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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Nano-chimneys can cool circuits

A few nanoscale adjustments may be all that is required to make graphene-nanotube junctions excel at transferring heat, according to Rice University scientists. The Rice lab found that putting a cone-like “chimney” between the graphene and nanotube all but eliminates a barrier that blocks heat from escaping.

Nanowire ‘inks’ enable paper-based printable electronics

By suspending tiny metal nanoparticles in liquids, Duke University scientists are brewing up conductive ink-jet printer “inks” to print inexpensive, customizable circuit patterns on just about any surface. A new study by Duke researchers shows that tweaking the shape of the nanoparticles in the ink might just eliminate the need for heat.

Researchers created a tiny laser using nanoparticles

Researchers at Aalto University in Finland are the first to develop a plasmonic nanolaser that operates at visible light frequencies and uses so-called dark lattice modes. The laser—based on silver nanoparticles arranged in a periodic array—works at length scales 1000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.

Using polymers to control the organizational behavior of nanoparticles

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have found that nanoparticles can be organized in a more predictable, organized fashion when surface-modified with polymer chains. By harnessing the intrinsic organizational properties of polymeric tethers, nanoparticles can be programmed to self-assemble into a variety of micron-sized domain structures in a reversible way.

How porphyrin may enhance graphene

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich recently showed that porphyrins, the same molecules that convey oxygen in haemoglobin and absorb light during photosynthesis, can be joined to graphene to give it new properties. The resulting hybrid structures could be used in the field of molecular electronics and in developing new sensors.


Three-layer nanoparticle catalysts improve zinc-air batteries

Nanoparticles containing three different layers of material can help to boost the performance of a zinc-air battery, A*STAR researchers have found. The researchers developed a catalyst with nanoparticles 20–50 nm wide, with a cobalt core encased by an inner shell of cobalt oxide, which is surrounded by an outer shell of pyrolyzed polydopamine, a form of carbon ‘dotted’ with nitrogen atoms.

Real-life study provides data on potential of powering medical implants with solar cells

Using solar cells placed under the skin to continuously recharge implanted electronic medical devices is a viable one. Swiss researchers have done the math, and found that a 3.6 square centimeter solar cell is all that is needed to generate enough power during winter and summer to power a typical pacemaker.

Artificial leaf goes more efficient for hydrogen generation

A team of international researchers affiliated with UNIST has recently engineered a new artificial leaf that can convert sunlight into fuel with groundbreaking efficiency. Their new artificial leaf mimics the natural process of underwater photosynthesis of aquatic plants to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be harvested for fuel.

Tenfold jump in green tech needed to meet global emissions targets

The global spread of green technologies must quicken significantly to avoid future rebounds in greenhouse gas emissions, a new Duke University study shows. The study used delayed differential equations to calculate the pace at which global per-capita emissions of carbon dioxide have increased since the Second Industrial Revolution. The researchers then compared this pace to the speed of new innovations in low-carbon-emitting technologies.  


Additive manufacturing: A new twist for stretchable electronics?

Electronic components that can be elongated or twisted—known as “stretchable” electronics—could soon be used to power electronic gadgets, the onboard systems of vehicles, medical devices and other products. And a 3-D printing-like approach to manufacturing may help make stretchable electronics more prevalent, say researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Implantable microrobots: Manufacturing platform makes biocompatible micromachines

A team of researchers led by Columbia Engineering has developed a way to manufacture microscale-sized machines from biomaterials that can safely be implanted in the body. Working with hydrogels, the team invented a new technique that stacks the soft material in layers to make devices that have 3-D, freely moving parts.


Compound eyes for industry and smartphone

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a process enabling the production of a two millimeter flat camera. Similar to the eyes of insects, its lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets. Following nature’s model, the researchers have named their mini-camera concept facetVISION.

MIT researchers develop printing process for electronic labels

Imagine being able to read real-time electronic data on a label. For instance, your barista could print out a label so you’d know exactly how hot your coffee is as time passes. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a printing process for transistors that may make electronic labels and similar surfaces an inexpensive reality.

Sea sponges offer clues to how human-made structures can resist buckling

Judging by their name alone, orange puffball sea sponges might seem unlikely paragons of structural strength. But maintaining their shape at the bottom of the churning ocean is critical to the creatures’ survival, and new research shows that tiny structural rods in their bodies have evolved the optimal shape to avoid buckling under pressure.

Germanium’s semiconducting, optical properties probed under pressure

Germanium has great potential for use in next-generation electronics and energy technology. Of particular interest are forms of germanium that can be synthesized in the lab under extreme pressure conditions. However, until now one of the most-promising forms of germanium for practical applications, called ST12, has only been created in tiny sample sizes.

New microscope chemically identifies micron-sized particles

Researchers have developed a microscope that can chemically identify individual micron-sized particles. The new approach could one day be used in airports or other high-security venues as a highly sensitive and low-cost way to rapidly screen people for microscopic amounts of potentially dangerous materials.

Engineers work with Samsung on promising new memory technology

Today’s computers often use as many as four different kinds of memory technology, from the hard drive to the memory chips, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. A new memory technology may be poised to disrupt this landscape, however, with a unique combination of features. It goes by the unwieldy acronym STT-MRAM, which stands for spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory.