University of Utah metallurgists have used an old microwave oven to produce a nanocrystal semiconductor rapidly using cheap, abundant, and less toxic metals than other semiconductors. X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy, and atomic spectroscopy all helped confirm that the CZTS (copper, zinc, tin, and sulfur) semiconductor was suitable for use in a solar cell.
Scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered that DNA "linker" strands...
A polymer thin film solar cell (PSC) produces electricity from sunlight by the...
The same material that formed the first primitive transistors more than 60 years ago can be modified in a new way to advance future electronics, according to a new study. Chemists at The Ohio State University have developed the technology for making a one-atom-thick sheet of germanium, and found that it conducts electrons more than ten times faster than silicon and five times faster than conventional germanium.
Using a principle similar to the way plastic bags shrivel and crumple in a fire, researchers at EPFL in Switzerland are using the electrical properties of a scanning electron microscope to change the size of glass capillary tubes at the nanoscale. Their method has already been patented and it could pave the way to many novel applications.
Germany-based company AMSilk has produced the world’s first competitive man-made spider silk fiber, called Biosteel, which is made entirely from recombinant silk proteins. Biosteel has mechanical properties similar to that of natural spider silk when comparing toughness, a measure indicating the kinetic energy absorbed before the fiber breaks.
Scientists in Australia are perfecting a technique that may help see nanodiamonds used in biomedical applications. They have been processing the raw diamonds so that they might be used as a tag for biological molecules and as a probe for single-molecule interactions. With the help of an international team, these diamonds have recently been optically trapped and manipulated in three dimensions—the first time this has been achieved.
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.
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.
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.
Silica microwires are the tiny and as-yet underutilized cousins of optical fibers. If precisely manufactured, however, these hair-like slivers of silica could enable applications and technology not currently possible with comparatively bulky optical fiber. By carefully controlling the shape of water droplets with an ultraviolet laser, a team of researchers from Australia and France has found a way to coax silica nanoparticles to self-assemble into much more highly uniform silica wires.
Using a new method, researchers at the University of Southern California can now grow carbon nanotube semiconductors of predefined structures. Carbon nanotubes are typically grown using a catalyst. But the scientists instead grew “clones” with predictable diameter and chirality by planting pieces of carbon nanotubes that have been separated and pre-selected based on chirality. This breakthrough may pave the way for carbon to be used in future electronics.
Although widespread rebuilding in the hard-hit New York metro region from Super Storm Sandy has not yet begun, New Jersey Institute of Technology professor Mohamed Mahgoub says when the hammers start swinging, it's time to look at autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC). A combination of finely ground sand, cement, quick lime, gypsum, aluminum, and water, AAC offers light weight, strength, and environmental friendliness, but has yet to catch on widely in the U.S.
Researchers in Switzerland have just published research on how to combine two gels in such a way that they can monitor and change, almost at will, the transparency, electrical properties, and stiffness of the material. Called a “bigel”, the unique material was built by combining DNA fragments with nanoparticles.
A Rice University team has hit upon a method to produce nearly transparent films of electrically conductive carbon nanotubes. Slides dipped into a solution of pure nanotubes in chlorosulfonic acid, the researchers found, left them with an even coat of nanotubes that, after further processing, had none of the disadvantages seen with other methods. The films may be suitable for flexible electronic displays and touchscreens.
Conventional microelectromechanical systems tend to be made out of silicon-based materials familiar to the micro-electronics industry, but this ignores a suite of useful materials such as other semiconductors, ceramics, and metals. By using a variety of materials not commonly associated with MEMS technology, a team from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has created stronger microstructures that can form precise, tall and narrow 3D shapes.
China's biggest rare earths producer, state-owned Baotou Steel Rare Earth (Group) Hi-tech Co., in an effort to shore up plunging prices of the materials used by makers of mobile phones and other high-tech products. Beijing is tightening control over rare earths mining and exports to capture more of the profits that flow to Western makers of lightweight batteries and other products made of rare earths.
The prices for rare earths increased ten-fold between 2009 and 2011, prompting researchers at Ames Laboratory to revisit a rare earth recovery process once employed to make high-strength alloy. Now, they are working to more effectively remove neodymium, a rare earth element, from the mix of other materials in a rare earth magnet.
A University of Southampton team have discovered that by embossing tiny raised or indented patterns onto the metal’s surface they can change the way it absorbs and reflects light—ensuring our eyes don’t see it as “golden” in color at all. Equally applicable to other metals such as silver and aluminium, this breakthrough opens up the prospect of coloring metals without having to coat or chemically treat them.
By combining ion processing and nanolithography, scientists from Aalto University in Finland and the University of Washington have managed to create complex 3D structures at nanoscale. The breakthrough was made while studying the irregular folding of metallic thin films after they were processed by reactive ion etching. After determining the cause, the researchers realized they could control the bending activity with an ion beam.
Microorganisms isolated from nature use their own metabolism to produce certain chemicals. But they are often inefficient, so metabolic engineering is used to improve microbial performance. Recent work at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology highlights the potential for engineered organism, such as Escherichia coli, to aid in common industrial processes such as polymer production.
Plans are now proceeding to commercialize a new liquid laundry additive called CatClo, which contains microscopic pollution-eating particles. The chemical, developed in the U.K., contains nanoparticles of titanium dioxide that grip onto fabric tightly. When the particles then come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react with these pollutants and oxidize them in the fabric, removing up to 5 g of nitrogen oxides per day.
Using latest developments in nanotechnology and mineralogy, Fortium ICF from CEMEX enhances concrete’s performance at a microscopic level, while totally eliminating up to 75% of the steel reinforcement normally needed for vertical concrete construction.
According to recent paper published by Yale University scientists, an international policy is needed for recycling scarce specialty metals that are critical in the production of consumer goods. Specialty metals account for more than 30 of the 60 metals on the periodic table, and their rapidly accelerating usage in many industries makes the complete lack of recycling a concern.
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.
A University of Delaware research team’s exploration of paramagnetic colloids—microscopic particles that are mere hundredths the diameter of a human hair—has produced the possibility that computer chips could one day build themselves in a scalable fashion. By applying a magnetic field to the colloids, the team build organized crystalline lattices from random solids.
Scientists at CRANN, a nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin, have partnered with brewing company SABMiller on a project to increase the shelf life of bottled beer in plastic bottles. Their research centered on a nanostructured boron nitride additive that, when added to plastic bottles, will make them impervious to carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Nano-Sharp Inc., a new company founded using technology developed at the University of California Davis, plans to use silicon wafers to make razor blades and surgical tools far more cheaply than current silicon or ceramic blades. Conventional blades are made by sharpening the edge of a silicon wafer, but the company’s patented new technique creates blades across the surface of the wafer, delivering atom-scale sharpness.