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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Graphene catalysts have trace of manganese, suggesting better ultrathin fuel-cell components

Scientists find the metal in supposedly ‘metal-free’ graphene catalysts for oxygen reduction reactions that turn chemical energy into electrical energy. The discovery could allow for better tuning of 2-D materials for fuel cells and other applications.

The fine-tuning of 2-D materials

Scientists have a new understanding of why synthetic 2-D materials often perform orders of magnitude worse than predicted. They searched for ways to improve these materials’ performance in future electronics, photonics, and memory storage applications.

A treasure trove for nanotechnology experts

A team from EPFL and NCCR Marvel created a database of around 5,600 potential 2-D materials, including more than 1,000 with particularly promising properties. In other words, they’ve created a treasure trove for nanotechnology experts.

Reshaping energy landscape of phonons in nanocrystals

Phonons are involved in various physical properties of materials. As the main source of energy dissipation in solid-state systems, phonons are the ultimate bottleneck that limits the operation of functional nanomaterials.

Graphene flakes for future transistors

Graphene flakes could open new prospects for the development of innovative devices thanks to quantum effects and unique magnetic properties. Thanks to their intrinsic magnetic properties, these nanostructures could also represent a significant step forward in the field of spintronics.

Laser-heated nanowires produce micro-scale nuclear fusion

Nuclear fusion, the process that powers our sun, happens when nuclear reactions between light elements produce heavier ones. It’s also happening—at a smaller scale—in a Colorado State University laboratory.


With a TENG, solar cells could work come rain or shine

Despite numerous advances in solar cells, one thing remains constant: cloudy, rainy conditions put a damper on the amount of electricity created. Now researchers have developed hybrid solar cells that can generate power from raindrops.

Lithium-related discovery could extend battery life and improve safety

New research from Arizona State University that involves using a 3-D layer of silicone as the substrate of lithium metal anode has been found to mitigate dendrite formation and stands to both dramatically extend battery life and diminish safety risks.

All power to the proton: Researchers make battery breakthrough

Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne have demonstrated for the first time a working rechargeable “proton battery”—which has a carbon electrode as a hydrogen store, coupled with a reversible fuel cell—that could re-wire how we power homes, vehicles, and devices.

Materials ‘sandwich’ breaks barrier for flexible solar cell efficiency

Nanomaterials researchers have devised a method to significantly improve the efficiency of organic solar cells. They used a squaraine molecule to both donate electrons and better orient the PBDB-T polymer with the ITIC non-fullerene acceptor.

Two better than one: Chemists advance sustainable battery technology

Utah State University chemists’ efforts to develop alternative battery technology solutions are advancing—they describe design and synthesis of a pi-conjugation-extended viologen molecule as a novel, two-electron storage anolyte for neutral total organic aqueous redox flow batteries.

Research gets closer to producing revolutionary battery to power renewable energy industry

New research verges on development of a commercial hydrogen-bromine flow battery, an advanced industrial-scale battery design engineers have strived to develop since the 1960s. Development of a rhodium sulfide catalyst with increased surface area may be the key.


Monocrystalline silicon thin film cuts costs of solar cells with 10-times faster growth rate

A research team from Tokyo Institute of Technology and Waseda University have successfully produced high-quality thin film monocrystalline silicon with a reduced crystal defect density down to the silicon wafer level at a growth rate that is more than 10 times higher than before.

Modified, 3-D-printable alloy shows promise for flexible electronics, soft robots

Researchers in Oregon State University’s College of Engineering have taken a key step toward the rapid manufacture of flexible computer screens and other stretchable electronic devices, including soft robots.

Chemists use abundant, low-cost, non-toxic elements to synthesize semiconductors

Researchers at Iowa State University have been working to produce semiconductors from materials that are safe, abundant, and inexpensive to manufacture, as an alternative to lead-containing perovskites used in some solar cells.

Smart glass made better, and cheaper

Researchers at the University of Delaware developed “smart glass” panels that can switch between allowing light in and blocking it out. The technology contains two sheets of plastic that contain tiny cube-shaped structures that make the material retroreflective.


New insights could pave the way for self-powered low energy devices

Researchers have discovered more details about the way certain materials hold a charge even after two surfaces separate. They found that electron transfer is the dominant process for contact electrification between two inorganic solids.

Research on bismuth ferrite could lead to new types of electrical devices

New research from the University of Arkansas makes a significant step toward a new kind of electrical device, which would use the natural properties of materials like bismuth ferrite, along with a different type of current, to send electricity quickly through smaller, denser circuits.

Simulation and experiment help researchers study next-generation semiconductors

Scientists at TU Dresden used the SuperMUC supercomputer to refine its method for studying organic semiconductors. The team used semiconductor doping, in which impurities are intentionally introduced into a material to give it specific semiconducting properties.

MIPT physicists tune a spin diode

Physicists at MIPT has offered a new design of a spin diode, placing the device between two kinds of antiferromagnetic materials. By adjusting the orientation of their antiferromagnetic axes, it is possible to change the resistance and the resonant frequency of the diode.

FlatScope, the world’s tiniest, lightest, lens-free fluorescent microscope

Lenses are no longer necessary for some microscopes, according to Rice University engineers developing FlatScope, a thin fluorescent microscope whose abilities promise to surpass those of old-school devices.

‘Quantum dot’ lighting technology takes forward leap thanks to new superacid treatment

A “superacid” has enabled a key advance toward a new generation of LED lighting that’s safer, less expensive, and more user friendly. Researchers at Oregon State University used the organic superacid to improve the performance of quantum dots made from copper indium disulfide.

Ultra-white coating modelled on beetle scales

Researchers have developed a super-thin, non-toxic, lightweight, edible ultra-white coating that could be used to make brighter paints, coatings, and more. The material is made from non-toxic cellulose and mimicks the structure of the ultra-thin scales of certain types of beetle.

Breakthrough in circuit design makes electronics more resistant to damage and defects

A new article details an innovation that provides robust protection against circuitry damage that affects signal transmission. The breakthrough was inspired by work that teased out that properties of matter can be preserved in materials despite changes in form or shape.

Reconsidering damage production and radiation mixing in materials

An international team of researchers present new mathematical equations that with minimal increase in computational complexity allow for accurate and experimentally testable predictions.