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Published on May 3rd, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on May 3rd, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Graphene holds up under high pressure

Engineers at MIT have found that graphene is exceptionally sturdy, remaining intact under applied pressures of at least 100 bars. That’s equivalent to about 20 times the pressure produced by a typical kitchen faucet.

 

Revealing the mystery behind the formation of hollowed nanoparticles during metal oxidation

New knowledge has been gained about the behavior of metal nanoparticles when they undergo oxidation by integrating X-ray imaging and computer modeling and simulation. This knowledge adds to our understanding of fundamental processes like oxidation and corrosion.

 

Better living through pressure: Functional nanomaterials made easy

Using pressure instead of chemicals, nanoparticles have been fabricated into nanowire arrays similar to those that underlie touch-screens for phones, computers, TVs, and sensors. The pressure process takes nanoseconds instead of the hours required by industry’s current chemical means.

 

Novel semiconductor nanofiber with superb charge conductivity

Researchers have developed a novel technology that embeds highly conductive nanostructures into semiconductor nanofibers. The novel composite has superb charge conductivity and can therefore be widely applied, especially in environmental applications.

 

New 2-D materials conduct electricity near the speed of light

Physicists at the University of California, Irvine, and elsewhere have fabricated new 2-D materials with breakthrough electrical and magnetic attributes that could make them building blocks of future quantum computers and other advanced electronics.

 

New atomically layered, thin magnet discovered

It may not seem like a material as thin as an atom could hide any surprises, but a research team led by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab discovered an unexpected magnetic property in a 2-D van der Waals crystal.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Freezing lithium batteries may make them safer, bendable

A new method could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable. The new technique uses ice-templating to control the structure of the solid electrolyte for lithium batteries.

 

Breakthrough enables safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries

Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have developed a safer alternative to fire-prone lithium-ion batteries. They have demonstrated a breakthrough for nickel-zinc batteries in which a 3-D zinc sponge replaces the powdered zinc anode traditionally used.

 

‘Data-driven’ design could lead to improved lithium-ion batteries

Purdue University is working with MIT and Stanford University in a project funded by the Toyota Research Institute to improve rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and accelerate their integration into electric and hybrid vehicles.

 

Bright future for self-charging batteries

Who hasn’t lived through the frustrating experience of being without a phone after forgetting to recharge it? This could one day be a thing of the past thanks to technology being developed by Hydro-Québec and McGill University.

 

New breakthrough in battery charging technology

A new study has introduced a new battery charging technology that uses light to charge batteries. This newly-developed power source is designed to work under sunlight and indoor lighting, allowing users to power their portable electronics anywhere with access to light. In addition, the new device could power electric devices even in the absence of light.

 

Solar cell design with over 50% energy-conversion efficiency

A new solar cell design could raise the energy conversion efficiency to over 50% by absorbing the spectral components of longer wavelengths that are usually lost during transmission through the cell.

 

Revolutionary method reveals impact of short circuits on battery safety

How lithium-ion batteries behave under short-circuit conditions can now be examined using a new approach that inserts a device capable of generating an internal short circuit on-demand and at a pre-determined location into commercially available batteries.

 

Stabilizing molecule could pave way for lithium-air fuel cell

Lithium-oxygen fuel cells boast energy density levels comparable to fossil fuels and are thus seen as a promising candidate for future transportation-related energy needs. Several roadblocks stand in the way of realizing that vision. An engineering lab has focused on one of those roadblocks—the loss of battery power, also known as capacity fade.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

In-flight, on-demand hydrogen production could mean ‘greener’ aircraft

Technion researchers have a developed safe and efficient way to produce hydrogen on board a plane in flight. Using aluminum particles and water, the technology could one day help meet in-flight energy needs on commercial aircraft.

 

Process invented to make sustainable rubber, plastics

Synthetic rubber and plastics are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those humanmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to a team of scientists that has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sources.

 

Making oil from algae: Towards more efficient biofuels

The mechanism behind oil synthesis within microalgae cells has been revealed by a Japanese research team. This discovery could contribute to the development of biofuels.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

New method sees through concrete to detect early-stage corrosion

A noninvasive ‘spectral fingerprint’ technique using terahertz waves has been developed that reveals the corrosion of concrete-encased steel before it can cause any significant degradation of the structure it supports.

 

Molecular libraries for organic light-emitting diodes

Organic light-emitting diodes are promising candidates for flexible flat displays. By means of a screening process, it is now possible to identify more quickly lead structures with superior luminescence and charge-transport properties.

 

Synthetic two-sided gecko’s foot could enable underwater robotics

Scientists have created a double-sided adhesive that copies the gecko’s reversible ability to stick and unstick to surfaces even in wet conditions. The development could be useful in underwater robotics, sensors, and other bionic devices.

 

System can 3-D print an entire building

The list of materials that can be produced by 3-D printing has grown to include not just plastics but also metal, glass, and even food. Now, MIT researchers are expanding the list further, with the design of a system that can 3-D print the basic structure of an entire building.

 

Scientists model the formation of multivalleys in semiconductor microcavities

A team at the Institute for Basic Science modeled the behavior of polaritons in microcavities, nanostructures made of a semiconductor material sandwiched between special mirrors (Bragg mirrors), bringing new ideas to the emerging valleytronics field.

 

Diamond quantum sensor reveals current flows in next-gen materials

In a world-first, researchers have imaged electrons moving in graphene using a quantum probe found only in diamonds. These images could reveal the microscopic behavior of currents in quantum computing devices, graphene, and other 2-D materials.

 

Dawn of organic single crystal electronics

Researchers at the Institute for Molecular Science, National Institutes of Natural Sciences have developed a method for high-performance doping of organic single crystal. Further, they succeeded in the Hall effect measurement of the crystal—the world’s first case.

 

Photodielectric discovery brings new optical control to electronics

The technology in ‘Minority Report’ that uses light to control a display screen is still science fiction, but a new study may bring it closer to reality. Researchers report that they have discovered the photodielectric effect, which could lead to laser-controlled touch displays.

 

Researchers measure forces that align crystals and help them snap together

Like two magnets being pulled toward each other, tiny crystals twist, align, and slam into each other, but due to an altogether different force. For the first time, researchers have measured the force that draws them together and visualized how they swivel and align.

 


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