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Latest Solid Stories

2012-02-13 23:22:02

In the effort to convert sunlight into electricity, photovoltaic solar cells that use conductive organic polymers for light absorption and conversion have shown great potential. Organic polymers can be produced in high volumes at low cost, resulting in photovoltaic devices that are cheap, lightweight and flexible. In the last few years, much work has been done to improve the efficiency with which these devices convert sunlight into power, including the development of new materials, device...

2012-01-18 00:42:27

To better understand the fundamental behavior of molecules at surfaces, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are combining the powers of neutron scattering with chemical analysis. Scientists have a fundamental interest in how molecules behave at solid surfaces because surface interactions influence chemistry, such as in materials for catalysis, drug delivery and carbon sequestration. Understanding these interactions allows researchers to tailor...

2011-12-14 19:53:26

Discovery may be boon to engineers, manufacturers A stroll on the beach can mean sinking your toes into smooth sand or walking firm-footed on a surface that appears almost solid. While both properties are commonplace, exactly what it is that makes granular materials change from a flowing state to a “jammed,” or solid, state? Whether it´s sand on a beach or rice grains in a hopper, being able to predict the behavior of granular matter can help engineers and manufacturers of...

2011-12-12 17:37:11

Microscopic water droplets jumping from one surface to another may hold the key to a wide array of more energy efficient products, ranging from large solar panels to compact laptop computers. Duke University engineers have developed a new way of producing thermal diodes to regulate heat by bleeding it away or keeping it in. The method solves several shortcomings of existing devices. While thermal diodes can be made from solid materials, these solid-state diodes are not nearly as...

2011-12-01 22:20:18

Issue highlights recent advances in liquid crystal material research for photonic applications Liquid crystals (LCs), a state of matter that has properties between those of a conventional liquid and those of a solid crystal, are fast becoming a household name thanks to their widespread use in television, smartphone and computer displays. As such, research and development in the area of liquid crystal materials (LCMs) has also been rapidly progressing in recent years. To highlight...

2011-11-28 22:57:00

Controlling forces between oppositely charged polymers opens a new route towards creating vectors for gene therapy Gene therapy can only be effective if delivered by a stable complex molecule. Now, scientists have determined the conditions that would stabilise complex molecular structures that are subject to inherent attractions and repulsions triggered by electric charges at the surfaces of the molecules, in a study about to be published in EPJ E´, by Valentina Mengarelli and her...

2011-11-21 12:17:58

Field emission devices, which produce a steady stream of electrons, have a host of consumer, industrial, and research applications. Recent designs based on nanotubes and other nanomaterials embedded in plastics show initial promise, but have a number of drawbacks that hinder their wide-scale application. The embedded nanotubes, which serve as the source for the electrons, also enable the normally inert plastic to conduct electricity. This has the desired effect of producing a versatile and...

Researchers Develop World's Lightest Material
2011-11-18 04:47:43

UCI mechanical and aerospace engineer plays key role A team of researchers from UC Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have developed the world´s lightest material — with a density of 0.9 mg/cc — about one hundred times lighter than Styrofoam. Their findings appear in the Nov. 18 issue of Science. The new material redefines the limits of lightweight materials because of its unique “micro-lattice” cellular architecture. The...

2011-11-17 03:08:13

Crystal erbium compound offers superior optical properties Arizona State University researchers have created a new compound crystal material that promises to help produce advances in a range of scientific and technological pursuits. ASU electrical engineering professor Cun-Zheng Ning says the material, called erbium chloride silicate, can be used to develop the next generations of computers, improve the capabilities of the Internet, increase the efficiency of silicon-based photovoltaic...


Word of the Day
attercop
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'
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