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Published on August 2nd, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on August 2nd, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Nanoparticles could spur better LEDs, invisibility cloaks

In an advance that could boost the efficiency of LED lighting by 50% and even pave the way for invisibility cloaking devices, a team of University of Michigan researchers has developed a new technique that peppers metallic nanoparticles into semiconductors.

 

Color-shifting electronic skin could have wearable tech and prosthetic uses

Researchers in China have developed a new type of user-interactive electronic skin with a color change perceptible to the human eye. The study employed flexible electronics made from graphene, in the form of a highly-sensitive resistive strain sensor, combined with a stretchable organic electrochromic device.

 

Multitasking monolayers lay groundwork for devices that can do two things at once

Two-dimensional materials that can multitask—that is the result of a new process that naturally produces patterned monolayers that can act as a base for creating a wide variety of novel materials with dual optical, magnetic, catalytic, or sensing capabilities.

 

Large single-crystal graphene is possible, say scientists

A team recently reported synthesis of a large sheet of monolayer single-crystal graphene. This result allows a leap forward in graphene production, providing optimized and rapid creation of an almost-perfect large sheet of single-crystal graphene.

 

Chemical route towards electronic devices in graphene

Researchers report that essential electronic components, such as diodes and tunnel barriers, can be incorporated in single graphene nanoribbons with atomic precision. The goal is to create graphene-based electronic devices with extremely fast operational speeds.

 

Shining rings: Carbon nanoring material emits white light when exposed to electricity

Scientists at Nagoya University have developed a new way to make stimuli-responsive materials in a predictable manner. They used this method to design a new material, a mixture of carbon nanorings and iodine, that conducts electricity and emits white light when exposed to electricity.

 

Metal instability achieves energy-efficient nanotechnology

Osaka University researchers show their VO2 freestanding nanowire resonators can be used to miniaturize energy-efficient electronics. Because of the electromechanical properties of VO2 crystals and a freestanding design, nanowires could generate mechanical oscillations at MHz frequencies using nothing more than a simple DC power source.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Novel technique using graphene to create solar cells

A flexible, transparent solar cell containing organic materials and graphene electrodes developed at MIT is bringing solar cells all around us. This advance in solar technology was enabled by a novel method of depositing a one-atom-thick layer of graphene onto the solar cell, without damaging nearby sensitive organic materials.

 

Engineers invent first bio-compatible, ion current battery

Engineers at the University of Maryland have invented an entirely new kind of battery, a bio-compatible ionic current-generating battery. The new battery moves electrons around in the device to deliver energy that is a flow of ions.

 

Osaka solar scientists rough up silicon panels to boost light capture

An Osaka University research team modified the surface texture of both the front and back of silicon solar cells to cheaply enhance light harvesting and boost power conversion efficiency. The team has developed low reflection silicon cells using a much cheaper process based on the surface structure chemical transfer method to fabricate so-called black silicon.

 

Molecular ‘pulleys’ improve battery performance

A KAIST research team reported a molecular pulley binder for high-capacity silicon anodes of lithium-ion batteries. The team integrated molecular pulleys, called polyrotaxanes, into a battery electrode binder, a polymer included in battery electrodes to attach the electrodes onto metallic substrates.

 

A new low-cost battery offers a hefty voltage and sustained energy capacity

A zinc-based battery that delivers a high voltage and substantial energy capacity could be set to rival conventional lithium-ion batteries, A*STAR researchers have found. The researchers developed a hybrid zinc battery that combines the best of zinc-air and zinc-nickel technologies, completing over 5,000 charging cycles with no loss of performance.

 

Explaining why perovskite solar cells are more efficient

Experimenters with a powerful ‘electron camera’ have discovered that light whirls atoms around in perovskites, potentially explaining the high efficiency of these next-generation solar cell materials and providing clues for making better ones.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

New membranes help reduce carbon dioxide emission

The University of Twente and the German Research Centre Jülich are collaborating on developing membranes for an efficient separation of gases, for example to use for the production of oxygen or hydrogen.

 

Turning dirty tinfoil into biofuel catalyst

A researcher at Queen’s University Belfast has discovered a way to convert dirty aluminum foil into a biofuel catalyst. The innovative crystallization method obtains 100% pure single crystals of aluminum salts from contaminated foils, the starting material for preparation of alumina catalyst.

 

Conductivity key to mapping water inside Earth

Hydrogen at elevated temperature creates high electrical conductivity in the Earth’s mantle. New work by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists shows the dispersal of water, incorporated as hydrogen in olivine, could account for high electrical conductivity.

 

 

MANUFACTURING

 

New method promises easier nanoscale manufacturing

Scientists at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a new way to precisely pattern nanomaterials that could open a new path to the next generation of everyday electronic devices.

 

Novel 3-D printing process strengthens parts by 275%

A new way to make 3-D printed parts stronger and immediately useful in real-world applications has been revealed by Texas A&M University researchers. They applied the traditional welding concepts to bond the submillimeter layers in a 3-D printed part together, while in a microwave.

 

Uranium-based compound improves manufacturing of nitrogen products

Scientists have developed a uranium-based complex that can allow nitrogen fixation reactions to take place in ambient conditions. The work overcomes one of the biggest difficulties to building more efficient industrial-scale nitrogen products like ammonia.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Here’s a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties

Rice University scientists have determined that no matter how large or small a piece of tobermorite is, it will respond to loading forces in precisely the same way. But poking it with a sharp point will change its strength.

 

What happens when materials collide? Observing fracture in stressed materials

Until now, the dynamic fracture of materials has only been observed using bulk-scale techniques. However, this has changed thanks to a new technique reported by an Osaka University-led team for directly observing dynamic fracture in metals.

 

Wet or dry in an instant: Smart surface enables advanced manipulation of droplets

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed an inexpensive, scalable smart surface that is powered by just a conventional electric battery. The copper-based surface changes from being highly superhydrophobic to superhydrophilic as electric potential is applied.

 

Converting crystals into erasable electronics

Researchers at Washington State University have developed a method to write an electrical circuit into a crystal, which could result in transparent, 3-D electronics that can be erased and reconfigured, similar to an Etch A Sketch. The research team used a laser to etch a line in the crystal that carried a current, with electrical contacts at each end of the line.

 

Reality check for ‘wonder material’ topological insulators

Topological insulators, a class of materials that has been investigated for just over a decade, have been heralded as a ‘wonder material.’ But so far, topological insulators have not quite lived up to the expectations—University of Groningen physicists now have an idea why.

 

New chromium-based superconductor has an unusual electronic state

When certain materials are cooled below a critical temperature they become superconductors. An international team observed an unusual electronic state in new superconductor chromium arsenide. This finding could prove useful in future superconductor research and material design.

 

Self-disposing supramolecular materials with a tunable lifetime

Materials that assemble themselves and then simply disappear at the end of their lifetime are quite common in nature. Researchers have now successfully developed supramolecular materials that disintegrate at a predetermined time—a feature that could be used in numerous applications.

 

Path to discovering new topological materials

An international team of researchers has found a way to determine whether a crystal is a topological insulator—and to predict crystal structures and chemical compositions in which new ones can arise. The results show that topological insulators are much more common in nature than currently believed.

 


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