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The Lead

Microscopy pencils patterns in polymers at the nanoscale

December 17, 2014 2:50 pm | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Scientists have used advanced microscopy to carve out nanoscale designs on the surface of a new class of ionic polymer materials for the first time. The study provides new evidence that atomic force microscopy, or AFM, could be used to precisely fabricate materials needed for increasingly smaller devices.

New law for superconductors

December 16, 2014 2:47 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have discovered a new mathematical...

Scientists trace nanoparticles from plants to caterpillars

December 16, 2014 2:37 pm | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

In one of the most comprehensive laboratory studies of its kind, Rice Univ. scientists traced...

Turning hydrogen into “graphene”

December 16, 2014 2:13 pm | by Carnegie Institute | News | Comments

New work from Carnegie Institute's Ivan Naumov and Russell Hemley delves into the chemistry...

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Carbon-trapping “sponges” can cut greenhouse gases

December 16, 2014 8:56 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell Univ. | News | Comments

In the fight against global warming, carbon capture is gaining momentum, but standard methods are plagued by toxicity, corrosiveness and inefficiency. Using a bag of chemistry tricks, Cornell Univ. materials scientists have invented low-toxicity, highly effective carbon-trapping “sponges” that could lead to increased use of the technology.

New algorithm a Christmas gift to 3-D printing

December 15, 2014 2:23 pm | by Carol Thorbes, Univ. Communications, Simon Fraser Univ. | News | Comments

Just in time for Christmas, Simon Fraser Univ. computing science professor Richard Zhang reveals how to print a 3-D Christmas tree efficiently and with zero material waste, using the world’s first algorithm for automatically decomposing a 3-D object into what are called pyramidal parts. A pyramidal part has a flat base with the remainder of the shape forming upwards over the base with no overhangs, much like a pyramid.

New findings could point the way to “valleytronics”

December 15, 2014 1:41 pm | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New findings could provide a pathway toward a kind of 2-D microchip that would make use of a characteristic of electrons other than their electrical charge, as in conventional electronics. The new approach is dubbed “valleytronics,” because it makes use of properties of an electron that can be depicted as a pair of deep valleys on a graph of their traits.

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Uncovering the Secrets Governing CVD of Graphene

December 15, 2014 11:24 am | by Mark H. Wall, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Madison, Wisc., Robert M. Jacobberger, Dept. of Material Science and Engineering, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison and Elena Polyakova, Graphene Laboratories, Ronkonkoma, N.Y. | Thermo Fisher Scientific | Articles | Comments

One major challenge currently facing the graphene industry is difficulty in controlling the quality of graphene sheets when produced over large areas using industrial scale techniques. The key to solving this challenge lies in gaining a thorough understanding of the synthetic methods used to fabricate macro-sized single-layer graphene films.

Squid supplies blueprint for printable thermoplastics

December 15, 2014 10:37 am | by Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Squid, what is it good for? You can eat it and you can make ink or dye from it, and now a Penn State Univ. team of researchers is using it to make a thermoplastic that can be used in 3-D printing. The team looked at the protein complex that exists in the squid ring teeth (SRT). The naturally made material is a thermoplastic, but obtaining it requires a large amount of effort and many squid.

Scientists measure speedy electrons in silicon

December 12, 2014 7:00 am | News | Comments

An international team of physicists and chemists based at UC Berkeley has, for the first time, taken snapshots of this ephemeral event using attosecond pulses of soft X-ray light lasting only a few billionths of a billionth of a second.                             

Nanoshaping method points to future manufacturing technology

December 12, 2014 7:00 am | News | Comments

A new method that creates large-area patterns of three-dimensional nanoshapes from metal sheets represents a potential manufacturing system to inexpensively mass produce innovations such as "plasmonic metamaterials" for advanced technologies.

‘High-entropy’ alloy is as light as aluminum, as strong as titanium alloys

December 11, 2014 8:09 am | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new “high-entropy” metal alloy that has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than any other existing metal material. High-entropy alloys are materials that consist of five or more metals in approximately equal amounts. 

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Contact lens merges plastics and active electronics via 3-D printing

December 10, 2014 7:56 am | News | Comments

As part of a project demonstrating new 3-D printing techniques, Princeton researchers have embedded tiny light-emitting diodes into a standard contact lens, allowing the device to project beams of colored light. The lens is not designed for actual use, though. Instead, the team created the device to demonstrate the ability to 3-D print electronics into complex shapes and materials.

Defects are perfect in laser-induced graphene

December 10, 2014 7:50 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have created flexible, patterned sheets of multilayer graphene from a cheap polymer by burning it with a computer-controlled laser. The process works in air at room temperature and eliminates the need for hot furnaces and controlled environments, and it makes graphene that may be suitable for electronics or energy storage.

Composite materials can be designed in a supercomputer 'virtual lab'

December 9, 2014 12:45 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have shown how advanced computer simulations can be used to design new composite materials. Nanocomposites, which are widely used in industry, are revolutionary materials in which microscopic particles are dispersed through plastics. 

Germanium comes home to Purdue for semiconductor milestone

December 8, 2014 4:26 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A laboratory at Purdue Univ. provided a critical part of the world's first transistor in 1947—the purified germanium semiconductor—and now researchers here are on the forefront of a new germanium milestone. The team has created the first modern germanium circuit—a complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) device—using germanium as the semiconductor instead of silicon.

New semiconductor could change face of consumer electronics

December 8, 2014 9:54 am | by David Stauth, Oregon State Univ. | News | Comments

Materials first developed at Oregon State Univ. more than a decade ago with an eye toward making “transparent” transistors may be about to shake up the field of consumer electronics; and the first uses are not even based on the transparent capability of the materials. In the continued work and in collaboration with private industry, certain transparent transistor materials are now gaining some of their first commercial applications.

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Rattled atoms mimic high-temperature superconductivity

December 8, 2014 9:29 am | by SLAC Office of Communications | News | Comments

An experiment at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory provided the first fleeting glimpse of the atomic structure of a material as it entered a state resembling room-temperature superconductivity—a long-sought phenomenon in which materials might conduct electricity with 100% efficiency under everyday conditions.

Uniform nanowire arrays for science, manufacturing

December 8, 2014 8:36 am | by Kris Bertness, NIST | News | Comments

Defect-free nanowires with diameters in the range of 100 nm hold significant promise for numerous in-demand applications. That promise can't be realized, however, unless the wires can be fabricated in large uniform arrays using methods compatible with high-volume manufacture. To date, that has not been possible for arbitrary spacings in ultra-high vacuum growth.

Technique offers spray-on solar power

December 8, 2014 8:18 am | by Marit Mitchell, Senior Communications Office, Univ. of Toronto | Videos | Comments

Pretty soon, powering your tablet could be as simple as wrapping it in cling wrap. A Univ. of Toronto team has invented a new way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using miniscule light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs)—a major step toward making spray-on solar cells easy and cheap to manufacture.

Nanoparticle allows low-cost creation of 3-D nanostructures

December 8, 2014 7:51 am | by Matt Shipman, News Services, North Carolina State Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have developed a new lithography technique that uses nanoscale spheres to create 3-D structures with biomedical, electronic and photonic applications. The new technique is significantly less expensive than conventional methods and does not rely on stacking 2-D patterns to create 3-D structures.

Unusual electronic state found in new class of superconductors

December 8, 2014 7:41 am | by Karen McNulty Walsh, Brookhaven National Laboratory | News | Comments

A team of scientists has discovered an unusual form of electronic order in a new family of unconventional superconductors. The findingestablishes an unexpected connection between this new group of titanium-oxypnictide superconductors and the more familiar cuprates and iron-pnictides, providing scientists with a whole new family of materials from which they can gain deeper insights into the mysteries of high-temperature superconductivity.

Atomic “mismatch” creates nano “dumbbells”

December 5, 2014 9:55 am | by Jared Sagoff, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

Like snowflakes, nanoparticles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The geometry of a nanoparticle is often as influential as its chemical makeup in determining how it behaves, from its catalytic properties to its potential as a semiconductor component. Thanks to a new study, researchers are closer to understanding the process by which nanoparticles made of more than one material, called heterostructured nanoparticles, form.

Nanoparticle network could bring fast-charging batteries

December 4, 2014 7:46 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A new electrode design for lithium-ion batteries has been shown to potentially reduce the charging time from hours to minutes by replacing the conventional graphite electrode with a network of tin-oxide nanoparticles. Batteries have two electrodes, called an anode and a cathode. The anodes in most of today's lithium-ion batteries are made of graphite.

Buckyballs enhance carbon capture

December 4, 2014 7:37 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Rice Univ. scientists have discovered an environmentally friendly carbon-capture method that could be equally adept at drawing carbon dioxide emissions from industrial flue gases and natural gas wells. The Rice laboratory of chemist Andrew Barron revealed in a proof-of-concept study that amine-rich compounds are highly effective at capturing the greenhouse gas when combined with carbon-60 molecules.

Technique simultaneously determines nanomaterials’ chemical makeup

December 3, 2014 8:47 am | by Angela Hardin, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

A team of researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and Ohio Univ. have devised a powerful technique that simultaneously resolves the chemical characterization and topography of nanoscale materials down to the height of a single atom. The technique combines synchrotron x-rays (SX) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). In experiments, the researchers used SX as a probe and a nanofabricated smart tip of a STM as a detector.

Researchers develop inexpensive hydrolysable polymer

December 2, 2014 4:50 pm | by Rick Kubetz, Engineering Communications Office | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have figured out how to reverse the characteristics of a key bonding material—polyurea—providing an inexpensive alternative for a broad number of applications, such as drug delivery, tissue engineering and packaging.

Lengthening the life of high-capacity silicon electrodes in rechargeable lithium batteries

December 2, 2014 4:14 pm | by Mary Beckman, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | News | Comments

A new study will help researchers create longer-lasting, higher-capacity lithium rechargeable batteries, which are commonly used in consumer electronics. In a study published in ACS Nano, researchers showed how a coating that makes high-capacity silicon electrodes more durable could lead to a replacement for lower-capacity graphite electrodes.

Chemists fabricate novel rewritable paper

December 2, 2014 12:44 pm | by Iqbal Pittalwala, Univ. of California, Riverside | News | Comments

First developed in China in about the year A.D. 150, paper has many uses, the most common being for writing and printing upon. Indeed, the development and spread of civilization owes much to paper’s use as writing material. According to some surveys, 90% of all information in businesses today is retained on paper, even though the bulk of this printed paper is discarded after just one-time use.

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