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Published on June 7th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on June 7th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Light-matter interaction detected in single layer of atoms

University of Central Florida researchers have developed a new and better way of detecting interactions between light and matter at the atomic level, a discovery that could lead to advances in the emerging field of 2-D materials and new ways of controlling light.

 

MIT nanotechnology center will push frontiers of sensing technology

In anticipation of the official opening of the new MIT.nano building—which will house some of the world’s leading facilities supporting research in nanoscience and nanotechnology—MIT officially launched a new “center of excellence” called SENSE.nano, which is dedicated to pushing the frontiers of research in sensing technologies.

 

 

ENERGY

 

‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery could change the future of electric and hybrid automobiles

A technology developed by Purdue researchers could provide an “instantly rechargeable” method that is safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly for recharging electric and hybrid vehicle batteries through a quick and easy process similar to refueling a car at a gas station.

 

Ultra-stable perovskite solar cell remains stable for over a year

EPFL scientists have built a low-cost, ultra-stable 2-D/3-D hybrid perovskite solar cell that has operated for more than a year without loss in performance (11.2%). The hybrid cell combines the enhanced stability of 2-D perovskites with 3-D forms, which efficiently absorb light across the entire visible spectrum and transport electrical charges.

 

Low cost, scalable water splitting fuels the future hydrogen economy

With a few scientific breakthroughs, hydrogen could be the energy carrier of a future clean energy society. Taking one step closer toward the elusive goal, a team of scientists from Penn State and Florida State University have developed a lower cost and industrially scalable catalyst to produce pure hydrogen through a low-energy water-splitting process.

 

Chemical ‘dance’ of cobalt catalysis could pave way to solar fuels

In a new study from Argonne National Laboratory and Harvard University, scientists have for the first time been able to see an especially important step in the water-splitting process, which may bring us closer to abundant solar energy for all.

 

Seeing light-to-energy transfer in new solar cell materials

Scientists at Ames Laboratory are now able to capture the moment less than one trillionth of a second a particle of light hits a solar cell and becomes energy, and describe the physics of the charge carrier and atom movement for the first time.

 

Saving lives and money: The potential of solar to replace coal

By swapping solar photovoltaics for coal, the US could prevent 51,999 premature deaths a year, potentially making as much as $2.5 million for each life saved. A team has calculated US deaths per kilowatt hour per year for coal related to air pollution-related diseases associated with burning coal.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Catalytic converter composite reduces rare earth element usage

Automobile catalytic converters convert harmful pollutants to less toxic substances, but they require the use of the relatively expensive rare earth element, cerium. Now researchers have designed a new catalyst that reduces the amount of the rare earth element used by 30% from reference catalysts.

 

Artificial transpiration for solar water purification

Researchers at Nanjing University have provided a new concept of “artificial transpiration” with a graphene oxide-based 3-D hollow cone structure. The device uses a 1-D water path to obtain efficient water supply and suppress conduction loss, enabling over 85% solar vapor efficiency under one sun irradiation without external thermal insulation and optical supporting systems.

 

A new twist on uranium’s origin story

Conventional wisdom has told us that uranium within ore deposits is mostly found in the form of uraninite, a crystalline mineral. In recent years, scientists had uncovered new evidence that bacteria—living microorganisms—could generate a different kind of reduced uranium that is non-crystalline and has very different physical and chemical properties.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Breaking glass in infinite dimensions

Duke University research opens up the possibility that some types of glass may exist in a new state of matter at low temperatures, influencing how they respond to heat, sound and stress, and how and when they break.

 

Crystalline structures database provides recipes for new materials

In response to popular demand, materials scientists at Duke University have resurrected an online cookbook of crystalline structures that started when the world wide web was Netscape Navigator and HTML 1.0.

 

Bamboo inspires optimal design for lightness and toughness

The spatial distribution of fibers in hollow bamboo cylinders is optimized to reinforce flexural rigidity, a new finding that sheds light on biomimetic approaches in the development of materials. To determine the relationship between the distribution of reinforcing fibers and flexural rigidity, researchers compared data with the theoretically derived optimal fiber distribution.

 

Researchers measure the coherence length in glasses using the supercomputer JANUS

The use of the JANUS supercomputer has enabled researchers to reproduce the experimental protocol of equilibrium dynamics in spin glasses. The success of the simulation enables us to connect theoretical physical developments with experimental ones, using this new generation of computers.

 

Observation of the phase transition of liquid crystal defects for the first time

KAIST researchers observed the phase transition of topological defects formed by liquid crystal materials for the first time. The research team designed a platform in which the movement of liquid crystal molecules was not restricted, by forming a thin film of liquid crystal material on water, which is like oil floating on water.

 

Avoiding material inclusions such as dross in wind turbines

To ensure the reliability of wind turbines, the iron processing industry must manufacture their massive components in a stable, resource-saving and yet cost-effective way. However, material inclusions such as dross are often unavoidable while casting. Fraunhofer researchers are currently working to detect and analyze such material defects.

 


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