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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Black phosphorus doesn’t mind water (if it is de-aerated)

Researchers at the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials within the Institute for Basic Science have discovered that one of graphene’s competitors, black phosphorus, is inert to water deprived of oxygen, ending the debate of whether water causes its degradation. The research provides a more complete understanding of the role of molecular oxygen and water in the degradation of black phosphorus.

Flying start for world’s first graphene-enhanced aircraft

Prospero, the first model aircraft to incorporate a graphene skinned wing, was successfully flown at the Farnborough International Air Show in the U.K. earlier this year. The flight sets an example of how graphene might be used within the aerospace sector.

Rapid and mass production of graphene, using microwaves

A new study by an international team of researchers from UNIST and Rutgers University has proved that it is now possible to produce high quality graphene, using a microwave oven. The team reports that this new technique may have solved some of graphene’s difficult manufacturing problems.

Machine learning enables predictive modeling of 2-D materials

A team of researchers led by Argonne National Lab computational describes its use of machine learning tools to create the first atomic-level model that accurately predicts the thermal properties of stanene, a 2-D material made up of a one-atom-thick sheet of tin.


It’s basic: Alternative fuel cell technology reduces cost

University of Delaware’s researchers believe that fuel-cell vehicles are the way to go, because they best preserve the advantages of gasoline automobiles: low upfront cost, long driving range and fast refueling. But they also believe that a new fuel-cell technology may be necessary—a new twist on proton exchange membrane fuel cells.

A cleaner, more efficient car? New material designed to better store hydrogen fuel

A Florida State University researcher has designed new materials that could be used to store hydrogen fuel more efficiently in vehicles or other devices that use clean energy. Using complex mathematical equations and computer simulations, the researcher designed porous materials of transition metals that cause hydrogen to bond with it.

Generation and release of electrons in graphitic carbon nitride for artificial photosynthesis

The storage of photogenerated electric energy and its release on demand are still among the main obstacles in artificial photosynthesis. One of the most promising, recently identified photocatalytic new materials is inexpensive graphitic carbon nitride. Scientists have now explored a modified form that can produce light-generated electrons and store them for catalytic hydrogen production even after the light has been switched off.

Ultrathin protective layer brings quite a bit more stability to perovskite solar cell

The addition of a few nanometers of a thin layer of aluminum oxide protects a perovskite solar cell against humidity—still a major stumbling block to the commercial application of this new type of solar cell. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology and research institute ECN have found a surprising bonus that boosts yield 3%.

X-ray spectroscopy reveals details of capacity fading in Li-ion batteries

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam are employing advanced X-ray spectroscopy to study battery electrodes under operating conditions. Recently this has provided new insight in the process responsible for capacity fading of Li-ion batteries. Their results unequivocally show that migrated manganese at the anode has an oxidation state of +2.

Hydrogen in your pocket? New plastic for carrying and storing hydrogen

A Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan) group has developed a polymer that can store hydrogen in a light, compact, and flexible sheet and is safe to touch even when filled with hydrogen gas. The team developed a ketone polymer, which can be produced as a thin sheet, and can fix hydrogen via simple electrolytic hydrogenation in water at room temperature.

New anode material set to boost lithium-ion battery capacity

Researchers at Ulsan National Institute of Science and have developed a new type anode material that they claim will lead to lighter and longer-lasting batteries for everything from personal devices to electric vehicles. The team has demonstrated the feasibility of a next-generation hybrid anode using silicon-nanolayer-embedded graphite/carbon.


Sawdust reinvented into super sponge for oil spills

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Lab have chemically modified sawdust to make it exceptionally oil-attracting and buoyant, characteristics that are ideal for cleaning oil spills in the icy, turbulent waters of the Arctic. The nontoxic material absorbs up to five times its weight in oil and stays afloat for at least four months.

Uncovering the secrets of water and ice as materials

From a scientific point of view, much remains unknown about water and its many solid phases. This inspired researchers at University College London and Oxford University to pursue a better understanding of water and ice as materials, they report their work on the hydrogen ordering of the disordered ice VI phase relative to its ordered counterpart ice XV.

How does water melt? Layer by layer!

Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, in a collaboration with researchers from the Netherlands, the USA, and Japan, have studied the properties of a quasi-liquid layer on ice at the molecular level. Their work solves a controversial question concerning the melting of ice: it melts in a layer-by-layer fashion.


Supercomputer simulation reveals 2-D glass can go infinitely soft

 Scientists in Japan have revealed that if a glassy solid possesses a planar (sheet-like) structure, it can exhibit enhanced thermal vibration motion due to the same mechanism known for the planar crystals (2-D crystals), by using large-scale simulations on supercomputers.

Chemical trickery corrals ‘hyperactive’ metal-oxide cluster

Oregon State University researchers have isolated key metal-oxide clusters in water, a significant advance for growing the clusters with the impeccable control over atoms that is required to manufacture small features in electronic circuits.

Model could shatter a mystery of glass

Princeton University researchers have developed a computational model for creating a “perfect glass” that never crystallizes—even at absolute zero. The model is a new way of thinking about glass and details the extremely unusual properties of a perfect glass.

Sand absorbs high-speed ballistic impact better than steel

A study at the National University of Singapore has found that when a projectile is fired at a sand block at high speed, it absorbs more than 85% of the energy exerted against it. This ability to resist the impact increases with the speed of the projectile, even at high velocities. In contrast, steel plates have poorer energy absorption capacity against high speed projectiles.

New diamond harder than ring bling

Australian National University researchers have led an international project to make a diamond that’s predicted to be harder than a jeweler’s diamond and useful for cutting through ultra-solid materials on mining sites. The team made nano-sized lonsdaleite, which is a hexagonal diamond only found in nature at the site of meteorite impacts.

Superior crystals grow from levitating droplets

Crystals that don’t experience mechanical stress during growth will be of superior quality. So a new project called ‘Perfecting metal crystals’, led by the University of Twente in The Netherlands wants to grow crystals from a metal melt that is levitated by an electromagnetic field, under vacuum conditions.

Porous crystalline materials: Researcher shows method for controlled growth

A research activity including Osaka Prefecture University, University of Adelaide, Monash University, and The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation describes a method of growing MOFs on a comparatively large surface area of one square centimeter, rapidly achieving an unprecedented controlled orientation and alignment of the crystals.

Thermoelectric material made in paintable liquid form

A study led by UNIST researchers has succeeded in developing a new technique that can be used to turn industrial waste heat into electricity for vehicles and other applications. The team presented a new type of high-performance thermoelectric materials that possess liquid-like properties. These newly developed materials are both shape-engineerable and geometrically compatible in that they can be directly brush-painted on almost any surface.

Creating new physical properties in materials

A collaborative effort between research groups at the Technical University of Freiberg and the University of Siegen in Germany demonstrates that the physical properties of strontium titanate—a mineral often studied for its superconducting properties—in its single crystal form can be changed by a relatively simple electrical treatment.