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Published on June 21st, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on June 21st, 2017 | By: April Gocha, PhD

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Beetles spark development of color-changing nanoparticles for commercial use

Inspired by the varying colors that gleam off of beetle shells, scientists have developed color-shifting nanoparticles that can change hue even after being embedded into a material. The new, inexpensive technique could lead to the production of easier-to-read sensors and anti-tampering tags.

 

New chemical method could revolutionize graphene

University of Illinois at Chicago scientists have discovered a new chemical method that enables graphene to be incorporated into a wide range of applications. They used a chemical process to attach nanomaterials on graphene without changing the properties and the arrangement of the carbon atoms in graphene.

 

Jagged platinum nanowires double record for reaction critical to fuel cell performance

Researchers have developed a leaching process to produce ultrafine jagged platinum nanowires for fuel cells. The wires have with extraordinary surface activity and high surface areas, which combined deliver a catalyst with a record-high conversion rate.

 

Graphene electrodes offer new functionalities in molecular electronic nanodevices

An international team of researchers has revealed a new way to tune the functionality of next-generation molecular electronic devices using graphene. The results could be exploited to develop smaller, higher-performance devices for use in a range of applications, as well as robust measurement setups for resistance standards.

 

Superconducting nanowire memory cell, miniaturized technology

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new nanoscale memory cell that holds tremendous promise for successful integration with superconducting processors. The device comprises two superconducting nanowires, attached to two unevenly spaced electrodes that were “written” using electron-beam lithography.

 

 

ENERGY

 

One step closer to practical fast charging batteries

Scientists built a new design and chemistry for electrodes that involves advanced, nanostructured electrodes containing molybdenum disulfide and carbon nanofibers. These composite materials have internal atomic-scale pathways. These paths are for both fast ion and electron transport, allowing for fast charging.

 

Batteries from scrap metal

Scientists have made good use of waste while finding an innovative solution to a technical problem by transforming rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries.

 

Simulations pinpoint atomic-level defects in solar cell nanostructures

Heterogeneous nanostructured materials are widely used in various optoelectronic devices, including solar cells. However, the nano-interfaces contain structural defects that can affect performance. Calculations have helped researchers ID the root cause of the defects in two materials and provide design rules to avoid them.

 

Investigating battery failure

A team of researchers used a NASA and NREL-developed device to induce short circuits in lithium-ion batteries at a specific and pre-determined time and location. Their work has enabled them to look inside the ‘black box’ of commercial lithium-ion batteries and determine why failure happens.

 

Novel techniques examine solar cells with nanoscale precision

Using two novel techniques, researchers at NIST have for the first time examined, with nanometer-scale precision, variations in chemical composition and defects of widely used solar cells. The new techniques investigated a common type of solar cell made of the semiconductor material cadmium telluride.

 

‘Magic’ alloy could mean cheaper solar power

Researchers have developed a new kind of semiconductor alloy capable of capturing the near-infrared light located on the edge of the visible light spectrum. It’s believed to be the world’s most cost-effective material that can capture near-infrared light—and is compatible with the gallium arsenide semiconductors often used in concentrator photovoltaics.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Microwaves and microbes turn household waste into biodegradable plastic

It would be better to find a way of turning our domestic waste into something more environmentally friendly and one hope lies in using microwaves and genetically engineered microbes to transform our waste into biodegradable plastic. SYNPOL, an EU-funded project, has recently developed a technique that could pave the way for such a revolution.

 

When the rubber hits the road: Recycled tires create stronger concrete

University of British Columbia engineers have developed a more resilient type of concrete using recycled tires that could be used for concrete structures like buildings, roads, dams, and bridges while reducing landfill waste.

 

Data science used to better predict effect of weather and other conditions on solar panels

In a new study, a team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University and Gebze Technical University in Turkey used data science to determine and predict the effects of exposure to weather and other conditions on materials in solar panels.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

New form of carbon that’s hard as a rock, yet elastic, like rubber

A team including several Carnegie scientists has developed a form of ultrastrong, lightweight carbon that is also elastic and electrically conductive. A material with such a unique combination of properties could serve a wide variety of applications from aerospace engineering to military armor.

 

Scientists develop computer-guided strategy to accelerate materials discovery

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a computer-guided strategy that led to the discovery of two new materials in the laboratory. The algorithm uses chemical understanding of the structures of known materials to suggest which new combinations of atoms will create a new material that is stable and can be synthesized.

 

NREL-led research effort creates new alloys, phase diagram

A multi-institutional team led by the National Renewable Energy Lab discovered a way to create new alloys that could form the basis of next-generation semiconductors. Researchers created an alloy of manganese oxide and zinc oxide, even though their atomic structures are very different.

 

Nickel for thought: Compound shows potential for high-temperature superconductivity

A team of researchers at the U.S. DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory has identified a nickel oxide compound as an unconventional but promising candidate material for high-temperature superconductivity. The team successfully synthesized single crystals of a metallic trilayer nickelate compound, a feat the researchers believe to be a first.

 

Nitrides in transition

NRL has continued to push nitride materials research forward and recently made an important breakthrough in the ability to grow thin films of a transition metal nitride called niobium nitride. The thin crystalline material has a similar structure to GaN; however, its electrical and physical properties are dramatically different.

 

Project maps Greek ceramic production over five millennia

A new project, led by a University of Arizona associate professor, aims to map critical centers of ceramics production across nearly 5,000 years of Greek history in a first-of-its-kind online database, designed to support archaeologists working in Greece today.

 


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