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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Researchers show how to optimize nanomaterials for fuel-cell cathodes

Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes or modified graphene nanoribbons may be suitable replacements for platinum for fast oxygen reduction, the key reaction in fuel cells that transform chemical energy into electricity, according to Rice University researchers.

Graphene sensors that could revolutionize the Internet of Things

University of Manchester researchers have devised graphene sensors embedded into RFIDs. By layering graphene-oxide over graphene to create a flexible heterostructures, the team developed humidity sensors for remote sensing that can connect to any wireless network.

Short nanotube samples made by hand dramatically cut production time

Scientists are making short carbon nanotube fibers by hand as a way to quickly test materials before spinning industrial quantities of fiber for aerospace, automotive, medical and smart-clothing applications.


Researchers design dendrite-free lithium battery

By designing a solid electrolyte that is rigid on one side and soft on the other, researchers have fabricated a lithium-metal battery that completely suppresses dendrite formation. This design also simultaneously reduces resistance at the electrode/electrolyte interface.

Scientists develop ultrafast battery with quarter-million cycle life

A research team has proposed a “trihigh tricontinuous (3H3C) design” to achieve the ideal graphene film cathode with excellent electrochemical performances. The ordered assembly of graphene liquid crystal leads to a highly oriented structure satisfying requirement.

Inexpensive and stable—the salt water battery

Water could form the basis for future particularly inexpensive rechargeable batteries. Empa researchers have succeeded in doubling the electrochemical stability of water with a special saline solution. This takes us one step closer to using the technology commercially.

Making organic solar cells commercially viable

Researchers from the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center have examined how the molecular structures of organic solar cells form to possibly improve their performance and bring them closer to practical adoption.


New materials being developed to prevent wind turbine damage

The University Institute of Ceramic Technology Agustín Escardino of the Universidad Jaume I in Castellón, Spain, is participating in the development of new materials which are resistant to extreme climate for the manufacture of wind turbines.

Bio-based compound offers a greener carbon fiber alternative

An interdisciplinary team reported the results of experimental and computational investigations on the conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into a bio-based chemical called acrylonitrile, the key precursor to manufacturing carbon fiber.

New catalyst for making fuels from shale gas

Methane in shale gas can be turned into hydrocarbon fuels using an innovative platinum and copper alloy catalyst, according to new research led by University College London and Tufts University.


New oxide and semiconductor combination builds new device potential

Researchers have grown a 2DEG system on gallium arsenide, a semiconductor that’s efficient in absorbing and emitting light. This development is promising for new electronic devices that interact with light, such as new kinds of transistors, superconducting switches, and gas sensors.

Ultra-thin light emitting diodes

NUS scientists have developed energy efficient ultra-thin LEDs for next generation communication technologies. An insulating layer of a few nanometers can significantly suppress the loss of input electrical energy without introducing excessive electrical resistance.

Engineered magnesium alloy could revolutionize future of materials science engineering

Researchers have found a way to create an ultralight, highly heat-resistant, magnesium-based material by engineering bonds at an atomic level. They used this discovery to create a magnesium alloy that can withstand usage at higher temperatures.

Hard-to-stretch silicon becomes superelastic

In a new study, researchers have demonstrated that amorphous silicon can be grown into superelastic horseshoe-shaped nanowires that can undergo stretching of more than twice their original length, and still maintain their excellent electric properties.

3-D printing remakes the strain gauge

A team of researchers has developed a new 3-D printing technique for manufacturing strain gauges that breaks the Poisson Ratio by 40%. The researchers used aerosol jet printing, which creates a porous film by controlled sintering of nanoparticles that partially coalesce with heat.

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

By exploiting the properties of neutrons to probe electrons in a metal, a team of researchers has gained new insight into the behavior of correlated electron systems, which are materials that have useful properties such as magnetism or superconductivity.

New exotic phenomena seen in photonic crystals

A team of researchers at MIT and elsewhere has found novel topological phenomena in a different class of systems—open systems, where energy or material can enter or be emitted, as opposed to closed systems with no such exchange with the outside.