials to create an all-electrical quantum LED with single-photon emission. Constructed of layers of atomically thin materials, including transition metal dichalcogenides, graphene, and boron nitride, the ultra-thin LEDs could be excellent on-chip quantum light sources for a wide range of photonics applications for quantum communications and networks.


Researchers make breakthrough in dewetting surfaces

How would you like a kitchen surface that cleans itself? Technological advances such as this could be one step closer after a breakthrough by Northumbria University and Nottingham Trent University. Using experimental techniques, researchers have made the first ever direct observation of the elusive dewetting process, which takes place when a liquid film retracts to form a bead-shaped drop.


Room-temp superconductors could be possible

If we’re able to harness the powers of superconductivity at room temperature, we could transform how energy is produced, stored, distributed and used around the globe. In a recent breakthrough, scientists at Brookhaven National Lab got one step closer to understanding how to make that possible. The research involves a class of compounds called cuprates, which contain layers of copper and oxygen atoms.


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