Polymers, such as plastic and synthetic textiles, are very useful technological commodities that have revolutionized daily life and industries. A research team has successfully pushed the frontier of polymer technology further by creating novel two-dimensional (2D) graphene-like polymer sheets.
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists are creating innovative 2-D layered hybrid perovskites that allow greater freedom in designing and fabricating efficient optoelectronic devices. Industrial and consumer applications could include low cost solar cells, LEDs, laser diodes, detectors, and other nano-optoelectronic devices.
An international research team has engineered a molecule that uses light or electricity to convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide -- a carbon-neutral fuel source -- more efficiently than any other method of "carbon reduction." The discovery is a new milestone in the quest to recycle carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere into carbon-neutral fuels and others materials.
New nanophotonics research could expand the color palette for companies in the fast-growing market for glass windows that change color at the flick of an electric switch. A team of researchers has used an inexpensive hydrocarbon molecule to create low-voltage, multicolor, electrochromic glass.
Posted: March 8, 2017, 4:48 pm
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Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Graphene, the one-atom-thick material made of carbon atoms, still holds some unexplained qualities, which are important in connection with electronic applications where high-conductivity matters, ranging from smart materials that collectively respond to external stimuli in a coherent, tunable fashion, to light-induced, all-optical networks. Materials like graphene can exhibit a particular type of large-amplitude, stable vibrational modes that are localised, referred to as Discrete Breathers (DBs). The secret to enhancing conductivity by creating DBs lies in creating the external constraints to make atoms within the material oscillate perpendicular to the direction of the graphene sheet. Simulations-based models describing what happens at the atomic level are not straightforward, making it necessary to determine the initial conditions leading to the emergence of DBs. In a new paper published in EPJ B, Elham Barani from the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran, and colleagues from Russia, Iran and Singapore use a systematic approach to identify the initial conditions that lend themselves to exciting DBs in graphene, ultimately opening the door to understanding the keys to greater conductivity.
Glasses are not, perhaps surprisingly, technically solid in a crystalized form, but are substances frozen in a liquidlike structure. Many fundamental questions remain as to exactly how glasses form, transitioning from flowing liquid to solid glass. A central factor materials scientists study when exploring phenomena about glass, like its formation, is the temperature where this occurs, the glass-transition temperature.
The terahertz waves span frequency ranges between the infrared spectrum (used, for example, for night vision) and gigahertz waves (which find their application, among other, in Wi-Fi connections). Terahertz waves allow for the detection of materials that are undetectable at other frequencies. However, the use of these waves is severely limited by the absence of suitable devices and materials allowing to control them. Researchers at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), working with the Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich (ETHZ) and two Spanish research teams, have developed a technique based on the use of graphene, which allows for the potentially very quick control of both the intensity and the polarization of terahertz light. This discovery, presented in Nature Communications, paves the way for a practical use of terahertz waves, in particular for imaging and telecommunications.