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Published on April 19th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on April 19th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Nanocoatings for heat exhangers have anti-adhesive, anti-corrosive, and antimicrobial effect

Researchers at the INM–Leibniz Institute for New Materials are introducing new nanocoatings that reduce the effort required for cleaning heat exchangers as well as their corrosion. In these new coatings, the research scientists combine antiadhesive, anticorrosive and, on demand, also antimicrobial properties.

 

Non-flammable graphene membrane developed for safe mass production

University of Arkansas researchers have discovered a simple and scalable method for turning graphene oxide into a non-flammable and paper-like graphene membrane that can be used in large-scale production.

 

Graphene ‘phototransistor’ promising for optical technologies

Typical photodetectors made of graphene have only a small area that is sensitive to light, limiting their performance. Now, researchers have solved the problem by combining graphene with a comparatively much larger silicon carbide substrate, creating graphene field-effect transistors that can be activated by light.

 

Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Silicon wafers could take heat of solar ‘power plants’

Researchers have shown how to modify commercially available silicon wafers into a structure that efficiently absorbs solar energy and withstands the high temperatures needed for “concentrated solar power” plants that might run up to 24 hours a day.

 

Insights into the reaction mechanism of lithium-oxygen batteries could lead to better batteries

A team of researchers from used advanced in-situ imaging techniques—the environmental transmission electron microscope—to observe a nano-lithium-oxygen battery during charging and discharging. They found oxygen reacts with lithium on carbon nanotubes to form a metastable lithium oxide.

 

New world record for solar hydrogen production

Scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory recaptured the record for highest efficiency in solar hydrogen production via a photoelectrochemical water-splitting process. The new solar-to-hydrogen efficiency record is 16.2%.

 

Leaf vein structure could hold key to extending battery life

The natural structure found within leaves could improve the performance of everything from rechargeable batteries to high-performance gas sensors, according to an international team of scientists. The researchers have designed a porous material that uses a vascular structure, such as the veins of a leaf, and could make energy transfers more efficient.

 

Artificial biofilm increases energy production in microbial fuel cells

A new type of biofilm could soon microbial fuel cell technology considerably more effective, more stable, and easier to use. A research team has succeeded in producing a hydrogel material that is far better suited for energy production in fuel cells than natural biofilms.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Gold-plated crystals set new standard for natural gas detectors

Materials scientists and engineers have developed a sensor that is fast, sensitive and efficient enough to detect specific wavelengths of electromagnetic energy while on the move. The technology could actively scan areas for methane or natural gas leaks, monitor the health of vast fields of crops, or quickly sort plastics for recycling.

 

Granites could solve riddle of pinpointing metals crucial for low carbon tech

The composition of vast swathes of granite found underneath much of the South West peninsula of Britain could offer a vital clue to where deposits of metals crucial for the production of many low carbon technologies can be found.

 

Novel catalyst to convert carbon dioxide invented

Scientists have invented a new catalyst that can efficiently convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. If successful on a larger scale, this soon to be patented invention could provide a practical way for converting carbon dioxide to useful chemicals.

 

 

BIOMEDICINE

 

A moldable scaffold for bone

A team including researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is developing a new polymer material that can be used to replace skull bone lost to injury, surgery, or birth defect. The bioactive foam is malleable when exposed to warm saline, allowing surgeons to easily shape it to fit irregular defects in the skull, where it hardens in place.

 

Graphene, electricity used to change stem cells for nerve regrowth

Researchers at Iowa State University are exploring what they hope will be a better way to transform stem cells into Schwann-like cells. They’ve developed a nanotechnology that uses inkjet printers to print multi-layer graphene circuits and also uses lasers to treat and improve the surface structure and conductivity of those circuits.

 

‘Neuron-reading’ nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases

A team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has developed nanowires that can record the electrical activity of neurons in fine detail. The new nanowire technology could one day serve as a platform to screen drugs for neurological diseases and could enable researchers to better understand how single cells communicate in large neuronal networks.

 

 

MANUFACTURING

 

Inkjet process to print flexible touchscreens cost-efficiently

New research from INM–Leibniz Institute for New Materials shows how flexible displays might become reality in the near future. The flexible touch screens are produced by printing recently developed nanoparticle inks on thin plastic foils. These inks composed predominantly of transparent, conductive oxides are suitable for a one-step printing process.

 

New 3-D printing method creates shape-shifting objects

A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and two other institutions has developed a new 3-D printing method to create objects that can permanently transform into a range of different shapes in response to heat.

 

Researchers find a way to scale production of printable electronics

Researchers combined 3-D and inkjet printing to create an immensely scalable production method to produce printable electronics. The new memory device uses resistive memory, called ReRAM. The high-resistance portion of the device is made of insulating spin-on glass, which divides a conducting polymer electrode from a silver electrode.

 

Silver circuits on foil allow curved touchscreens

Scientists have developed a so-called “photochemical metallization.” Until now, these different conductive paths had to be manufactured in several steps in time-consuming processes. With the photochemical metallization this is now possible in one single step on flexible substrates.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Ultra-thin multilayer film for next-generation data storage and processing

A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore has invented a novel ultra-thin multilayer film that could harness the properties of tiny magnetic whirls, known as skyrmions, as information carriers for storing and processing data on magnetic media.

 

A novel method for the fabrication of active-matrix 3-D pressure sensors

A recent study affiliated with UNIST has created a 3-D, tactile sensor that is capable of generating an electrical signal based on the sensed touch actions and also consumes far less electricity than conventional pressure sensors. The researchers developed a transistor-type active-matrix pressure sensor using foldable substrate and an air-dielectric layer.

 

Researchers develop new class of optoelectronic materials

Researchers at the University of Southern California have pioneered a new class of semiconductor materials that might enhance the functionality of optoelectronic devices and solar panels—perhaps even using one hundred times less material than the commonly used silicon.

 

Shedding light on the absorption of light by titanium dioxide

Despite decades of studies on the conversion of the absorbed light into electrical charges in anatase titanium dioxide, the very nature of its fundamental electronic and optical properties was still unknown. EPFL scientists and partners have now shed light onto the problem by a combination of spectroscopic techniques and theoretical calculations.

 

Key question on titanium oxide, water interactions resolved

When water comes in for a landing on the common catalyst titanium oxide, it splits into hydroxyls just under half the time. Now, researchers have determined that water is only slightly more likely to stay in one piece as it binds to the catalyst surface than it is to form the hydroxyl pairs.

 

Low-haze structures for transparent flexible electrodes by electrospinning processes

For flexible electrodes, INM–Leibniz Institute for New Materials is working with electrospinning, a technique that produces ultrafine fibers. When conductive materials are spun, flexible conductive transparent electrodes could be produced with transparencies comparable to indium tin oxide with low haze less than 2%.

 


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