Magnetic studies of ultrathin copper-oxide materials reveal that at low temperatures, the thinnest layers lose their magnetic order. In a surprising discovery that could shed light on superconductivity emergence, Brookhaven Lab observed that these materials become “quantum spin liquid”, a novel state of matter where the orientations of electron spins fluctuate wildly.
DuPont Kapton, a colorless polyimide film in development for use as a flexible superstrate for cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film PV modules, has been used by a team in Switzerland to achieve a efficiency record for CdTe cells. The performance approaches that of cells made with glass.
A new thin-film coating process for manufacturing thermal batteries used in nuclear weapons and other munitions that was invented at Sandia National Laboratories will be industrialized under a new corporate partnership with a Maryland company. The process could lead to create lighter batteries in a variety of shapes for future applications.
The Geo-Cosmos is to be unveiled June 11 at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, Japan. Built by Mitsubishi Electric using 10,362 organic light-emitting diode panels, the giant 6-m globe will project clouds and other meteorological information obtained from satellites.
The uses for accelerators are growing, but the traditional material for building components is pure, superconducting niobium, which can push costs skyward and still experiences thermal breakdown. Jefferson Lab engineers are now working on cheaper sputter-deposited layers of niobium and copper to eliminate heat-collecting defects and lower cost without hurting performance.
Scientists at Argonne National Lab and the Univ. of Wisconsin have discovered an electrochemical synthesis method for patterning metallic and semiconducting nanowires. The process, which does not require vacuum, relies on a non-sacrificial template made from ultrananocrystalline diamond.
A Toledo, Ohio, physicist has implemented a new mathematical approach that accelerates some complex computer calculations used to simulate the formation of micro-thin materials.
Efficiency is a problem with today's solar panels; they only collect about 20% of available light. Now, a Univ. of Missouri engineer has developed a flexible solar sheet that captures more than 90% of available light, and he plans to make prototypes available to consumers within the next five years.
The world’s first interactive paper computer is set to revolutionize the world of interactive computing. The smartphone prototype, called PaperPhone is best described as a flexible iPhone—it does everything a smartphone does, like store books, play music, or make phone calls. But its display consists of a 9.5 cm diagonal thin film flexible E Ink display.
Indium tin oxide (ITO) is an important material used in displays and solar cells, but indium supplies are expected to be virtually exhausted within as little as ten years. A replacement film developed by researchers in The Netherlands is based on electrically conducting carbon nanotubes and plastic nanoparticles, and is made of readily available materials.
Taiwan’s Kromax International Corp., a representative of flat-panel and semiconductor equipment, has signed an agreement with R&D 100 Award winner Alchimer SA to begin using its wet deposition process in Asia. Alchimer’s Electrografting technology was developed to allow nanometric deposition for building through-silicon vias for semiconductor interconnects.
With advances in both materials and process technologies, thin-film deposition is keeping pace with a rapidly changing marketplace.
When IBM's Watson supercomputer triumphed over two previous champions on Jeopardy earlier this year, a potential response could have been: "What is: The human being is obsolete, Alex?"
The recently completed Terminal B concourse at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in California received a treatment of PPG Industries’ Duranar powder coating, which won an R&D 100 Award in 2009. The “green” manufacturing method was the first to allow economical production of custom colors in small batches.
Using an advanced form of a rubber stamp, researchers have developed a way to adhere an ultra-thin antibacterial coating to a wound.
Solid-oxide fuel cells have previously worked at the micro-scale, but this is the first time any research group has overcome the structural challenges of scaling the technology up to a practical size with a proportionally higher power output. Materials scientists at the Harvard Univ. and SiEnergy Systems LLC collaborated on the effort.
As part of the quest to form perfectly smooth single-molecule layers of materials for advanced energy, electronic, and medical devices, researchers at the Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered that the molecules in thin films remain frozen at a temperature where the bulk material is molten.
Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have investigated the viability of a technique called "spincasting" for creating thin films of nanoparticles on an underlying substrate—an important step in the creation of materials with a variety of uses, from optics to electronics.
As part of the SunShot Initiative, the Dept. of Energy has provided financial assistance to solar film manufacturer 3M, which will use the money over a three-year span to develop its Ultra Barrier Solar Film. The flexible film is a promising substitute for glass in the production of thin-film solar cells.
Researchers are developing a technology that aims to help make solar cells more affordable and efficient by using a new manufacturing method that employs an ultrafast pulsing laser.
Prior to the NanoFlow’s development, extrusion die technology was limited to about a dozen layers from a single extruder. Guill says that the NanoFlow creates layer thicknesses in the micrometer to nanometer range, greatly advancing tubular product manufacturing.
Image sensors as used in cell phones normally block UV light, which has prevented them from being used for spectroscopy. A new production process involving nitrogen now layers a transparent coating on the CMOS chip, opening up new applications for portable sensors.
Scientists at INM-Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany, has developed a barrier layer that separates the metal carrier from the absorber film and increases the efficiency of metal-based CIGS solar cells. The glass-like material prevents corrosion and oxidation of the carrier, increasing efficiency by up to 13%.
With current systems that use paper test strips, pH or blood sugar can be measured, but more complex chemical assays can’t be perfomed. Purdue researchers have now, however, introduced “paper microfluidics” by etching patterns by laser using readily available hydrophobic paper.
The water-repellent eyes of moths are among the least reflective surfaces in nature. A team of Japanese researchers have emulated the film that covers a moth’s eye and applied it to photovoltaic cells in Tokyo and Phoenix, Arizona. They found a 5-6% improvement in cell performance.