MaterialCards - Impulses & Inspiration
With its noble, intense and attractive gold, silver or bronze-effects, these genuine leather qualities set convincing accents in a variety of different applications.
MaterialNews - Information & Innovation
Researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing.
The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon. The hybrid material shows promise as a possible replacement for indium tin oxide, or ITO, used in transparent electrodes for touch-screen monitors, cell-phone displays and flat-screen televisions. Industry is seeking alternatives to ITO because of drawbacks: It is relatively expensive due to limited abundance of indium, and it is inflexible and degrades over time, becoming brittle... more
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating high-quality semiconductor thin films at the atomic scale – meaning the films are only one atom thick. The technique can be used to create these thin films on a large scale, sufficient to coat wafers that are two inches wide, or larger.
“This could be used to scale current semiconductor technologies down to the atomic scale – lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), computer chips, anything,” says Dr. Linyou Cao, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the work. “People have been talking about this concept for a long time, but it wasn’t possible. With this discovery, I think it’s possible.”
The researchers worked with molybdenum sulfide (MoS2), an inexpensive... more
Meeting the demand for more data storage in smaller volumes means using materials made up of ever-smaller magnets, or nanomagnets. One promising material for a potential new generation of recording media is an alloy of iron and platinum with an ordered crystal structure.
Researchers led by Professor Kai Liu and graduate student Dustin Gilbert at the University of California, Davis, have now found a convenient way to make these alloys and tailor their properties.
"The relatively convenient synthesis conditions, along with the tunable magnetic properties, make these materials highly desirable for future magnetic recording technologies," said Liu, a professor of physics. The iron-platinum alloy has the ability to retain information even at extremely small... more
Many molecules have a right and a left form, just like shoes. In pharmaceuticals, it is important that the correct form of the molecule is used. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have been able to produce the one mirror image by using crystals with special properties. This can have a major impact on the production of pharmaceuticals.
Molecules that are the same, but mirror images are called chiral after the Greek word for hand. The mirror image forms of chiral molecules have identical properties except when they interact with other chiral molecules, sort of like the left shoe fitting the left foot better than the right shoe.
Our bodies contain chiral molecules, such as amino acids in proteins and sugar molecules in our genetic material. But in all living organisms, only one of the two mirror image forms is used.
Waterproof fabrics that whisk away sweat could be the latest application of microfluidic technology developed by bioengineers at the University of California, Davis.
The new fabric works like human skin, forming excess sweat into droplets that drain away by themselves, said inventor Tingrui Pan, professor of biomedical engineering. One area of research in Pan's Micro-Nano Innovations Laboratory at UC Davis is a field known as microfluidics, which focuses on making "lab on a chip" devices that use tiny channels to manipulate fluids. Pan and his colleagues are developing such systems for applications like medical diagnostic tests.
Graduate students... more
Imagine a bendable tablet computer or an electronic newspaper that could fold to fit in a pocket.
The technology for these devices may not be so far off. Northwestern University researchers have recently developed a graphene-based ink that is highly conductive and tolerant to bending, and they have used it to inkjet-print graphene patterns that could be used for extremely detailed, conductive electrodes.
The resulting patterns are 250 times more conductive than previous attempts to print graphene-based electronic patterns and could be a step toward low-cost, foldable electronics.
A paper... more
Inspired by the structure of moth eyes, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nanostructures that limit reflection at the interfaces where two thin films meet, suppressing the “thin-film interference” phenomenon commonly observed in nature. This can potentially improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells and other optoelectronic devices.
Thin-film interference occurs when a thin film of one substance lies on top of a second substance. For example, thin-film interference is what causes the rainbow sheen we see when there is gasoline in a puddle of water.
Gasoline is transparent, but some light is still reflected off of its surface. Similarly, some of the light that passes through the gasoline is reflected off the underlying surface of the water where the two substances interface, or meet. Because the light reflected off the water... more
U of T Engineering researchers, working with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University, have published new insights into how materials transfer heat, which could lead eventually to smaller, more powerful electronic devices.
Integrated circuits and other electronic parts have been shrinking in size and growing in complexity and power for decades. But as circuits get smaller, it becomes more difficult to dissipate waste heat. For further advances to be made in electronics, researchers and industry need to find ways of tracking heat transfer in products ranging from smart phones to computers to solar cells.
Dan Sellan and Professor Cristina Amon, of U of T's Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department, investigated... more
Rice University theorists say graphene-boron mix shows promise for lithium-ion batteries
Frustration led to revelation when Rice University scientists determined how graphene might be made useful for high-capacity batteries.
Calculations by the Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson found a graphene/boron anode should be able to hold a lot of lithium and perform at a proper voltage for use in lithium-ion batteries. The discovery appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.
The possibilities offered by graphene get clearer by the day... more
Elaborate nanostructures blossom from a chemical reaction perfected at Harvard
"Spring is like a perhaps hand," wrote the poet E. E. Cummings: "carefully / moving a perhaps / fraction of flower here placing / an inch of air there... / without breaking anything."
With the hand of nature trained on a beaker of chemical fluid, the most delicate flower structures have been formed in a Harvard laboratory—and not at the scale of inches, but microns.
These minuscule sculptures, curved and delicate, don't resemble the cubic or jagged forms normally associated... more
Writing in Nature, a large international team led Dr Roman Gorbachev from The University of Manchester shows that, when graphene placed on top of insulating boron nitride, or 'white graphene', the electronic properties of graphene change dramatically revealing a pattern resembling a butterfly.
The pattern is referred to as the elusive Hofstadter butterfly that has been known in theory for many decades but never before observed in experiments.
Combining graphene with other materials in multiple-layered structures could lead to novel applications not yet explored by science or industry.
Graphene is the world's thinnest, strongest and most conductive material, and promises a vast range of diverse applications; from smartphones and ultrafast broadband to drug delivery and computer... more
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