A material that could enable faster memory chips and more efficient batteries can switch between high and low ionic conductivity states much faster than previously thought, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University researchers have determined. The key is to use extremely small chunks of it.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have pioneered a new method for producing polymer gels with tailored mechanical properties. The approach, which depends on the use of ultraviolet to break chemical bonds and prime them for new connections, could be used to make new materials that physically grow towards a light source in order to optimize their properties.
A tiny capsule invented at a University of California, Los Angeles laboratory could go a long way toward improving cancer treatment. Devising a method for more precise and less invasive treatment of cancer tumors, the team has developed a degradable nanoscale shell to carry proteins to cancer cells and stunt the growth of tumors without damaging healthy cells.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have devised a way to detect whether cells previously transplanted into a living animal are alive or dead, an innovation they say is likely to speed the development of cell replacement therapies for conditions such as liver failure and type 1 diabetes.
For the first time, scientists have created single layers of a naturally occurring rare mineral called tungstenite. The resulting sheet of stacked sulfur and tungsten atoms forms a honeycomb pattern of triangles that have been shown to have unusual light-emitting, or photoluminescent, properties.
The first fruits of a cooperative venture between scientists at Rice University and NIST have appeared in a paper that brings together a wealth of information for those who wish to use the unique properties of metallic carbon nanotubes. The article gathers research about the separation and fundamental characteristics of armchair carbon nanotubes, which have been of particular interest to researchers trying to tune their electronic and optical properties.
Traditionally, carbon fibers are made by “carbonizing” a polymer called poly-acrylonitrile, or PAN, by spinning it into a fiber and heating to form a homogenous carbons structure. Since its invention, improvement have been incremental, and version made with 100% carbon nanotubes are extremely expensive. A researcher at Northeastern University is working on a much cheaper, and stronger, alternative.
Quantum dots—tiny particles that emit light in a dazzling array of glowing colors—have the potential for many applications, but have faced a series of hurdles to improved performance. But a Massachusetts Institute of Technology team says that it has succeeded in overcoming all these obstacles at once, while earlier efforts have only been able to tackle them one or a few at a time.
A team led by Oxford University scientists in the U.K., has overcome a key problem of growing graphene—a one atom-thick layer of carbon—when using chemical vapor deposition. The tiny flakes of graphene typically form with random orientations, leaving defects or 'seams' between flakes that grow together. A combination of pressure a simple copper foil can remove these defects.
Two Rutgers physics professors have proposed an explanation for a new type of order, or symmetry, in an exotic material made with uranium. When cooled to near absolute zero, the material’s electrons essentially act like electronic versions of polarized sunglasses. The new theory that explains this strange behavior may one day lead to enhanced computer displays and data storage systems and more powerful superconducting magnets for medical imaging and levitating high-speed trains.
It would be a terrible thing if laboratories striving to grow graphene from carbon atoms kept winding up with big pesky diamonds. Yet something like that keeps happening to experimentalists working to grow 2D boron. Now, Rice University researchers have made progress toward 2D boron through theoretical work that suggests the most practical ways to make the material and put it to work.
Wear is a fact of life. As surfaces rub against one another, they break down and lose their original shape. With less material to start with and functionality that often depends critically on shape and surface structure, wear affects nanoscale objects more strongly than it does their macroscale counterparts. Worse, the mechanisms behind wear processes aren't well understood for nanotech devices. Until now.
Just as horses shake off pesky flies by twitching their skin, ships may soon be able to shed the unwanted accumulation of bacteria and other marine growth with the flick of a switch. Duke University engineers have developed a material that can be applied like paint to the hull of a ship and will literally be able to dislodge bacteria, keeping it from accumulating on the ship's surface.
Found in flat screens, solar modules, or in new organic light-emitting diode (LED) displays, transparent electrodes have become ubiquitous. But since raw materials like indium are becoming more and more costly, researchers have begun to look elsewhere for alternatives. A new review article sheds some light on the different advantages and disadvantages of established and new materials for use in these kinds of contact electrodes.
The phenomenon of liquids coating rough surfaces in the form of films or droplets is commonplace. But how can we tell in what conditions a liquid will form a continuous film or just isolated drops? Existing theories generally describe ideally smooth surfaces, which are not practically relevant. Now, for the first time, scientists have developed a general theory based on simple mathematics that provides an answer to the question of film or droplets for rough surfaces.
Particle accelerators normally operate on the principle that charged particles like electrons and protons require high voltages and long acceleration paths. Researchers in India have developed a method that uses lasers to charge a lump of cooled argon particles to high energy and revert them to a neutral, uncharged, state without losing any of the high energy possessed by the particle. The finding could yield a valuable new source of particles for study.
A team of materials scientists at Harvard University and the University of Exeter have invented a new fiber that changes color when stretched. Inspired by nature, the researchers identified and replicated the unique structural elements that create the bright iridescent blue color of a tropical plant's fruit.
Researchers in Switzerland have designed tiny vessels that are capable of releasing active agents in the body. These “nanovehicles” are made from a liposome just 100 to 200 nm in diameter. By attaching magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles to the surface, scientists are able to target the vessel, heating it up to release the drug.
Every day scientists learn more about how the world works at the smallest scales. While this knowledge has the potential to help others, it's possible that the same discoveries can also be used in ways that cause widespread harm. A new article tackles this complex "dual-use" aspect of nanotechnology research.
Scientists at Arizona State University are celebrating their recent success on the path to understanding what makes the fiber that spiders spin—weight for weight—at least five times as strong as piano wire. They have found a way to obtain a wide variety of elastic properties of the silk of several intact spiders' webs using a sophisticated but non–invasive laser light scattering technique.
Two science projects—one to map the human brain, the other to explore the extraordinary properties of the carbon-based material graphene—were declared the winners Monday of an EU technologies contest and will receive up to €1 billion ($1.35 billion) each over the next 10 years.
Rice University scientists have taken an important step toward the creation of 2D electronics with a process to make patterns in atom-thick layers that combine a conductor and an insulator. The materials at play—graphene and hexagonal boron nitride—have been merged into sheets and built into a variety of patterns at nanoscale dimensions.
Using laser spectroscopy to examine an exotic form of hydrogen, which has a negatively charged muon instead of an electron, physicists at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland have for the first time determined the magnetic radius of the proton. The result significantly different than the one from previous investigations of regular hydrogen.
A new way of making crystalline silicon, developed by University of Michigan researchers, could make this crucial ingredient of computers and solar cells much cheaper and greener. The researchers discovered a way to make silicon crystals, directly at just 180 F, the internal temperature of a cooked turkey, by taking advantage of a phenomenon seen in your kitchen.
Physicists have recently demonstrated that the application of a very strong alternating electric field to thin liquid crystal cells leads to a new distinct nonlinear dynamic effect in the response of the cells. Researchers were able to explain this result through spatio-temporal chaos theory. The finding has implications for the operation of liquid crystal devices because their operation depends on electro-optic switch phenomena.