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Published on October 19th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD


Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on October 19th, 2016 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST




Nanoscale engineering transforms particles into ‘LEGO- like’ building blocks

Researchers have developed a nanoscale engineering method that transforms tiny particles into “LEGO-like” modular building blocks. Led by the University of Melbourne, the work holds promise for micro and nano scale applications including drug delivery, chemical sensing and energy storage.


New smart textile is the muscle behind next generation devices

Researchers have for the first time, developed a smart textile from carbon nanotube and spandex fibres that can both sense and move in response to a stimulus like a muscle or joint. The smart textile, which is easily scalable for the fabrication of industrial quantities, generates a mechanical work capacity and a power output which higher than that produced by human muscles.


NIST simulates fast, accurate DNA sequencing through graphene nanopore

Researchers at NIST have simulated a new concept for rapid, accurate gene sequencing by pulling a DNA molecule through a tiny, chemically activated hole in graphene and detecting changes in electrical current. The NIST study suggests the method could identify about 66 million bases per second with 90% accuracy and no false positives.


Fine-grained microstructure could toughen protective coatings

A*STAR researchers have discovered exactly how such materials behave when used in high-stress situations, paving the way to producing better coatings. It had long been thought that the thin grain boundary phase would be the main factor in determining the material’s properties. However, the researchers have shown this was not the case, providing a way to reliably make a hard material.


Nano-spike catalysts convert carbon dioxide directly into ethanol

In a new twist to waste-to-fuel technology, scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab have developed an electrochemical process that uses tiny spikes of carbon and copper to turn carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into ethanol. Their finding, which involves nanofabrication and catalysis science, was serendipitous.





Flexible batteries: Evolving energy for the ‘new’ reality

By using highly conductive, flexible carbon nanotube mats, scientists at the Air Force Research Lab have developed a new type of flexible lithium-ion battery that not only stores energy, but can be folded, bent and manipulated hundreds of times without voltage fluctuations, revolutionizing power sources for the warfighter technology of today.


Lithium ion batteries may benefit from porous amorphous silicon anodes

Next-generation anodes for lithium ion batteries will probably no longer be made of graphite. Silicon can provide a much higher capacity than graphite, but its crystallinity poses problems. Chinese scientists have introduced a porous silicon form that is amorphous, not crystalline, and has the potential to outstrip the other materials in rechargeable battery applications.


Scientists are first to capture electron movements inside a solar cell

Scientists have attempted to describe the subatomic particle’s motion using a variety of different means, but research from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology has made this process much easier. The scientists combined the techniques of UV light pulses and electron microscopy in order to see electrons moving inside a solar cell.


Innovative molten silicon-based energy storage system

Researcher at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have developed a novel system that allows energy storage in molten silicon. The system has patent pending status in the United States, and aims to develop a new generation of low cost solar thermal stations and becoming an innovative storage system of electricity and cogeneration for urban centers.


Highly efficient organic solar cells with improved operation stability

A new study affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has presented a strategy to simultaneously improve and stabilize the performance of organic solar cells. The research team developed a new type of organic solar cells with 11.6% efficiency that maintained almost 80% of its initial efficiency after a 60-day high-temperature test.





Mechanical behavior of piezoelectric nanocrystals is affected by atomic defects

An international team of scientists with participation from the University of Göttingen, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Pennsylvania State University, and Wright State University has measured the mechanics of tiny crystalline ceramics. Until now, it was unknown that mechanical behavior of piezoelectric nanocrystals containing atomic defects is different than pure.


Cicada wings inspire antireflective surfaces

A team of Shanghai Jiao Tong University researchers has used the shape of cicada wings as a template to create antireflective structures fabricated with one of the most intriguing semiconductor materials, titanium dioxide (TiO2). The antireflective structures they produced are capable of suppressing visible light—450–750 nm—at different angles of incidence.


Sussex physicists develop new touchscreen technology

Physicists at the University of Sussex are developing an alternative touchscreen technology to overcome shortfalls in traditional materials that rely on electrodes made from indium tin oxide. Not only is the material suitable for touchscreens, but that it is possible to produce extremely small patterns, small enough for high-definition LCD displays, such as smartphones and the next generation of television and computer screens.


Scientists create new cost-effective silicon carbide high-voltage switch

Researchers at North Carolina State University have created a high voltage and high frequency silicon carbide power switch that could cost much less than similarly rated SiC power switches. The findings could lead to early applications in the power industry, especially in power converters like medium voltage drives, solid state transformers and high voltage transmissions and circuit breakers.


Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to determine the ferroelectric properties of an inorganic compound called hafnium oxide for the first time. Crucially, the crystal structure of HfO2 allows it to be deposited in ultra-thin films, meaning it may prove invaluable for next-generation technologies.


Scientists find static ‘stripes’ of electrical charge in copper-oxide superconductor

Scientists at Brookhaven National Lab have demonstrated that static, as opposed to fluctuating, charge stripes coexist with superconductivity in a cuprate when lanthanum and barium are added in certain amounts. Their research suggests that this static ordering of electrical charges may cooperate rather than compete with superconductivity.


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