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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Researchers use graphene templates to make new metal-oxide nanostructures

Researchers from Brown University have found a new method for making ultrathin metal-oxide sheets containing intricate wrinkle and crumple patterns. The researchers show that the textured metal-oxide films have better performance when used as photocatalysts and as battery electrodes.

Nanoscale electronics score laboratory victory

Researchers at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering have pioneered a method for growing an atomic scale electronic material at the highest quality ever reported. The researchers detail a technique for synthesizing large sheets of high-performing monolayer tungsten disulfide, a synthetic material with a wide range of electronic and optoelectronic applications.

The thinnest photodetector in the world

The world’s thinnest photodetector has been developed using molybdenum disulfide sandwiched in graphene. With a thickness of just 1.3 nanometers—10 times smaller than the current standard silicon diodes—this device could be used in the Internet of Things, smart devices, wearable electronics and photoelectronics.

Graphene balloons show their colors

Researchers from the Graphene Flagship have found a new potential application for graphene: mechanical pixels. By applying a pressure difference across graphene membranes, the perceived color of the graphene can be shifted continuously from red to blue. This effect could be exploited for use as colored pixels in e-readers and other low-powered screens.

‘Exceptional’ nanosensor architecture based on exceptional points

Researchers from the University of California San Diego have developed a novel design for a compact, ultra-sensitive nanosensor that can be used to make portable health-monitoring devices and to detect minute quantities of toxins and explosives for security applications.

Scientists come up with light-driven motors to power nanorobots of the future

Scientists have proposed a model nanosized dipole photomotor based on the phenomenon of light-induced charge redistribution. Triggered by a laser pulse, this tiny device is capable of directed motion at a record speed and is powerful enough to carry a certain load.


Sodium-oxygen batteries have improved cycle life due to highly concentrated electrolytes

The search for the next-generation battery has recently focused on sodium–oxygen batteries. Theoretically, these should provide previously unattainable efficiency but their practical implementation has proven to be a stumbling block. Researchers now report that a highly concentrated electrolyte solution may make the sodium–oxygen battery more stable, and therefore more practicable.

Major advance in solar cells made from cheap, easy-to-use perovskite

Solar cells made from an inexpensive and increasingly popular material called perovskite can more efficiently turn sunlight into electricity using a new technique to sandwich two types of perovskite into a single photovoltaic cell. University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists report a new design that already achieves an average steady-state efficiency of 18.4%, with a high of 21.7% and a peak efficiency of 26%.

Solar cells get boost with integration of water-splitting catalyst onto semiconductor

Scientists have found a way to engineer the atomic-scale chemical properties of a water-splitting catalyst for integration with a solar cell, and the result is a big boost to the stability and efficiency of artificial photosynthesis.


Green process to make carbon fiber used in rocket nozzles gets patent

A green process developed by a University of Alabama in Huntsville professor for producing the carbon fiber that forms ablative rocket nozzles and heat shields has been awarded a patent. The new process could be of interest to NASA, which has a dwindling stockpile of cellulose rayon fiber that dates back to the late 1990s.

Researchers discover magnetic material to improve de-icing

Researchers at the University of Houston have reported the discovery of a material called a magnetic slippery surface that can be applied to any surface to repel ice. One side of the surface is coated with a magnetic material, while a thin layer of magnetic fluid—a mixture of fluid and iron oxide nanoparticles—is deposited on the other side.

New ‘optofluidic’ technology taps power of diatoms to improve sensor performance

Researchers at Oregon State University have combined one of nature’s tiny miracles, the diatom, with a version of inkjet printing and optical sensing to create an exceptional sensing device that may be up to 10 million times more sensitive than some other commonly used approaches.

Semiconductor-free microelectronics are now possible, thanks to metamaterials

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have fabricated the first semiconductor-free, optically-controlled microelectronic device. Using metamaterials, engineers were able to build a microscale device that shows a 1,000% increase in conductivity when activated by low voltage and a low power laser.

Researchers discover new method to dissipate heat in electronic devices

For the first time, an international team of scientists has modified the energy spectrum of acoustic phonons—elemental excitations, also referred to as quasi-particles, that spread heat through crystalline materials like a wave—by confining them to nanometer-scale semiconductor structures.