Advertisement
Materials Science
Subscribe to Materials Science
View Sample

FREE Email Newsletter

Scientists track ocean currents using uranium-236

December 17, 2012 12:35 pm | News | Comments

Atmospheric nuclear testing in the 1950s and 1960s produced significant amounts of uranium-236. This isotope readily dissolves in seawater, giving researchers today the opportunity to investigate ocean currents by monitoring its concentration. Until recent advances in heavy ion mass spectrometry, however, this type of detection was considered impossible.

Speeding up electronics to light frequencies

December 16, 2012 10:56 pm | by Olivia Meyer-Streng | News | Comments

In two complementary experiments a collaboration of physicists has demonstrated that, under certain conditions, ultrashort light pulses of extremely high intensity can induce electric currents in otherwise insulating dielectric materials. The findings hold promise for reaching electronic switching rates up to the petahertz domain.

Scientists use light to remotely trigger biochemical reactions

December 13, 2012 9:40 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University have recently  turned light into heat at the point of need, on the nanoscale, to trigger biochemical reactions remotely on demand. The method makes use of materials derived from unique microbes—thermophiles—that thrive at high temperatures but shut down at room temperature.

Advertisement

Nickel nanocrystals could reveal way to better materials

December 13, 2012 5:15 pm | News | Comments

When a material is stressed, it changes shape. First, the changes are elastic, then become permanent: The material breaks, shatters, or is reshaped permanently. Researchers examining the latter phenomenon have achieved a better understanding of deformation processes by applying a radial diamond anvil cell X-ray diffraction method on nickel nanocrystals.

Researchers create new shapes of artificial microcompartments

December 12, 2012 3:22 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Northwestern University have figured out how to mimic the different shapes of microcompartments found in nature. The findings could have implications in materials research, targeted drug delivery, and more.

X-ray laser takes aim at cosmic mystery

December 12, 2012 1:04 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have used powerful X-rays from the Linac Coherent Light Source to study and measure, in atomic detail, a key process at work in extreme plasmas like those found in stars, the rims of black holes and other massive cosmic phenomena. The results explain why observations from orbiting X-ray telescopes do not match theoretical predictions, and pave the way for future X-ray astrophysics research using free-electron lasers such as LCLS.

Grains gang up to bear brunt of major impacts

December 12, 2012 10:38 am | News | Comments

High-speed video of projectiles slamming into a bed of disks has given scientists a new microscopic picture of the way a meteorite or missile transfers the energy of its impact to sand and dirt grains. To their surprise, the transition is jerky, not smooth. The finding may change the way scientists model meteorite and missile impacts and their effects.

Battelle creates unique new polyurethane

December 12, 2012 9:47 am | by Paul Livingstone | News | Comments

Scientists at Battelle Memorial Institute have invented a novel, water-based polyurethane unlike any other—environmentally responsible, cost-effective, soy-based and free of N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) solvent. This new polyurethane has less odor than its petroleum-based counterpart and can be used in a wide variety of coatings and adhesives.

Advertisement

Fullerene “mimics” may advance organic solar cell technology

December 11, 2012 11:07 am | News | Comments

Organic solar cells have advanced a great deal since they were first invented nearly 20 years ago, but the fullerene component has remained largely the same and this has had a braking effect on the evolution of the technology. Researchers in the U.K. have pinpointed an unappreciated property of fullerenes which could be replicated to create a new class of fullerene “mimics”.

Carbon nanotubes lower nerve-damaging chloride in cells

December 11, 2012 8:10 am | News | Comments

A nanomaterial engineered by researchers at Duke University can help regulate chloride levels in nerve cells that contribute to chronic pain, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury. The findings were demonstrated in individual nerve cells as well as in the brains of mice and rats, and may have future applications in intracranial or spinal devices to help treat neural injuries.

Inspiration from a porcupine’s quills

December 10, 2012 5:46 pm | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Anyone unfortunate enough to encounter a porcupine’s quills knows that once they go in, they are extremely difficult to remove. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital now hope to exploit the porcupine quill’s unique properties to develop new types of adhesives, needles and other medical devices.

Apollo's lunar dust data being restored

December 7, 2012 11:43 am | by Elizabeth Zubritsky, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

Forty years after the last Apollo spacecraft launched, the science from those missions continues to shape our view of the moon. In one of the latest developments, readings from the Apollo 14 and 15 dust detectors have been restored by scientists. Digital data from these two experiments were not archived before, and it's thought that roughly the last year-and-a-half of the data have never been studied.

Thermoplastic composites made simpler to produce

December 6, 2012 12:41 pm | News | Comments

Continuous fiber-reinforced composites with thermoplastic matrix resins are well suited for use in automotive manufacturing, but the process of creating them is complex and expensive. A new approach now makes it possible to use an injection molding process. Previously, injection molding was limited to fiber-reinforced composites made of short fibers or long fibers.

Advertisement

Deuterium produced from a quantum sieve

December 6, 2012 9:52 am | News | Comments

The double mass of deuterium and its relative scarcity make it a valuable research tool for chemists hoping to trace hydrogen reactions or analyze metabolic processes. A team of scientists in Europe have applied a new method that more efficiently separates hydrogen and its heavier isotope deuterium, and it involve the use of a metal-organic framework as a quantum sieve to isolate the isotope.

Deuterium produced from a quantum sieve

December 6, 2012 9:42 am | News | Comments

The double mass of deuterium and its relative scarcity make it a valuable research tool for chemists hoping to trace hydrogen reactions or analyze metabolic processes. A team of scientists in Europe have applied a new method that more efficiently separates hydrogen and its heavier isotope deuterium, and it involve the use of a metal-organic framework as a quantum sieve to isolate the isotope.

Scientists develop indium-free OLEDs

December 4, 2012 8:56 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Ames Laboratory have discovered new ways of using a well-known polymer in organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which could eliminate the need for an increasingly problematic and breakable metal-oxide used in screen displays. The polymer, known as PEDOT:PSS, has been around for about 15 years. However, until recently, the material wasn't sufficiently conductive or transparent enough to be a viable ITO substitute.

Observations of “mechanochemical” synthesis could boost green chemistry

December 3, 2012 11:39 am | News | Comments

Solvents are omnipresent in the chemical industry, and are a major environmental and safety concern. “Mechanochemistry” offers a possible green, energy-efficient alternative that avoids using bulk solvents. The technique, now being researched at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, relies on high-frequency milling to drive reactions. Until now, however, the underlying chemistry of this method has eluded observation.

Water nanodroplets cool biomolecules ultrafast

December 2, 2012 11:11 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in Germany have recently observed how biomolecules transfer energy into extremely small water droplets in their environment. According to their findings, a water shell consisting of only three water molecules around a phospholipid molecule is sufficient for energy transfer within 1 psec.

Predicting material fatigue

November 29, 2012 1:51 pm | News | Comments

Detection of material failure is a difficult task for engineers, because cracks inside a material block can’t readily be identified from the outside. Researchers in Germany have now developed so-called self-reporting composite materials that can communicate their internal condition. The concept utilizes zinc oxide tetrapod crystals as a filler material for composites which at the same time reveals material failure by a visual signal under UV light.

Spin paper closes knowledge gap on density functional theory

November 29, 2012 1:38 pm | News | Comments

Density functional theory (DFT) is an important tool in theoretical chemistry and can calculate the properties of molecules and solids, such as binding lengths and energies. But the theory cannot be used currently on molecules with unpaired electrons, also called open-shell systems. A new paper that discusses the role of electron spin in improving calculation methods using DFT may offer insight on how to overcome this limitation.

Scientists image molecular structure of polymer blends

November 29, 2012 9:31 am | News | Comments

Using an enhanced form of "chemical microscopy" developed at NIST, researchers there have shown that they can peer into the structure of blended polymers, resolving details of the molecular arrangement at sub-micrometer levels. The capability has important implications for the design of industrially important polymers like the polyethylene blends used to repair aging waterlines.

New model predicts movement of charged particles in complex media

November 28, 2012 12:53 pm | News | Comments

Elementary electrostatics we can calculate the force particle exert upon one another. When particles are submerged into a medium like water, however, the calculation grows more complex, and become very difficult when media become complicated. Northwestern University physicists have, after seven years of work, built a model that can predict reactions in any media.

Scientists image the molecular structure of polymer blends

November 28, 2012 11:34 am | News | Comments

Using an enhanced form of "chemical microscopy" developed at NIST, researchers there have shown that they can peer into the structure of blended polymers, resolving details of the molecular arrangement at sub-micrometer levels. The capability has important implications for the design of industrially important polymers like the polyethylene blends used to repair aging waterlines.

The music of the silks

November 28, 2012 8:11 am | by David Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Pound for pound, spider silk is one of the strongest materials known: Research by Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Markus Buehler has helped explain that this strength arises from silk's unusual hierarchical arrangement of protein building blocks. Now Buehler and his team have synthesized new variants on silk's natural structure, and found a method for making further improvements in the synthetic material.

New thermoelectric material is as easy as dirt, heat, pressure

November 27, 2012 3:53 pm | News | Comments

By using common materials found pretty much anywhere there is dirt, a team of Michigan State University researchers have developed a new thermoelectric material. The new material mimic natural minerals known as tetrahedrites and can be processed economically by grinding them to a powder, then using pressure and heat to compress them into useable sizes.

X
You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.
Loading