Researchers at the Aalto University School of Chemical Technology have applied atomic layer deposition (ALD) technique to the synthesis of thermoelectric materials. Converting waste energy into electricity, these materials are a promising means of producing energy cost-effectively and without carbon dioxide emissions in the future.
A polymer thin film solar cell (PSC) produces electricity from sunlight by the...
Twenty years after the discovery of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs), a team of...
Wake Forest University's Organic Electronics group has developed an organic...
Until recently, there has been no systematic way of evaluating how different anti-fog coatings perform under real-world conditions. A team of MIT researchers has developed such a testing method, and used it to find a coating that outperforms others not only in preventing foggy buildups, but also in maintaining good optical properties without distortion.
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.
Conventional sterilization techniques based on a blast of radiation, or exposure to toxic gas, can damage the functional biological components of certain medical devices. According to a team of researchers from Germany and Austria, materials containing an extract from licorice can be used to sterilize and protect medical devices and implants which include biological components.
New technologies in microelectronics and lithography typically require the presence of nanoscale polymer films in contact with a substrate. Successful engineering of these structures requires an understanding of the interplay between the dynamics of the thin film and the underlying substrate, and recent experiments at the Argonne National Laboratory’s Advanced Photon Source have produced new insights into these compositions.
Within optical microchips, light finds its way through waveguides made of silicon, and is amplified with the help of other semiconductors, such as gallium arsenide and erbium. But until recent work in The Netherlands, no chip existed on which both silicon and erbium-doped material had been successfully integrated. The new chip now amplifies light up to 170 Gbit/sec.
Scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology report they have patented and are commercializing gallium arsenide (GaAs) nanowires grown on graphene. These semiconductors, which are being developed for market by the the company CrayoNano, are grown on atomically-thin graphene using molecular beam epitaxy.
Engineers at Cornell University have invented a way to pattern single atom films of graphene and boron nitride, an insulator, without the use of a silicon substrate. The technique, called patterned regrowth, is reliant on conventional silicon photolithography technology and could lead to substrate-free circuits that would be atomically thin yet retain high tensile strength and superior electrical performance.
Flat panel displays and mobile phones require thin, efficient, and low-cost light emitters, which are typically made from pixels wired to complex electronic circuits. Engineers in Singapore have now developed a display technology that requires a much simpler architecture: a thin perforated gold film with a liquid crystal layer.
Vivek Dwivedi, a technologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is experimenting with an emerging technology that might provide an effective technique for defending sensitive spacecraft components from the high-velocity bombardments. Using atomic layer deposition, he is applying a new super-strong, ultra-thin coating made of tiny tubes of boron nitride, similar in appearance to the bristles on a toothbrush.
A group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers has discovered a way of making perfectly ordered and repeatable surfaces with patterns of microscale wrinkles. The method involves chemical vapor deposition of a layer onto a stretched silicon-polymer substrate. When tension is released first one way, then the other, a perfectly ordered wrinkled pattern emerges.
Biofilms stick to just about everything, from copper pipes to steel ship hulls to glass catheters, and can be both a nuisance and a health threat. A team of Harvard University scientists has developed a slick 99%-effective way to prevent the troublesome bacterial communities from ever forming on a surface.
Nacre, also called mother of pearl, is the iridescent coating that is found on the inside of some molluscs and on the outer coating of pearls. By recreating the biological steps that form nacre in molluscs, the scientists were able to manufacture a material which has a similar structure, mechanical behaviour, and optical appearance of that found in nature.
Platelets are the components of blood that allow it to prevent excessive bleeding and to heal wounds. Through a complex series of deposition and crosslinking techniques, researchers have recently built a synthetic version of the platelet that shares the natural cells characteristics. Synthetic platelets could have many biomedical uses.
Joshua Zide has spent nearly a decade engineering nanomaterials using molecular beam epitaxy. His particular area of expertise are metalllic-semiconductor nanocomposite for use in electronics, and he is now working on a variation of epitaxy that he hopes will bring the materials deposition technique to the production line for the first time.
Wet chemical processes or vacuum plasma processes are typically used for coating applications in industry. Both have drawbacks: vacuum units are expensive and time-consuming, and wet chemistry is energy-intensive and environmentally challenging. Researchers have recently developed a new kind of plasma coating process that works at ambient pressure.
Engineers at Stanford University have found a novel method for “decorating” nanowires with chains of tiny particles to increase their electrical and catalytic performance. The new technique is simpler, faster and provides greater control than earlier methods and could lead to better batteries, solar cells and catalysts.
Cornell materials scientists have developed an inexpensive, environmentally friendly way of synthesizing oxide crystal sheets, just nanometers thick, which have useful properties for electronics and alternative energy applications. Unlike typical oxides, these sheets are conducting, and could be ideal for use in thermoelectric devices to convert waste heat into power.
Cog wheels, threads, machine parts, cranks. and bicycle chains wear out quickly unless greases and oils help out. But lubricants containing fat agglutinate or resinify, necessitating cleaning and regreasing. A new composite material that can be applied as a coating offers a greaseless solution and also protects against corrosion.
Researchers in the U.K. grew monolayer graphene sheets on copper foil using chemical vapor deposition (CVD), then attached them to high-Q silicon nanomechanical oscillators, which allowed them to measure, for the first time, the stress and strain shear modulus and the internal friction of the sheets. The result suggest a new application for CVD-grown graphene.
Delicate and translucent as a puff of air, yet mechanically stable, flexible, and possessing very low thermal conductivity—these are the properties of a new aerogel invented in China. Made from cellulose and silica gel, the material is 99.98% air-filled pores.
Researchers at Aalto University in Finland have developed a new and significantly cheaper method of manufacturing fuel cells. A noble metal nanoparticle catalyst for fuel cells is prepared using atomic layer deposition (ALD). This ALD method for manufacturing fuel cells requires 60% less of the costly catalyst than current methods.
Researchers have used candle soot to produce a transparent superamphiphobic coating made of glass. Oil and water both roll off the new coating, leaving nothing behind. It works even when the layer was damaged with sandblasting.
NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99% of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it. The thin layer of multi-walled carbon nanotubes can absorb light 10 to 100 times better than alternate materials at a given wavelength, and will be useful for applications like stray-light suppression.
The editors of R&D Magazine have opened the nominations for the 2012 R&D 100 Awards competition, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the awards. If your organization introduced a new product this year, or is planning to, you can begin the entry process now.
Next month, R&D Magazine will be wrapping up its print and web issues of the annual R&D 100 Awards. One of the winners to be featured, FlashQE, is a new solar cell quality testing platform brought to market by Tau Sciences, and based on work at the Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Bill Scanlon of NREL has recently published an in-depth feature on the underlying technology, Real-Time QE.