To improve the electronic devices that keep our world organized, scientists are on the hunt for new semiconductor materials. One answer could lie with an unusual form of electrical conductivity that takes place at the junction of two oxides. However, a group of scientists were recently surprised to find the interface of two complex oxides—the polar lanthanum chromium oxide, and the nonpolar strontium titanium oxide—did not conduct electricity.
A team of engineers at Northwestern University has created an electrode for conventional lithium-ion batteries that allows them to both hold a charge up to 10 times greater than current technology and charge up to 10 times faster than current batteries.
Designed by engineers in Switzerland and The Netherlands, the molecular 4x4 recently crafted from a single molecule is a billion times smaller than a VW Golf. Powered electrically by the tip of a scanning electron microscope, which stimulates each wheel separately, the “car” can travel in a straight line on a copper surface.
More and more frequently, the electronics in automobiles are being moved closer to the engine block. Materials used for these electronics must resist increasing heat, so the glass solder being used as glue must be continually optimized. For the first time ever, a robot in Germany is developing a new type of glass that can fulfill these requirements.
A research team has recently discovered that silicon carbide, a commonly used semiconductor, contains crystal imperfections that can be controlled at a quantum mechanical level. This level of fine-tuning might allow developers to exploit quantum physics in this material at the nanoscale.
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are currently produced using heavy-metal doped glass in order to achieve high efficiency and brightness. Engineers in Canada have re-constructed the high refractive index of these OLEDs on a plastic substrate, making the result light, flexible, and rugged.
Researchers have used zinc oxide microwires to significantly improve the efficiency at which gallium nitride light-emitting diodes (LED) convert electricity to ultraviolet light. The devices are believed to be the first LEDs whose performance has been enhanced by the creation of an electrical charge in a piezoelectric material using the piezo-phototronic effect.
A new conformal coating technique developed at Cornell University has allowed researchers to apply gold nanoparticles and conductive polymer layers to the irregular topography of cotton fibers, creating a flexible, cotton-based transistor that is fully tunable.
Just as a corset improves the appearance of its wearer by keeping everything tightly together, new rigidly constraining insulating materials invented at Duke University helps prevent the inevitable microscopic breakdown of the “soft” polymers often used in their construction.
A new concept for a rechargeable battery has been developed by researchers in Germany. Based on a fluoride shuttle, which involves the transfer of fluoride anions between electrodes, the mechanism replaces lithium during charge transfer and allows the flow of many more electrons per metal atom.
Typical fuel cells and batteries rely on solid metal electrodes, and under normal, ambient conditions a plasma electrode is not practical. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University, however, recently demonstrated one that does function at atmospheric temperature and pressure.
Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists reveal how substituting just a few atoms can cause widespread disruption of the delicate electron interactions that give a particular "heavy fermion" material its unique properties, including superconductivity.
For the electronics industry to effectively use graphene, it must first be grown selectively and in larger sheets. Materials experts at the University of California, Santa Barbara have refined a new, scalable chemical vapor deposition process that yields high-quality and high-uniformity graphene on a copper substrate.
Building electronic devices that work without needing to actually transport electrons is a goal of spintronics researchers. A team from six research institutes in Japan and China now report they have produced a large spin current in a spintronic device called a lateral spin valve.
Researchers in the UK have recently demonstrated what future electronic circuits made from graphene will probably look like. By sandwiching two sheets of graphene with another two-dimensional material, boron nitrate, the team created a graphene “Big Mac”.
In traditional LCDs, less than 8% of the backlight actually reaches a viewer's eyes. The rest is absorbed by color filters and polarizers. A new kind of screen pixel has been invented that doubles as a solar cell and could greatly boost the energy efficiency of cell phones and e-readers.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have found that shining light on a sheet of graphene, treated so that it had two regions with different electrical properties, creates a temperature difference that, in turn, generates a current. Previously, this effect had been thought to be photovoltaic in nature.
Conductors like copper heat up, limiting circuit densities. Materials that exhibit the quantum spin Hall effect offer flow without the need for heat dissipation, but they are hindered by magnetic imperfections. Researchers at RIKEN in Japan believe they’ve solved this problem.
A team in Singapore has developed the world's first energy-storage membrane. Based on deposited polystyrene-based polymer technology, the soft, foldable can, when charged by two metal plates, store charge at 0.2 farads per square centimeter.
An accidental discovery in a physicist’s laboratory at the University of California, Riverside provides a unique route for tuning the electrical properties of graphene. Depending on the way three layers were stacked together, researchers found, graphene could become a conductor or an insulator.
Solar concentrators that rely on mirrors and lenses typically require expensive tracking systems. But another type of cell, a luminescent concentrator proposed by Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University experts, would rely on fluorescent plastic to force light to “forget” its incoming wavelength, making its energy easier to harvest.
Crystals and ceramics pale when compared to a material researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory discovered that has 10 times their piezoelectric effect, making it suitable for perhaps hundreds of everyday uses.
A newly published paper from EMPA, the Swiss federal laboratory, details the steps its technology team took to build a flexible cadmium-indium-gallium-diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic cell that would achieve a world record 18.7% efficiency rating.
More than 60% of the energy produced by cars, machines, and industry around the world is lost as waste heat—an age-old problem—but researchers have found a new way to make "thermoelectric" materials for use in technology that could potentially save vast amounts of energy.
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, have shown that it is possible to reduce the minimum voltage necessary to store charge in a capacitor, an achievement that could reduce the power draw and heat generation of today's electronics.