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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Study explains strength gap between graphene, carbon fiber

Carbon fiber, a pillar of strength in materials manufacturing for decades, isn’t as good as it could be, but there are ways to improve it, according to Rice University scientists. They found the polymer chains that make up a common carbon fiber are prone to misalign during manufacture, a defect the researchers compared with a faulty zipper that weakens the product.

Hybrid nanostructures hold hydrogen well

Layers of graphene separated by nanotube pillars of boron nitride may be a suitable material to store hydrogen fuel in cars, according to Rice University scientists. The Rice lab of materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari determined in a new computational study that pillared boron nitride and graphene could be a candidate.

Nanofiber coating prevents infections of prosthetic joints

In a proof-of-concept study with mice, scientists at The Johns Hopkins University show that a novel coating they made with antibiotic-releasing nanofibers has the potential to better prevent at least some serious bacterial infections related to total joint replacement surgery.


Flexible cells on roofs to windows to cars to even clothing could provide another energy source

Researchers at the University of Melbourne are developing printable lightweight, flexible solar cells that are so pliable they can effectively turn any surface into a solar array—from buildings, to vehicles or even clothing. The organic photovoltaics (OPVs) feature a new kind of high performance light-harvesting material with unusual crystallization, which aligns its molecules to improve performance.

Better water splitting advances renewable energy conversion

Washington State University researchers have found a way to more efficiently create hydrogen from water—an important key in making renewable energy production and storage viable. The researchers have developed a catalyst from low-cost materials. It performs as well as or better than catalysts made from precious metals that are used for the process.

High-storage sodium-ion batteries

The mechanism of sodium ion storage in an important 2-D material could be a simpler and less toxic route to cheaper batteries, a team of KAUST researchers discovered. The team developed a process for 2-D anodes for sodium-ion batteries made from tin selenide. They used a combination of experimental and computational studies to unlock the mechanism by which they store sodium ions.

Engineers design ultralow power transistors that could function for years without a battery

A newly-developed form of transistor opens up a range of new electronic applications including wearable or implantable devices by drastically reducing the amount of power used. Devices based on this type of ultralow power transistor, developed by engineers at the University of Cambridge, could function for months or even years without a battery by ‘scavenging’ energy from their environment.

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

Researchers at Columbia University have developed a new method to increase the energy density of lithium batteries. They built a trilayer structure that is stable even in ambient air, which makes the battery both longer lasting and cheaper to manufacture. The work may improve the energy density of lithium batteries by 10-30%.


Scientists produce first 3-D-printed magnets

From a technological perspective, making a powerful magnet is no problem. Precisely controlling the shape of magnet’s magnetic field, however, has proven difficult—until now. Engineers at TU Wien have for the first time designed and produced magnets using a 3-D printer.

Researchers find way to tune thermal conductivity of 2-D materials

To better understand the thermal conduction properties of 2-D materials, a team of researchers from North Carolina State University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Toyota Research Institute of North America began experimenting with molybdenum disulfide. The researchers found that, by introducing disorder to the MoS2, they could significantly alter the thermal anisotropy ratio.

New material traps CO2, even at low concentrations

Researchers in Saudi Arabia have developed a material capable of absorbing and trapping carbon dioxide, even at concentration as low as 400 parts per million. The technology relies on the porosity of metal-organic frameworks, a class of materials prized for their ability to absorb and trap gases.

3-D printed metamaterial shrinks when heated

Members of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Additive Manufacturing Initiative are among a group of researchers who have developed 3-D printed materials with a unique property—instead of expanding when heated, they shrink.

A new class of materials could realize quantum computers

Scientists at EPFL and the Swiss Light Source have examined thin films of the GeTe material to identify a new class of materials whose electronic properties can prove ideal for spintronics. The study revealed the intertwined nature of the electric and magnetic properties of the new class of materials, which are termed “multiferroic Rashba semiconductors.”

New metamaterial paves way for terahertz technologies

A research team led by UCLA electrical engineers has developed an artificial composite material to control higher-frequency electromagnetic waves, such as those in the terahertz and far-infrared frequencies. The material, specifically a metamaterial because it is has properties not found in nature, could be transformative for imaging, sensing and communication applications.

Metamaterial device allows chameleon-like behavior in the infrared

An electric current will not only heat a hybrid metamaterial, but will also trigger it to change state and fade into the background like a chameleon in what may be the proof-of-concept of the first controllable metamaterial device, or metadevice, according to a team of Penn State engineers.