[Image above] Credit: NIST
An international team of researchers has developed a novel means of producing colored coatings for metals. The double-layer coating material has a lower layer of a metallic network perforated by tiny cavities and made of an alloy of platinum, yttrium and aluminum. The researchers used a simple etching process to create the cavities and then placed a very thin oxide layer on top.
Engineers at MIT have invented a fast, precise printing process that may make such electronic surfaces an inexpensive reality. In a paper published today in Science Advances, the researchers report that they have fabricated a stamp made from forests of carbon nanotubes that is able to print electronic inks onto rigid and flexible surfaces.
Scientists at Brookhaven National Lab used a high-resolution electron microscope to study nanoscale details of catalytic particles made of nickel and cobalt—inexpensive alternatives to the costly platinum used in most fuel cells today. Their dynamic images reveal how the particles’ external and internal structure and chemical makeup change as they become catalytically active.
Scientists from Russia and the U.K. have developed an antenna that can aid in reducing sources of terahertz radiation down to the size of a fingertip. The antenna is a “sandwich” of semiconductor layers combined with quantum dots and can provide a foundation for a new universal system capable of both transmitting and receiving terahertz radiation.
Australian National University scientists have designed a nanocrystal that turns darkness into visible light and can be used to create lightweight nightvision glasses. “These semi-conductor nano-crystals can transfer the highest intensity of light and engineer complex light beams that could be used with a laser to project a holographic image in modern displays.”
Michigan State University engineering researchers have created a new way to harvest energy from human motion, using a film-like device that actually can be folded to create more power. With the low-cost device, known as a nanogenerator, the scientists successfully operated an LCD touch screen, a bank of 20 LED lights and a flexible keyboard, all with a simple touching or pressing motion and without the aid of a battery.
Battery researchers seeking improved electrode materials have focused on “tunneled” structures that make it easier for charge-carrying ions to move in and out of the electrode. Now a team led by a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago has used a special electron microscope with atomic-level resolution to show that certain large ions can hold the tunnels open so that the charge-carrying ions can enter and exit the electrode easily and quickly.
Research from the University of Surrey and Augmented Optics Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Bristol, has developed potentially transformational technology which could revolutionize the capabilities of appliances that have previously relied on battery power. This development could translate into very high energy density supercapacitors making.
Engineers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum have developed a new concept for current and voltage sensors for batteries that might become particularly relevant for electric vehicles (EV). An EV battery is made up of individual blocks, each of which contain up to twelve cells. Typically, each cell is monitored by its own voltage sensor. Designed by Philip Dost, the new system requires only one single voltage sensor, thus reducing overall weight and costs.
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. has developed technology for measuring the magnetic properties of materials when force is applied. By attaching a piezoelectric device to an electromagnetic steel test plate to create various states of stress, the lab developed the world’s first technology that measures the magnetic property called vector magnetic hysteresis in the presence of stress.
Scientists at Rice University have decoded the kinetic properties of cement and developed a way to “program” the microscopic, semicrystalline particles within. The process turns particles from disordered clumps into regimented cubes, spheres, and other forms that combine to make the material less porous and more durable.
Engineers have developed a nanomaterial that could lead to optical chips and circuits. The researchers believe they are the first to rewrite a waveguide, which is a crucial photonic component and a building block for integrated circuits, using an all-optical technique.
Scientists from the University of Twente’s MESA+ Research Institute have developed a method for studying individual defects in transistors. All computer chips, which are each made up of huge numbers of transistors, contain millions of minor “flaws.”
While progress in energy efficiencies has been reported with alternative materials such as SiC and GaN, energy-savings in the standard inexpensive and widely used silicon devices are still keenly sought. Researchers in Japan have now shown that by scaling down size parameters in all three dimensions of their device, they can achieve significant energy savings.