To improve fuel cell module durability and predict longevity, researchers are studying the degradation mechanisms of the fuel cells that occur under real-world transit bus conditions. While quantifying the effects of electrode degradation stressors in the operating cycle of the bus on the membrane lifetime, the team has discovered links between electrode degradation and membrane durability.
Physicists understand perfectly well why a fridge magnet sticks to certain metallic...
A newly synthesized material might provide a dramatically improved method for...
For the first time, scientists working NIST have demonstrated a new type of lens that bends and focuses ultraviolet light in a way that it can create ghostly, 3D images of objects that float in free space. The easy-to-build lens could lead to improved photolithography, nanoscale manipulation and manufacturing, and even high-resolution 3D imaging, as well as a number of as-yet-unimagined applications in a diverse range of fields.
There has been great interest in using quantum dots to produce low-cost, easily manufactured, stable photovoltaic cells. But, so far, the creation of such cells has been limited by the fact that in practice, quantum dots are not as good at conducting an electric charge as they are in theory. Something in the physical structure of these cells seems to trap their electric-charge carriers. Now researchers may have found the key.
Leaders of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world's leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, this week announced 18 new projects funded through a joint initiative to address research challenges in the design of failure-resistant circuits and systems.
Growing thin films out of nanoparticles in ordered, crystalline sheets would be a boon for materials researchers, but the physics is tricky because particles of that size don’t form crystals the way individual atoms do. Using bigger particles as models, physicists have predicted some unusual properties of nanoparticle crystal growth.
Researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing. The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating high-quality semiconductor thin films at the atomic scale—meaning the films are only one atom thick. The technique can be used to create these thin films on a large scale, sufficient to coat wafers that are two inches wide, or larger.
From the high-resolution glow of flat screen televisions to light bulbs that last for years, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) continue to transform technology. Their full potential, however, remains untapped. A contentious controversy surrounds the high intensity of indium gallium nitride, with experts split on whether or not indium-rich clusters within the material provide the LED's remarkable efficiency.
Rice University scientists have unveiled a robust new method for arranging metal nanoparticles in geometric patterns that can act as optical processors that transform incoming light signals into output of a different color. The team used the method to create an optical device in which incoming light could be directly controlled with light via a process known as “four-wave mixing.”
Meeting the demand for more data storage in smaller volumes means using materials made up of ever-smaller magnets, or nanomagnets. One promising material for a potential new generation of recording media is an alloy of iron and platinum with an ordered crystal structure.
A fried breakfast food popular in Spain provided the inspiration for the development of doughnut-shaped droplets that may provide scientists with a new approach for studying fundamental issues in physics, mathematics, and materials. The doughnut-shaped droplets, a shape known as toroidal, are formed from two dissimilar liquids using a simple rotating stage and an injection needle.
Waterproof fabrics that whisk away sweat could be the latest application of microfluidic technology developed by bioengineers at the University of California, Davis. The new fabric works like human skin, forming excess sweat into droplets that drain away by themselves, says inventor Tingrui Pan.
Through experiments and simulations, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have found that twin boundaries with good electrical conductivity and a strengthening mechanism in materials may not be so perfect after all.
A team of University of Pennsylvania engineers has used a pattern of nanoantennas to develop a new way of turning infrared light into mechanical action, opening the door to more sensitive infrared cameras and more compact chemical analysis techniques.
These days, aerospace engineering is all about the light stuff. Advanced carbon-fiber composites have been used in recent years to lighten planes’ loads. For the next generation of commercial jets, researchers are looking to even stronger and lighter materials, such as composites made with carbon fibers coated with carbon nanotubes. However, a significant hurdle to achieving such composites has existed, until now.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), otherwise known as Teflon. Famous for being “non-sticky” and water repellent, PTFE is a dry lubricant used on machine components everywhere. Recently, engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas found a way to make the polymer even less adhesive.
An international collaboration of scientists has discovered a unique crystalizing behavior at the interface between two immiscible liquids that could aid in sustainable energy development. Liquid interface behavior cannot be investigated at atomic level by most modern methods. Only brilliant X-rays at world-leading light sources can investigate this type of important chemical processes.
Graphene has dazzled scientists ever since its discovery more than a decade ago. But one long-sought goal has proved elusive: how to engineer into graphene a property called a band gap, which would be necessary to use the material to make transistors and other electronic devices. New findings by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are a major step toward making graphene with this coveted property.
With the hand of nature trained on a beaker of chemical fluid, the most delicate flower structures have been formed in a Harvard University laboratory—and not at the scale of inches, but microns. These minuscule sculptures, curved and delicate, don't resemble the cubic or jagged forms normally associated with crystals, though that's what they are. Rather, fields of flowers seem to bloom from the surface of a submerged glass slide.
In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis.
Frustration led to revelation when Rice University scientists determined how graphene might be made useful for high-capacity batteries. Calculations by the Rice laboratory of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson found a graphene-boron anode should be able to hold a lot of lithium and perform at a proper voltage for use in lithium-ion batteries.
University of Toronto engineering researchers, working with colleagues from Carnegie Mellon University, have published new insights into how materials transfer heat, which could lead eventually to smaller, more powerful electronic devices.
Injectable nanoparticles developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology may someday eliminate the need for patients with Type 1 diabetes to constantly monitor their blood-sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin. The nanoparticles were designed to sense glucose levels in the body and respond by secreting the appropriate amount of insulin.
Inspired by the structure of moth eyes, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nanostructures that limit reflection at the interfaces where two thin films meet, suppressing the “thin-film interference” phenomenon commonly observed in nature. This can potentially improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells and other optoelectronic devices.
Among its many talents, silver is an antibiotic. Titanium dioxide is known to glom on to certain heavy metals and pollutants. Other materials do the same for salt. In recent years, environmental engineers have sought to disinfect, depollute, and desalinate contaminated water using nanoscale particles of these active materials. Engineers call them nanoscavengers.
The atom-sized world of carbon nanotubes holds great promise for a future demanding smaller and faster electronic components. The challenge has been figuring out how to incorporate all of these nanotubes' great properties into useful electronic devices. A new discovery by four scientists at the University of California, Riverside has brought us closer to the goal.