news 2021


Materials Science

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Materials Science - Physics - 23.12.2021
Templating approach stabilises 'ideal' material for alternative solar cells
Templating approach stabilises ’ideal’ material for alternative solar cells
Researchers have developed a method to stabilise a promising material known as perovskite for cheap solar cells, without compromising its near-perfect performance. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, used an organic molecule as a 'template' to guide perovskite films into the desired phase as they form.

Materials Science - Health - 23.12.2021
’Pop-up’ Electronic Sensors Could Detect When Individual Heart Cells Misbehave
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a powerful new tool that monitors the electrical activity inside heart cells, using tiny "pop-up" sensors that poke into cells without damaging them. The device directly measures the movement and speed of electrical signals traveling within a single heart cell—a first—as well as between multiple heart cells.

Physics - Materials Science - 22.12.2021
New materials for quantum technologies
New materials for quantum technologies
While conventional electronics relies on the transport of electrons, components that convey spin information alone may be many times more energy efficient. Physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart have now made an important advance in the development of novel materials for such components.

Physics - Materials Science - 22.12.2021
Semiconductors reach the quantum world
Semiconductors reach the quantum world
Quantum effects in superconductors could give semiconductor technology a new twist. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and Cornell University in New York State have identified a composite material that could integrate quantum devices into semiconductor technology, making electronic components significantly more powerful.

Materials Science - Environment - 21.12.2021
Spray-on coating could make solar panels snow-resistant
In an advance that could dramatically improve the productivity of solar panels in cold climates, a University of Michigan-led team has demonstrated an inexpensive, clear coating that reduced snow and ice accumulation on solar panels, enabling them to generate up to 85% more energy in early testing. The coating is made chiefly of PVC or PDMS plastic and silicon or vegetable-based oils.

Materials Science - 21.12.2021
How a floating fern withstands the rain
How a floating fern withstands the rain
The tropical floating fern Salvinia molesta has developed sophisticated structures to allow water to roll off its leaves quickly - even during heavy rainfall. This relieves the pressure on the leaves floating on the water surface, but even more importantly, it keeps the stomata open for air exchange.

Materials Science - Innovation - 20.12.2021
Shellac for printed circuits
Shellac for printed circuits
Intelligent packaging with sensors that monitor goods, such as vegetables, on long transport routes is a trend for the future. Yet printed and disposable electronics also cause problems: Metals in printing inks are expensive - and disposing of them in an environmentally sound manner is costly and exacerbates the problem of electronic waste.

Materials Science - Physics - 20.12.2021
'Wonder material' phosphorene nanoribbons live up to hype in first demonstration
’Wonder material’ phosphorene nanoribbons live up to hype in first demonstration
Phosphorene nanoribbons have been incorporated into new types of solar cells, dramatically improving the cells' efficiency, in a new study led by UCL and Imperial College London researchers. Phosphorene nanoribbons (PNRs) are ribbon-like strands of the 2D material phosphorous, which, similar to graphene, are made of single-atom-thick layers of atoms.

Materials Science - Physics - 20.12.2021
Nuclear 'shadow corrosion' reproduced in the lab, paving way to longer fuel life
Nuclear ’shadow corrosion’ reproduced in the lab, paving way to longer fuel life
Now that it's understood, researchers are on their way to preventing this type of degradation in nuclear power plants Solutions to a 55-year-old problem in boiling water reactors-which represent a third of nuclear power reactors in the United States-are on the way now that the problem has been emulated with ion beams.

Materials Science - 15.12.2021
New approach to predicting battery failure could help maintain electricity for millions around the world
The new method of predicting battery failure is 15 - 20% more accurate than current approaches. Millions of people around the world lack access to electricity. Decentralised solar-battery systems are key for addressing this whilst avoiding carbon emissions and air pollution, but are hindered by relatively high costs and rural locations that inhibit timely preventative maintenance.

Innovation - Materials Science - 02.12.2021
Research Team Proposes New Approach for Next-Generation Memories with RRAM Energy-Storage Breakthrough
In-memory energy is a supplemental feature to in-memory computing, which is a key focus in CEA-Leti's roadmap. It can reduce energy use dramatically because RRAM-based batteries are highly scalable and dynamically allocable, and they can be placed next to memory blocks, which are near the processor. Locating the energy supply close to the processor is especially helpful when the processor requires peak power, which typically comes from an external source.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 30.11.2021
Miniature grinding mill closes in on the details of 'green' chemical reactions
Miniature grinding mill closes in on the details of ’green’ chemical reactions
Scientists at the have developed a new approach for observing mechanochemical reactions - where simple ingredients are ground up to make new chemical compounds and materials that can be used in anything from the pharmaceutical to the metallurgical, cement and mineral industries.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 25.11.2021
'Super jelly' can survive being run over by a car | University of Cambridge
’Super jelly’ can survive being run over by a car | University of Cambridge
Researchers have developed a jelly-like material that can withstand the equivalent of an elephant standing on it, and completely recover to its original shape, even though it's 80% water. At 80% water content, you'd think it would burst apart like a water balloon, but it doesn't: it stays intact and withstands huge compressive forces Oren Scherman The soft-yet-strong material, developed by a team at the , looks and feels like a squishy jelly, but acts like an ultra-hard, shatterproof glass when compressed, despite its high water content.

Physics - Materials Science - 23.11.2021
Graphene-like 2D material leverages quantum effects to achieve ultra-low friction
Graphene-like 2D material leverages quantum effects to achieve ultra-low friction
Researchers from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and Rice University have reported the first measurements of the ultra-low-friction behaviour of a material known as magnetene. The results point the way toward strategies for designing similar low-friction materials for use in a variety of fields, including tiny, implantable devices.  Magnetene is a 2D material, meaning it's composed of a single layer of atoms.

Materials Science - Physics - 22.11.2021
Mystery of high-performing solar cell materials revealed in stunning clarity | University of Cambridge
Mystery of high-performing solar cell materials revealed in stunning clarity | University of Cambridge
Researchers have visualised, for the first time, why perovskites - materials which could replace silicon in next-generation solar cells - are seemingly so tolerant of defects in their structure. The findings , led by researchers from the , are published .

Physics - Materials Science - 22.11.2021
Refuting A 70-year Approach To Predicting Material Microstructure
Carnegie Mellon University A 70-year-old model used to predict the microstructure of materials doesn't work, according to Carnegie Mellon researchers in Science. A microscopy technique developed by Carnegie Mellon and Argonne National Laboratory yields evidence that contradicts the conventional model and points the way toward the use of new types of characterizations to predict properties - and therefore the safety and long-term durability - of new materials.

Materials Science - Environment - 18.11.2021
Turning Up the Heat: Thermal Energy Storage Could Play Major Role in Decarbonizing Buildings
Berkeley Lab research efforts in advanced materials and cost analyses give major boost to an overlooked technology Berkeley Lab researchers have reported a breakthrough in phase-change materials, which will improve the affordability of thermal energy storage. Phase-change materials can be added inside walls and automatically keep a building cool or warm depending on the ambient temperature.

Materials Science - Environment - 16.11.2021
An ironclad future
An ironclad future
Solar energy plays an important role in the fight against climate change as a substitute for fossil fuels. Dye-sensitized solar cells promise to be a low-cost supplement to the photovoltaic systems we know today. Their key feature is the dye sensitizers attached to their surface. Researchers at the University of Basel continue to improve the performance with sensitizers using iron - a commonly available and environmentally friendly metal.

Materials Science - Innovation - 11.11.2021
Teaching fungi how to write
Teaching fungi how to write
Spalted wood is a highly sought-after material in the high-end furniture industry. In a newly developed process, scientists have succeeded at controlling the spread of fungi in native wood types to create elaborate marblewood pictures - and even taught the fungi to write some words. Fine black lines spread elegantly across the clock face made from pale, fine-grained timber of ash, beech and maple.

Physics - Materials Science - 10.11.2021
New imaging method gives live glimpse into how cells work
By combining two microscopy methods, researchers are able to see what is happening inside a cell and on its membrane simultaneously, giving unprecedented insight into the cellular processes that occur during infection, for example. Cells are the fundamental component of living organisms and play host to a number of complex biological phenomena.
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