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[Images above] Credit: NIST


Cell-sized robots can sense their environment

Researchers have created small robots that can sense their environment, store data, and even carry out computational tasks. These devices, the size of a human egg cell, consist of tiny electronic circuits made of 2-D materials, piggybacking on minuscule particles called colloids.

World’s fastest man-made spinning object could help study quantum mechanics

To help them study quantum mechanics, researchers have created the fastest man-made rotor in the world by synthesizing a tiny dumbbell from silica and levitating it in high vacuum using a laser. When it’s linear, the dumbbell vibrates, and when it’s circular, the dumbbell spins.

A new periodic table for nanomaterials

A new simulation could help scientists decide what molecules best interact with each other to build nanomaterials from scratch. It involves connecting the chemical properties of molecules with the nanostructures that form as a result of their interaction.


Researchers boost performance quality of perovskites

Scientists at the University of Washington report that a prototype semiconductor thin-film has performed even better than today’s best solar cell materials at emitting light. The UW team achieved a record performance in this material by chemically treating it through “surface passivation.”

Looking inside the lithium battery’s black box

Columbia University material scientists use Stimulated Raman Scattering microscopy to observe—for the first time—ions moving in liquid electrolyte. The findings could lead to improving battery safety while also increasing next-generation energy storage.

Sandia National Laboratories: 40 years of concentrated solar power research

From testing space shuttle tiles to making electricity from sunlight, the world’s first multimegawatt solar tower has contributed to energy research, space exploration, defense testing and solar energy commercialization since it was commissioned at SNL in July 1978.


Unusual rare earth compound opens doorway to new class of functional materials

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have discovered an earlier unknown discontinuous magnetoelastic transition in a rare-earth intermetallic. The mechanism of the material’s changing magnetic state is so unusual, it provides new possibilities for discovery of similar materials.


Improving biosensors for implantable sensing

Researchers have engineered stable optical nanotube sensors using synthetic biology. The use of synthetic biology imparts increased stability to the optical biosensors, making them more suitable for use in biosensing applications in complex fluids.

Blasting tiny craters into glass, creating a material to miniaturize telecommunications devices

Researchers report on a laser-assisted study of a type of glass that shows promise as a material for broadband planar waveguide amplifiers. This material is made by doping a type of glass made from zinc, sodium and tellurium with the rare earth element erbium.

Scientists create ‘impossible’ materials in simple way

Scientists have created nitrides, a material previously considered impossible to obtain. More amazing, they have shown that the material can be obtained using a very simple method of direct synthesis.

Two-faced edge makes nanotubes obey

Rice materials theorist Boris Yakobson and his team bucked a theory that when growing nanotubes in a furnace, a catalyst with a specific atomic arrangement and symmetry would reliably make carbon nanotubes of like chirality, the angle of its carbon-atom lattice.