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Because both zinc oxide and the polymer are clear, the structure is transparent. And it is stretchable because the ridges of zinc oxide allow the structure to expand and contract, like the bellows of an accordion. Courtesy of Abhijeet Bagal.

Transparent, stretchable conductors use nano-accordion structure

June 16, 2015 10:59 am | by North Carolina State University | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created stretchable, transparent conductors that work because of the structures’ “nano-accordion” design. The conductors could be used in a wide variety of applications, such as flexible electronics, stretchable displays or wearable sensors.

ETH material engineers found the performance of ion-conducting ceramic membranes that are so important in industry depends largely on their strain and buckling profiles. For the first time, scientists can now selectively manipulate the buckling profile, a

Buckle up for fast ionic conduction

June 16, 2015 10:24 am | by Fabio Bergamin, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

ETH material engineers found the performance of ion-conducting ceramic membranes that are so important in industry depends largely on their strain and buckling profiles. For the first time, scientists can now selectively manipulate the buckling profile, and thus the physical properties, allowing new technical applications of these membranes.

n this illustration, silicon quantum dots are shown in various states of “blinking.” The “on” crystals emit light (represented by a white dot) as an excited electron sheds excess energy as a photon. The “off” crystals are dark, because their electrons (ye

What the blank makes quantum dots blink?

June 16, 2015 10:05 am | by NERSC | News | Comments

Quantum dots are nanoparticles of semiconductor that can be tuned to glow in a rainbow of colors. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these remarkable nanoparticles have held out tantalizing prospects for all kinds of new technologies, ranging from paint-on lighting materials and solar cells to quantum computer chips, biological markers, and even lasers and communications technologies. But there’s a problem: Quantum dots often blink.

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A new type of gecko-like gripper

June 16, 2015 8:24 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Picking things up and putting them down is a mainstay of any kind of manufacturing, but fingers, human or robotic, are not always best for the task at hand. Researchers at the Univ. of Pennsylvania are developing a new kind of gripper, motivated by the ability of animals like the gecko to grip and release surfaces, that is perfectly suited for the delicate work involved in semiconductor manufacturing.

Theory turns to reality for nonlinear optical metamaterials

June 16, 2015 7:46 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | Videos | Comments

A research team has realized one of the long-standing theoretical predictions in nonlinear optical metamaterials: creation of a nonlinear material that has opposite refractive indices at the fundamental and harmonic frequencies of light. Such a material, which doesn’t exist naturally, had been predicted for nearly a decade.

Squid inspires camouflaging smart materials

June 15, 2015 10:31 am | by Univ. of Bristol | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Bristol have shown it is possible to create artificial skin that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic one of nature's masters of camouflage, the squid. The research team has designed a smart materials system, inspired by biological chromatophores, which creates patterns that change and morph over time and mimic biological patterning.

A protective shield for sensitive catalysts

June 15, 2015 10:23 am | by Ruhr-Univ. Bochum | News | Comments

An international research team has found a way of protecting sensitive catalysts from oxygen-caused damage. In the future, this could facilitate the creation of hydrogen fuel cells with molecular catalysts or with biomolecules such as the hydrogenase enzyme. To date, this could only be accomplished using the rare and expensive precious metal platinum..

Collecting lost light

June 15, 2015 10:15 am | by Joint Quantum Institute | News | Comments

Optical fibers are hair-like threads of glass used to guide light. Fibers of exceptional purity have proved an excellent way of sending information over long distances and are the foundation of modern telecommunication systems. Transmission relies on what's called total internal reflection, wherein the light propagates by effectively bouncing back and forth off of the fiber's internal surface.

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Low-cost, efficient nanostructures for fuel cells

June 15, 2015 9:42 am | by Matthew Chin, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | News | Comments

A team led by researchers at the Univ. of California, Los Angeles has developed nanostructures made from a compound of three metals that increases the efficiency and durability of fuel cells while lowering the cost to produce them. Their solution addresses vexing problems that have stalled the adoption of this technology.

Grinding nanotubes to get nanoribbons

June 15, 2015 7:26 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

A simple way to turn carbon nanotubes into valuable graphene nanoribbons may be to grind them, according to research led by Rice Univ. The trick, said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, is to mix two types of chemically modified nanotubes. When they come into contact during grinding, they react and unzip, a process that until now has depended largely on reactions in harsh chemical solutions.

New ideas are bubbling up for more efficient computer memory.  Researchers at UCLA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory announced today a new method for creating magnetic skyrmion bubbles at room temperature. The bubbles, a phys

First room-temperature magnetic skyrmion bubbles created

June 12, 2015 2:26 pm | by Louise Lerner, Argonne National Laboratory | News | Comments

New ideas are bubbling up for more efficient computer memory. Researchers at UCLA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory announced a new method for creating magnetic skyrmion bubbles at room temperature. The bubbles, a physics phenomenon thought to be an option for more energy-efficient and compact electronics, can be created with simple equipment and common materials.

The image on the left shows the general shape of a cubic cerium dioxide nanoparticle. The images on the right show edge-on views of three exposed surfaces at atomic resolution. The atomic models are overlaid on the simulated images to illustrate atom posi

One nanocrystal, many faces

June 12, 2015 12:46 pm | by Department of Energy | News | Comments

When it comes to reducing the toxins released by burning gasoline, coal, or other such fuels, the catalyst needs to be reliable. Yet, a promising catalyst, cerium dioxide, seemed erratic. The catalyst’s three different surfaces behaved differently. For the first time, researchers got an atomically resolved view of the three structures, including the placement of previously difficult-to-visualize oxygen atoms.

A bright light for ultrafast snapshots of materials

June 11, 2015 4:46 pm | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

If you want to understand how novel phases emerge in correlated materials you can obtain complete viewpoints by taking “snapshots” of underlying rapid electronic interactions. One way to do this is by delivering pulses of extremely short-wavelength UV light to a material and deriving information based on the energy and direction of travel of the emitted electrons.

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Nanoparticles target, kill cancer stem cells that drive tumor growth

June 11, 2015 4:29 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Many cancer patients survive treatment only to have a recurrence within a few years. Recurrences and tumor spreading are likely due to cancer stem cells that can be tough to kill with conventional cancer drugs. But now researchers have designed nanoparticles that specifically target these hardy cells to deliver a drug. The nanoparticle treatment, reported in ACS Nano, worked far better than the drug alone in mice.

Framework materials yield to pressure

June 11, 2015 3:48 pm | News | Comments

A group of scientists demonstrate that pressure offers a novel approach for generating new phases and exploring the structure-property relationships of molecular materials.

Investigating buried interfaces in ferroelectric materials

June 11, 2015 7:54 am | by Rachel Berkowitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

The nanoscale device community has shown great interest in exploiting the unique properties of ferroelectric materials for encoding information. But the circuitry for reading information stored in the polarization of these materials has prohibited its adaptation to extremely small scales. Now, researchers have developed a new technique that provides key information for an alternative decoding method.

Surfaces get smooth or bumpy on demand

June 11, 2015 7:24 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology team has developed a way of making soft materials, using a 3-D printer, with surface textures that can then be modified at will to be perfectly smooth, or ridged or bumpy, or even to have complex patterns that could be used to guide fluids.

Researchers make ultrasensitive conductivity measurements

June 10, 2015 11:25 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice Univ. have discovered a new way to make ultrasensitive conductivity measurements at optical frequencies on high-speed nanoscale electronic components. In a series of experiments, researchers linked pairs of puck-shaped metal nanodisks with metallic nanowires and showed how the flow of current at optical frequencies through the nanowires produced “charge transfer plasmons” with unique optical signatures.

Boron compounds for OLEDs

June 10, 2015 11:15 am | by Goethe Univ. Frankfurt | News | Comments

Major advances in the field of organic electronics are currently revolutionizing previously silicon-dominated semiconductor technology. Customized organic molecules enable the production of lightweight, mechanically flexible electronic components that are perfectly adapted to individual applications. Chemists at the Goethe Univ. have now developed a new class of organic luminescent materials.

3D printing with metals achieved

June 10, 2015 9:25 am | by Univ. of Twente | News | Comments

A team of researchers from the Univ. of Twente has found a way to 3D print structures of copper and gold, by stacking microscopically small metal droplets. These droplets are made by melting a thin metal film using a pulsed laser.

Toward “green” paper-thin, flexible electronics

June 10, 2015 9:15 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

The rapid evolution of gadgets has brought us an impressive array of “smart” products from phones to tablets, and now watches and glasses. But they still haven’t broken free from their rigid form. Now scientists are reporting a new step toward bendable electronics. They have developed the first light-emitting, transparent and flexible paper out of environmentally friendly materials via a simple, suction-filtration method.

Polymer network enhances cell adhesion, growth for tissue regeneration

June 10, 2015 8:07 am | by A*STAR | News | Comments

Tissues and organs in the body are sometimes damaged to such an extent that they require artificial support to heal. Now, A*STAR researchers have used star-shaped polymers to produce a 3-D network that is both compatible with human tissue and facilitates cells to adhere and proliferate under controlled biological conditions.

“Nano-raspberries” could bear fruit in fuel cells

June 10, 2015 7:50 am | by NIST | News | Comments

Researchers at NIST have developed a fast, simple process for making platinum "nano-raspberries", microscopic clusters of nanoscale particles of the precious metal. The berry-like shape is significant because it has a high surface area, which is helpful in the design of catalysts. Even better news for industrial chemists: the researchers figured out when and why the berry clusters clump into larger bunches of "nano-grapes."

Schematic, cutaway view of the geometry used to generate currents of spin from currents of heat. Pulses of laser light heat the left side of the sample and create an intense current of heat passing through the [Co,Ni] ferromagnet. This current of heat cre

Ultrafast heat conduction manipulates nanoscale magnets

June 9, 2015 12:27 pm | by Rick Kubetz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have uncovered physical mechanisms allowing the manipulation of magnetic information with heat. These new phenomena rely on the transport of thermal energy, in contrast to the conventional application of magnetic fields, providing a new, and highly desirable way to manipulate magnetization at the nanoscale.

Missouri S&T researchers have developed a method to accurately print high-resolution images on nanoscale materials. They used the Missouri S&T athletic logo to demonstrate the process. At top left is the original logo. At right are examples of the logo pr

‘No-ink’ color printing achieved on nanomaterials

June 9, 2015 11:45 am | by Andrew Careaga, Missouri University of Science and Technology | News | Comments

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology are giving new meaning to the term “read the fine print” with their demonstration of a color printing process using nanomaterials. In this case, the print features are very fine—visible only with the aid of a high-powered electron microscope.

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