Materials Science

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Physics - Materials Science - 23.09.2020
Nanostructures with a unique property
Nanostructures with a unique property
Nanoscale vortices known as skyrmions can be created in many magnetic materials. For the first time, researchers at PSI have managed to create and identify antiferromagnetic skyrmions with a unique property: critical elements inside them are arranged in opposing directions. Scientists have succeeded in visualising this phenomenon using neutron scattering.

History / Archeology - Materials Science - 23.09.2020
Chromium steel was first made in ancient Persia
Chromium steel - similar to what we know today as tool steel - was first made in Persia, nearly a millennium earlier than experts previously thought, according to a new study led by UCL. The discovery, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science , was made with the aid of a number of medieval Persian manuscripts, which led the researchers to an archaeological site in Chahak, southern Iran.

Physics - Materials Science - 22.09.2020
Scientists create world’s smallest ’refrigerator’
This electron microscope image shows the cooler's two semiconductors - one flake of bismuth telluride and one of antimony-bismuth telluride - overlapping at the dark area in the middle, which is where most of the cooling occurs. The small "dots" are indium nanoparticles, which the team used as thermometers.

Physics - Materials Science - 17.09.2020
"Honey, I shrunk the detector"
Silicon chip (approx. 3 mm x 6 mm) with multiple detectors. The fine black engravings on the surface of the chip are the photonics circuits interconnecting the detectors (not visible with bare eyes). In the background a larger scale photonics circuit on a silicon wafer. Researchers have developed the world's smallest ultrasound detector Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed the world's smallest ultrasound detector.

Environment - Materials Science - 17.09.2020
Effective Pathway to Convert Greenhouse Gas into Valuable Products
A research team from Caltech and the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering has demonstrated a promising way to efficiently convert carbon dioxide into ethylene-an important chemical used to produce plastics, solvents, cosmetics, and other important products globally. The scientists developed nanoscale copper wires with specially shaped surfaces to catalyze a chemical reaction that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while simultaneously generating ethylene-a valuable chemical.

Materials Science - Life Sciences - 16.09.2020
Anti-reflective coating inspired by fly eyes
Anti-reflective coating inspired by fly eyes
A team from the University of Geneva has artificially reproduced a nanoscale coating on different types of surfaces that usually covers the eyes of fruit flies, and which provides anti-reflective, anti-adhesive properties. The eyes of many insects, including the fruit fly, are covered by a thin and transparent coating made up of tiny protuberances with anti-reflective, anti-adhesive properties.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 14.09.2020
Predicting the slow death of lithium-ion batteries
A new model offers a way to predict the condition of a battery's internal systems in real-time with far more accuracy than existing tools. In electric cars, the technology could improve driving range estimates and prolong battery life. Batteries fade as they age, slowly losing power and storage capacity.

Computer Science - Materials Science - 11.09.2020
Machine-learning helps sort out massive materials' databases
EPFL and MIT scientists have used machine-learning to organize the chemical diversity found in the ever-growing databases for the popular metal-organic framework materials. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of materials that contain nano-sized pores. These pores give MOFs record-breaking internal surface areas, which can measure up to 7,800 m2 in a single gram of material.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 11.09.2020
Altgold Helps Build Silk Scaffolding for Tissue
SURF student supports new 3D printing technique for bioengineering Carnegie Mellon University undergraduate Tahlia Altgold makes biomedical research using silk run more smoothly. "Silk is a really incredible biomedical material that's been used for a long time in things like sutures,” said Altgold, a junior majoring in materials science and biomedical engineering.

Physics - Materials Science - 10.09.2020
Computational modelling explains why blues and greens are brightest colours in nature
Computational modelling explains why blues and greens are brightest colours in nature
Researchers have shown why intense, pure red colours in nature are mainly produced by pigments, instead of the structural colour that produces bright blue and green hues.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 03.09.2020
New Analytical Methods for Longer-Lasting Lithium-ion Batteries
New Analytical Methods for Longer-Lasting Lithium-ion Batteries
How can the lithium-ion battery (LIB) be further improved? To answer this question, MEET scientists around Lenard Hanf developed new methods for capillary electrophoresis. For the first time, this enables a detailed analysis of the transition metal dissolution from LIB cathode materials or the current collector - such as manganese or copper.

Chemistry - Materials Science - 01.09.2020
A laser cutter could create new wave of bioelectronics
On a simple coffee table sits an inexpensive commercial laser cutter, usually meant for modifying wood or plastic. However, in the lab of University of Chicago scientists Vishnu Nair and Bozhi Tian, what comes out is not engraved wood but a small bioelectronic device that could save lives. It all starts with a compound called polydimethylsiloxane, or PDMS, which is a type of elastomer-a very elastic, stretchable material. However, a laser can transform the PDMS into a dense silicon carbide layer that is useful for electronics.

Physics - Materials Science - 31.08.2020
Attention, the electron is too fast!
Attention, the electron is too fast!
Why do different measurements of material properties sometimes give different results? A research team led by the TU Vienna has now found an important answer. It is very hard to take a photo of a hummingbird flapping its wings 50 times per second. The exposure time has to be much shorter than the characteristic time scale of the wing beat, otherwise you will only see a colorful blur.

Life Sciences - Materials Science - 31.08.2020
Autophagy: the beginning of the end
Autophagy: the beginning of the end
Scientists reveal key steps in the formation of the recycling cen-ters of the cell Autophagy, from the Greek for 'self-eating', is an essential process that isolates and recycles cellular components under conditions of stress or when resources are limited. Cargoes such as misfolded proteins or damaged organelles are captured in a double membrane-bound com-partment called the autophagosome and targeted for degradation.

Environment - Materials Science - 27.08.2020
Mini power plants from coated blue-green algae
Mini power plants from coated blue-green algae
Blue-green algae are among the oldest living creatures on Earth and have perfected the use of sunlight over billions of years. Empa scientists have now equipped these humble unicellular organisms with semiconductor coatings to create mini power plants, which supply biofuels and are photocatalytically active in sunlight.

Materials Science - Chemistry - 24.08.2020
New insights into lithium-ion battery failure mechanism
Researchers have identified a potential new degradation mechanism for electric vehicle batteries - a key step to designing effective methods to improve battery lifespan. The researchers, from the Universities of Cambridge and Liverpool, and the Diamond Light Source, have identified one of the reasons why state-of-the-art 'nickel-rich' battery materials become fatigued, and can no longer be fully charged after prolonged use.

Physics - Materials Science - 20.08.2020
2D Electronics Get an Atomic Tuneup
2D Electronics Get an Atomic Tuneup
To tune the band gap, a key parameter in controlling the electrical conductivity and optical properties of semiconductors, researchers typically engineer alloys, a process in which two or more materials are combined to achieve properties that otherwise could not be achieved by a pristine material. But engineering band gaps of conventional semiconductors via alloying has often been a guessing game, because scientists have not had a technique to directly "see" whether the alloy's atoms are arranged in a specific pattern, or randomly dispersed.

Materials Science - Innovation - 20.08.2020
Aerogel - the micro structural material of the future
Aerogel - the micro structural material of the future
Aerogel is an excellent thermal insulator. So far, however, it has mainly been used on a large scale, for example in environmental technology, in physical experiments or in industrial catalysis. Empa researchers have now succeeded in making aerogels accessible to microelectronics and precision engineering: An article in the latest issue of the scientific journal "Nature" shows how 3D-printed parts made of silica aerogels and silica composite materials can be manufactured with high precision.

Materials Science - Microtechnics - 19.08.2020
Biomorphic batteries could provide 72x more energy for robots
Like biological fat reserves store energy in animals, a new rechargeable zinc battery integrates into the structure of a robot to provide much more energy, a team led by the University of Michigan has shown. This approach to increasing capacity will be particularly important as robots shrink to the microscale and below-scales at which current stand-alone batteries are too big and inefficient.

Materials Science - Electroengineering - 19.08.2020
Toward an Ultrahigh Energy Density Capacitor
Toward an Ultrahigh Energy Density Capacitor
By introducing defects to a common material, Berkeley Lab researchers create a highly efficient capacitor with dramatically increased energy density Capacitors that rapidly store and release electric energy are key components in modern electronics and power systems. However, the most commonly used ones have low energy densities compared to other storage systems like batteries or fuel cells, which in turn cannot discharge and recharge rapidly without sustaining damage.
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