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.
Nanocrystalline-silicon has high electrical efficiency and is durable in sunlight. But its downfall has been relatively poor light absorption. As a solution, a team of engineers at Stanford University have created tiny hollow spheres of photovoltaic nanocrystalline-silicon, harnessing physics to do for light what circular rooms do for sound.
Researchers from Harvard University have developed a new platform that can control single electron spins in a more coherent way than any previous solid-state system. By designing nanoscale devices that can confine single electrons, the scientists increased quantum state lifetime more than 1,000 times over than previously used materials.
Tiny components with the ability to emit single particles of light are important for various technological innovations, such as encryption. Researchers in Germany have invented just such a component using three organic complexes groups around a central iridum atom and placed in a substrate. Induce electrical flow and photons are produced.
An R&D 100 Award-winning technology from National Renewable Energy Laboratory has recently been licensed to Natcore, a Colorado-based company that is able to commercialize the “black silicon” technology with its liquid phase deposition process.
Researchers in Stuttgart, Germany, have built an innovative experimental model that allows them to, for the first time, confirm theoretical predictions about how friction at the atomic scale produces localized distortions. This precise insight into how two microscopic surfaces slide over one another could help in the manufacture of low-friction surfaces.
The development of new and advanced materials is often the driver for other industries, such as those involving semiconductors, composites, thin films and coatings, medical devices, chemical and environmental processes, energy systems, and biopharmaceutical products. R&D for these materials involves developing new characteristics, properties, processing capabilities, and entirely new chemical families.
Dye-sensitized solar cells are made of inexpensive and environmentally benign materials including a dye, an electrolyte and titanium dioxide. A recently introduced dye, NCSU-10, has been shown to absorb more photons at lower dye concentrations, possibly helping developers build more transparent cells for windows and facades.
Researchers have used candle soot to produce a transparent superamphiphobic coating made of glass. Oil and water both roll off the new coating, leaving nothing behind. It works even when the layer was damaged with sandblasting.
In Germany, researchers have developed a new film for a VIP, or vacuum isolation panel, that will insulate homes without much additional structural alteration. Just 2-cm thick, the new VIPs reportedly perform just as well as 15-cm layers of polyurethane foam.
Wrinkles and folds, common in nature, do something unusual at the nanoscale. Researchers at Brown University and in Korea have discovered that wrinkles on super-thin films have hidden long waves that produce nanochannels, like thousands of tiny subsurface pipes.
Conventional cantilevers used in magnetic-force microscopes have been compromised either by a low resistance to magnetizing force from the sample material, or by lack of resolution due to coatings that protect them from magnetism. A new composite developed in China avoids both drawbacks.
University of Michigan researchers have capitalized on one of carbon nanotubes' unique properties—the low refractive index of low-density aligned nanotubes—to demonstrate a new application: making 3D objects appear as nothing more than a flat, black sheet.
Among a number of findings announced at the 53rd meeting of the Advanced Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics, scientist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory have learned a surprising a simple lesson about confining plasma in a fusion reactor. The more lithium coating that is used, the better the containment. The result could be smaller, cheaper reactors.
NASA engineers have produced a material that absorbs on average more than 99% of the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared light that hits it. The thin layer of multi-walled carbon nanotubes can absorb light 10 to 100 times better than alternate materials at a given wavelength, and will be useful for applications like stray-light suppression.
After a decade of research into finding ways to coat fibers with silver nanoparticles, materials researchers in Switzerland have, for the first time, created a textile material permanently coated with a durable, nanometer-thin layer of gold. The layer is applied with an argon-ion plasma process.
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.
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.
Sometimes a change in surroundings makes all the difference. That's the approach a group of researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory has used to improve the electricity output of a semiconductor material used in polymer-based solar cells.