Latest Nature Materials Stories

2010-05-10 14:09:31

Few atomic layers of graphene reveal unique thermal properties Professor Alexander Balandin and a team of UC Riverside researchers, including Chun Ning Lau, an associate professor of physics, have taken another step toward new technology that could keep laptops and other electronic devices from overheating. Balandin, a professor of electrical engineering in the Bourns College of Engineering, experimentally showed in 2008 that graphene, a recently discovered single-atom-thick carbon crystal,...

2010-03-24 08:51:22

UCLA team couples quantum dots, silicon for room-temperature functionality As the electronics industry works toward developing smaller and more compact devices, the need to create new types of scaled-down semiconductors that are more efficient and use less power has become essential. In a study to be published in the April issue of Nature Materials (currently available online), researchers from UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science describe the creation of a new...

2010-03-15 09:44:01

Battery boost A new high-performance anode structure based on silicon-carbon nanocomposite materials could significantly improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries used in a wide range of applications from hybrid vehicles to portable electronics. Produced with a "bottom-up" self-assembly technique, the new structure takes advantage of nanotechnology to fine-tune its materials properties, addressing the shortcomings of earlier silicon-based battery anodes. The simple, low-cost...

2010-02-17 08:44:04

Powerful concept offers new approach to understanding surfaces of materials A collaboration between researchers at Northwestern University's Center for Catalysis and scientists at Oxford University has produced a new approach for understanding surfaces, particularly metal oxide surfaces, widely used in industry as supports for catalysts. This knowledge of the surface layer of atoms is critical to understanding a material's overall properties. The findings were published online Feb. 14 by the...

2010-02-16 15:21:54

Using arrays of long, thin silicon wires embedded in a polymer substrate, a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has created a new type of flexible solar cell that enhances the absorption of sunlight and efficiently converts its photons into electrons. The solar cell does all this using only a fraction of the expensive semiconductor materials required by conventional solar cells. "These solar cells have, for the first time, surpassed the conventional...

2010-02-10 11:21:36

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have developed a way to make some notoriously brittle materials ductile"”yet stronger than ever"”simply by reducing their size. The work, by Dongchan Jang, senior postdoctoral scholar, and Julia R. Greer, assistant professor of materials science and mechanics at Caltech, could eventually lead to the development of innovative, superstrong, yet light and damage-tolerant materials. These new materials could be used as...

2009-11-30 21:06:12

Just as a gecko sheds its tail, metal-alloy particles endure 850 degrees Celsius by ditching weaker components, researchers report in Nature Materials A University of Pittsburgh team overcame a major hurdle plaguing the development of nanomaterials such as those that could lead to more efficient catalysts used to produce hydrogen and render car exhaust less toxic. The researchers reported Nov. 29 in "Nature Materials" the first demonstration of high-temperature stability in metallic...

2009-11-09 12:55:12

Johns Hopkins materials scientists have found a new use for a chemical compound that has traditionally been viewed as an electrical conductor, a substance that allows electricity to flow through it. By orienting the compound in a different way, the researchers have turned it into a thin film insulator, which instead blocks the flow of electricity, but can induce large electric currents elsewhere. The material, called solution-deposited beta-alumina, could have important applications in...

2009-11-01 14:58:52

A gold nanocage covered with a polymer is a smart drug delivery system In campy old movies, Lucretia Borgia swans around emptying powder from her ring into wine glasses carelessly left unattended. The poison ring is usually a confection of gold filigree holding a cabochon or faceted gemstone that can be broken to empty the ring's contents. It is invariably enormous "” so large it is rather odd nobody seems to notice it. Lucretia would have given her eyeteeth for the "smart capsule"...

2009-10-26 07:24:00

Ultrasound and underwater sonar devices could "see" a big improvement thanks to development of the world's first acoustic hyperlens. Created by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the acoustic hyperlens provides an eightfold boost in the magnification power of sound-based imaging technologies. Clever physical manipulation of the imaging sound waves enables the hyperlens to resolve details smaller than one sixth the length of...

Word of the Day
  • A Roman unit of weight, 1⁄1728 of a pound.
  • A weight of four grains used in weighing gold and precious stones; a carat.
  • In anatomy, a formation suggesting a husk or pod.
  • The lowest unit in the Roman coinage, the twenty-fourth part of a solidus.
  • A coin of base silver of the Gothic and Lombard kings of Italy.
'Siliqua' comes from a Latin word meaning 'a pod.'