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[Image above] Credit: NIST


2-D material’s traits could send electronics R&D spinning in new directions

An international team of researchers fabricated an atomically thin material and measured its exotic and durable properties that make it a promising candidate for spintronics. The material—known as 1T’-WTe2—bridges two flourishing fields of research: that of 2-D materials and topological materials.

Controlled rupturing of thin films can make low-cost nanopatterned arrays

The phenomenon of ‘dewetting’—usually considered a nuisance as it causes solids to bead up into islands, much like raindrops on glass—has been harnessed for a useful application. An A*STAR-led team has clarified how dewetting can assemble arrays of 3-D nanostructures for applications including single molecule sensing.

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

Engineers at Caltech have for the first time developed a light detector that combines two disparate technologies—nanophotonics, which manipulates light at the nanoscale, and thermoelectrics, which translates temperature differences directly into electron voltage—to distinguish different wavelengths of light at high resolution.

Graphene and terahertz waves could lead the way to future communication

By utilizing terahertz waves in electronics, future data traffic can get a big boost forward. So far, the terahertz (THz) frequency has not been optimally applied to data transmission, but by using graphene, researchers have come one step closer to a possible paradigm shift for the electronic industry.

A levitated nanosphere as an ultra-sensitive sensor

Sensitive sensors must be isolated from their environment as much as possible to avoid disturbances. Scientists at ETH Zurich have now demonstrated how to remove from and add elementary charges to a nanosphere that can be used for measuring extremely weak forces.


Screen-printed batteries for renewables on the way

Ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries for cheap portable devices and intermittent renewable energy are closer to reality, thanks to a joint UNSW-University of Queensland project to further develop technology by battery energy storage firm Printed Energy and bring it to market.

Ruthenium rules for new fuel cells

Rice University scientists have fabricated a durable catalyst for high-performance fuel cells by attaching single ruthenium atoms to graphene. The ruthenium-graphene combination may fit the bill—in tests, its performance easily matched that of traditional platinum-based alloys and bested iron and nitrogen-doped graphene, another contender.

Cool power: Breakthroughs in solar panel cooling technology

As NASA’s Parker Solar Probe spacecraft begins its first historic encounter with the sun’s corona in late 2018—flying closer to our star than any other mission in history—a revolutionary cooling system will keep its solar arrays at peak performance, even in extremely hostile conditions.

Printed solar cells thinner than your hair could power your phone

Extremely thin printable solar panels could power your phone and are amongst a range of new ways nanotechnology is opening the door to a clean energy and waste-free future. Nanotechnology also has the ability to make technology smaller, extend the life-cycle of electronics, and improve manufacturing processes.

Air pollution casts shadow over solar energy production

Global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust. The first study of its kind shows airborne particles and their accumulation on solar cells is cutting energy output by more than 25 percent in certain parts of the world. The regions hardest hit are also those investing the most in solar energy installations — China, India and the Arabian Peninsula.


Bacteria-coated nanofiber electrodes clean pollutants in wastewater

Cornell University scientists may have created an innovative, cost-competitive electrode material for cleaning pollutants in wastewater. The researchers created electro-spun carbon nanofiber electrodes. When coated with a conductive polymer, an electrically active layer of bacteria naturally grows to create electricity and transfer electrons to the novel electrode.

‘Solarsack’ cleans water with heat from sunlight, cheaply and effectively

Two Danish students have developed “SolarSack” for inexpensive and environmentally friendly water purification. The product is a special bag that is filled with four liters of water and placed in the sun for four hours. Using UVA and UVB rays, as well as heat from the sun, the water is cleaned of pathogenic bacteria.


Neuron-integrated nanotubes to repair nerve fibers

A new study sheds light on the properties of nanostructures capable of ensuring an effective integration with nerve cells, an essential quality for developing innovative systems targeting the repair of neuronal damages, report scientists.

Scientists produce dialysis membrane made from graphene

MIT engineers have fabricated a functional dialysis membrane from a sheet of graphene. The graphene membrane, about the size of a fingernail and less than 1 nm thick, is able to filter out nanometer-sized molecules from aqueous solutions up to 10 times faster than state-of-the-art membranes, with the graphene itself being up to 100 times faster.


New class of ‘soft’ semiconductors could transform HD displays

New research could help usher in a new generation of high-definition displays, optoelectronic devices, photodetectors, and more. A class of “soft” semiconductors can be used to emit multiple, bright colors from a single nanowire at resolutions as small as 500 nm. The work could challenge quantum dot displays that rely upon traditional semiconductor nanocrystals.

Super-strong metal for next tech frontier

A Johns Hopkins University team now reports success in developing a new material that promises to help ensure that microscopic sensors can continue to meet the demands of the next technological frontier. Considering the need for dimensional stability, the researchers experimented with adding metals molybdenum and tungsten to nickel in hopes of curbing the degree pure nickel expands in heat.

Biofuel from waste: Zeolite catalysts pave the road to decentralized chemical processes

Using a novel catalyst concept, researchers at the Technical University of Munich have now managed to significantly reduce the temperature and energy requirements of a key step in the chemical process to covert organic waste to fuel. The trick: The reaction takes place in very confined spaces inside zeolite crystals.

Pushing metals to their limits

Modern aircraft and power generation turbines depend on precision-machined parts that can withstand harsh mechanical forces in high-temperature environments. Building on their research into a promising mixed alloy, a team of researchers at Osaka University have made a new breakthrough by adding metals to generate a unique structure that shows exceptional performance.

Giant molecular cages made for energy conversion and drug delivery

Scientists have created ‘molecular cages’ that can maximize the efficiency of converting molecules in chemical reactions, and that may in future also be used as sensors and drug-delivery agents. The cages can be packed with different molecules, many of which have a specific task or functionality.

3-D-printed jars in ball-milling experiments

Recently, in situ observations of mechanochemical reactions have been achieved by X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy. Solid-state reactions can be directly tracked, revealing phase transitions and other material transformations during synthesis in a ball mill jar. This technique has become increasingly popular in different fields of mechanochemistry.

Cheap, energy-efficient and clean reaction to make chemical feedstock

Combining experimental and computer chemistry, scientists from the Institute for Basic Science and University of Pennsylvania find the conditions to break carbon-hydrogen bonds at low temperature with cheap titanium in place of rare metals.