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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Ultrathin and flat graphene metalenses gain more properties

On the quest for miniaturization, scientists have developed credit card-thick, flat lenses with tunable features. These optical devices, made of graphene and a punctured gold surface, could become optical components for advanced applications, such as amplitude tunable lenses, lasers, and dynamic holography.

Ceria nanoparticles: It is the surface that matters

At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, scientists have studied ceria nanoparticles with the help of probe molecules and a complex ultrahigh vacuum-infrared measurement system and obtained partly surprising new insights into their surface structure and chemical activity.

Synthesizing ferromagnetic semiconductor nanoparticles

Researchers at the University of Konstanz has developed a method for synthesizing europium (II) oxide nanoparticles—a ferromagnetic semiconductor that is relevant for data storage and data transport.

How carbon nanotubes could be used in future electronic devices

A team of Skoltech scientists, in collaboration with researchers from the IBM Watson Research Center, have shed light on the behavior of electrical contacts in carbon semiconductor nanotubes, which could pave the way to next-generation electronics.

New composite material made of carbon nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes cannot be combined adequately with other materials, or they lose their beneficial properties. Scientists have developed an alternative method of combining, so they retain their characteristic properties. As such, they ‘felt’ the thread-like tubes into a stable 3-D network.

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

An atom-thick film of boron could be the first pure 2-D material able to emit visible and near-infrared light by activating its plasmons, according to Rice University scientists. That would make the material known as borophene a candidate for plasmonic and photonic devices.


New batteries with better performance and improved safety

Researchers from Empa and the University of Geneva have devised a new battery prototype: known as “all-solid-state”, this battery has the potential to store more energy while maintaining high safety and reliability levels. The battery is based on sodium, a cheap alternative to lithium.

Battery-switching device promises more road time for Tesla, Leaf drivers

Electric vehicle batteries could work about 50% longer with a device provisionally patented by Vanderbilt University researchers. It reconfigures modules in electric car battery packs to be online or offline—depending on whether they’re going to pull down the other modules.

Renaissance of the iron-air battery

Iron-air batteries promise a considerably higher energy density than present-day lithium-ion batteries. Their main constituent, iron, is an abundant and therefore cheap material. Scientists have now successfully observed with nano-scale precision how deposits form at the iron electrode during operation.


Research highlights ethical sourcing of materials for modern technology

Researchers from the Camborne School of Mines have identified methods to predict the environmental and social cost of resourcing new deposits of rare earth minerals used in the production of mobile phones, wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Measuring atoms for better navigation and mineral detection

Better navigation systems and tracking of minerals and water may be the result of a new discovery by physicists studying atom measurement devices. University of Queensland researchers investigated how to reduce errors in atom interferometers.

Potentially low-cost technology that can convert methane without forming carbon dioxide

A group at UC Santa Barbara has explored methods by which currently cheap and abundant methane can be reduced to clean-burning hydrogen while also preventing the formation of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.


The next generation of power electronics? Gallium nitride doped with beryllium

Physicists have made a breakthrough in revising methods largely discarded 15 years ago. They have discovered a microscopic mechanism that will allow gallium nitride semiconductors to be used in electronic devices that distribute large amounts of electric power.

‘Ion billiards’ cue novel material synthesis method

A team of researchers has developed a novel material synthesis method called proton-driven ion introduction, which utilizes a phenomenon similar to ‘ion billiards.’ The new method could pave the way for creating numerous new materials, thus drastically advancing materials sciences.

Strain-free epitaxy of germanium film on mica

Germanium is generally grown on expensive single-crystal substrates, adding another challenge to making it sustainably viable for most electronic applications. To address this aspect, researchers demonstrate an epitaxy method that incorporates van der Waals’ forces to grow germanium on mica.

The microscopic origin of efficiency droop in LEDs

Using new computational methods developed at Caltech, a team studied GaN at an atomic level and found that drain occurs faster for holes than electrons—a mismatch that allows the electrons to overshoot quantum wells, escaping the GaN without ever combining with holes and emitting light.

How to get sprayed metal coatings to stick

When bonding two pieces of metal, either the metals must melt a bit where they meet or some molten metal must be introduced between the pieces. A solid bond then forms when the metal solidifies again. But researchers at MIT have found that in some situations, melting can actually inhibit metal bonding rather than promote it.

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

Researchers have discovered that dense ensembles of quantum spins can be created in diamond with high resolution using an electron microscopes, paving the way for enhanced sensors and resources for quantum technologies.

Magnetoelectric material shows promise as memory for electronics

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison describe not only their unique process for making a high-quality magnetoelectric material, but exactly how and why it works. Drawing on expertise in material growth, they developed a unique process, using atomic “steps,” to guide the growth of a homogenous, single-crystal thin film of bismuth ferrite.