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Published on February 21st, 2018 | By: April Gocha


Other materials stories that may be of interest

Published on February 21st, 2018 | By: April Gocha

[Images above] Credit: NIST




A new radiation detector made from graphene

Researchers have recently exploited the thermoelectric properties of graphene to create a new kind of radiation detector. Classified as a bolometer, the new device has a fast response time and, unlike most other bolometers, works over a wide range of temperatures.


Fast-spinning spheres show nanoscale systems’ secrets

New findings could help researchers use magnetically responsive particles as models for 2-D materials whose enhanced properties have led to improved performance in applications ranging from electronics, data storage, catalysis and photonics.


Scientists observe nanowires as they grow

Following the live growth of tiny wires of gallium arsenide, researchers have observed details of the growth process responsible for the evolving shape and crystal structure of the crystalline nanowires. The findings also provide new approaches to tailoring nanowires’ properties.


Rubber blanket at an atomic level

TU Wien researchers have successfully measured extreme internal stresses and strains in 2-D materials in at microscopic level—which means it is now possible to observe precisely how the properties of a material may be altered as a result of a simple distortion.


Two types of trilayer graphene with different electrical properties

Researchers in Japan have found a way to form two materials, each made of three layers of graphene. Each material’s graphene is stacked differently and has unique electrical properties. The work has implications for the development of novel electronic devices.





Team doubles down on energy storage with novel metal-oxide magnesium battery

A multi-institution team of scientists has discovered an exceptional metal-oxide magnesium battery cathode material. Ironically, the team’s futuristic solution hinges on a redesigned form of an old lithium-ion cathode material, vanadium pentoxide.


Remarkable stability in perovskite solar cells

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Lab created an environmentally stable, high-efficiency perovskite solar cell. The unencapsulated solar cell held onto 94% of its starting efficiency after 1,000 hours of continuous use under ambient conditions.


Pathway opens to minimize waste in solar energy capture

Research on the role of a short-lived, excited molecular complex called an excimer in singlet exciton fission overturns previous thinking by demonstrating that singlet fission materials must avoid excimer formation to reach full potential in enhancing photovoltaic energy conversion.





New lithium collection method could boost global supply

Researchers have recently discovered a new, efficient way to extract lithium and other metals and minerals from water. The team’s technique uses a metal-organic-framework membrane that mimics the ion selectivity of biological cell membranes.


Optimizing recycling of scrap car parts yields big savings

Sorting scrap car parts could increase recycling rates of alloy elements to over 97% in Japan. The analysis found that optimizing recycling could save Japanese steelmakers $287 million USD on raw materials and cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 28%.


Clean and green: A moss that removes lead from water

Researchers have demonstrated that that moss can be a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil. The study shows that in particular, the moss Funaria hygrometrica tolerates and absorbs an impressive amount of lead from water.


Stand-alone system to produce drinking water by means of solar energy

Researchers from the University of Alicante have developed a stand-alone system for desalinating and treating water through electrodialysis. The system is directly powered by solar energy and can be applied in off-grid areas.





New process allows 3-D printing of nanoscale metal structures

A technique developed at Caltech now makes it possible to 3-D print complex nanoscale metal structures. The technique uses organic scaffolds that contain metal ions to enable 3-D printing of metallic structures that are orders of magnitude smaller than previously possible.


Mass production of new class of semiconductors closer to reality

Chemists found a way to simultaneously control the orientation and select the size of single-walled carbon nanotubes deposited on a surface. The process, called the alignment relay technique, relies on liquid crystals to pass orientation information to a metal-oxide surface.


New filters could enable manufacturers to perform highly selective chemical separation

A team of chemical and biological engineers has developed highly selective membrane filters that could enable manufacturers to separate and purify chemicals in ways that are currently impossible, allowing them to potentially use less energy and cut carbon emissions.


Autonomous 3-D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute are taking the vision of batch sizes of one a big step closer to reality with a new type of 3-D scanning system. “The special thing about our system is that it scans components autonomously and in real time.”


Mathematics pushes innovation in 4-D printing

Recent advances in digital factory science make it possible to print more compliant objects across a wider range of length-scales than conventional engineering processes. A bottleneck is filling the gap in comprehension of the unprecedented degree of complexity.





Using shark scales to design better drones, planes, and wind turbines

A team of evolutionary biologists and engineers have shed light on a decades-old mystery about sharkskin and, in the process, demonstrated a new, bioinspired structure that could improve the aerodynamic performance of planes, wind turbines, drones, and cars.


Vanadium dioxide: A revolutionary material for tomorrow’s electronics

Vanadium dioxide’s properties make it perfect for enabling a new generation of low-power electronic devices. Engineers have shown how this compound can be used to create programmable radiofrequency electronic functions for aerospace communication systems.


New ground in wireless energy generation for future electronic gadgets

Researchers from Clemson’s Nanomaterials Institute are one step closer to wirelessly powering the world using triboelectricity, a green energy source. They have created a wireless TENG, called W-TENG, that greatly expands the applications of the technology.


Controlling quantum interactions in a single material

An international team of theoretical and computational researchers have have demonstrated that multiple quantum interactions can coexist in a single material. The team also discovered how an electric field can be used to control these interactions to tune the material’s properties.


NASA leverages proven technologies to build agency’s first planetary wind lidar

NASA scientists have found a way to adapt a handful of recently developed technologies to build a new instrument that could give them what they have yet to obtain: never-before-revealed details about the winds on Mars and ultimately Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.


Metasurfaces enable improved optical lens performance

Producing the perfect color images we need and love often requires multiple, heavy lenses. Now engineers have developed a new theory that solves the problem using a single thin lens comprised of gradient index materials and metasurface layers to properly direct the light.


New malleable ‘electronic skin’ self-healable, recyclable

Researchers have developed a new type of malleable, self-healing, and fully recyclable ‘electronic skin’ that has applications ranging from robotics and prosthetic development to better biomedical devices.


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