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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Zero gravity: Graphene for space applications

Researchers are preparing for two exciting experiments in collaboration with the European Space Agency to test the viability of graphene for space applications. The microgravity parabolic flight drop tower experiments will launch between November 6–17, 2017.

Computer chip technology repurposed for making reflective nanostructures

A team of engineers at Caltech has discovered how to use computer-chip manufacturing technologies to create the kind of reflective materials that make safety vests, running shoes, and road signs appear shiny in the dark.

Low-cost CO sensor developed using nanoscale honeycomb structures

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science have developed a highly sensitive, low-cost nanosensor that can quickly detect minute changes in carbon monoxide levels, with potential applications in environmental pollution monitoring.

Synthetic ferrimagnet nanowires make more efficient memory devices

Racetrack memory is a potential next-generation solution for our digital storage devices. New research shows that replacing them with a double-layered synthetic ferrimagnet nanowire reduces electric current requirements by a factor of ten, and power requirements by a factor of one hundred.

New material resembling a metal nanosponge could reduce computer energy consumption

A nanoporous material has been developed based on a copper and nickel alloy that allows handling and storing information using very little energy. These nanosponges could be the base of new magnetic memories for computers and mobile phones with greater energy efficiency.


In the fast lane: Conductive electrodes are key to fast-charging batteries

Can you imagine fully charging your cell phone in just a few seconds? Researchers in Drexel University’s College of Engineering can, and they took a big step toward making it a reality with their recent work unveiling of a new battery electrode design.

Scientists design solar cell that captures nearly all energy of solar spectrum

Scientists have designed and constructed a prototype for a new solar cell that integrates multiple cells stacked into a single device capable of capturing nearly all of the energy in the solar spectrum. The new design converts direct sunlight to electricity with 44.5% efficiency.

Building a safer lithium-ion battery

To yield insight into what goes wrong when lithium-ion batteries fail, scientists report that they have found a potential way to track lithium ions as they travel in a battery. The researchers worked with HPNO, a molecule that fluoresces when it attaches to lithium ions.

New way to predict when electric cars and home batteries become cost effective

Using a large database, an Imperial College London team can predict how much consumers will have to pay in the future for energy storage technologies based on cumulative installed capacity, current cost and future investment.

New material may help cut battery costs for electric cars, cellphones

A novel manganese and sodium-ion-based material might become a contender for lithium-ions by offering a potentially lower-cost, more ecofriendly option to fuel next-generation devices and electric cars.


New production method for 2-D materials could lead to smarter devices

A world-first non-destructive quality control method from the National Physical Laboratory has enabled Oxford Instruments to commercialize wafer-scale fabrication technology for 2-D material MoS2.

Researchers develop dynamic templates critical to printable electronics technology

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed bio-inspired dynamic templates used to manufacture organic semiconductor materials that produce printable electronics. The technique uses a process similar to biomineralization and is also eco-friendly. 

Lightweight module that can pick up and move objects could accelerate automation

 Singaporean researchers have developed a module for rapid, accurate, and versatile positioning of semiconductor chips. It features a novel electromechanical actuator that can move objects both linearly and rotationally.

Green method developed for making artificial spider silk

A team from the University of Cambridge has designed super-stretchy and strong fibers that are almost entirely composed of water, and could be used to make textiles, sensors, and other materials. The fibers are sustainable, non-toxic, and can be made at room temperature.


Breakthrough tool predicts properties of theoretical materials

Data on approximately 60,000 unique materials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Inorganic Crystal Structure Database has been used to create a new methodology researchers call Properties Labeled Materials Fragments.

3-D-printed gel can fix cracked phone screens and more

Expensive screen repairs could one day be a thing of the past thanks to University of Melbourne researchers who are developing a unique self-healing gel that could potentially be used to prevent screens from cracking, or ‘heal’ themselves if they do.

Nature-inspired material uses liquid reinforcement

Materials scientists at Rice University are looking to nature—at the discs in human spines and the skin in ocean-diving fish, for example—for clues about designing materials with seemingly contradictory properties, flexibility and stiffness.

Wearable electronics: Superstretchable, supercompressible supercapacitors

Scientists have introduced an stretchable and compressible polyelectrolyte which, in combination with carbon nanotube composite paper electrodes, forms a supercapacitor that can be stretched to 1,000% in length and compressed to 50% in thickness with even gaining, not losing capacity.

Scientists see molecules ‘breathe’ in remarkable detail

In a milestone for studying a class of chemical reactions relevant to novel solar cells and memory storage devices, an international team of researchers working at the SLAC National Accelerator Lab used an X-ray laser to watch “molecular breathing” in real time and unprecedented detail.

Giant enhancement of electromagnetic waves revealed within small dielectric particles

Scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, together with their Russian and foreign colleagues, have achieved the first direct measurements of giant electromagnetic fields emerging in dielectric particles with high refractive index at the scattering of electromagnetic waves.