[Image above] Credit: NIST
A powdery mix of metal nanocrystals wrapped in single-layer sheets of carbon atoms developed at Berkeley Lab shows promise for safely storing hydrogen for use with fuel cells. And now, a new study provides insight into the atomic details of the crystals’ ultrathin coating and how it serves as selective shielding while enhancing their performance in hydrogen storage.
Future ultrathin solar cells and light sources could have their surfaces covered by tiny trenches, after A*STAR researchers found such structures enhance efficiency by four orders of magnitude. The researchers achieved a 20,000-fold increase in the photoluminescence of a one atom-thick layer of tungsten diselenide by mounting it on a gold surface patterned with narrow trenches.
Natural spider silk has excellent mechanical properties. Researchers from the Graphene Flagship have found a way to boost the strength of spider’s silk using graphene-based materials, paving the way for a novel class of high-performance bionic composites.
Many seashells, minerals, and semiconductor nanomaterials are made up of smaller crystals, which are assembled together like the pieces of a puzzle. Now, researchers have measured the forces that cause the crystals to assemble, revealing an orchestra of competing factors that researchers might be able to control.
By finely tuning the distance between nanoparticles in a single layer, researchers have made a filter that can change between a mirror and a window. To form the layer, the team of researchers from Imperial College London created conditions for gold nanoparticles to localize at the interface between two liquids that do not mix.
Self-healing materials are able to repair autonomously defects, such as scratches, cracks or dents, and resume their original shape. Scientists of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology discovered that tiny particles of pure gold have surprising self-healing capacities.
OIST researchers now report the design of an anode built on nanostructured layers of silicon—not unlike a multi-layered cake—to preserve the advantages of silicon while preventing physical collapse. Layers of unstructured silicon films are deposited alternatively with tantalum metal nanoparticle scaffolds, resulting in the silicon being sandwiched in a tantalum frame.
University of Illinois at Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory researchers have concluded, following extensive studies using real-time transmission electron microscopy, that rechargeable lithium-ion batteries could be much better in the future. The technique is the most effective way to understand the electrochemical reactions of lithium-ion batteries and to learn how batteries can be modified to become safer, stronger, longer lasting, and cheaper.
Scientists from RIKEN and the University of Tokyo have developed a new type of ultra-thin photovoltaic device, coated on both sides with stretchable and waterproof films, which can continue to provide electricity from sunlight even after being soaked in water or being stretched and compressed.
A team of researchers with the University of California and SRI International has developed a new type of cooling device that is both portable and efficient. The team describes their new device and possible applications for its use.
Air pollution is a drag for renewable energy. Dust and other sky-darkening air pollutants slash solar energy production by 17–25% across parts of India, China, and the Arabian Peninsula, a new study estimates. The haze can block sunlight from reaching solar panels.
A Boeing 747 burns one gallon of jet fuel each second. A recent analysis from researchers at the University of Illinois estimate that this aircraft could fly for 10 hours on bio-jet fuel produced on 54 acres of specially engineered sugarcane.
From handbags and jackets to car interiors, leather products are almost everywhere. But processing the leather for these luxury items creates a lot of potentially harmful pollution. Now, scientists report a new method for processing leather that is more eco-friendly.
Researchers demonstrated a new packing of glass with unique optical properties. What they learned could lead to innovations in technology, such as glass with different mechanical properties, and may elucidate some fundamental aspects of glass formation.
Using a device called the surface forces apparatus, researchers at UC Santa Barbara investigated the process of crevice and pitting corrosion and were able to get a real-time look at the process of corrosion on confined surfaces.
Unlike the slow ferroelastic domain switching expected for ceramics, high-speed sub-microsecond ferroelastic domain switching and simultaneous lattice deformation are directly observed for the Pb(Zr0.4Ti0.6)O3 thin films. This exciting finding paves the way for high-frequency ultrafast electromechanical switches and sensors.
By fabricating an extremely lightweight AFM probe and combining it with a nanoscale device that converts minuscule deflections of the probe into large changes of an optical signal inside a waveguide, NIST researchers have broken new ground: Their AFM system measures rapid changes in structure with high precision.
The performance of white LEDs can be improved based on better knowledge of the absorption and scattering of light inside the LED. A new method, developed by the University of Twente in The Netherlands and Philips Lighting, can lead to efficiency improvement and powerful design tools.
Photonics is a rapidly growing field in which some of the most sci-fi ideas of the not-so-distant past, are taking form. Now EU-funded research is bringing the notion of an invisibility cloak closer by using microscopic structures that can bend light.