[Image above] Credit: NIST
An international team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University have devised a cheap and simple method to produce an ultrathin film that is transparent and highly conductive to electric current. The film is also bendable and stretchable, offering potential applications in roll-up touchscreen displays, wearable electronics, flexible solar cells, and electronic skin.
The Graphene Flagship Italian partner CNR-ISOF’s research shows that it is possible to use graphene to produce fully flexible NFC antennas. By combining material characterization, computer modelling, and engineering of the device, the researchers designed an antenna that could exchange information with near-field communication devices.
Researchers at the Institute for Basic Science and KAIST discovered graphene synthesis mechanism using laser-induced solid-state phase separation of single-crystal silicon carbide. This study clarifies how this laser technology can separate a complex compound into its ultrathin elements of carbon and silicon.
A Stanford engineering team has demonstrated how it might be possible to mass-produce atomically thin materials and electronics. The researchers started with a single layer of molybdenum disulfide and manufactured that sheet by depositing three layers of atoms into a crystalline structure 25 million times wider than it is thick.
Iowa State University engineering professor Steve Martin has researched battery materials for 30-plus years. Specifically, he and his graduate students have been studying and measuring the basic properties of glassy solids, laying a foundation to develop new, “all-solid-state” batteries. Martin now has a new three-year, $2.5 million grant to do just that.
Engineers at Australia’s University of New South Wales in Sydney have smashed perovskite’s world efficiency record. An independent team confirmed the 12.1% efficiency rating for a 16 cm2 perovskite solar cell, the largest single perovskite photovoltaic cell certified with the highest energy conversion efficiency. The new cell is at least 10 times bigger than the current certified high-efficiency perovskite solar cells on record.
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California-Berkeley have shown that the lithium ion’s journey involves more intimate contact with the electrolyte molecules than previously thought. The findings suggest that computational models need to be refined to account for the higher number of electrolyte molecules surrounding the lithium ion.
New technology has been developed that uses nuclear waste to generate electricity in a nuclear-powered battery. A team of physicists and chemists from the University of Bristol have grown a man-made diamond that, when placed in a radioactive field, is able to generate a small electrical current. The development could solve some of the problems of nuclear waste, clean electricity generation and battery life.
Research from the University of Surrey reveals scientists are able to improve the efficiency of solar cells more than threefold. The solar cells are a flexible, lightweight and environmentally-friendly and have the capacity to be printed in different colours and shapes. In contrast to inorganic competitors, the cells also convert efficiently indirect sunlight.
University of California, Riverside researchers have combined photosynthesis and physics to make a key discovery that could help make solar cells more efficient. They designed a new type of quantum heat engine photocell, which helps manipulate the flow of energy in solar cells. The design incorporates a heat engine photocell that absorbs photons from the sun and converts the photon energy into electricity.
Tiny, glowing crystals designed to detect and capture heavy-metal toxins such as lead and mercury could prove to be a powerful new tool in locating and cleaning up contaminated water sources. A science team led by researchers at Rutgers University used intense X-rays at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to probe the structure of the crystals they developed and learn how they bind to heavy metals.
The recently discovered element 117 has been officially named “tennessine” in recognition of Tennessee’s contributions to its discovery, including the efforts of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its Tennessee collaborators at Vanderbilt University and the University of Tennessee.
Inspired by the structure of insect eyes, scientists have developed new materials that could improve the color and effectiveness of reflective coatings. The researchers evenly coated an array of glass microspheres with smaller balls of silica. The result is a brilliantly colored, retroreflective material.
Nebraska engineers Christopher Tuan and Lim Nguyen have developed a cost-effective concrete that shields against intense pulses of electromagnetic energy. The technology works by both absorbing and reflecting electromagnetic waves. The team replaced some standard concrete aggregates with a key ingredient—magnetite, a mineral with magnetic properties that absorbs microwaves like a sponge.
University of Texas Dallas physicists have published new findings examining the electrical properties of transition metal dichalcogenides, materials that could be harnessed for next-generation transistors and electronics. The team discovered that how electrons behave in the TMDs depends on whether an even or odd number of TMD layers were used.
Throw a baseball, and you might say it’s all in the wrist. For robots, it’s all in the gears. At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., technologist Douglas Hofmann and his collaborators are building a better gear. Hofmann is the lead author of two recent papers on gears made from bulk metallic glass, a specially crafted alloy with properties that make it ideal for robotics.
Piezoelectric sensors measure changes in pressure, acceleration, temperature, strain, or force, but can be limited by the “white noise” they detect. Now, a University of Missouri College of Engineering research team has developed methods to enhance piezoelectric sensing capabilities. Enhanced sensors could be used to improve aviation, detect structural damage in buildings and bridges, and boost the capabilities of health monitors.
Researchers from Brown University have demonstrated an unusual method of putting the brakes on superconductivity. The research shows that weak magnetic fields—far weaker than those that normally interrupt superconductivity—can interact with defects in a material to create a “random gauge field.”