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Published on August 30th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on August 30th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Most precise band gap measurement yet for hotly studied molybdenum disulfide

A science team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has precisely measured some previously obscured properties of 2-D semiconducting material molybdenum disulfide. The team also revealed a powerful tuning mechanism and an interrelationship between its electronic and optical, or light-related, properties.

 

Electrons flowing like liquid in graphene start a new wave of physics

Observations in experiments at the National Graphene Institute have provided essential understanding as to the peculiar behavior of electron flows in graphene, which need to be considered in the design of future nano-electronic circuits.

 

Conformal metasurface coating eliminates crosstalk and shrinks waveguides

A team of Penn State electrical engineers have a way to simultaneously control diverse optical properties of dielectric waveguides by using a two-layer coating, each layer with a near zero thickness and weight. The researchers developed a material that is so thin it is almost 2-D, with characteristics that manipulate and enhance properties of the waveguide.

 

Faster, more precise, more stable: Study optimizes graphene growth

Scientists at Technical University of Munich have manufactured self-supporting graphene membranes and at the same time systematically investigated and optimized the growth of the graphene crystals. The researchers have produced graphene flakes measuring one square millimeter containing ten billion precisely aligned carbon atoms.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Breakthrough in magnesium batteries

University of Houston researchers report the discovery of a new design for the battery cathode, drastically increasing the storage capacity and upending conventional wisdom that the magnesium-chloride bond must be broken before inserting magnesium into the host.

 

How 139 countries could be powered by 100% wind, water, and solar energy by 2050

The latest roadmap to a 100% renewable energy future outlines infrastructure changes that 139 countries can make to be entirely powered by wind, water, and sunlight by 2050 after electrification of all energy sectors.

 

Where commercial customers might benefit from battery energy storage

Commercial electricity customers who are subject to high demand charges may be able to reduce overall costs by using battery energy storage to manage demand, according to research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

 

Making better batteries via real-time TEM observation

Scientists at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have made a surprising discovery that could make better lithium-sulfur batteries via real-time TEM observation. The team demonstrated that sulfur particles can be hermetically encapsulated by leveraging the unique properties of 2-D materials, such as molybdenum disulfide.

 

More solar power thanks to titanium

Earth-abundant, cheap metals are promising photocatalytic electrode materials in artificial photosynthesis. A team of scientists now reports that a thin layer of titania beneath hematite nanorods can boost the performance of the photoanode. This design combining nanostructure with chemical doping may be exemplary for improved ‘green’ photocatalytic systems.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Trash to treasure: The benefits of waste-to-energy technologies

Using landfill waste to produce energy generates less greenhouse gases than simply letting the waste decompose. A study led by Argonne National Laboratory helps assess the environmental benefits of various waste-to-energy production pathways while avoiding emissions of methane and other harmful air pollutants.

 

Spinning plant waste into carbon fiber for cars, planes

Using plants and trees to make products such as paper or ethanol leaves behind a residue called lignin, which is waste. Now, researchers report transforming lignin into carbon fiber to produce a lower-cost material strong enough to build car or aircraft parts.

 

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

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. The research focuses on zeolites, workhorses in petroleum and chemical refineries and in emission-control systems for diesel engines.

 

 

BIOMEDICINE

 

Self-powered paper-based ‘SPEDs’ may lead to new medical-diagnostic tools

A new medical-diagnostic device made out of paper detects biomarkers and identifies diseases by performing electrochemical analyses — powered only by the user’s touch — and reads out the color-coded test results, making it easy for non-experts to understand.

 

‘Electronic skin’ takes wearable health monitors to the next level

A new electronic skin microsystem tracks heart rate, respiration, muscle movement, and other health data, wirelessly transmitting it to a smartphone. The electronic skin offers greater flexibility, smaller size, and the ability to stick the self-adhesive, soft silicone patch just about anywhere on the body.

 

Stretchable biofuel cells extract energy from sweat to power wearable devices

A team of engineers has developed stretchable fuel cells that extract energy from sweat and are capable of powering electronics, such as LEDs and Bluetooth radios. The biofuel cells generate 10 times more power per surface area than any existing wearable biofuel cells.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

Understanding brittle crack behaviors to design stronger materials

Researchers have discovered the mechanism that causes cracks to behave strangely when they spread very rapidly in brittle materials. The results will help researchers better understand how fragile materials, such as glass, ceramic, polymers, and bone break and how to better design materials to avoid failure.

 

National MagLab achieves new world record with strongest resistive magnet

Engineers at the Florida State University-headquartered National MagLab set a new world record that blotted out the previous one by about 8%—a sizable leap in magnet technology terms. The lab reclaimed the record for the world’s strongest resistive magnet, which it had held for 19 years up until 2014.

 

Flipping the switch on ferroelectrics

An international team by Nagoya University has developed a new way of controlling the domain structure of ferroelectric materials. The research represents a new approach to advanced sensor and energy harvesting devices based on controlling domain alignment in nanostructured ferroelectric materials.

 

Team develops novel 3-D printed high-performance polymer that could be used in space

Virginia Tech researchers have created a novel way to 3-D print the type of high-temperature polymeric materials commonly used to insulate space craft and satellites from extreme heat and cold. Previously, the polyimide—formally known as Kapton—could previously be made only in sheets.

 

Concrete corrosion may be underdetected in critical structures

Scientists at ETH Zurich say that concrete samples are too small to allow for a reliable assessment of the condition of reinforced concrete. That has led them to wonder if reinforced concrete bridges will be able to remain standing for years to come, or has corrosion already set in.

 

The breaking point: What happens around the edge of a crack?

What, exactly, happens right around the edge of the crack, in the area in which those large stresses are concentrated? A new study explains that the processes that take place in this region are universal—they occur in the same way in different materials and under different conditions.

 

Solidifying advanced alloy design

Using a combination of theory and experiment, a multi-institutional team is creating simulations to speed up advanced material design. For the first time, researchers have used a combination of theory and experiment to induce tailored velocity changes in order to design the microstructure and, in turn, material properties.

 


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