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Graphene heat-transfer riddle unraveled

June 17, 2015 8:50 am | by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, Univ. of Illinois Chicago | News | Comments

Researchers have solved the long-standing conundrum of how the boundary between grains of graphene affects heat conductivity in thin films of the miracle substance, bringing developers a step closer to engineering films at a scale useful for cooling microelectronic devices and hundreds of other nanotech applications.

Cellulose from wood can be printed in 3-D

June 17, 2015 7:31 am | by Chalmers Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

A group of researchers at Chalmers Univ. of Technology have managed to print and dry 3-D objects made entirely by cellulose, for the first time, with the help of a 3-D bioprinter. They also added carbon nanotubes to create electrically conductive material.

A new type of gecko-like gripper

June 16, 2015 8:24 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Picking things up and putting them down is a mainstay of any kind of manufacturing, but fingers, human or robotic, are not always best for the task at hand. Researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania are developing a new kind of gripper, motivated by the ability of animals like the gecko to grip and release surfaces, that is perfectly suited for the delicate work involved in semiconductor manufacturing.

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Theory turns to reality for nonlinear optical metamaterials

June 16, 2015 7:46 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

A research team has realized one of the long-standing theoretical predictions in nonlinear optical metamaterials: creation of a nonlinear material that has opposite refractive indices at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of light. Such a material, which doesn’t exist naturally, had been predicted for nearly a decade.

Squid inspires camouflaging smart materials

June 15, 2015 10:31 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Bristol have shown it is possible to create artificial skin that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic one of nature's masters of camouflage, the squid. The research team has designed a smart materials system, inspired by biological chromatophores, which creates patterns that change and morph over time and mimic biological patterning.

Low-cost, efficient nanostructures for fuel cells

June 15, 2015 9:42 am | by Matthew Chin, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | News | Comments

A team led by researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles has developed nanostructures made from a compound of three metals that increases the efficiency and durability of fuel cells while lowering the cost to produce them. Their solution addresses vexing problems that have stalled the adoption of this technology.

Grinding nanotubes to get nanoribbons

June 15, 2015 7:26 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

A simple way to turn carbon nanotubes into valuable graphene nanoribbons may be to grind them, according to research led by Rice Univ. The trick, said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, is to mix two types of chemically modified nanotubes. When they come into contact during grinding, they react and unzip, a process that until now has depended largely on reactions in harsh chemical solutions.

The cement industry’s CO2 emissions can only be cut by actually removing CO2 from flue gasses.

Fighting climate change—with cement

June 12, 2015 12:31 pm | by Lars Martin Hjorthol, Norwegian University of Science and Technology | News | Comments

Carbon capture—membrane-based technology developed at NTNU is one of four technologies that may be used in a full-scale CO2 capture project—in a cement factory. The four technologies being tested as part of the project are amines (Aker Solutions), membranes (NTNU, SINTEF, DNV GL, Air Products), regenerating calcium cycle (Alstom) and solid sorbents (Research Triangle Institute, USA).

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A bright light for ultrafast snapshots of materials

June 11, 2015 4:46 pm | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

If you want to understand how novel phases emerge in correlated materials you can obtain complete viewpoints by taking “snapshots” of underlying rapid electronic interactions. One way to do this is by delivering pulses of extremely short-wavelength UV light to a material and deriving information based on the energy and direction of travel of the emitted electrons.

Research reveals how computer chips could beat the heat

June 11, 2015 8:07 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | News | Comments

The heat that builds up in the shuttling of current in electronics is an important obstacle to packing more computing power into ever-smaller devices: Excess heat can cause them to fail or sap their efficiency. Now, x-ray studies have, for the first time, observed an exotic property that could warp the electronic structure of a material in a way that reduces heat buildup and improves performance in ever-smaller computer components.

Investigating buried interfaces in ferroelectric materials

June 11, 2015 7:54 am | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

The nanoscale device community has shown great interest in exploiting the unique properties of ferroelectric materials for encoding information. But the circuitry for reading information stored in the polarization of these materials has prohibited its adaptation to extremely small scales. Now, researchers have developed a new technique that provides key information for an alternative decoding method.

Surfaces get smooth or bumpy on demand

June 11, 2015 7:24 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology team has developed a way of making soft materials, using a 3-D printer, with surface textures that can then be modified at will to be perfectly smooth, or ridged or bumpy, or even to have complex patterns that could be used to guide fluids.

Toward “green” paper-thin, flexible electronics

June 10, 2015 9:15 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The rapid evolution of gadgets has brought us an impressive array of “smart” products from phones to tablets, and now watches and glasses. But they still haven’t broken free from their rigid form. Now scientists are reporting a new step toward bendable electronics. They have developed the first light-emitting, transparent and flexible paper out of environmentally friendly materials via a simple, suction-filtration method.

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Natural rubber from dandelions

June 8, 2015 10:59 am | by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft | News | Comments

Dandelions are modest plants that are an excellent alternative source for a raw material of high demand: natural rubber, the fundamental ingredient in rubber products. Fraunhofer researchers have established the basis for the large-scale production of high quality rubber with Russian dandelion.

Moving sector walls on the nano scale

June 8, 2015 10:35 am | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Most magnetic materials have a structure that is somewhat more complicated than a commercially available domestic magnet: They not only have a north and south pole, but a variety of sectors, often only a few nanometers in size, in each of which the magnetic axis points in a different direction. These sectors are referred to as domains.

Nanospace-controlled gold material created using molecular technology

June 8, 2015 8:27 am | by National Institute for Materials Science | News | Comments

A research group has successfully developed a nanoporous gold material with a regular, uniform pore arrangement using polymers as a template. Nanoporous materials, having internal pores of several-nanometers in diameter and a large surface-to-volume ratio, have the potential of producing novel chemical reactions, and thus have been vigorously studied in the pursuit of developing new catalyst and absorbent materials.

Stretchable ceramics made by flame technology

June 8, 2015 7:49 am | by Kiel Univ. | News | Comments

Synthesizing nanoscale materials takes place within high-tech laboratories, where scientists in full-body suits keep every grain of dust away from their sensitive innovations. However, scientists at Kiel Univ. proved that this is not always necessary. They have successfully been able to transfer the experience from furnace to laboratory while synthesizing nanoscale materials using simple and highly efficient flame technology.

The Possibilities of 3D Printing: It’s Only the Beginning

June 5, 2015 6:00 pm | by Dr. Elena Polyakova, Chief Operating Officer, Graphene 3D Lab | Articles | Comments

The future of 3D printing is bright and full of exciting promise. But the most intriguing scenario for this technology isn’t in the manufacture of objects we see every day—that will only be a small niche in the 3D-printing industry. Instead, 3D printing will realize its full potential when it enables people to innovate and create all new objects and devices in a one-touch process.

Laser-Based Ultrasonics

June 5, 2015 4:00 pm | by Manjusha Mehendale, Senior Systems Scientist, Rudolph Technologies Inc., Flanders, N.J. | Articles | Comments

The need for improved performance of devices has led to the development of 3-D stacking of chips. Through-silicon via (TSV) has emerged as a viable and preferred technology for achieving such high-performance devices due to its short wiring length and reduced resistance and capacitance (RC) delay. It also offers the most design flexibility, lower manufacturing costs and allows for integration of heterogeneous chips.

Unlocking nanofibers’ potential

June 5, 2015 7:40 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Nanofibers have a huge range of potential applications, from solar cells to water filtration to fuel cells. But so far, their high cost of manufacture has relegated them to just a few niche industries. MIT researchers describe a new technique for producing nanofibers that increases the rate of production fourfold while reducing energy consumption by more than 90%, holding out the prospect of cheap, efficient nanofiber production.

How “perfect” materials begin to fail

June 4, 2015 7:27 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Crystalline materials have atoms that are neatly lined up in a repeating pattern. When they break, that failure tends to start at a defect, or a place where the pattern is disrupted. But how do defect-free materials break? Until recently, the question was purely theoretical; making a defect-free material was impossible.

Pinholes be gone!

June 2, 2015 11:39 am | by Kaoru Natori, OIST | News | Comments

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate Univ. have eliminated problematic pinholes in the top layer of next-generation solar cells in development. At the same time, they have significantly improved the lifetime of the solar cell and made it thinner.

New material accelerates healing

June 2, 2015 8:50 am | by Matthew Chin, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Videos | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of California, Los Angeles have developed an injectable hydrogel that helps skin wounds heal more quickly. The material creates an instant scaffold that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.

Tough biogel structures produced by 3D printing

June 2, 2015 7:42 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new way of making tough, but soft and wet, biocompatible materials, called “hydrogels,” into complex and intricately patterned shapes. The process might lead to injectable materials for delivering drugs or cells into the body; scaffolds for regenerating load-bearing tissues; or tough but flexible actuators for future robots, the researchers say.

“Designer carbon” boosts battery performance

June 1, 2015 7:51 am | by Mark Shwartz, Stanford Univ. | News | Comments

Stanford Univ. scientists have created a new carbon material that significantly boosts the performance of energy-storage technologies. Their results are featured in ACS Central Science. The new "designer carbon" is both versatile and controllable and represents a dramatic improvement over conventional activated carbon.

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