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Published on May 10th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on May 10th, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Stenciling with atoms in 2-D materials possible

Penn State material scientists report two discoveries that will provide a simple and effective way to “stencil” high-quality 2-D materials in precise locations and overcome a barrier to their use in next-generation electronics.

 

‘Valleytronics’ advancement could help extend Moore’s Law

A University of Buffalo team worked with scientists around the world to discover a new way to split the energy levels between the valleys in a 2-D semiconductor. The key to the discovery is the use of a ferromagnetic compound to pull the valleys apart and keep them at different energy levels.

 

Good vibrations no longer needed for speakers as research encourages graphene to talk

Researchers from the University of Exeter have devised a ground-breaking method to use graphene to generate complex and controllable sound signals. In essence, it combines speaker, amplifier, and graphic equalizer into a chip the size of a thumbnail.

 

High-temperature step-by-step process makes graphene from ethane

An international team of scientists has developed a new way to produce single-layer graphene from a simple precursor: ethane—also known as ethylene—the smallest alkene molecule, which contains just two atoms of carbon.

 

Fast, non-destructive test for 2-D materials

A team of Penn State researchers has developed a fast, nondestructive optical method for analyzing defects in 2-D materials. The technique uses fluorescent microscopy, in which a laser excites electrons to emit a photon of a longer wavelength.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Sodium, magnesium to replace lithium in batteries

A project supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation aims to find new materials that can be used in rechargeable batteries and eventually provide alternatives to the current lithium batteries. Project scientists have now produced novel electrolytes for rechargeable sodium and magnesium batteries.

 

Solar cells with nanostripes

Researchers of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have now detected strips of nanostructures with alternating directions of polarization in the layers of perovskite solar cells. These structures might serve as transport paths for charge carriers.

 

1000 km range thanks to a new battery concept

Fraunhofer scientists are stacking large electric car battery cells on top of one another. This provides electric vehicles with more power. Initial tests in the laboratory have been positive, and project partners are striving to achieve a range of 1000 km for electric vehicles.

 

Using sulfur to store solar energy

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and European partners plan to develop an innovative sulfur-based storage system for solar power. Large-scale chemical storage of solar power and its overnight use as a fuel are to be achieved by means of a closed sulfur-sulfuric acid cycle.  

 

New chip under development at UTSA extends battery life of electronics

Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio are trying to commercialize a chip that can make lower power electronics, like cell phones, work more efficiently. The team is currently working with marketplace experts to understand the needs of consumers so it can determine which industry the chip is best suited for.

 

Inkjet-printed batteries bring us closer to smart objects

Researchers in South Korea have developed printable supercapacitors that can be incorporated into a wide variety of objects as a power source. The team developed inks that can be printed onto paper to fabricate a new class of printed supercapacitors.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Mineral resources: Exhaustion is just a myth, say scientists
Recent articles have declared that deposits of mineral raw materials will be exhausted within a few decades. An international team of scientists, however, has shown that this is incorrect and that the resources of most mineral commodities are sufficient to meet the growing demand from industrialization and future demographic changes.

 

New molybdenum coated catalyst efficiently splits water

Water-splitting systems require a very efficient catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, while preventing the gases from recombining back into water. Now an international research team has developed a new catalyst with a molybdenum coating that prevents this problematic back reaction and works well in realistic operating conditions.

 

New self-sustained multi-sensor platform for environmental monitoring

A recent study affiliated with UNIST has engineered a self-sustaining sensor platform to continuously monitor the surrounding environment without having an external power source. The team presented a self-sustaining water-motion-sensing platform to monitor and display the time-varying dynamics of water-motion using only the energy harvested from the water-motion itself.

 

Researchers develop recycling for carbon fiber composites

A Washington State University research team for the first time has developed a promising way to recycle the popular carbon fiber plastics that are used in everything from modern airplanes and sporting goods to the wind energy industry.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Unexpected damage found rippling through promising exotic nanomaterials

 Brookhaven National Lab scientists have developed a method to probe 3-D, atomic-scale intricacies and chemical compositions with unprecedented precision. The breakthrough technique combines atomic-force microscopy with near-field spectroscopy to expose the surprising damage wreaked by even the most subtle forces.

 

Heat-resistant capacitors: Stability at up to 300 degrees

Heat is one of the worst enemies of electronics. It can disrupt functionality and cause electronic components to age more quickly, or even destroy them. Now Fraunhofer researchers have developed a capacitor that can withstand temperatures of up to 300ºC. They did so by using an innovative mix of materials—and a special 3-D trick.

 

Heat-resistant ultrasonic transducers

Technical systems must be regularly checked for defects, such as cracks. Up to now, piezo sensors measuring pressure, force, or voltage have been used to reliably detect such faults—but only to ~200ºC. Now, special high-temperature piezo sensors can continuously monitor components that are as hot as 900ºC.

 

Thin diamond crystal reflects many colors of light in all directions

Through advanced calculations physicists and mathematicians at the University of Twente discovered that a thin, diamond-like photonic nanostructure reflects a surprisingly broad range of colors of light, from all angles. This causes the material to have great potential as a back reflector to enhance the efficiency of solar cells or tiny on-chip light sources.

 

‘Persistent photoconductivity’ offers new tool for bioelectronics

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new approach for manipulating the behavior of cells on semiconductor materials, using light to alter the conductivity of the material itself.

 

Water-repellant material sheds like a snake when damaged

Imagine a raincoat that heals a scratch by shedding the part of the outer layer that’s damaged. To create such a material, scientists have turned to nature for inspiration. They report a water-repellant material that molts like a snake’s skin when damaged to reveal another hydrophobic layer beneath it.

 

Shape-memory aerogels created with rubber-like elasticity

Chemists from Missouri University of Science and Technology have made aerogels that have rubber-like elasticity and can “remember” their original shapes. Aerogels are created by replacing liquids with gases in a silica, metal oxide, or polymer gel. They are used in a wide variety of products, from insulation of offshore oil pipelines to NASA space missions.

 


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