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[Image above] Credit: NIST


‘Scotch tape’ and laser beams craft new material that could improve LED screens

Researchers at the University of Kansas successfully created a new bilayer material, with each layer measuring less than 1 nm in thickness, that someday could lead to more efficient and versatile light emission. They created the material by combining atomically thin layers of molybdenum disulfide and rhenium disulfide.

Nano-level lubricant tuning improves material for electronic devices and surface coatings

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new approach to dynamically tune the micro- and nano-scale roughness of atomically thin molybdenum disulfide, and consequently the appropriate degree of hydrophobicity for various potential molybdenum disulfide-based applications.

How to roll a nanotube: Demystifying carbon nanotubes’ structure control

Research from the Institute for Basic Science and Peking University demonstrates how to control the synthesis of special tiny carbon cylinders known as carbon nanotubes to synthesize horizontal arrays of CNTs with the same structure. Like in a battleship game where the position of the boats is defined by two numbers, the structure of CNTs is defined by a pair of indices.

Team makes high-quality graphene with soybeans

CSIRO scientists have developed a novel “GraphAir” technology to produce graphene that eliminates the need for highly-controlled environments. The technology grows graphene film in ambient air with a natural precursor—soybeans—making its production faster and simpler.

Scientists to engineer dream diodes with a graphene interlayer

A team of researchers affiliated with UNIST has created a new technique that greatly enhances the performance of Schottky diodes used in electronic devices. Their research findings have solved the contact resistance problem of metal-semiconductor junctions, which had remained unsolved for almost 50 years.

Breakthrough in ‘wonder’ materials paves way for flexible tech

Gadgets are set to become flexible, highly efficient, and much smaller, following a breakthrough in measuring 2-D ‘wonder’ materials by the University of Warwick. The researchers have developed a new technique to measure the electronic structures of stacks of 2-D materials for the first time.


Material can turn sunlight, heat, and movement into electricity—all at once

Normally wasted energy can potentially help power portable and wearable gadgets, from biometric sensors to smart watches. Now, researchers from the University of Oulu in Finland have found that a mineral with the perovskite crystal structure has the right properties to extract energy from multiple sources at the same time.

New economic water-splitting catalyst: Ruthenium-based material

UNIST scientists have developed an exiting new catalyst that can split water into hydrogen almost as well as platinum can, but less costly and found frequently on Earth. This ruthenium-based material works almost as efficient as platinum and likely shows the highest catalytic performance without being affected by the pH of the water.

Printable solar cells just got a little closer

A University of Toronto innovation could make printing solar cells as easy and inexpensive as printing a newspaper. The researchers have cleared a critical manufacturing hurdle in the development of perovskite solar cells and could lead to low-cost, printable solar panels capable of turning nearly any surface into a power generator.

Next-generation batteries a game changer for electric cars

Under a new partnership between the University of Wollongong and China’s Tianneng Battery Group Company, a research team has secured funding to develop the next generation of high-energy-density lithium-ion batteries. Among other things, the batteries have the potential to significantly increase the range of electric cars.

Four-stroke engine cycle produces hydrogen from methane, captures carbon dioxide

By adding a catalyst, a hydrogen separating membrane, and carbon dioxide sorbent to the century-old four-stroke engine cycle, Georgia Tech researchers have demonstrated a laboratory-scale hydrogen reforming system that produces the green fuel at relatively low temperature in a process that can be scaled up or down to meet specific needs.


This solar-powered device converts thin air into water

SunGlacier has produced cheap solar-powered device that literally creates water out of thin air. The secret is an 18-watt Peltier element, which is a small thin square piece that becomes hot on one side and cold on another when it’s connected to an electric current. The Peltier element can produce about a half-cup of water every six hours.

Researchers invent breakthrough process to produce renewable tires from trees, grasses

A team of researchers led by the University of Minnesota has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses in a process that could shift the tire production industry toward using renewable resources found right in our backyards.

New metalloid oxide reducing bacteria found in Manitoba’s Nopiming gold mine tailings

Researchers have identified new toxic metalloid-reducing bacteria in highly polluted abandoned gold mine tailings in Manitoba’s Nopiming Provincial Park. Uncovering new bacteria with high resistance to toxic waste in Canada’s extreme environments has potential to contribute to future bioremediation technologies.


New stem cell technique shows promise for bone repair

A recent study affiliated with UNIST has developed a new method of repairing injured bone 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.

Iron oxide nanoparticles could help avoid side effects of MRI contrast agents

A new, specially coated iron oxide nanoparticle developed by a team at MIT and elsewhere could provide an alternative to conventional gadolinium-based contrast agents used for MRI procedures. In rare cases, the currently used gadolinium agents have been found to produce adverse effects in patients with impaired kidney function.

Inscribing porous, carbonized patterns creates electrodes that detect biological molecules

Using a laser to burn patterns into a polymer sheet, KAUST researchers have created graphene electrodes that act as effective biosensors. The team used this graphene-based electrode to build a sensor for three biologically important molecules: ascorbic acid, dopamine, and uric acid. When the molecules hit the electrode surface, they release electrons, generating a current proportional to their concentration.

Luminescence switchable carbon nanodots follow intracellular trafficking and drug delivery

Tiny carbon dots have, for the first time, been applied to intracellular imaging and tracking of drug delivery involving various optical and vibrational spectroscopic-based techniques. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have demonstrated that photoluminescent carbon nanoparticles can exhibit reversible switching of their optical properties in cancer cells.


GaN express sheds new light on the path to super-fast computing

A University of Technology Sydney team has demonstrated the quantum potential of gallium nitride, a wide-bandgap semiconductor commonly used in BluRay devices. The team used experimental and numerical modeling to identify a unique arrangement of structural defects in gallium nitride as being the source of emission.

Bulletproof origami made of 12 layers of Kevlar shields to protect law enforcement

BYU engineering professors have created an origami-inspired, lightweight bulletproof shield that can protect law enforcement from gunfire. The new barrier can be folded compactly when not in use, making it easier to transport and deploy. When expanded—which takes only five seconds—it can provide cover for officers and stop bullets from several types of handguns.

Deadly spider’s unique spinning technique could inspire tougher materials

Researchers have discovered that brown recluse spiders use a unique micro-looping technique to make their threads stronger than that of any other spider. Unlike other spiders, who produce round ribbons of thread, recluse silk is thin and flat. This structural difference is key to the thread’s strength, providing the flexibility needed to prevent premature breakage and withstand the knots created during spinning which give each strand additional strength.

New material holds promise to create more flexible, efficient technologies

An organic-inorganic hybrid material developed at Florida State University may be the future for more efficient technologies that can generate electricity from either light or heat or devices that emit light from electricity. The materials, called organometal halide perovskites, could be more mechanically flexible than existing silicon and other inorganic materials used for solar cells, thermoelectric devices, and LEDs.

Metamaterial: Mail armor inspires physicists

Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology were inspired by medieval mail armor when producing a new metamaterial with novel properties. They succeeded in reversing the Hall coefficient of a material. First, the scientists produced polymer scaffolds with a highest-resolution 3-D printer. Then, they coated these scaffolds with semiconducting zinc oxide.

‘Lossless’ metamaterial could boost efficiency of lasers and other light-based devices

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a material that could reduce signal losses in photonic devices. Researchers created the new metamaterial by first growing a crystal of the semiconductor material indium gallium arsenide phosphide on a substrate. They then used high-energy ions from plasma to etch narrow trenches into the semiconductor, creating 40-nm-wide rows of semiconductor spaced 40 nm apart.