Latest Materials News

DNA self-assembled nanowires serve as templates for superconducting NbN
Alejandro Burgos-Suazo
MRS Bulletin

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Schematic illustration of a NbN-coated DNA nanowire suspended above a SiN/SiO2 channel.

Porous TiNO solar-driven interfacial evaporator yields high-efficiency seawater desalination
Alejandro Burgos-Suazo
MRS Bulletin

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3D-printed solar-powered ceramic device desalinates water
Joan Stephanie Torres-Rodríguez
MRS Bulletin

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(a) Collection of fresh water using the enhanced 3D design; and (b) 2D schematic diagram depicting how it works. Credit: © 2021 ACS Publications.

Schematic of the TiNO-based interfacial evaporator. Credit: AIP Advances.

2021 Virtual MRS Spring Meeting & Exhibit provided the latest in cutting-edge research
Judy Meiksin, Arun Kumar, Jessalyn Hui Ying Low & Victor A. Rodriguez-Toro 
MRS Bulletin

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“Separated Yet Connected,” submitted by Alekha Tyagi of the Indian Institute of Technology, won first place in the Science as Art competition. Presented here is a field-emission scanning electron micrograph of a nickel sulfide-doped carbon hybrid material with a unique porous interconnected morphology for oxygen-reduction reaction catalysis. Our lives are highly interconnected as a virus originated at one corner created havoc in the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic confined us in narrow spaces (pores). Staying in touch while maintaining social distancing is important in these times to avoid anxiety and depression. The image is colored as a rainbow to represent the combined efforts of different people around the world to end this pandemic (realize a white—bright—future).

Glucose-responsive polymeric complex enables smart insulin delivery
Yufeng Shou
MRS Bulletin

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Schematic illustration of the formation of insulin complex (above) and the mechanism of glucose-stimulated insulin release (below). Credit: Zhen Gu. FPBA, 4-carboxy-3-fluorophenylboronic acid.

Energy boost confirmed in Li-rich disordered rock-salt oxyfluoride cathodes
J. Arnaldo Méndez-Román 
MRS Bulletin

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Calculated structures of Li2MnO2F (left) and Li0.75MnO2F (middle), and the local environment of molecular O2 in the bulk of Li0.75MnO2F (right). Li, Mn, O, and F are indicated by green, purple, red, and gray, respectively. The weak Mn − O2 and Li − O2 interactions are indicated with dashed lines. Credit: Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Animate materials
Philip Ball
MRS Bulletin

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The direction of travel for materials since antiquity is toward increased functionality and adaptability, leading ultimately to materials with genuinely animate properties. Image: Mark Miodownik, University College London and the Institute of Making.

Water gas shift reaction for CeO2-supported Pt catalyst occurs at Pt perimeter
Sebastián Suárez Schmidt
MRS Bulletin

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(a) Scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) annular dark-field (ADF) image of the as-prepared Pt/ceria catalysts; (b) STEM-ADF image of the reacted Pt/ceria catalyst. Credit: Nature Communications.

Electrospinning technology controls spread of COVID-19
J. Arnaldo Méndez-Román
MRS Bulletin

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Aerosol filtration efficiency of electrospun air filters and commercial face masks. Aerosols generated from a coronavirus (MHV-A59) and NaCl were used for the tests. Credit: Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

Thermodynamic pathway yields stable nano-LiMn2O4 for Co-free Li-ion battery cathode
Ali Rashti
MRS Bulletin

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(a) Enthalpy of formation of spinel Sc-LMO (lithium manganese oxide) versus LMO and Mn3O4 as a function of surface area; (b) scanning transmission electron microscope image of Sc-doped LMO nanoparticles. Credit: Chemistry of Materials.

Upconversion nanoparticle-thermometer monitors mitochondrial thermal dynamics in situ
Jessalyn Hui Ying Low
MRS Bulletin

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Schematic illustration of design of (a) UCNPs@TPP and (b) intracellular mitochondrial targeting of UCNPs@TPP. UCNPs is upconversion nanoparticles; TPP is (3-carboxypropyl) triphenylphosphonium bromide. Credit: Nano Letters.

Reversing planar gliding, microcracking enhances performance of single-crystalline Ni-rich cathode
Joan Stephanie Torres-Rodríguez 
MRS Bulletin Materials News | Published:  22 July 2021

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(a) Scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) cross-sectional bright-field image of single-crystalline NMC76 after 200 cycles. (b) Bright-field STEM image of internal slicing. Credit: Science.

Pabitra K. Nayak
MRS Bulletin Materials News | Published: 28 June 2021

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Schematic for the spin-polarized charge injection and circularly polarized electroluminescence in a perovskite spin-polarized light-emitting diode. Image courtesy: Science.

Selective electrografting of aryl-diazonium salt on cathodically polarized MoS2 nanoribbons
Xaimara Santiago Maldonado 
MRS Bulletin Materials News | Published: 04 May 2021
An optical micrograph (top view) of a device with MoS2 monolayer etched into nanoribbons. Credit: ACS Applied Nano Materials.

Defects and plasticity account for ultrastrong properties of supercrystalline nanocomposites
N. Balasubramanian
MRS Bulletin Materials News | Published: 29 April 2021
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Sub-indent deformation mechanisms in cross-linking-strengthened supercrystalline nanocomposites, showing plastic deformation and compaction. Credit: Science Advances.

Plant-inspired strategy uses photosynthesis to strengthen 3D printed polymers
Yufeng Shou
MRS Bulletin Materials News | Published: 28 April 2021
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(a) Schematic illustration of photosynthesis-assisted remodeling of the synthetic polymer and (b) its self-strengthening capability. Credit: Qiming Wang.

One-pot chemistry: Alkyne-assisted CNT growth enables in situ functionalization
Jennifer Carpena-Núñez, Rahul Rao & Benji Maruyama
MRS Bulletin Impact Opinion & Perspective | Published: 19 April 2021
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The holy grail of carbon nanotube (CNT) synthesis and processing: increased production, reduced cost and waste streams, improved quality and efficiency, and sustainability. Johnson et al. work toward these goals by coupling CNT growth and functionalization using alkyne-assisted chemistry. The schematic depicts the CNT structures that Johnson et al. propose are formed during the in situ functionalization protocol: propargyl alcohol (red), propiolic acid (blue), and acetylene (green).

3D printing technique forms microlenses with adjustable refractive indices

By Alejandro Burgos-Suazo
April 29, 2021

Researchers form optics including waveguides and lenses with previously unobtainable optical properties.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Metastable 2D materials synthesized with flash Joule heating

By J. Arnaldo Méndez-Román
April 28, 2021

“The flash Joule heating method … has the potential to induce the formation of materials with metastable phases, since there is not enough time for the atoms and molecules to move to thermodynamically most stable positions,” says first author Weiyin Chen of Rice University.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Doped amorphous carbon anodes enhance sodium-ion battery performance

By Joan Stephanie Torres-Rodríguez 
April 23, 2021

Nitrogen- and phosphorus-doping have demonstrated an improvement in the electrochemical properties of carbon materials.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Why are COVID-19 vaccines still in short supply?

By Rachana Pradhan and Arthur Allen
April 22, 2021

Experts cite bottlenecks in at least three areas: the production of specialty lipids, fatty materials that are a primary component of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines; the hundreds of millions of glass vials that hold the vaccine; and the sterile automated assembly lines where vaccine moves from bulk containers into vials before shipment.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Nanoscale morphology control enhances water transport in polymer desalination membranes

By Xaimara Santiago-Maldonado
April 21, 2021

Determining where the polymer is concentrated is critical to understand how water passes through the membrane.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Impedance spectroscopy quantifies microplastics waste in waterways

By Boris Dyatkin 
April 20, 2021

The high-throughput nature of this approach allows a much faster screening of wastewater than manual counting of microplastics in liquid samples.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin

Large uniform tensile elasticity achieved in microfabricated diamond

By Alejandro Burgos-Suazo 
April 19, 2021

Diamond recovered to its original length after being subject to uniform strain values of ~4.8%, 6.8%, and 7.5% for different cycles.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

World's smallest origami bird shows potential of nanoscale machines
Cornell University via YouTube
April 16, 2021

Micron-sized shape memory actuators enable atomically thin two-dimensional materials to fold themselves into 3D configurations. All they require is a quick jolt of voltage. And once the material is bent, it holds its shape—even after the voltage is removed, as demonstrated with this self-folding origami bird.

View the video.

III-V resonant tunneling for ULTRARAM (
Mike Cooke
April 15, 2021

UK-based researchers report the first tests of an ‘ULTRARAM’ III-V memory that incorporates quantum resonant tunneling as part of its operation “to achieve non-volatility at extremely low switching energy per unit area.” 

Read the article in

Atomic structure of a glass imaged at last

Paul Voyles
April 14, 2021

The positions of all the atoms in a sample of a metallic glass have been measured experimentally—fulfilling a decades-old dream for glass scientists, and raising the prospect of fresh insight into the structures of disordered solids.

Read the article in Nature.

Diamond-Based Quantum Accelerator Puts Qubits in a Server Rack

By Charles Q. Choi
April 13, 2021

Its makers envision this device growing to 50+ qubits and fitting aboard satellites, autonomous vehicles.

Read the article in IEEE Spectrum.

Ultrasensitive and label-free chirality detection of diabetes-related metabolic molecules

By Michael Berger
April 12, 2021

Chirality is a critical concept in chemistry and life sciences, especially when applied to the molecular level. Many molecules such as amino acids, proteins, sugars, and DNA are chiral. Two mirror images of a chiral molecule are called enantiomers or optical isomers. Pairs of enantiomers are often designated as right-handed and left-handed.

Read the article in

From 2D flake to stable 3D crystal: Researchers demonstrate potential of MXenes as additives in ultrahigh-temperature ceramics

By Lisa McDonald 
April 9, 2021

MXenes hold potential as additives in ultrahigh-temperature ceramics to improve mechanical properties—but a gap in understanding the phase stability and transformation of MXenes at high temperatures limits this application. Researchers at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis investigated these properties in titanium carbide MXenes.

Read the article in Ceramic Tech Today.

Observing thermal transport in carbon nanotube bundles

By Michael Berger
April 8, 2021

Individual single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have thermal conductivity that is several times higher than copper. However, once researchers start to assemble SWCNTs into macroscale composites, fibers or films, they notice that thermal conduction drops significantly.

Read the article in

Mantis shrimp inspire tough composites and sophisticated optical sensors

By April Gocha 
April 7, 2021

Artists and scientists alike find inspiration in nature. But two recent scientific studies found inspiration in the same creature: the mantis shrimp. The creature’s incredibly tough materials and complex eyes inspired innovations that could lead to fracture-resistant biocomposites and highly advanced optical sensors.

Read the article in Ceramic Tech Today.

Repulsive coupled screw dislocation pairs cause work hardening in bcc metals

By Judy Meiksin and Gopal Rao

April 6, 2021

In tungsten—a bcc metal—coupled screw dislocations are pushed ahead of one another, influencing the work hardening behavior of the material at room temperature.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Real-time sweat analysis with wearable microfluidic sensors (
Michael Berger
April 5, 2021

Based on recent advances in wearable electronics, these devices allow for the noninvasive monitoring of real-time physiological health information from a growing number of biomarkers.

Read the article in

Adding Gold Nanoparticles Improve Optical Properties of Shape-Memory Polymers

Mark Bustos
April 2, 2021

Adding clusters of gold nanoparticles to shape-memory polymers, then stretching them, changes their plasmon-coupling traits, allowing them to have different and beneficial optical properties.

Read the article in The Science Times.

Shape-Shifting Proteins Follow Diffusion Rules
Rachel Berkowitz
April 1, 2021

How quickly a protein diffuses in a liquid depends directly on its radius, which changes as the protein’s conformation fluctuates.

Read the article in Physics

Easing the Squeeze on Superconductors
Matteo Rini
March 31, 2021

Theorists propose new strategies for designing high-temperature superconductors that operate at vastly reduced pressures—a step toward ambient-condition superconductors.

Read the article in Physics.

Electronic skin: from flexibility to a sense of touch
Katharine Sanderson
March 30, 2021

Flexible circuits inspired by human skin offer options for health monitoring, prosthetics and pressure-sensing robots.

Read the article in Nature.

A material that is superconductive at room temperature and lower pressure
Bob Yirka
March 29, 2021

A research team has found a way to dramatically reduce the required pressure by making a change to their prior technique—they combined hydrogen with yttrium instead of carbon and sulfur.

Read the article in

Ten years later, here’s what Fukushima’s damaged reactors look like today

Science Magazine YouTube

March 26, 2021

Although cleanup in Fukushima has been in progress for ten years, many years remain before all the melted fuel debris will be removed from the damaged reactors. Watch to see what the nuclear power plant looks like today, and how the disaster has impacted the surrounding community.

View the video in Science Magazine.

A new carbon capture catalyst

Ellen Phiddian

March 25, 2021

Molybdenum disulphide offers a more sustainable transformation of CO2.

Read the article in Cosmos Magazine.

Understanding ionic phenomena in liquid crystals doped with nanoparticles
Michael Berger
March 24, 2021

Ion-capturing nanoparticles can be used for permanent ionic purification of liquid crystals thus benefitting their display and photonic applications. Ion-generating nanoparticles can be utilized in the design of smart windows and light shutters.

Read the article in Nanowerk.

Nanomaterials: the next big thing in cabin hygiene and design?

Marisa Garcia
March 23, 2021

Nanoscale robots could hold the key to aircraft cabin hygiene in the long-term future.

Read the article in Aircraft Interiors International.

The googly eyes of the mantis shrimp inspire new optical sensors

Jennifer Ouellette
March 22, 2021

Small enough to fit on a smartphone, capable of hyperspectral and polarimetric imaging.

Read the article in Ars Technica.

Nidia Gallego, the Colombian who created a key piece of perseverance – science – life
Mia Thompson
March 19, 2021

Nidia Gallego of Oak Ridge National Laboratory co-developed the carbon fiber-based composite material, a protective shield covering the Perseverance plutonium core that enables the sophisticated apparatus to have the electricity needed to operate. Furthermore, Gallego’s work is essential to prevent the release of radioactive materials in the unlikely scenario of an accident during mission launch.

Read the article in Sunday Vision.

van der Waals heterostructures harness ionic power from photo-induced ion transport

Michael Berger
March 18, 2021

Ionic power is ubiquitous in physiological or environmental waters, and it is generally considered as a sustainable, yet largely untapped energy resource that catches the eye of scientists.

Read the article in

Plastic Polymer Cables That Rival Fiber Optics

Payal Dhar
March 17, 2021

Researchers demonstrate a polymer cable that can transmit data 10 times as fast as USB.

Read the article in IEEE Spectrum.

Hierarchical mechanical metamaterials offer multiple stable configurations

Thamarasee Jeewandara
March 16, 2021

Researchers use the elastic tensile/compressive asymmetry of kirigami microstructures to design a class of X-shaped tristable structures.

Read the article in PhysOrg.

The Latest Wrinkle in Crumple Theory

Siobhan Roberts
March 15, 2021

From studies of “geometric frustration,” scientists learn how paper folds under pressure.

Read the article in The New York Times.

HfO2 gate insulator for N-polar GaN
Mike Cooke 
March 12, 2021

Metal-oxide-semiconductor capacitor study probes high-k dielectric potential.

Read the article in semiconductor TODAY.

DNA clogging in hafnium oxide nanopores investigated for DNA sensing

Xaimara Santiago Maldonado
March 11, 2021

This study may boost the applicability of nanopores in the field of rapid DNA sequencing.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Single-walled carbon nanotubes bring color to carbon science

Joan Stephanie Torres-Rodríguez
March 10, 2021

A theoretical model predicts some of the colors in SWCNTs varying in chirality and diameter.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Superhard catalyst-free polycrystalline diamond developed

José Arnaldo Méndez-Román 
March 9, 2021

Catalyst-free polycrystalline diamond compact performs better than commercial PDC.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Sprayed NIR-responsive black phosphorus-based gel treats diabetic ulcers
Yufeng Shou

March 8, 2021

Gel that is sprayed in situ serves as an artificial “skin” to temporarily shield tissue from the external environment and to also facilitate healing.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Smart materials: From tiny robots to color-swapping clothes

By Paul Rincon
March 5, 2021

Imagine concrete bridges that can heal cracks without human intervention, or tiny machines that can be injected into the body to treat disease. These are just two applications for a category of smart materials that change and adapt to their environment. Inspired by living things, they have the potential to transform the way we live, according to a new report.

Read the article in BBC News.

Nanodiamond-polyaniline nanocomposites yield smart textiles

By Xaimara Santiago Maldonado
March 4, 2021

In this work, wool fabrics were treated with polyaniline (PANI), polyaniline-nanodiamond (PANI-ND), and polyaniline-boron-doped ND (PANI-BDND) to study their effects on the resulting textile. Surface analysis suggests the possibility of hydrogen bonding and ionic/electrostatic interactions of PANI and ND with the surface of the wool fabric. Furthermore, it suggests that ND facilitated the attachment of PANI onto the surface of the wool fibers. “This means that it can act as a bridge between the PANI and the wool fabric,” says principal investigator Shadi Houshyar.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

All solid state electro–chemo-mechanical actuator operates at room temperature

By J. Arnaldo Méndez-Román
March 3, 2021

A research group from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and Stony Brook University, USA, has developed a room-temperature Si-compatible electrochemo-mechanical (ECM) membrane actuator. Despite the benefits of piezoelectrics and electrostrictors, regulations and restrictions arise due to the toxicity of Pb in these materials, which is motivating researchers to create new methods to generate electromechanical response. ECM produces a change in the mechanical dimensions of ionic and mixed ionic-electronic conductors, and occurs as the electric field triggers a change in chemical composition. Igor Lubomirsky, Anatoly I. Frenkel, and colleagues provide a practical application of the ECM concept in a prototype of an ECM-based membrane actuator that provides micron-size displacements and long-term stability.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Bio-polymerized carbon nanotubes enhance in vitro cancer drug delivery

By Arun Kumar
March 2, 2021

Mohd Zobir Hussein and his research team from Universiti Putra Malaysia have developed biopolymerized multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to carry the silibinin (SIL) drug (derived from milk thistle) into targeted cancer cells. The use of carboxylated carbon nanotubes coated with water-soluble polymers can improve bioavailability and biocompatibility, enabling transport of the drug molecules into mammalian cells. The hydrophobic region of the MWCNTs interacts with the water-repelling SIL, while the biopolymers provide an external hydrophilic layer protecting the inner contents from the harsh hydrophilic environment.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Pulsed x-ray diffraction reveals evidence for homogeneous ice nucleation
By Joan Stephanie Torres-Rodríguez
March 1, 2021

Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science and the European Synchrotron facility have explored water freezing experiments that enable them to control the process of ice crystallization. They report experimental evidence for the homogeneous freezing (far from a pre-existing interface) of supercooled microliter water drops. Homogeneous freezing involves a stochastic element whereby the initial time and location of nucleation are a priori unknown.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

In-Space Production Applications: Advanced Materials and Manufacturing on the International Space Station
February 25, 2021

The International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory enables long-term, iterative studies within the unique, microgravity environment inside the ISS, including in-space materials research in the areas of advanced or exotic materials production. Access to persistent microgravity opens new opportunities for novel materials manufacturing, including unique microstructures, larger crystal growth, and potentially increased homogeneity. Please join us for a discussion of new research opportunities and current case studies of in-space production of advanced materials.

More information here.

By Pabitra K. Nayak
February 19, 2021

Perovskite solar cells are at the edge of commercial success. Device efficiency records continue to break at a regular pace, while stability and optimization are progressing rapidly. The first commercial products could reach the market very soon, just a decade since perovskite photovoltaics were first discovered. MRS Bulletin presents coverage of the most recent impactful advances in the burgeoning field of perovskite research.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Spatial control through voxel design enables customizable properties in additive manufacturing

By Vincent Hembrick
February 18, 2021

Voxels of different materials properties can be assembled to manufacture a part with highly tunable properties. Now a research group has proposed a new voxel design mechanism of constructing digital materials for additive manufacturing by optimizing the voxel size to directly customize thermomechanical properties throughout a bulk material.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Wearable sensor tracks vitamin C level

By Yufeng Shou
February 17, 2021

On the working electrode (i.e., vitamin C detection electrode), through simple surface modification using Au nanodendrites, an electroactive conducting polymer (poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene)/LiClO4 deposition), and a protective membrane layer (enzyme immobilized surface), the electrode shows superior electrochemical properties and can stably detect vitamin C from the μM to mM level. 

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Quantum sensing system measures intracellular temperature over long periods

By Jessalyn Hui Ying Low

February 16, 2021

This novel quantum thermometric and analysis system for sensing uses fluorescent nanodiamonds.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Thiol-ene materials promote volumetric 3D printing
By Yufeng Shou
February 15, 2021

The versatility of mechanical properties shows great promise for VAM-printed objects in the manufacturing industry and biomedical engineering.

Read the article in MRS Bulletin.

Sustainable fabrics reducing the impact of microplastics on the planet

By Melanie Windridge
February 12, 2021

Although we are aware of how severe an issue plastic waste is globally, we have only recently become aware of how pervasive plastic can be when it breaks down. 

Read the article in Forbes.

Graphene sensor arrays for mapping brain activity
By Liam Critchey
February 11, 2021

A lot of research over the years has gone into developing large sensors arrays on flexible materials so that they will conform to the surface they are applied to. This has been a common approach for biocompatible intraneural probes that can map brain activity. However, there is a drive within the neural engineering space to make these sensors more effective by increasing their bandwidth, specifically, increasing their sensitivity and spatial resolution (in direct measurement approaches) so that the results produced are more accurate.

Read the article in electropages.

Can silicon nanostructures knock plastic lenses out of cell phone cameras?
By Tekla S. Perry
February 10, 2021

Startup Metalenz says its nanostructures do a better job of guiding light to image sensors than curved plastic lenses

Read the article in IEEE Spectrum.

Zinc-ion batteries could reach higher energy densities by avoiding a traditional anode 
By Carolyn Wilke
February 9, 2021

Without a thick zinc metal anode, the batteries can be smaller and lighter

Read the article in c&en news.

Physicists create tunable superconductivity in twisted graphene “nanosandwich”
February 8, 2021

When two sheets of graphene are stacked atop each other at just the right angle, the layered structure morphs into an unconventional superconductor, allowing electric currents to pass through without resistance or wasted energy. This “magic-angle” transformation in bilayer graphene was observed for the first time in 2018. Since then, scientists have searched for other materials that can be similarly twisted into superconductivity. For the most part, no other twisted material has exhibited superconductivity other than the original twisted bilayer graphene. Until now.

Read the article in Science Blog.

How to build a better composite battery enclosure
By John Blyler
February 5, 2021

Composites are finding a growing role in electric vehicle battery enclosures, but product development can be a balancing act.

Read the article in DesignNews.

Laser-based process allows direct creation of 3D glass structures

By Lisa McDonald
February 4, 2021

Glass additive manufacturing is a less developed field compared to methods for printing plastic, metal, and ceramic, but the last few years saw significant advances. Three researchers in France now propose that two-photon polymerization, a technique used in fields such as micro/nanophotonics, could offer an effective way to 3D print glass directly rather than by layer-on-layer procedures.

Read the article in Ceramic Tech Today.

What’s the technology behind a five-minute charge battery?

By John Timmer

February 3, 2021

The company behind a new battery isn't saying much, but we figured a few things out.

Read the article in ars TECHNICA.

Diamonds put the heat on cells
By Natalie Parletta
February 2, 2021

Tiny gems help scientists shed light on thermal conductivity.

Read the article in COSMOS.

Exploring ways to design on the nanoscale: Researchers develop strong and deformable organically linked supercrystals

By Lisa McDonald
February 1, 2021

Organically linked supercrystals are an emerging type of nanocomposite that could prove useful in next-generation electronic devices and as biomimetic structural materials. Researchers led by the Hamburg University of Technology in Germany have conducted several studies on these materials, with the most recent one exploring its deformation mechanisms.

Read the article in Ceramic Tech Today.

'This synthetic DNA contains our message to the future

By Verge Science
January 29 2021

As 2020 came to a close, Verge Science took a look back on their big and small science stories of the year by building a digital time capsule. And they stored their data using a remarkable new storage medium: synthetic DNA.

Catalyst works differently depending on how it’s activated

By Leigh Krietsch Boerner
January 28 2021
Heat and light invoke distinct hydrogenation pathways in cobalt catalyst

Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Drones
January 27 2021
By Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio

New hydrogen power technology could mark a commercial breakthrough for drones, paving the way for mobile robot development with extended range and load capacity. Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI) has announced it has successfully used hydrogen-powered drones to deliver humanitarian aid in remote locations.

New metamaterial merges magnetic memory and physical changes

By John Timmer

January 26 2021

A mix of actuator and bit-level memory.

Light-based quantum computer takes minutes to do a 2.5-billion-year task
By Roger Highfield
January 25, 2021

The most important mathematical work in China’s long history is Jiuzhang suanshu (“Nine Chapters on the Mathematical Art”), a second BC text compiled by generations of scholars. Now a novel kind of computer named in its honour has lived up to the reputation of this grand book of mathematics.

How Audemars Piguet Made Black Ceramic The Hottest Material In Watchmaking

January 22 2021
By Stephen Pulvirent

It's the stuff that dreams are made of.

Read the article in Hodinkee.

The Curious Strength of a Sea Sponge’s Glass Skeleton
January 21, 2021

By Elena Renken

A glass sponge found deep in the Pacific shows a remarkable ability to withstand compression and bending, on top of the sponge’s other unusual properties.

Read the article in Quanta Magazine.

The search for ultra-light, super-strong automotive material
January 20, 2021

By M Ramesh

Indian labs are working on steel and beyond that can make cars fuel-efficent and safer for passengers.

Read the article in The Hindu Business Line.

Researchers Developed a “Swiss Army Knife” Catalyst from 10 Different Elements

By Mark B.
January 19 2021

The swiss army knife facilitates a lower combustion temperature of methane by down to half of the original temperature down to 600-700 Kelvin from over 1400 Kelvin. 

Read the article in Science Times.

Snakes’ Flexible, Heat-Sensing Organs Explained

By Harini Barath
January 18 2021
Scientists decode how some snakes “see” in the dark

Read the article in Scientific American.

Measuring how dental procedures aerosolize particles
January 15 2021
By measuring the dispersion of aerosolized particles during dental procedures, researchers are able to make recommendations on how to more safely continue dental training and patient care in the age of COVID-19. 

See the video from the University of Michigan.

Digital communication through human touch
January 14 2021
Instead of inserting a card or scanning a smartphone to make a payment, what if you could simply touch the machine with your finger?

See the video from Purdue University.

Magnetic spray transform inanimate objects into mini-robots
January 13 2021
The spray contains particles of iron, polyvinyl alcohol and gluten, which combine with water to form sticky, magnetic skins, or “M-skins.” 

See the video from Science Magazine.

Light-Based Quantum Computer Exceeds Fastest Classical Supercomputers
By Daniel Garisto
January 12 2021

The setup of lasers and mirrors effectively “solved” a problem far too complicated for even the largest traditional computer system.

Read the article in Scientific American.

Hollow-core optical fiber is clearer than glass
By Jeff Hecht
January 11 2021

An optical fiber with a hollow core could transmit higher power than standard solid-core fibers.

Read the article in IEEE Spectrum.

Special Symposium on Materials Approaches for Tackling COVID-19
By Jessalyn Low Hui Ying
January 8 2021

Fighting COVID-19 is a multidisciplinary problem requiring many specialists.

Read the article in MRS Meeting Scene.

Spin-guided scattering of light is observed in a liquid crystal
By Daisy Shearer
January 7 2021

Spin selectivity in a disordered optical medium paves the way for topological photonics. 

Read the article in physicsworld.

Japanese Space Capsule Carrying Pristine Asteroid Samples Lands in Australia
By Mike Wall.
January 6 2021

Gathered by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, the material from asteroid Ryugu will deepen scientists’ knowledge of early solar system history.

Read the article in Scientific American.

Tiny ultralight insulators, at the push of a button
By Michael Dumiak 
Materials researchers in Switzerland are using 3D printing to make tiny components from aerogel.

Read the article in IEEE Spectrum.

Wearable tech can spot coronavirus symptoms before you even realize you’re sick

By Geoffrey A. Fowler November 16, 2020

Researchers say the constant stream of data from Oura rings, Fitbits, and Apple Watches could eventually be used as a coronavirus early-warning system.

Read the article in The Washington Post.

Engineering a battery fast enough to make recharging like refueling

By John Timmer November 12, 2020

The structure of black phosphorus naturally makes channels to let lithium in.

Read the article in ars TECHNICA

Plastic film protects surfaces against novel coronavirus on contact

By Elton Alisson November 5, 2020

Nanoparticles of silver and silica are built into a polyethylene structure, eliminating 99.84% of the viral particles after two minutes of contact.

Read the article in FAPESP Innovative R&D.

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