The mantis shrimp has club-like “arms” which can strike prey at speeds matching that of a 5.56-mm rifle bullet. Each impact generates a force exceeding 50 kg. A research team has observed the unique composite structure of the shrimp's club and has discovered that it is weaved together in such a way as to create a structure much tougher than many engineered ceramics. The finding may lead to new ceramic designs.
Physicists in Germany have recently provided new insights into spintronics: In ultra-thin topological insulators, they have identified spin-polarized currents, which were first theoretically predicted six years ago. They have also presenteda method of application for the development of new computers.
University of Utah physicists developed an inexpensive, highly accurate magnetic field sensor for scientific and possibly consumer uses based on a “spintronic” organic thin-film semiconductor that basically is “plastic paint.” Its inventors say the new type of magnetometer also resists heat and degradation, works at room temperature and never needs to be calibrated.
A novel porous material that has unique carbon dioxide retention properties has been developed through research led by The University of Nottingham. The findings form part of ongoing efforts to develop new materials for gas storage applications could have an impact in the advancement of new carbon capture products for reducing emissions from fossil fuel processes.
An 18-member international team of researchers has discovered melt-glass material in a thin layer of sedimentary rock in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Syria. According to the researchers, the material—which dates back nearly 13,000 years—was formed at temperatures of 1,700 to 2,200 C, and is the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth.
In a search for an inexpensive alternative to platinum, a team including researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory turned to carbon to develop a multi-walled carbon nanotube complex that consists of cylindrical sheets of carbon. The complex featured the desired properties, but researchers didn’t know why until they tried an innovative mix of electron imaging and spectroscopy to understand the relationships at play.
A team of researchers from Harvard University have invented a way to keep any metal surface free of ice and frost. The treated surfaces quickly shed even tiny, incipient condensation droplets or frost simply through gravity. The technology prevents ice sheets from developing on surfaces—and any ice that does form, slides off effortlessly.
Smooth wrinkles and sharply crumpled regions are familiar motifs in biological and synthetic sheets, such as plant leaves and crushed foils, say physicists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, but how a featureless sheet develops a complex shape has long remained elusive. Now, the physicists report that they have identified a fundamental mechanism by which such complex patterns emerge spontaneously.
Military body armor and vehicle and aircraft frames could be transformed by incorporating the unique structure of the club-like arm of a crustacean that looks like an armored caterpillar, according to findings by a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering.
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a new way of making complex 3D structures using self-assembling polymer materials that form tiny wires and junctions. The work has the potential to usher in a new generation of microchips and other devices made up of submicroscopic features.
As landfills overflow with discarded plastics, scientists have been working to produce a biodegradable alternative that will reduce pollution. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher is giving the quest for environmentally friendly plastics an entirely new dimension—by making them tougher than ever before.
Discovered under the seafloor off of northeastern Sicily in 2008, a bronze rostrum, or battering ram, from a 2,300-year-old warship has been examined by several teams of chemists for clues as to its origins. First, the possible sources of the bronze was found. Now, researchers have identified the type of wooden core it has. They also found a significant threat to its further existence.
Life would be a lot easier if the surfaces of window panes, corrosion coatings or microfluidic systems in medical labs could keep themselves free of water and other liquids. A new simulation program developed by researchers in Germany can now work out just how such surfaces have to look for a variety of applications.
Researchers at the Center for Energy Research at the University of California, San Diego recently demonstrated the best performance for solid oxide fuel cells operating directly on ethanol without external reformation.
Last week's announcement by a Stanford University team that it has created the world's first dipolar quantum ferionic gas from the metal dysprosium represents a major step toward understand the behavior of these systems of particles. And this understanding makes a leap toward the supernatural-seeming applications that condensed-matter physics conjures.
A new type of durable, environmentally benign blue pigment discovered at Oregon State University has also been found to have unusual characteristics in reflecting heat—it's a "cool blue" compound that could become important in new approaches to saving energy in buildings. The compound was discovered about three years ago almost by chance, as OSU scientists were studying some materials for their electrical properties.
Using ultrafast lasers, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have tackled the long-standing mystery of how Cooper pairs form in high-temperature superconductors. With pump and probe pulses spaced just trillionths of a second apart, the researchers used photoemission spectroscopy to map rapid changes in electronic states across the superconducting transition, revealing relationships of energy and momentum never seen before in these promising, but stubborn, complex materials.
More than 100 times the size of the volcanic explosion at Mount St. Helens, super-eruptions have been theorized to take place at giant pools of magma that form a couple of miles below the surface and simmer for up to 200,000 before exploding. But new research seems to show that these pools might exist for as little as a few hundred years before erupting.
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.
Sandia National Laboratories has developed a unique materials approach to multilayered, ceramic-based, 3D microelectronics circuits, such as those used in cell phones. The approach compensates for how changes due to temperature fluctuations affect something called the temperature coefficient of resonant frequency, a critical property of materials used in radio and microwave frequency applications.
NIST has released a new standard reference material (SRM) to aid in the detection of two explosive compounds that are known to be used by terrorists. Researchers designed the new test samples to simulate the size and behavior of residues that remain after handling the explosives PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and TATP (triacetone triperoxide).
Duke University chemists created a new set of flexible, electrically conductive nanowires from thin strands of copper atoms mixed with nickel. The copper-nickel nanowires, in the form of a film, conduct electricity even under conditions that break down the transfer of electrons in plain silver and copper nanowires, a new study shows.
Natural pigments contain colorful molecules known as poryphyrins, which lend vibrant colors through macrocyclic chemical structure that link several small rings together in an “aromatic” framework. Sometimes, however, synthesis causes the aromaticity to disappear. Researchers in Japan now report a new way to manipulate the peculiar aromatic properties of macrocycles.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers have reported the first direct observation of nanoparticles undergoing oriented attachment, the critical step in biomineralization and the growth of nanocrystals. A better understanding of oriented attachment in nanoparticles is a key to synthesizing new materials with remarkable structural properties.
The contention of a major but controversial new theory to explain nanocrystal growth is that nanoparticles can act as “artificial atoms,” forming molecular-type building blocks that can assemble into complex structures. The conclusion is based on recent observations of growing nanorods made by Lawrence Berkeley National Laoratory researchers using transmission electron microscopy and advanced liquid cell handling techniques.