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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Ultrafine fibers have exceptional strength

Researchers at MIT have developed a process that can produce ultrafine fibers that are exceptionally strong and tough. These fibers, which should be inexpensive and easy to produce, could be choice materials for many applications, such as protective armor and nanocomposites.

Carbon nanotubes devices may have a limit to how ‘nano’ they can be

Carbon nanotubes bound for electronics not only need to be as clean as possible to maximize their utility in next-generation nanoscale devices, but contact effects may limit how small a nano device can be, according to researchers.

Improving optical efficiency in boron nitride nanophotonic devices

A team of physicists, headed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, have demonstrated the means to improve the optical loss characteristics and transmission efficiency of hexagonal boron nitride devices, enabling very small lasers and nanoscale optics.

Electronically-smooth ‘3-D graphene’: A bright future for trisodium bismuthide

Researchers have found that the topological material trisodium bismuthide (Na3Bi) can be manufactured to be as ‘electronically smooth’ as the highest-quality graphene-based alternative, while maintaining graphene’s high electron mobility.

Project will provide reaction kinetics data for synthesis of metallic nanocrystals

Researchers have published the first part of what they expect to be a database showing the kinetics involved in producing colloidal metal nanocrystals—which are suitable for catalytic, biomedical, photonic, and electronic applications—through an autocatalytic mechanism.

Process to transition two-layer graphene into diamond-hard material on impact

Researchers across The City University of New York describe a process for creating diamene: flexible, layered sheets of graphene that temporarily become harder than diamond and impenetrable upon impact.


New lithium-rich battery could last much longer

Scientists developed a rechargeable lithium-iron-oxide battery that can cycle more lithium ions than its common lithium-cobalt-oxide counterpart. The result is a much higher capacity battery that could enable smart phones and battery-powered automobiles to last much longer.

Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows

Researchers are creating double-pane solar windows that generate electricity with greater efficiency and create shading and insulation for good measure. The window architecture uses two layers of low-cost quantum dots tuned to different parts of the solar spectrum.

Exploring electrolysis for energy storage

A research team developed a flow-type polymer electrolyte cell for power storage. The cell uses a TiO2 cathode to reduce oxalic acid to glycolic acid, which has a higher volumetric energy-storage capacity than hydrogen gas.


​A fossil fuel technology that doesn’t pollute

Engineers at The Ohio State University are developing technologies that have the potential to economically convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products including electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

New catalyst meets challenge of cleaning exhaust from modern engines

As cars become more fuel-efficient, less heat is wasted in the exhaust, which makes it harder to clean up the pollutants being emitted. Researchers have created a catalyst capable of reducing pollutants at the lower temperatures expected in advanced engines.

One-step catalyst turns nitrates into water and air

Engineers at Rice University have found a catalyst that cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water. The team found that the indium speeds up the breakdown of nitrates while the palladium apparently keeps the indium from being permanently oxidized.


Laser evaporation technology to create new solar materials

Materials scientists at Duke University have developed a method to create hybrid thin-film materials that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to make. The technique could be the gateway to new generations of solar cells, light-emitting diodes and photodetectors.

Understanding the impact of defects on the properties of MoS2

Highly desired in the petrochemical industry, but generally unwanted in electronics manufacture, defects in MoS2 influence the properties and utility of this material. Analysis of atomically thin MoS2 reveals how defects behave and relate to MoS2‘s anomalies.

Sensor the size of a nitrogen atom investigates hard drives

Scientists are developing a quantum sensor that will be able to precisely measure the tiny magnetic fields we can expect to see in the next generation of hard discs. The sensor itself is just slightly larger than a nitrogen atom, with a synthetic diamond to act as a substrate.

Nature’s smallest rainbows may inspire new optical technologies

Brightly colored Australian peacock spiders have flamboyant courtship displays featuring diverse and intricate body colorations, patterns, and movements. However, these displays also inspire new ways for humans to produce color in technology.

Metal printing offers low-cost way to make flexible, stretchable electronics

Researchers have developed a new technique for directly printing metal circuits, creating flexible, stretchable electronics. The technique can use multiple metals and substrates and is compatible with existing manufacturing systems that employ direct printing technologies.

New strategy for isotope separation with flexible porous material

Researchers have succeeded in developing a novel deuterium separation method, using a special class of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) whose pore dimensions change upon gas adsorption.