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[Image above] Credit: NIST


A better way to source silicon nanowires

Scientists at Lomonosov Moscow State University have developed a more environmentally friendly method for making silicon nanowires. Using metal nanoparticles, the scientists are able to etch nanostructures on a silicon wafer, creating nanowires 50–200 nm in diameter. Gaps between each nanowire can range from 100–500 nm.

A novel semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used in a variety of applications, including microscopic actuators and grippers for surgical robots, light-powered micro-mirrors for optical telecommunications systems, and more efficient solar cells and photodetectors.

Nanowires as sensors in new type of atomic force microscope

Physicists at the University of Basel and at the EPF Lausanne have developed a new type of atomic force microscope that uses nanowires as tiny sensors, enabling measurements of both the size and direction of forces. When nanowires are integrated into an AFM, the researchers can measure changes in the perpendicular vibrations caused by different forces.

Crystal clear imaging: Infrared brings to light nanoscale molecular arrangement

A team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has demonstrated infrared imaging of an organic semiconductor known for its electronics capabilities (PTCDA). The researchers focused infrared light from a synchrotron onto the tip of the atomic force microscope, revealing key nanoscale details about the nature of its crystal shapes and orientations and defects.

Exotic property confirmed in natural material could lead to fundamental studies

Purdue University researchers have confirmed the existence of a naturally occurring exotic property in which a material becomes thicker when stretched—the opposite of most materials—a discovery that could lead to new studies into the fundamental science of nanomaterials behavior, say researchers.


New 3-D design for mobile microbatteries

In the race towards miniaturization, a research team has succeeded in improving the energy density of a rechargeable battery without increasing its size (limited to a few square millimeters in mobile sensors). This feat was achieved by developing a 3-D structure made of microtubes, the first step towards producing a complete microbattery. Initial experiments demonstrated the excellent conductivity of the battery’s solid electrolyte.

New kind of supercapacitor made without carbon

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have for the first time developed a supercapacitor that uses no conductive carbon at all, and that could potentially produce more power than existing versions of this technology. The team has been exploring metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, which are extremely porous, sponge-like structures. These materials have an extraordinarily large surface area for their size, much greater than the carbon materials do.


Diamonds make gallium nitride devices cooler

A layer of diamond can prevent high-power electronic devices from overheating. This becomes particularly important in devices made from gallium nitride. Now a team of researchers show that a layer of diamond can spread heat and improve the thermal performance of these devices.

Disorderly conduct in electron behavior in iron-tellurium

An analysis of electron behavior explains why the phase-change material iron-tellurium best conducts electricity in its disordered amorphous phase. The researchers confirmed the existence of lone-pair electrons in both the material’s amorphous and crystalline phases. In the crystalline phase, electrons strongly hybridized—thus lone-pair electrons were incorporated as part of the integral structure.

Divergent alloy has creep resistance even at high temperatures

A team of researchers at the University of North Texas did experimental research regarding creep deformation theory. That theory suggests all solids are to some extent subject to a slow, continuous deformation under constant stress. However, these researchers developed a divergent alloy that is able to achieve and retain high strength and creep resistance even at high temperatures.

Achieving ultra-low friction of metal surfaces without oil additives

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new process for treating metal surfaces that has the potential to improve efficiency in piston engines and a range of other equipment. The method improves the ability of metal surfaces to bond with oil, significantly reducing friction without special oil additives.

Enhancing the superconducting properties of an iron-based material

By bombarding a material with low-energy protons, Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists doubled the amount of current the material could carry without resistance, while raising the temperature at which this superconducting state emerges, a new report outlines.

Diamonds aren’t forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together. Though the silicon atoms are embedded in a solid, they behave as though floating in a gas, and therefore their electrons’ response to quantum stimuli are not clouded by unwanted interactions with other matter.