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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Advanced materials power next-generation molecular separations

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology identified the opportunities they see ahead for scalable membrane materials based on rigid, engineered pore structures. They say the most promising materials are scalable for use in compact modules and take advantage of entropy at the molecular level to moderate the separation selectivity of membranes.

Nanometric imprinting on fiber

Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have come up with a simple and innovative technique for drawing or imprinting complex, nanometric patterns on hollow polymer fibers. The imprinted designs could be used to impart certain optical effects on a fiber or make it water-resistant.

Chemists cook up new nanomaterial and imaging method

A team of chemists led by Northwestern University has created an entirely new type of nanomaterial and watched it form in real time. The researchers made covalent organic frameworks (COFs) that are stable. But what limits COFs from realizing these applications is that they are usually prepared as powdery substances that can’t be processed into useful forms.

Nanocavity and atomically thin materials advance tech for chip-scale light sources

University of Washington researchers have discovered an important first step towards building electrically pumped nanolasers that are critical to develop integrated photonic based short-distance optical interconnects and sensors. The team demonstrated this first step through cavity-enhanced electroluminescence from atomically thin monolayer materials.


Increasing energy efficiency of metal-air batteries

A team of researchers affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has successfully developed a way to increase energy efficiency of metal-air batteries by using a conducting polymer. In the study, they reported that catalytic activity of perovskite that can be substitute to platinum was dramatically enhanced by simply adding a kind of conducting polymer.

Scientists lay foundations for new type of solar cell

An interdisciplinary team of researchers has laid the foundations for an entirely new type of photovoltaic cell. In this new method, infrared radiation is converted into electrical energy using a different mechanism from that found in conventional solar cells. The mechanism behind the new solid-state solar cell made of the mineral perovskite relies on so-called polaron excitations, which combine the excitation of electrons and vibrations of the crystal lattice.

Efficient, organic photovoltaic cells for indoor and outdoor applications

Organic photovoltaics may cost less than their silicon counterparts, but their performance remains off-putting to this day. A consortium of European research groups and industries recently demonstrated free-form organic solar modules for three specific, indoor and outdoor applications that should help put such concerns to bed.

Scientists report fastest synthetic catalysts to date for hydrogen production

Using a natural catalyst from bacteria for inspiration, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers have now developed the fastest synthetic catalyst for hydrogen production—producing 45 million molecules per second. Instead of a costly metal, this catalyst uses inexpensive, abundant nickel at its busy core.

Using sunlight to activate the flow of electrical current in a new material

A team of scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has compositionally modified magnetite to capture visible sunlight and convert this light energy into electrical current. This current may be useful to drive the decomposition of water into hydrogen and oxygen. The team generated this material by replacing one third of the iron atoms with chromium atoms.


Carbon nitride sheets boost stem cell repair of bone

A new study affiliated with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has introduced a new treatment for skeletal system injuries, using stem cells from human bone marrow and a carbon material with photocatalytic properties. The team reported that red-light absorbing carbon nitride sheets lead to remarkable proliferation and osteogenic differentiation.

3-D bioprinter to print human skin

Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, in collaboration with the firm BioDan Group, have presented a prototype for a 3-D bioprinter that can create functional human skin.

Microscopic submarines for your stomach

Tiny ‘submarines’ that speed independently through the stomach, use gastric acid for fuel, and release their cargo precisely at the desired pH: Though it may sound like science fiction, this is a new method for treating stomach diseases with acid-sensitive drugs. The technique is based on proton-driven micromotors with a pH-dependent polymer coating that can be loaded with drugs.


Using synthetic Mars soil, Tethon 3D to print replicas of the Mars Curiosity rover landing site

Tethon 3D has a new Kickstarter Make 100 project—to 3D-print replicas of the Mar Curiosity rover Gale Crater landing site with simulated Mars soil. By processing a mixture of materials that simulate the composition of Mars soil into a very fine powder, Tethon 3D made a material that is compatible with a power/ink jet binder 3D printer.

National cluster helps companies tap new 3-D printing technologies

Tissue implants customized to a patient could soon be printed using a new type of 3-D printer under development by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and a Singapore-based 3-D printing start-up focused on healthcare. This new printer can print the supporting structure layer by layer and insert living cells to form a live tissue that could aid in regeneration of particular tissues or organs.


Theory lends transparency to exactly how glass breaks

Over time, when a metallic glass is put under stress, its atoms will shift, slide and ultimately form bands that leave the material more prone to breaking. Rice University scientists have developed new computational methods based on a general theory of glasses to explain why. The work lays a foundation to calculate how all types of glass morph over time when they are put under mechanical stress.

Invention brings sci-fi holograms a step closer

Australian National University physicists have invented a tiny device that creates the highest quality holographic images ever achieved, opening the door to imaging technologies seen in science fiction movies such as Star Wars. The team created complex holographic images in infrared with the invention that could be developed with industry.

How to design materials with reprogrammable shape and function

Researchers from Harvard University have developed a general framework to design reconfigurable metamaterials. The design strategy is scale independent, meaning it can be applied to everything from meter-scale architectures to reconfigurable nano-scale systems such as photonic crystals, waveguides and metamaterials to guide heat.

New metamaterial can switch from hard to soft—and back again

When a material is made, you typically cannot change whether that material is hard or soft. But a group of University of Michigan researchers have developed a new way to design a “metamaterial” that allows the material to switch between being hard and soft without damaging or altering the material itself.

New insights into the forms of metal-organic frameworks

A team of researchers has recently developed a new novel design strategy for synthesizing various forms of functional materials, especially for metal-organic materials (MOMs). The research team expects that this synthetic approach might open up a new direction for the development of diverse forms in MOMs.

New study reveals solidification cracking during welding of steel

New research led by the University of Leicester has made a novel breakthrough in understanding how solidification cracking occurs during the welding of steel, an important engineering alloy. In a new study the team propose that solidification cracks grow by linking micro-porosities in the meshing zone in the solidifying weld pool.

Scientists unveil new form of matter: time crystals

Normal crystals, likes diamond, are an atomic lattice that repeats in space, but physicists recently suggested making materials that repeat in time. Last year, researchers sketched out the phases surrounding a time crystal and what to measure in order to confirm that this new material is actually a stable phase of matter. This stimulated two teams to build a time crystal, the first examples of a non-equilibrium form of matter.

Taking materials into the third dimension

To create more efficient catalysts, scientists would like to start with porous materials with controlled atomic-scale structures as random defects can hamper performance. Now a team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has created a one-pot method that produces the structures.