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.
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.
Scientists in the U.K. have discovered a previously unrecognized volcanic process called “fluidized spray granulation”, which can occur during kimberlite eruptions to produce well-rounded particles containing mantle, most notably diamonds. This physical process is remarkable similar to the gas injection and spraying process used to form smooth coatings on chocolates.
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.
A French-American collaboration has developed a new combination of polymers that makes it possible to design ultra-thin films capable of self-organization with a 5-nm resolution. These hybrid copolymers are based on sugars and oil-based macromolecules. Previous attempts using nothing but oil-based molecules were limited to 20 nm in thickness.
Yale University engineers have developed a novel automated system for generating strong, flexible, transparent coatings with promising uses in lithium-ion battery and fuel cell production, among other applications. The system, called spin-spray layer-by-layer, cuts process time and produces films with both nanolevel precision and improved function.
A new study by a team including scientists from NIST indicates that thin polymer films can have different properties depending on the method by which they are made. The results suggest that deeper work is necessary to explore the best way of creating these films, which are used in applications ranging from high-tech mirrors to computer memory devices.
Different versions of microengines have been developed, including devices that could transport medications through the bloodstream. But until now no one has ever shown that these devices—which are about 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair—could help clean up oil spills. Scientists are reporting successful testing of the first self-propelled “microsubmarines” designed to pick up droplets of oil and transport them.
In collaboration with researchers in Japan, U.K. scientists have grown highly boron-doped diamond layers just 1 nm in thickness. The technique is known as d-doping, and the researchers believe the layers will be the basis for high-performance field-effect transistors that offer the prospect of highly sensitive biochemical agent detection.
Scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have directed the first self-assembly of nanoparticles into device-ready materials. Through a relatively easy and inexpensive technique based on blending nanoparticles with block co-polymer supramolecules, the researchers produced multiple-layers of thin films from highly ordered 1D, 2D, and 3D arrays of gold nanoparticles.
Thermal stress can cause debonding between thin layers in microelectronics. Taking advantage of the force generated by magnetic repulsion, researchers have developed a new technique for measuring the adhesion strength between thin films of materials used in these devices, and they hope to apply the method improve solar cells or microelectromechanical devices.
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.
Methane hydrates, which can freeze upon contact with cold water in the deep ocean, are a chronic problem for deep-sea oil and gas wells, frequently blocking flow. Researchers have developed a hydrate-phobic coating that reduces hydrate sticking to just a quarter of previous levels.
Scientists in Korea and California have developed a technology that can observe processes occurring in liquid media on a scale of less than a nanometer. Their invention is a graphene liquid cell or capsule, confining an ultra-thin liquid film between layers of graphene. With a transmission electron microscope, nanoscale processes in fluids can be seen with atomic-level resolution.
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.
Taking inspiration from the brittlestar, a sea creature that “sees” using crystalline lenses made of calcium carbonate, a team of scientists have discovered that they can grow tiny uniform hemispheric calcium carbonate thin films on a solution. Compatible with biological systems, the microlenses are defect free.
Researchers at CRANN, a nanoscience institute based in Trinity College Dublin, have discovered a new material could fill a previously missing component in display electronics—a good quality p-type transparent conducting oxide.
At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Molecular Foundry, scientists have provided the first experimental determination of the pathways by which electrical charge is transported from molecule-to-molecule in an organic thin film. These results also show how such organic films can be chemically modified to improve conductance for superior organic electronics.
While diamonds may be a girl's best friend, they're also well loved by scientists working to enhance the performance of electronic devices. Two new studies performed at Argonne National Laboratory have revealed a new pathway for materials scientists to use previously unexplored properties of nanocrystalline-diamond thin films.
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first functional oxide thin films that can be used efficiently in electronics, opening the door to an array of new high-power devices and smart sensors. This is the first time that researchers have been able to produce positively charged conduction and negatively charged conduction in a single oxide material, launching a new era in oxide electronics.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute have put together a sandwich of a ferroelectric layer between two ferromagnetic materials that responded to a short electric pulse. This changes the magnetic transport properties of the material in such a way that information can be placed in four states instead of just two. The potential increase in storage density is great.
For decades, scientists have known that some ferroelectric materials—materials that possess a stable electrical polarization switchable by an external electric field—are also photovoltaic. But scientists didn’t know how or why. Recent research has revealed an atomic-scale wiggle just 10 trillionths of a second long that reveals the mechanism for the materials’ photovoltaic effect.
A method to synthesize continuously large-scale, extra-fine, 10-nm diameter carbon nanotubes with a length of several hundred micrometers has been commercialized by Hitachi Chemical. The company, which will soon start providing samples of the product, has also developed a dispersion liquid and related materials that will promote stability and reduce damage to the nanotubes.
Made from carbon nanotubes locked up in flexible plastic fibers and made to feel like fabric, an invention called Power Felt from Wake Forest University uses temperature differences—room temperature versus body temperature, for example—to create a charge.
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.