Entries with tag materials research.

New Material Acts as Graphene Substitute

A Korean research team has developed a new carbon-based material without the defects and difficulty associated with making graphene for use in semiconductors and other purposes. The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) scientists synthesized carbon nanosheets similar to graphene by coating the substrate with a polymer solution and then heating it, a method shorter and simpler than that used to make graphene. The resulting material has all the characteristics of graphene. The new work, say the researchers, “offers deeper understanding on the growth mechanism of [a] carbon nanosheet and [a] much simpler manufacturing process.” Graphene is pure carbon in a one-atom-thick sheet. It is valued for use in various settings because it is strong for its weight and very efficiently conducts heat and electricity. The KIST scientists—who published their work in published in Nanoscale, a journal of the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry—expect to commercialize their process. (Science Daily)(Korea Institute of Science and Technology)

Researchers Discover Piezoelectric Material

University of Houston, Rice University, and University of Washington scientists have identified a new, ultrathin piezoelectric material that can be used in new ways. These substances—which generate electricity when bent, stretched, or subject to other mechanical forces—are considered important because they can be used in, for example, sensors, energy-harvesting systems, and loudspeakers. The scientists found that putting triangular holes pointing in the same direction in graphene nitride or any semiconducting material, gives them piezoelectric properties that they don’t otherwise have. Unlike other similar materials, the graphene nitride can be stacked in layers without losing its piezoelectric properties. The researchers published their work in the journal Nature Communications. (EurekAlert)(Nature Communications)

Researchers Use Lasers to Transform Material Properties

MIT scientists have conducted research that could let them shine precise laser beams on substances to create new materials, change their electronic properties, and turn them into semiconductors. The researchers accomplished this by developing a way to produce and measure photon and electron coupling on a topological-insulator material – a material that has both an insulating interior and a conductive surface. This work could enable scientists to create new kinds of electronic states in solid-state systems. The researchers shone a polarized laser beam at bismuth selenide crystals and found they could change their bandgap—the energy difference between it’s a material’s nonconductive and conductive states—and turn them into a semiconductor. They add  that, although they have only experimented with bismuth selenide, the technique might be useful with other materials. They published their work in Science.(SlashDot)(MIT News Office)

Researchers Explain Unusual Properties of Semiconductor Materials

The Ohio State University scientists have offered an initial theory as how the properties of two materials unexpectedly change when layered together. The materials lanthanum aluminate and strontium titanate are fairly unexciting until they are sandwiched together. Then, they are both conductive and magnetic. These properties were initially discovered in 2004, but no explanation for how they interact at their interface was offered until now. Understanding how these materials work together could enable researchers to invent new forms of integrated computational and data storage devices, say the researchers. It could also lead to the exploration of other oxide material combinations. This research was published in the journal Nature Physics. (EurekAlert)(The Ohio State University)(Nature Physics)

Researchers: Magnetite Could Enable Ultrafast Computing

Researchers from the US’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have determined that magnetite offers electrical switching much faster than today’s transistors and thus could help create powerful computing devices. The scientists discovered that, when hit by a laser, the electrons in magnetite switch at a speed of one-trillionth of a second, which is thousands of times faster than current silicon-based transistors. The researchers used SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser to measure switching in samples of magnetite, the oldest known magnetic material, cooled to -190?C to lock in its electrical charges. When the laser hit the mineral, the electrons could be in one of two states, conductive and nonconductive. These would represent the ones and zeros or binary data. The researchers are now looking for exotic, magnetite-based compounds to experiment with, including materials able to operate at room temperature. They published their findings in the journal Nature Materials. (Techfragments)(Discovery News)(Nature Materials)

UCLA Researchers Make New Material for High-Performance Supercapacitors

University of California, Los Angeles scientists have created a material they say could be used to create powerful supercapacitors. The material, a synthesized form of niobium oxide, could be used to rapidly store and release energy. The technology could be used to rapidly charge many devices, including mobile electronics and industrial equipment. The scientists have developed electrodes using the material, but must undertake more research to create entire quick-charging devices. Cornell University and the Université Paul Sabatier researchers contributed to the work, which was published in the journal Nature Materials. (EurekAlert)(University of California Los Angeles)(Nature Materials)

Researchers Create New Nanoscale Material

An international team of researchers led by scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and RMIT University have developed a new two-dimensional material they say “could revolutionize the electronics market.” The material consists of molybdenum oxide layers in sheets about 11 nanometers thick that are similar to graphite layers. The material’s structural properties, which are also semiconducting, allow electrons to freely flow at ultra-high speeds, which could enable smaller devices to be created that are able to transfer data at high speed. The researchers made nanoscale transistors with the material but say additional research is needed before devices can be made using the material. Other research collaborators included scientists from Monash University, University of California at Los Angeles, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The researchers published their work in Advanced Materials. (EurekAlert)(The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation)

Researchers Identify Possible Silicon Replacement

University at Buffalo researchers have discovered a form of vanadium oxide bronze with unusual electrical properties that has the potential to increase the speed at which information is transferred and stored. It could eventually be used in lieu of silicon. The researchers made nanowires about 180 nanometers wide from vanadium oxide and lead that  transform from insulators to metals that more readily conduct electricity when exposed to an applied voltage near room temperature. The researchers say each of these states could represent a binary 0 or 1, which means they could be used to make calculations. More work is needed before the material can be used, primarily to determine its potential health affects since it contains lead. The researchers published their findings in Advanced Functional Materials. (PhysOrg)(University of Buffalo)(Advanced Functional Materials)

Material Imperfections Might Hold Key to Superconductivity

A team of US scientists says that flaws in materials might hold the key to their superconductive properties. Although researchers continually strive for purity and perfection in materials, Purdue University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign researchers say imperfections may play an important role in a material’s high-temperature superconductivity properties. They studied patterns of electrons on copper-oxygen based superconducting crystals known as cuprates, attempting to determine the effect impurities could have. “We want to move beyond trying to get rid of disorder, striving for unattainable purity in the materials we examine, and instead take the disorder into account and use it to our advantage,” said Purdue University associate professor Erica Carlson. “These little patches of imperfection where things aren’t lined up in a perfect crystal lattice are important.” The material, say researchers, should not be conductive, but in the right conditions, could be because of these electrons. The research could help scientists design better superconductors because they will be able to better use the material based on a fuller understanding of its properties. The researchers published their work in Nature Communications. (PhysOrg)(Purdue University)(Nature Communications)

Researchers Develop Bendable Substrate

Researchers have created a flexible substrate in which they embedded single-molecule-thick electronic components. The Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul University, and Rice University scientists say their test polyimide substrate holds up to bending and twisting that would typically destroy other electronic devices. They created more than 500, 3-centimeter-square devices that connected through their terminals to a DC power source to determine whether they lost conductivity during the process of repeated bending. The researchers, who say there were no failures, note that they will continue their testing and that they hope their work will lead to a foldable cellular telephone. They published their work in Nature Nanotechnology. (PhysOrg)(Nature Nanotechnology)

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