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Published on May 24th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on May 24th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

First significant examples of optical crystallography for nanomaterials

A major bottleneck in the development of nanocrystals, to date, is the need for X-ray techniques to determine the crystal type. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a novel way to determine crystal type based on optics—by identifying the unique ways in which these crystals absorb light.

 

IBM scientists demonstrate ballistic nanowire connections for quantum computing

IBM scientists have achieved an important milestone toward creating sophisticated quantum devices that could become a key component of quantum computers. The scientists have shot an electron through a III-V semiconductor nanowire integrated on silicon for the first time.

 

Molecular Lego for nanoelectronics

The ability to assemble electronic building blocks consisting of individual molecules is an important objective in nanotechnology. An interdisciplinary research group has successfully assembled and tested conductors and networks made up of individual building block molecules that could serve as the basis of components for future optoelectronic systems.

 

Study reveals a new way of energy dissipation in graphene nano-resonators

Researchers have found an explanation of the non-linear dissipation process using a nano-mechanical resonator based on multilayer graphene. The team used a graphene based nano-mechanical resonator, well suited for observing nonlinear effects in energy decay processes, and measured it with a superconducting microwave cavity.

 

Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits—or qubits—that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Lithium oxide on tokamak walls can improve plasma performance

Lithium compounds improve plasma performance in fusion devices just as well as pure lithium does, a team of physicists at the DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has found. The results are the first direct evidence that lithium oxide forms on tokamak walls and that it retains hydrogen isotopes as well as pure lithium does.

 

Graphene-nanotube hybrid boosts lithium metal batteries

Rice University scientists have created a rechargeable lithium metal battery with three times the capacity of commercial lithium-ion batteries by resolving something that has long stumped researchers: the dendrite problem.

 

Better cathode materials for lithium-sulfur-batteries

Scientists have for the first time fabricated a nanomaterial made from nanoparticles of Ti4O7 that is characterized by an extremely large surface area, and tested it as a cathode material in lithium-sulfur batteries. The highly porous nanomaterial possesses high storage capacity that remains nearly constant over many charging cycles.

 

Self-healing tech charges up performance for silicon-containing battery anodes

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a battery that uses a silicon nanoparticle composite material on the negatively charged side of the battery and a novel way to hold the composite together—a known problem with batteries that contain silicon.

 

Advancing next-generation batteries towards 4S: Stable, safe, smart, sustainable

Researchers from the University of Wollongong proposed a new concept of 4S (stable, safe, smart, sustainable) batteries. They reviewed the latest development of functional membrane separators in liquid-electrolyte next-generation batteries and based on which they reported the four important criteria for guiding the advancement of novel battery systems.

 

‘Switchable’ smart windows reduce energy consumption significantly

Smart windows that act as blinds in the summer and let all the sunlight through in the winter—that’s the idea of the reflective windows that are able to reflect invisible infrared light but allow visible light through. In addition, these windows can be ‘switched on and off’. This new technology cuts the energy consumption for cooling and heating buildings by 12%.

 

Ultra-high capacity lithium-air batteries developed with CNT sheet air electrodes

A research team has developed lithium-air batteries with very high electric storage capacity 15 times greater than the capacity of conventional lithium-ion batteries using carbon nanotubes as an air electrode material.

 

Photocatalyst makes hydrogen production 10 times more efficient

Hydrogen is an alternative source of energy that can be produced from renewable sources of sunlight and water. A group of Japanese researchers has developed a photocatalyst that increases hydrogen production tenfold.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Rare earth element mineral potential in the southeastern US coastal plain

Rare earth elements have become increasingly important for advanced technologies. Mineral resources hosted in heavy mineral sand deposits are especially attractive because they can be recovered using well-established mechanical methods, making extraction, processing, and remediation relatively simple.

 

Mountains of waste could lead to new US manufacturing, jobs

Waste material from the paper and pulp industry soon could be made into anything from tennis rackets to cars. Scientists have discovered how to make high quality carbon fiber from lignin. When the high-density, high molecular weight portion of lignin is separated, it has a uniform structure that allows the formation of high quality carbon fiber.

 

New water-based, recyclable membrane filters all types of nanoparticles
Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a new type of membrane that could extend the life of a separation system, lower its cost and, in some cases, increase its efficiency as well. The membranes contain water as a major component, akin to hydrogels.

 

Protective coatings for fuel elements to prevent accidents in nuclear reactors

A research team from Tomsk Polytechnic University is designing protective titanium nitride-based coatings for shells of fuel elements used in nuclear reactors. Such shells can significantly reduce hydrogenation of containers where nuclear fuel is placed, extend service life, and protect reactors from explosion.

 

Carbon dioxide cleans water with less energy

A new filtration system uses carbon dioxide to treat water, providing a remediation solution that uses less energy and is less expensive. Researchers from Princeton University have developed a new technique that utilizes the technology that adds fizz to soda to remove particles from dirty water without using as much energy or the need for costly filters.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

A recipe for concrete that can withstand road salt deterioration

Engineers have known for some time that calcium chloride salt reacts with the calcium hydroxide in concrete to form a chemical byproduct that causes roadways to crumble. A civil engineer is working on a new recipe for concrete, using cast-off products from furnaces, that can hold its own against the forces of chemical erosion.

 

The rise of GaN in the semiconductor industry

Metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors have become very prevalent throughout the semiconductor industry, but might see their mainstream status begin to wither. Emerging the scene is gallium nitride, devices that are expected to become smaller, cheaper, and more efficient in the long run.

 

‘Inverse designing’ spontaneously self-assembling materials

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are exploring how molecular simulations can create a more systematic way of discovering new materials that exhibit specific, desired properties. They recast the design goal to the microscopic, asking which interactions between constituent particles can cause them to spontaneously “self-assemble” into a bulk material with a particular property.

 

Zinc oxide: Important optical and electrical properties

Concordia University scientists developed a cost-effective method for growing ZnO using an approach that might lead to new solar cell designs. The research team has developed a process to make very small nanorods with a diameter of less than 100 nm that can be precisely separated.

 

Research teams uncover extraordinary properties of strontium niobate

Researchers recently uncovered novel properties of strontium niobate, a unique semiconductor material that displays both metallic type conduction and photocatalytic activity. The studies herald exciting opportunities for the creation of novel devices with unprecedented functionalities as well as unique applications of a new family of photocatalytic materials.

 

Shapeshifting materials: Using light to rearrange macroscopic structures

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology created self-assembling molecules that can be broken down by UV light to recombine into novel macroscopic shapes. The new self-assembling molecules that can transform into novel, exotic, and previously unobserved shapes by simply using UV light to force them to rearrange differently into “metastable” states.

 


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