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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Black phosphorous ink could transform production of new laser and optoelectronic devices

Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that black phosphorous ink—a unique 2-D material similar to graphene—is compatible with conventional inkjet printing techniques, making possible the scalable mass manufacture of black phosphorous-based laser and optoelectronic devices.

Two-faced 2-D material: flat sandwich of sulfur, molybdenum, and selenium

Like a sandwich with wheat on the bottom and rye on the top, Rice University scientists have cooked up a tasty new twist on 2-D materials. The scientists made a semiconducting transition-metal dichalcogenide that starts as a monolayer of molybdenum diselenide. They then strip the top layer of the lattice and replace precisely half the selenium atoms with sulfur.

From greenhouse gas to 3-D surface-microporous graphene

Tiny dents in the surface of graphene greatly enhances its potential as a supercapacitor. Even better, it can be made from carbon dioxide in a novel approach. The process uses a heat-releasing reaction to dig micropores into 3-D graphene and could be a useful supercapacitor material.

Atomically thin layers bring spintronics closer to applications

University of Groningen scientists have created a graphene-based device in which electron spins can be injected and detected with unprecedented efficiency. The result is a hundredfold increase of the spin signal, big enough to be used in real life applications, such as new spin transistors and spin-based logic.

Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material graphene

As graphene’s popularity grows as an advanced “wonder” material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind, a research group has developed a cleaner and more environmentally friendly method to isolate graphene using carbon dioxide in the form of carbonic acid as the electrolyte solution.

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

Graphene Flagship scientists based at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, have created a device based on a blilayer of graphene and boron nitride which shows unprecedented spin transport efficiency at room temperature. The spin signal measured here is so large that it can be used in real life applications such as spin based logic and transistors.


The power of perovskite

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology scientists have made constant baby steps in improving the stability of perovskite solar cells, identifying degradation factors and providing solutions towards better solar cell architecture. The new finding suggests interactions between components of the solar cell itself are responsible for rapid degradation of the device.

Engineers charge ahead on zinc-air batteries

University of Sydney researchers have found a solution for one of the biggest stumbling blocks preventing zinc-air batteries from overtaking conventional lithium-ion batteries as the power source of choice in electronic devices.

Candy cane supercapacitor could enable fast charging of mobile phones

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge have developed a prototyped polymer electrode, which resembles a candy cane usually hung on a Christmas tree, that achieves energy storage close to the theoretical limit, but also demonstrates flexibility and resilience to charge/discharge cycling.

Researchers clarify mystery about proposed battery material

A team at MIT has carried out detailed tests that seem to resolve the questions surrounding one promising material for such batteries: a compound called lithium iodide. The study suggests that the material might not be suitable after all, but provides guidance for efforts to overcome the material’s drawbacks or find alternative materials.

How low-cost fuel cell catalysts work

New work at Los Alamos and Oak Ridge national laboratories is resolving difficult fuel-cell performance questions, both in determining efficient new materials and understanding how they work at an atomic level.


Volcanic lakes may hold trove of lithium for batteries

Stanford researchers show that lake sediments preserved within ancient supervolcanoes can host large lithium-rich clay deposits. A domestic source of lithium would help meet the rising demand for this valuable metal, which is critical for modern technology.

Boron nitride foam soaks up carbon dioxide

Rice University materials scientists have created a light foam from 2-D sheets of hexagonal-boron nitride that absorbs carbon dioxide. They discovered freeze-drying the material turned it into a macro-scale foam that disintegrates in liquids. But adding a bit of polyvinyl alcohol into the mix transformed it into a far more robust and useful material.

Discovery could lead to new catalyst design to reduce nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust

Purdue University researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust.


Print no evil: Three-layer technique helps secure additive manufacturing

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Rutgers University have developed a three-layer system that uses acoustic and other physical techniques to verify that components produced using additive manufacturing have not been compromised.

Simultaneous design and nanomanufacturing speeds up fabrication

 An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Northwestern University has used mathematics and machine learning to design an optimal material for light management in solar cells, then fabricated the nanostructured surfaces simultaneously with a new nanomanufacturing technique.

Research examines potential of artificial bones made with 3-D printer

A University of British Columbia Okanagan researcher has discovered a new artificial bone design that can be customized and made with a 3-D printer for stronger, safer, and more effective bone replacements. The research analyzed 240 different bone graft designs and focused on just the ones that were both porous and strong.


New optical method pinpoints weak spots in jet engine thermal coatings

Researchers have demonstrated that an optical analysis method can reveal weak areas in ceramic thermal barrier coatings that protect jet engine turbines from high temperatures and wear. The technique could be used to predict how long coatings would last on an airplane and might eventually lead to new thermal barrier coatings.

Critical point in breaking the glass problem

Until now, researchers’ understanding has been splintered at best, with mutually incompatible interpretations of the physical processes underlying the emergence of glasses. Now a team of scientists from the University of Bristol and Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz in Germany may have found the missing fragment, enabling the reconciliation of differing interpretations.

Nanocrystalline LEDs: Red, green, yellow, blue …

The color of the light emitted by an LED can be tuned by altering the size of their semiconductor crystals. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich researchers have now found a clever and economical way of doing just that, which lends itself to industrial-scale production.

Energized fabrics could keep soldiers warm and battle-ready in frigid climates

Soldiering in arctic conditions is tough. Protective clothing can be heavy and can cause overheating and sweating, while hands and feet can grow numb. To keep military personnel more comfortable, scientists are trying to create high-tech fabrics that heat up when powered and that capture sweat. These fabrics could conceivably be used in future consumer clothing.

How to pave over our big (cigarette) butt problem

A team at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, has demonstrated that asphalt mixed with cigarette butts can handle heavy traffic and also reduce thermal conductivity. This means the product could not only solve a huge waste problem but would also be useful in reducing the urban heat island effect common in cities.

Researchers use vacuum for hands-free patterning of liquid metal

North Carolina State University engineers have utilized vacuum to create a more efficient, hands-free method for filling complex microchannels with liquid metal. Their work addresses two of the most common difficulties in creating liquid metal-filled microchannels and may enable broader use of liquid metals in electronic and microfluidic applications.

Silk could improve sensitivity, flexibility of wearable body sensors

From smart socks to workout clothes that measure exertion, wearable body sensors are becoming the latest “must-have” technology. Now scientists report they are on the cusp of using silk, one of the world’s most coveted fabrics, to develop a more sensitive and flexible generation of these multi-purpose devices that monitor a slew of body functions in real time.