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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy

Researchers combined two different types of 2-D materials—black phosphorus and bismuth vanadate—to form a biologically inspired water-splitting catalyst. Normal sunlight could drive the reactions and careful design of the catalyst enabled the expected ratio of hydrogen and oxygen production.

Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2-D monolayer materials

A group of physicists has for the first time succeeded in characterizing the mechanical properties of free-standing single-atom-thick membranes of graphene. The measurements were performed using scanning tunneling microscopy.

From flagship to spaceship—two experiments pushing the frontier of graphene’s potential

Graphene Flagship researchers recently conducted two experiments to assess the viability of graphene for space applications—the material under zero-gravity conditions specifically for light propulsion and also for thermal management applications—with very encouraging results.

Nanostructure boosts stability of organic thin-film transistors

A nanostructured gate dielectric may have addressed the most significant obstacle to expanding use of organic semiconductors for thin-film transistors. The structure, composed of a fluoropolymer layer followed by a nanolaminate made from two metal oxide materials, serves as gate dielectric and protects the organic semiconductor.


Scientists discover perovskite material ideal for smart photovoltaic windows

Researchers have discovered that a form of perovskite works surprisingly well as a stable and photoactive semiconductor material that can be reversibly switched between a transparent state and a non-transparent state, without degrading its electronic properties.

New fuel cell technology runs on solid carbon

Advancements in a fuel cell technology powered by solid carbon could make electricity generation from resources such as coal and biomass cleaner and more efficient, according to a new paper published by Idaho National Lab researchers.

Building better batteries using crumpled graphene balls

A scaffold made from crumpled graphene balls, which can stack with ease to form a porous scaffold due to their paper ball-like shape, can not only prevent dendrite growth in batteries but can also survive the stress from the fluctuating volume of lithium.

Semiconductor breakthrough may be game-changer for organic solar cells

In an advance that could push cheap, ubiquitous solar power closer to reality, University of Michigan researchers have found a way to coax electrons to travel much further than was previously thought possible in the materials used for organic solar cells and semiconductors.

Perovskite solar cells: Mesoporous interface mitigates the impact of defects

Researchers at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie and TU Munich have published new results on the influence of the architecture of perovskite cells on their nominal operating life.


Neutrons inspect salt-inclusion materials to improve long-term hazardous waste storage

A team of researchers is using neutrons to develop more durable and efficient materials called waste forms for safely storing hazardous substances. The researchers are studying ion-exchange reactions in which non-radioactive salts are replaced with radionuclides for long-term storage.

Bio-renewable process could help ‘green’ plastic

Plastics are often derived from petroleum, contributing to reliance on fossil fuels. To change that, scientists are trying to take the pliable nature of plastic in another direction, developing new and renewable ways of creating plastics from biomass.

New catalyst for hydrogen production is a step toward clean fuel

A nanostructured composite material has shown impressive performance as a catalyst for the electrochemical splitting of water to produce hydrogen. An efficient, low-cost catalyst is essential for realizing the promise of hydrogen as a clean, environmentally friendly fuel.


How would additive manufacturing benefit the defense industry?

Using 3-D printing, scientists can produce virtually anything from plastics, metals, or even ceramics. Argonne physicists and collaborators are studying the laser powder bed fusion process for metals through the intense synchrotron X-rays.

Semiconductor processing technology opens new possibilities for silicon carbide

TU Wien can now produce porous structures in monocrystalline silicon carbide. This opens up new possibilities for the realization of micro-and nanomachined sensors and electronic components, but also for integrated optical mirror elements.

Ultra-thin optical fibers offer new way to 3-D print microstructures

For the first time, researchers have shown that an optical fiber as thin as a human hair can be used to create microscopic structures with laser-based 3-D printing. The innovative approach might one day be used with an endoscope to fabricate tiny biocompatible structures.


Plasma etching lithium niobate on an optoelectronic chip

Researchers at Harvard University recently published a study about how their experience with lithium niobate and similar intractable materials inspired them to apply another technique to etch the materials—plasma reactive ion etching.

First evidence of sub-Saharan Africa glassmaking

Scholars have found the first direct evidence that glass was produced in sub-Saharan Africa centuries before the arrival of Europeans, a finding that the researchers said represents a “new chapter in the history of glass technology.”

Multifaceted design of the mantis shrimp club is inspiring advanced composite materials

A group of researchers led by UC Riverside has identified a unique structure that wraps around the mantis shrimp’s club to protect it from self-inflicted damage as it crushes hard-shelled prey. The finding will help the team develop ultra-strong materials for aerospace and more.

New metal-semiconductor interface for brain-inspired computing

Physicists have taken a big step towards integrating storage, memory and processing in one unit by combining a niobium doped strontium titanate (SrTiO3) semiconductor with ferromagnetic cobalt. The interface creates a spin-memristor with storage abilities.

Making waves for ultrahigh definition displays

Flexible ultrahigh resolution displays have benefits for next-generation mobile electronics, such as point-of-care medical diagnostic devices. KAUST has developed a unique transistor architecture that boosts the performance of the display circuitry.

Topological materials could boost the efficiency of thermoelectric devices

Researchers at MIT have discovered a way to increase efficiency threefold using “topological” materials. There has been little understanding as to how electrons in such topological materials would travel in response to temperature differences to produce a thermoelectric effect.

Mysteries of a promising spintronic material revealed

Researchers at UC Riverside used an unconventional approach to determine the strength of the electron spin interactions with the optical phonons in antiferromagnetic nickel oxide (NiO) crystals.