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[Image above] Credit: NIST


Inducing superconductivity in tungsten disulfide monolayer

Physicists have induced superconductivity in a monolayer of tungsten disulfide. By using an increasing electric field, they were able to show how the material turns from an insulator into a superconductor and then back into a ‘re-entrant’ insulator again.

Graphene oxide nanosheets could help bring lithium-metal batteries to market

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a graphene-oxide coated ‘nanosheet’ that, when placed in between the two electrodes of a lithium-metal battery, prevents uneven plating of lithium and allows the battery to safely function.

A new way to gauge the growth of indium gallium nanowires

Researchers from Argonne and Brookhaven National Laboratories observed the formation of two kinds of defects in individual nanowires. These nanowires, made of indium gallium arsenide, could be useful for a wide range of applications in optoelectronics.

Controlling molecular alignment on a graphene surface

Scientists have developed a simple way to align molecules in one direction on a flat graphene surface. Efficiently controlling molecular alignment is expected to lead to significant progress in surface chemistry and molecular engineering, as well as materials science.


New design produces true lithium-air battery

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and at Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new lithium-air battery that works in a natural air environment and still functioned after a record-breaking 750 charge/discharge cycles.

Neutrons pave the way to accelerated production of lithium-ion cells

Developers from Bosch and scientists at the Technical University of Munich are using neutrons to analyze the filling of lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars with electrolytes. Their experiments show that electrodes are wetted twice as fast in a vacuum as under normal pressure.

Researchers charge ahead to develop better batteries

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas have developed a high-powered, environmentally safe lithium-sulfur substitute—a sulfur-carbon nanotube substance that creates more conductivity on one electrode, and a nanomaterial coating for stability.

Potassium gives perovskite-based solar cells an efficiency boost

An international team of researchers led by the University of Cambridge found that the addition of potassium iodide ‘healed’ defects and immobilized ion movement, which to date have limited the efficiency of cheap perovskite solar cells.

How energy storage is starting to rewire the electricity industry

The market for energy storage on the power grid is growing at a rapid clip, driven by declining prices and supportive government policies. Based on the operation and costs of electricity grids, energy storage could transform the way we produce and use power.

Design principles could point to better electrolytes for next-generation lithium batteries

A new approach to analyzing and designing new ion conductors—a key component of rechargeable batteries—could accelerate the development of high-energy lithium batteries, and possibly other energy storage and delivery devices such as fuel cells, researchers say.


Landfills: A future source of raw materials

Decontamination of landfills and open dumpsites could prove profitable—both financially and for the environment. Much of the environmentally hazardous waste that has been dumped at landfills can be recycled as energy or reused as valuable raw materials in different industries.

‘Hard rock’ standard reference material helps identify chemicals in mine waste

NIST has released a standard reference material that not only helps evaluate the environmental challenges posed by the old waste piles, but gives today’s mining companies a tool to help ensure efficient and environmentally sound mining practices.

New low-cost, sustainable material for reducing air and water pollution

A new class of hybrid materials—produced inexpensively from an industrial waste by-product and naturally abundant polymers—shows promise as an affordable and sustainable product for reducing particulate matter in air and organic pollutants in wastewater.


Live 3-D printing of osteogenic scaffolds into bone defects

The efficacy of bone scaffold substitutes is limited by the rate of bone formation, scaffold-defect mismatch, and more. However, additive in-situ 3-D printing can overcome these limitations by printing scaffolds that conform to the dimensions of the defect site.

Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat

Miniaturized sensors developed by researchers at the Tufts University School of Engineering that, when mounted directly on a tooth and communicating wirelessly with a mobile device, can transmit information on glucose, salt, and alcohol intake.

Breakthrough antimalarial drug delivery system using mesoporous silica nanoparticles

Drug delivery systems are important methods of delivering medicine to affected areas. An international collaboration has successfully developed the world’s first system for antimalarial drugs, which increased efficiency up to 240 times as much as oral administration.


New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in

Scientists have developed a powerful printer that could streamline creation of self-assembling structures that can change shape after being exposed to heat and other stimuli. They say this unique technology could accelerate the use of 4-D printing in aerospace and other industries.

Improved fabrication process of nanostructures for electronic devices

Researchers have found a more efficient fabricating process to produce semiconductors. This fabrication process—the I-MacEtch, or inverse metal-assisted chemical etching method—can help meet the growing demand for more powerful and reliable nanotechnologies. 

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

It’s easy and economical to make shiny pellets of graphite from functionalized graphene. A Rice University report shows how chemically altered graphene powder can be pressed into a lightweight, semiporous solid that retains many of graphite’s strong and conductive qualities.

Robust superhydrophobic films fabricated from anisotropic silica particles

Recent research by a group of researchers from Nanjing Tech University showed an emulsion-based one-pot synthesis of anisotropic silica by adding various silane coupling agents provides an effective strategy to control particle morphology and modification.


Liquid-to-glass transition process gains clarity

Materials science and engineering experts have made significant experimental strides in understanding how, when, and where the constantly moving atoms in molten metal ‘lock’ into place as the material transitions from liquid to solid glass.

Neutrons help demystify multiferroic materials

An international team of researchers used neutron scattering to identify a rare material that has both special magnetic and electrical properties. The team illustrates how this unique marriage is achieved in the multiferroic material BiMn3Cr4O12.

A future colorfully lit by mystifying physics of paint-on semiconductors

A newly tested class of light-emitting semiconductors is so easy to produce from solution that it could be painted onto surfaces to light up our future in myriad colors shining from affordable lasers, LEDs, and even window glass.

Designing a new material for improved ultrasound

Development of a theoretical basis for ultrahigh piezoelectricity in ferroelectric materials led to a new material with twice the piezo response of any existing commercial ferroelectric ceramics, according to an international team of researchers from Penn State, China, and Australia.

Physicists discover new quantum electronic material

Physicists from MIT, Harvard University, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have for the first time produced a kagome metal—an electrically conducting crystal, made from layers of iron and tin atoms, with each atomic layer arranged in the repeating kagome lattice.

Researchers developing ferrite materials for quantum computing

Researchers from South Ural State University perform modification of properties and structure of ferrites, which are oxides of iron with other metals’ oxides, by introducing other chemical elements into the structure of barium hexaferrite to obtain new working characteristics.

Superconductivity in an alloy with quasicrystal structure

A research team led by Nagoya University has discovered superconductivity in a quasicrystal for the first time. The team studied an alloy of aluminum, zinc, and magnesium, and they found that Al had a crucial effect on the alloy’s properties.