Improving Magnesium Borohydride For Solid-state Hydrogen Storage

The key mechanism by which magnesium diboride (MgB2) absorbs hydrogen has been discovered by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The work, through theory and experimentation, also provides important insights into the reaction pathway that converts MgB2 to its highest hydrogen capacity form, magnesium borohydride (Mg(BH4)2). Mg(BH4)2 is a particularly promising hydrogen storage material because of its high hydrogen content and attractive thermodynamics. said Keith Ray, LLNL physicist and the paper’s lead author. [Read More]

Perovskite Solar Cells Have Intrinsic Instability Issues

Solar cell technology is now used by many industrial and government entities, but it is still prohibitively expensive for many individuals who would like to utilize it. There is a need for cheaper, more efficient solar cells than the traditional silicon solar cells so that more people may have access to this technology. One of the hot topics in photovoltaic technology research is the use of organic-inorganic halide perovskites as solar cells because of the high power conversion efficiency and the low-cost fabrication. [Read More]

Self-powered Mobile Polymers Convert Ultraviolet Light Into Motion

New materials that directly convert ultraviolet light into motion without the need for electronics or other traditional methods have been developed by an international group involving Inha University, University of Pittsburgh and the Air Force Research Laboratory, building upon their previous research. One of the impediments to developing miniaturized, “squishy” robots is the need for an internal power source that overcomes the power-to-weight ratio for efficient movement. Other investigations have proposed the use of ambient energy resources such as magnetic fields, acoustics, heat and other temperature variations to avoid adding structures to induce locomotion. [Read More]

Graded Bandgap Perovskite Solar Cells Set Efficiency Record

Solar cells made from perovskite can more efficiently turn sunlight into electricity employing a new method to sandwich two types of perovskite into a single photovoltaic cell. Perovskite solar cells are comprised of a blend of organic molecules and inorganic elements that together capture light and convert it into electricity, just like today’s more common silicon-based solar cells. Perovskite photovoltaic devices, however, can be made more easily and cheaply than silicon and on a flexible rather than rigid substrate. [Read More]

Measuring Microscale Granular Crystal Dynamics

For the first time ever, mechanical engineers have succeeded in analyzing interactions between microscale granular crystals. Designing materials that better respond to dynamic loading could help vehicles minimize vibration, better protect military convoys or potentially make buildings safer during an earthquake. Granular materials are assemblages of particles that range broadly from powders to sand to microscopic beads of glass. They are one of the least understood forms of matter due to the incredibly complex ways that those particles interact. [Read More]

Nanoscale Transducer Engine Is Powered By Light

A new nanoscale transducer, created by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is the world’s tiniest engine at just a few billionths of a metre in size. The engine, which uses light to power itself, could be the basis of future nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease. The prototype device is comprised of tiny charged particles of gold, held together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel. [Read More]

New Dust Fighting Tool Inspired By Geckos

The electronics industry, art conservators, and aerospace engineers can face major problems caused by micrometric and sub-micrometric contaminant particles. Or, as most of us call it, dust. These nanoparticles can stop a cellphone from functioning or steal the vividness from a painting’s colors. Taking a cue from the forces of static cling and the physics behind gecko feet, the lab of Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science Dean T. Kyle Vanderlick has come up with a promising tool in the battle against dust. [Read More]

Two-Dimensional Boron Is A Low-temperature Superconductor

Two-dimensional boron is a natural low-temperature superconductor, Rice University scientists have established. In fact, it may be the only 2-D material with such potential. Rice theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and his co-workers published calculations that show atomically flat boron is metallic and will transmit electrons with no resistance. The catch, as with most superconducting materials, is that it loses its resistivity only when very cold, in this case between 10 and 20 kelvins (roughly, minus-430 degrees Fahrenheit). [Read More]

Graphene Water Filter Breakthrough Could Help Solve Global Crisis

A newly developed graphene water filter could prove key to managing the global water crisis, a study has suggested. The graphene-based filter, developed by Monash University and the University of Kentucky, enables water and other liquids to be filtered nine times faster than the current leading commercial filter. Lack of access to safe, clean water is the biggest risk to society over the coming decade, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report. [Read More]

New Composite Concrete Repairs Itself

Small wounds in our own bodies are readily treatable by the body itself, neeing no further care. Healing bigger wounds may require help from outside the body. The material concrete can be compared to a living body, in the sense that it can self-heal its own small wounds (cracks) as an integral characteristic. But cracks do not easily heal in conventional concrete, because of its relatively brittle nature. That brittleness calls into question the effectiveness of self-healing in conventional concrete materials with no control over crack formation. [Read More]