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Published on September 6th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

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Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on September 6th, 2017 | By: April Gocha

[Image above] Credit: NIST

 

 

NANOMATERIALS

 

Graphene gets closer to transistor applications

Scientists at Ames Laboratory were able to successfully manipulate the electronic structure of graphene, which may enable fabrication of graphene transistors—faster and more reliable than existing silicon-based transistors.

 

One-of-a-kind process exfoliates graphene in its unoxidized form

A University of Connecticut chemistry professor has patented a one-of-a-kind process for exfoliating graphene in its pure (unoxidized) form, as well as manufacturing innovative graphene nanocomposites that have potential uses in a variety of applications.

 

Toward a smart graphene membrane to desalinate water

An international team of researchers has developed a graphene-based coating for desalination membranes that is more robust and scalable than current nanofiltration membrane technologies.

 

 

ENERGY

 

Insect eyes inspire new perovskite solar cell design

Packing tiny solar cells together, like micro-lenses in the compound eye of an insect, could pave the way to a new generation of advanced photovoltaics. Stanford University scientists used an insect-inspired design to protect perovskite from deteriorating when exposed to heat, moisture, or mechanical stress.

 

Silicon solves problems for next-generation battery technology

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland introduced new technology to lithium-ion batteries by replacing graphite used in anodes by silicon. The study analyzed the suitability of electrochemically produced nanoporous silicon for lithium-ions and showed that silicon may be able to quadruple anode capacity.

 

Solar cell breakthrough paves the way for new applications

An international scientific collaboration has integrated a sub-micron thin, nanophotonic silicon film into a crystalline solar cell for the first time. The newly-developed film improves light absorption of the crystalline silicon cells without compromising on electrical efficiency.

 

Photosynthesis discovery could help design more efficient artificial solar cells

Georgia State University researchers can now provide quantitative evidence that inverted-region electron transfer is responsible for the high efficiency associated with solar energy conversion in photosynthesis, which could lead to more efficient artificial solar cells.

 

New bar set for water-splitting, CO2-splitting techniques

Researchers from North Carolina State University have significantly boosted the efficiency of two techniques, for splitting water to create hydrogen gas and splitting carbon dioxide to create carbon monoxide—both valuable feedstock for clean energy and chemical manufacturing.

 

New liquid-metal membrane technology may help make hydrogen fuel cell vehicles viable

Conventional palladium membranes for hydrogen fuel cell cars are expensive and fragile. A new study shows that membranes made from less-expensive liquid metals appear to be more efficient at separating hydrogen and also more durable.

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

 

Nanoparticle pollution rises 30% when flex-fuel cars switch from bio to fossil

Use of ethanol in vehicles reduces pollution by nanoparticles, a study shows. Levels of ultrafine particulate matter in São Paulo City, Brazil, increased by up to 30% at times when ethanol prices rose and consumption fell.

 

Mass production of biodegradable plastic

Introducing a simple step to the production of plant-derived, biodegradable plastic could improve its properties while overcoming obstacles to manufacturing it commercially, says new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jiangnan University.

 

Environmental chemist flashes warning light on black phosphorous nanoparticles

Scientists have found that layered black phosphorous’s cytotoxicity is based on the fact that it generates reactive oxygen species, which are potent cell-damaging agents. Layered black phosphorous also disrupts cell membrane integrity in a particle-size-dependent manner.

 

Lasers zap decontaminates from soil

There might be a new and improved way to rid contaminated soil of toxins and pollutants: zap it with lasers. By directly breaking down pollutants, researchers say, high-powered lasers can now be more efficient and cheaper than conventional decontamination techniques.

 

 

OTHER RESEARCH

 

High-speed switching for ultrafast electromechanical switches and sensors

Scientists have observed high-speed switching in Pb(Zr0.4Ti0.6)O3 thin films under applied rectangular electric field pulses. Unlike the slow ferroelastic domain switching expected for ceramics, these films have high-speed sub-microsecond ferroelastic domain switching and simultaneous lattice deformation.

 

New process converts biomass waste from autumn leaves into useful electronic devices

Investigators in China, recently discovered a new method to convert organic leaf waste matter into a porous carbon material that can be used to produce high-tech electronics. The multistep, yet simple, process converts tree leaves into a form that could be incorporated into electrodes as active materials.

 

Metal heating method could lead to improved earthquake-resistant construction materials

A new heating method for certain metals could lead to improved earthquake-resistant construction materials. Tohoku University researchers have found an economical way to improve the properties of some ‘shape memory’ metals.

 

Researchers validate UV light’s use in improving semiconductors

National Renewable Energy Laboratory research could aid the development of next-generation semiconductor devices. The researchers experimented with integrating two dissimilar semiconductors into a heterostructure by using light to modify the interface between them.

 

Investigation of paper-based electronics continues to advance

Imagine folding up a paper-thin computer tablet like a newspaper. Researchers at Nanyang Technological University have made “nanopaper” out of nanocellulose and silver nanowires. It still conducted electricity after being folded in half 500 times.

 

Turning heat energy into a viable fuel source

A new device could one day turn the heat generated by a wide array of electronics into a usable fuel source. The device is a multicomponent, multilayered composite material that converts heat into electricity up to three times more efficiently than silicon.

 


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