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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Assembly of nanoparticles proceeds like a zipper

Controlling the arrangement of nanoparticles can result in unforeseen properties, but such studies are hard to carry out due to limited efficient approaches to produce well-defined 3-D nanostructures. Aalto University scientists now demonstrate that nanoparticles can be assembled into processable superlattice wires.

Catalyst nanoparticles undergo internal changes to forge carbon nanotubes

Researchers at NIST have made some of the first movies of the structural changes in tiny catalyst particles. The movies may suggest new ways to custom-design the catalyst nanoparticles, leading to more efficient production and improved control of the materials they help fabricate.

Application of air-sensitive semiconductors in nanoelectronics

A research group consisting of scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University, Germany, and Venezuela proved vulnerability of a 2-D semiconductor gallium selenide in air. This discovery will allow manufacturing superconducting nanoelectronics based on gallium selenide, which has never been previously achieved by any research team in the world.

Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals

Scarce metals are complicated to extract, difficult to recycle, and so rare that several of them have become “conflict minerals” which can promote conflicts and oppression. A survey at Chalmers University of Technology now shows that there are potential technology-based solutions that can replace many of the metals with carbon nanomaterials, such as graphene.


Advanced lithium-ion and metal-air batteries

University of Central Florida researchers have developed two promising energy storage technologies in its work with sustainable energy systems. One of the technologies would upgrade the lithium-based batteries. The other offers a safer, more stable alternative than lithium batteries.

Astonishing time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells set

Researchers have quantified the astonishingly high speeds at which future solar cells would have to operate in order to stretch what are presently seen as natural limits on their energy conversion efficiency. The study investigated photovoltaic devices based on perovskites and suggests that these could achieve unprecedented levels of super-efficiency.

Spinning a lighter, safer electrode

A group of Drexel University researchers have created a fabric-like material electrode that could help make energy storage devices faster and less susceptible to leaks or disastrous meltdowns. Their design for a new supercapacitor offers a unique alternative to the flammable electrolyte solution that is a common component in these devices.

Better rechargeable batteries coming soon?

Novel lithium electrodes coated with indium could be the basis for more powerful, longer-lasting, rechargeable batteries. The coating hinders undesirable side-reactions between the electrode and electrolyte, provide a more uniform deposition of lithium when charging, and augments storage in the lithium anode via alloying reactions between lithium and indium. Their success stems from the good diffusion of lithium ions along the interfacial layer.


New biomaterial could replace plastic laminates, greatly reduce pollution

An inexpensive biomaterial that can be used to sustainably replace plastic barrier coatings in packaging and many other applications has been developed by Penn State researchers. Completely compostable, the polysaccharide polyelectrolyte complex material is comprised of nearly equal parts of treated cellulose pulp and chitosan.

Solar-to-fuel system recycles CO2 to make ethanol and ethylene

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have harnessed the power of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into fuels and alcohols at efficiencies far greater than plants. The achievement marks a significant milestone in the effort to move toward sustainable sources of fuel.


New analysis explains role of defects in metal oxides

MIT researchers have determined formulas to guide development of a promising new high-tech material, composed of insulating metal oxides known as alkaline-earth-metal binary oxides, that could lead to better computer memory chips, refrigeration systems, and other devices.

New mirror-coating technology promises dramatic improvements in telescopes

An electrical engineer has teamed up with astronomers to improve telescope mirrors using thin-film technology from the electronics industry. They are developing new protective coatings using an atomic layer deposition system large enough to accommodate telescope mirrors.

New approach boosts performance in thermoelectric materials

A team of researchers reports a new mechanism to boost performance through higher carrier mobility, increasing how quickly charge-carrying electrons can move across the material. The work focused on a recently discovered n-type magnesium-antimony material with a relatively high thermoelectric figure of merit, but could also apply to other materials.

How to peel permanent marker off glass

When glass marked with permanent ink is slowly dipped in water, the writing lifts off the glass and floats intact atop the water. For the first time, scientists have now explained the physics behind the surprising phenomenon: The water’s surface tension breaks the seal between ink and glass.

Magnetoelectric RAM pushes memory efficiency

A valid new approach to computer memory has to at least solve the issue of energy efficiency. And if the new memory is nonvolatile, so much the better. A memory cell that does not need external power—just like your hard disk or flash drive—and has the speed of RAM would be way better than merely energy-efficient memory.