Archive for the ‘materials’ category

Oct 14, 2020

Room-Temperature Superconductivity Achieved for the First Time

Posted by in categories: materials, physics

Physicists have reached a long-sought goal. The catch is that their room-temperature superconductor requires crushing pressures to keep from falling apart.

Oct 14, 2020

Superconductor technology for smaller, sooner fusion

Posted by in category: materials

MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems developed and tested a high-temperature superconductor technology (HTS) cable that can be engineered into the high-performance magnets for tokamaks like SPARC.

Oct 13, 2020

New Wearables Can Be Printed Directly Onto Skin

Posted by in categories: materials, wearables

Colder, Colder…

The process of sintering, or bonding the metals that make up the flexible circuits, usually happens at 572 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The skin surface cannot withstand such a high temperature, obviously,” Penn State engineer and lead author Hanyu “Larry” Cheng said in a press release. “To get around this limitation, we proposed a sintering aid layer — something that would not hurt the skin and could help the material sinter together at a lower temperature.”

Oct 12, 2020

Stacking and twisting graphene unlocks a rare form of magnetism

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Since the discovery of graphene more than 15 years ago, researchers have been in a global race to unlock its unique properties. Not only is graphene—a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon arranged in a hexagonal lattice—the strongest, thinnest material known to man, it is also an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

Now, a team of researchers at Columbia University and the University of Washington has discovered that a variety of exotic electronic states, including a rare form of magnetism, can arise in a three-layer structure.

The findings appear in an article published Oct. 12 in Nature Physics.

Oct 11, 2020

Tour of the Asteroid Bennu

Posted by in categories: materials, space

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return Mission now knows much more about the material it will be collecting in just a few weeks.

Goddard’s Amy Simon found that carbon-bearing, organic material is widespread on the asteroid’s surface, including at the mission’s primary sample site, Nightingale, where OSIRIS-REx will make its first sample collection attempt on Oct.20.

These and other findings indicate that hydrated minerals and organic material will likely be present in the collected sample.

Oct 9, 2020

Researchers solve 100-year-old metallurgy puzzle

Posted by in category: materials


To solve a 100-year puzzle in metallurgy about why single crystals show staged hardening while others don’t, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists took it down to the atomistic level.

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Oct 7, 2020

The discovery of triplet spin superconductivity in diamonds

Posted by in categories: materials, nanotechnology

Diamonds have a firm foothold in our lexicon. Their many properties often serve as superlatives for quality, clarity and hardiness. Aside from the popularity of this rare material in ornamental and decorative use, these precious stones are also highly valued in industry where they are used to cut and polish other hard materials and build radiation detectors.

More than a decade ago, a new property was uncovered in when high concentrations of boron are introduced to it: superconductivity. Superconductivity occurs when two electrons with opposite spin form a pair (called a Cooper pair), resulting in the electrical resistance of the material being zero. This means a large supercurrent can flow in the material, bringing with it the potential for advanced technological applications. Yet, little work has been done since to investigate and characterize the nature of a diamond’s superconductivity and therefore its potential applications.

New research led by Professor Somnath Bhattacharyya in the Nano-Scale Transport Physics Laboratory (NSTPL) in the School of Physics at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, details the phenomenon of what is called “triplet superconductivity” in diamond. Triplet superconductivity occurs when electrons move in a composite spin state rather than as a single pair. This is an extremely rare, yet efficient form of superconductivity that until now has only been known to occur in one or two other materials, and only theoretically in diamonds.

Oct 7, 2020

Terahertz zaps alter gene activity in stem cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, materials

Terahertz light pulses change gene expression in stem cells, report researchers from Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and Tokai University in Japan in the journal Optics Letters. The findings come thanks to a new tool, with implications for stem cell research and regenerative therapy development.

Terahertz waves fall in the far infrared/microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum and can be produced by powerful lasers. Scientists have used terahertz pulses to control the properties of solid-state materials. They also have potential for manipulating living cells, as they don’t damage them the way that ultraviolet or infrared light does. Research so far has led to contradictory findings about their effects on cells, possibly because of the way the experiments have been conducted.

ICeMS microengineer Ken-ichiro Kamei and physicist Hideki Hirori worked with colleagues to develop a better tool for investigating what happens when terahertz pulses are shone on . The apparatus overcomes issues with previous techniques by placing cells in tiny microwells that have the same area as the terahertz light.

Oct 5, 2020

Single‐Atom Catalytic Materials for Advanced Battery Systems

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Single‐atom catalytic materials with atomic sizes, good conductivity, and individual catalytic sites are designed for advanced battery systems, including lithium-sulfur batteries, zinc-air batteries,…

Oct 4, 2020

Researchers create fly-catching robots

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI

An international team of Johannes Kepler University researchers is developing robots made from soft materials. A new article in the journal Communications Materials demonstrates how these kinds of soft machines react using weak magnetic fields to move very quickly—even grabbing a quick-moving fly that has landed on it.

When we imagine a moving machine, such as a robot, we picture something largely made out of hard materials, says Martin Kaltenbrunner. He and his team of researchers at the JKU’s Department of Soft Matter Physics and the LIT Soft Materials Lab have been working to build a -based system. When creating these kinds of systems, there is a basic underlying idea to create conducive conditions that support close robot-human interaction in the future—without the solid machine physically harming humans.

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