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IIT-B develops coloured nano coating for solar cells – The Hindu


The Hindu
IIT-B develops coloured nano coating for solar cells
The Hindu
Mr. Soman, currently a doctoral student at the Electrical Engineering Department of University of Delaware said, We wish to make solar cells customisable, attractive and irresistible to people, along with contributing to a greener planet. Imagine

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IIT-B develops coloured nano coating for solar cells – The Hindu

An International Meeting of Optical Minds – Photonics.com

Photonics.com Jul 2017 SPIE Optics + Photonics, scheduled for Aug. 6-10 at the San Diego Convention Center in California, is an international, multidisciplinary optical sciences and technology meeting that annually presents the latest research in optical engineering and applications, nanotechnology, sustainable energy, organic photonics and astronomical instrumentation.

Four conference topics are held, providing an in-depth look at specific research and other work:

Nanoscience + Engineering: Advancement of nanotechnology is enabling new applications in medicine, computing, information storage and others. In this track, researchers focusing on such areas as metamaterials, nanophotonic materials, plasmonics, quantum science and technology, nanomedicine, optical trapping, nanostructured thin films, spintronics, nanostructured devices, nanoengineering, nanoimaging, nanospectroscopy, and low-dimensional materials will present their work.

Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy: This segment focuses specifically on the development of new and sustainable energy sources. These include next generation solar cell technology, thermal radiation management, PV reliability, photovoltaics, thin film solar, hydrogen fuels, cell technology, BIPV and perovskites.

Organic Photonics + Electronics: This comprehensive track features research and work with organic-based materials and devices that advance renewable energy sources and other commercial applications. Technologies of focus will include OLEDs, OFETS, OHPVs, perovskite PVs, organic sensors, bioelectronics, liquid crystals, and hybrid memory devices and printed circuits.

Optical Engineering + Applications: The latest developments in optical design and engineering photonic devices and applications, x-ray, gamma-ray, and particle technologies, image and signal processing, astronomical optics and instrumentation, remote sensing, and space optical systems will be the focus of this conference segment.

The Technology Hot Topics program features scientists and engineers who will discuss topics relating to How Optics and Photonics Drives Innovation. Cesare Soci, of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, will focus on quantum devices; speaking about bioelectronics, wearables and implantables will be Nanshu Lu, of the University of Texas at Austin; Scott McEldowney, from Oculus, will discuss augmented and virtual reality; Tanja Cuk, of the University of California, Berkeley, will focus on solar fuels; and Charles D. Edwards Jr., from NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, will round out the program with a talk on autonomous vehicles.

Features again this year will be numerous plenary sessions. There will be speakers and presenters from around the world, representing industry and academia Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Washington, Amazon.com Inc., and the Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne in Switzerland, among others.

Among courses offered this year are Imaging Spectrometry, Physiological Optics of the Eye for Engineers, Deep Learning and its Applications in Image Processing, and A Crash Course on Spin Physics. Others include Introduction to Interferometric Optical Testing, Advanced Composite Materials for Optomechanical Systems, Fundamentals of Molded Optics, Intermediate Lens Design, Infrared Focal Plane Arrays, and Detectors and Imaging.

An expansive exhibition is held throughout the conference, as well. Among the featured technologies:

test and measurement equipment optical components, lenses detectors, sensors cameras and imaging systems lasers, laser systems fiber optics chemicals, optical coatings, thin films nanoprecision LED and OLED technology

SPIE Optics + Photonics also holds a job fair, offering the opportunity for attendees to connect with recruiters from companies in all optics fields for positions such as optical engineers, military optics engineers, software development and others.

For more information about SPIE Optics + Photonics 2017, visit https://spie.org/conferences-and-exhibitions/optics-and-photonics. And be sure to visit Photonics Media at the show, at Booth 739!

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An International Meeting of Optical Minds – Photonics.com

Could Bacteria-Coated Nanofiber Electrodes be Key to Cleaning Polluted Water? – TrendinTech

Researchers from Cornell University have recently discovered a cost-effective and unique method of cleaning wastewater. Bioelectrochemical engineers and material scientists made nano fiber electrodes from electro-spun carbon then covered them in PEDOT, a conductive polymer. This coating allowed a certain type of bacteria, *Geobacter sulfurreducens, to be applied electrically. The entire process takes several hours until it forms an easily visible sheet of nanofibers.

Interestingly, the bacteria not only feed on pollutants, but it also produces electricity as it grows. The carbon nanofiber electrode is customizable and ideal for its biocompatibility with the bacteria, its high porosity, and surface area. Researchers hope that wastewater treatment plants will utilize these electrodes to capture pollutants at a greater rate than current methods while also reducing the amount of land required to do so.

Electrodes are expensive to make now, and this material could bring the price of electrodes way down, making it easier to clean up polluted water, said co-lead author Juan Guzman, a doctoral candidate in the field of biological and environmental engineering.

The research project was a collaboration across colleges, disciplines, students, and professors. Lars Angenent, a senior author on the paper and professor of biological environmental engineering says, This defines radical collaboration. We have fiber scientists talking to environmental engineers, from two very different Cornell colleges, to create reality from an idea that was more or less a hunch that will make cleaning wastewater better and a little more inexpensive.

*Geobacter sulfurreducens is a gram-negative metal and sulphur-reducing proteobacterium. It is rod-shaped, obligately anaerobic, non-fermentative, has flagellum and type four pili, and is closely related to Geobacter metallireducens.Wikipedia

The complete findings of the project were recently published in the Journal of Power Sources./ Article Source; Cornell University

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Could Bacteria-Coated Nanofiber Electrodes be Key to Cleaning Polluted Water? – TrendinTech

New Nano Light Detector Could Change Solar Panels Forever – OilPrice.com

In todays increasingly powerful electronics, tiny materials are a must as manufacturers seek to increase performance without adding bulk. Smaller is also better for optoelectronic deviceslike camera sensors or solar cellswhich collect light and convert it to electrical energy.

This image shows the different layers of the nanoscale photodetector, including germanium (red) in between layers of gold or aluminum (yellow) and aluminum oxide (purple). The bottom layer is a silver substrate. (Credit: U. Buffalo)

(Click to enlarge)

Think, for example, about reducing the size and weight of a series of solar panels, producing a higher-quality photo in low lighting conditions, or even transmitting data more quickly.

However, two major challenges have stood in the way: First, shrinking the size of conventionally used amorphous thin-film materials also reduces their quality. And second, when ultrathin materials become too thin, they are almost transparentand actually lose some ability to gather or absorb light.

The new nanoscale light detector, a single-crystalline germanium nanomembrane photodetector on a nanocavity substrate, could overcome both of these obstacles. Related:Russian Energy Minister: No Additional Output Cuts Are Needed

Weve created an exceptionally small and extraordinarily powerful device that converts light into energy, says Qiaoqiang Gan, associate professor of electrical engineering in the University at Buffalos School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and one of the papers lead authors. The potential applications are exciting because it could be used to produce everything from more efficient solar panels to more powerful optical fibers.

The idea, basically, is you want to use a very thin material to realize the same function of devices in which you need to use a very thick material, says Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, professor in electrical and computer engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison, also a lead author.

Nanocavities are made up of an orderly series of tiny, interconnected molecules that essentially reflect, or circulate, light.

The new device is an advancement of Gans work developing nanocavities that increase the amount of light that thin semiconducting materials like germanium can absorb. It consists of nanocavities sandwiched between a top layer of ultrathin single-crystal germanium and a bottom, reflecting layer of silver.

Because of the nanocavities, the photons are recycled so light absorption is substantially increasedeven in very thin layers of material, says Ma.

However, most germanium thin films begin as germanium in its amorphous formmeaning that the materials atomic arrangement lacks the regular, repeating order of a crystal. That also means that its quality isnt sufficient for increasingly smaller optoelectronics applications.

An expert in semiconductor nanomembrane devices, Ma used a revolutionary membrane-transfer technology that allows him to easily integrate single crystalline semiconducting materials onto a substrate.

The result is a very thin, yet very effective light-absorbing photodetectora building block for the future of optoelectronics. Related:Halliburton Sees Oil Price Spike By 2020

It is an enabling technology that allows you to look at a wide variety of optoelectronics that can go to even smaller footprints, smaller sizes, says Zongfu Yu, who conducted its computational analysis for the project.

While the researchers demonstrated their advance using a germanium semiconductor, they can also apply their method to other semiconductors. And importantly, by tuning the nanocavity, we can control what wavelength we actually absorb, says Gan. This will open the way to develop lots of different optoelectronic devices.

The researchers are applying jointly for a patent on the technology through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

A paper describing the research appears in the journalScience Advances.Additional coauthors of the paper are from the University at Buffalo, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Yale University. The National Science Foundation partially supported this research.

By Futurity

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New Nano Light Detector Could Change Solar Panels Forever – OilPrice.com

Engineering Professors and Graduate Students Talk Nanotechnology and AI at San Diego Comic-Con – Newswise (press release)

Engineering professors and graduate students talk nanotechnology and AI at San Diego Comic-Con

What: Nanotechnology in TV and film and AI are the focus of two panels featuring faculty members and graduate students at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego.

Who:

Nanoengineering professor Darren Lipomi. Lipomi and his lab recently developed a glove that can translate American Sign Language. They are currently improving the glove so that it can allow the wearer to feel objects in virtual reality. His team also works on building flexible electronics and next generation solar cells.

Computer science professor Ndapa Nakashole, whose work focuses on natural language processing and machine learning. Her goal is to develop algorithms that allow computers to better understand and generate human language.

UC San Diego nanoengineering graduate students Jeanne Lemaster and Chava Angell.

When and where:

Thursday 1:30 p.m. Room 8 (Lipomi)

Friday, 4:30 p.m. Room 24 ABC (Nakashole)

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Thursday 1:30 p.m. Room 8 (Lipomi)

Nanotechnology in Sci-Fi: Fact or Fiction

Robin Ihnfeldt, Ph.D. (president/CEO. General Engineering and Research), Aaron Saunders, Ph.D. (research lead, nanoComposix), Darren Lipomi, Ph.D. (associate professor of nanoengineering, UCSD), Jeanne Lemaster, MS (graduate researcher in nanoengineering, UCSD), and Chava Angell, MS (graduate researcher in nanoengineering, UCSD) discuss the use of nanotechnology in popular science fiction. These scientists and engineers will talk about how nanotechnology is portrayed in TV and film from nanites to Mark 42 armor and compare it to cutting edge research applications in nanotechnology today.

Friday, 4:30 p.m. Room 24 ABC

Artificial Intelligence: Will Computers Take Over the World?

As scientists move closer to achieving artificial intelligence, what is next? How does real AI science compare to its depictions in movies, on TV, and in books? Could AI save the worldor be its doom? Join the Fleet Science Center as they bring together Craig Titley (co-executive producer/writer, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), William Wisher Jr. (screenwriter, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day) to discuss the future of artificial intelligence with Dr. Ndapa Nakashole (assistant professor, UCSD Artificial Intelligence Group) and other AI researchers.

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Engineering Professors and Graduate Students Talk Nanotechnology and AI at San Diego Comic-Con – Newswise (press release)

GGCS 2017: Five ways to clean up the world’s drinking water – Professional Engineering (subscription)

Clean water supply was a major talking point at the GGCS summit in Washington this week

This week, hundreds of eminent engineers and students gathered in Washington DC for the third Grand Global Challenges Summit.

In 2008, the engineering academies of the USA, China and the United Kingdom devised 14 grand challenges for engineers to tackle in the 21st century.

Some are lofty, science-fiction goals such as reverse engineer the brain, or provide energy from fusion. You can imagine Elon Musk sitting down with a copy of the list and a pen – founding a company to go with each one.

Others have simpler, and perhaps more noble goals. One particularly hot topic at this years summit – particularly fitting given how the heavens opened just minutes before the opening reception – was the supply of clean water.

Weve still got thousands of people dying every week of water-borne diseases, said Lord Alec Broers, who helped devise the 14 challenges, and gave an update on progress so far at the conference.

Engineers from all over the world are working on the problem, and several student groups showcased their groundbreaking ideas at the conference. Here are some of the solutions that caught our eye when we visited the GGCS summit this week.

A team of students from Colorado State University have devised a method for filtering water using sound. Their technology could even remove smaller bacteria and bugs that sneak through traditional filters. Ultrasonic waves cause these tiny microbes to group together and settle out of the solution. Acoustic filtering could be used in drinking water treatment to provide cheaper, less energy-intensive, and overall more sustainable disinfection, write the papers authors.

A team from the University of Bath took a completely different approach. Theyve developed a wind-powered diffuser that can produce up to 100 litres of drinking water every day, for a cost of around 500 per device. It works by cooling and heating air by forcing it through a nozzle, creating condensation which can then be collected on surfaces that are protected against bacteria.

A group of product design students from Bournemouth University took second prize, and $15,000, in the GGCS pitching competition, where they had to present their idea to a group of judges. MoreWater is a modular, multi-stage water filtration system. It was designed with the slum of Korail, in Bangladeshs capital Dhaka in mind. Season flooding during the rainy season disrupts water sources, and creates a high-risk of infection.

The MoreWater purifier is a solar-powered solution that feeds water through a series of layers – similar to how mineral water is naturally filtered through rock. Each module can be removed individually to make maintenance easier.

According to its creators, the device can supply a households water purification needs for 10 years.

Nano-material could be a game-changer for vast areas of engineering – from the production of batteries, to the treatment of medical conditions. They may have a role to play in making our drinking water safer as well. Solar-powered nano-materials that can clean up water have been a focus of recent work, and Chenjie Shi of Shanghai University presented work on a particular material that could help break down organic compounds such as pesticides and herbicides in drinking water. However, these nano-materials are expensive to produce in any practical quantities.

Saltwater could be turned into drinking water using black paper, plastic and the power of the sun, according to researchers from New York States Buffalo University, whose work was on show at the GGCS summit. It consists of a plastic casing and black paper to absorb the heat of the sun – a cheaper solution than expensive nano-materials. This evaporates the water, which separates it from any contaminants, and then when it condenses its collected in a separate container. Using extremely low-cost materials, we have been able to create a system that makes near maximum use of the solar energy during evaporation. At the same time, we are minimizing the amount of heat loss during this process,” said lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, associate professor of electrical engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, when the work was first published in January.

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GGCS 2017: Five ways to clean up the world’s drinking water – Professional Engineering (subscription)

Team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes for electric cars, high-powered lasers – Phys.Org

July 17, 2017 by James Urton Slice from x-ray computed tomography image of a supercapacitor coin cell assembled with the electrode materials. The thin layers — just below the coin cell lid — are layers of electrode materials and a separator. Credit: William Kuykendall

Supercapacitors are an aptly named type of device that can store and deliver energy faster than conventional batteries. They are in high demand for applications including electric cars, wireless telecommunications and high-powered lasers.

But to realize these applications, supercapacitors need better electrodes, which connect the supercapacitor to the devices that depend on their energy. These electrodes need to be both quicker and cheaper to make on a large scale and also able to charge and discharge their electrical load faster. A team of engineers at the University of Washington thinks they’ve come up with a process for manufacturing supercapacitor electrode materials that will meet these stringent industrial and usage demands.

The researchers, led by UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering Peter Pauzauskie, published a paper on July 17 in the journal Nature Microsystems and Nanoengineering describing their supercapacitor electrode and the fast, inexpensive way they made it. Their novel method starts with carbon-rich materials that have been dried into a low-density matrix called an aerogel. This aerogel on its own can act as a crude electrode, but Pauzauskie’s team more than doubled its capacitance, which is its ability to store electric charge.

These inexpensive starting materials, coupled with a streamlined synthesis process, minimize two common barriers to industrial application: cost and speed.

“In industrial applications, time is money,” said Pauzauskie. “We can make the starting materials for these electrodes in hours, rather than weeks. And that can significantly drive down the synthesis cost for making high-performance supercapacitor electrodes.”

Effective supercapacitor electrodes are synthesized from carbon-rich materials that also have a high surface area. The latter requirement is critical because of the unique way supercapacitors store electric charge. While a conventional battery stores electric charges via the chemical reactions occurring within it, a supercapacitor instead stores and separates positive and negative charges directly on its surface.

“Supercapacitors can act much faster than batteries because they are not limited by the speed of the reaction or byproducts that can form,” said co-lead author Matthew Lim, a UW doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. “Supercapacitors can charge and discharge very quickly, which is why they’re great at delivering these ‘pulses’ of power.”

“They have great applications in settings where a battery on its own is too slow,” said fellow lead author Matthew Crane, a doctoral student in the UW Department of Chemical Engineering. “In moments where a battery is too slow to meet energy demands, a supercapacitor with a high surface area electrode could ‘kick’ in quickly and make up for the energy deficit.”

To get the high surface area for an efficient electrode, the team used aerogels. These are wet, gel-like substances that have gone through a special treatment of drying and heating to replace their liquid components with air or another gas. These methods preserve the gel’s 3-D structure, giving it a high surface area and extremely low density. It’s like removing all the water out of Jell-O with no shrinking.

“One gram of aerogel contains about as much surface area as one football field,” said Pauzauskie.

Crane made aerogels from a gel-like polymer, a material with repeating structural units, created from formaldehyde and other carbon-based molecules. This ensured that their device, like today’s supercapacitor electrodes, would consist of carbon-rich materials.

Previously, Lim demonstrated that adding graphenewhich is a sheet of carbon just one atom thickto the gel imbued the resulting aerogel with supercapacitor properties. But, Lim and Crane needed to improve the aerogel’s performance, and make the synthesis process cheaper and easier.

In Lim’s previous experiments, adding graphene hadn’t improved the aerogel’s capacitance. So they instead loaded aerogels with thin sheets of either molybdenum disulfide or tungsten disulfide. Both chemicals are used widely today in industrial lubricants.

The researchers treated both materials with high-frequency sound waves to break them up into thin sheets and incorporated them into the carbon-rich gel matrix. They could synthesize a fully-loaded wet gel in less than two hours, while other methods would take many days.

After obtaining the dried, low-density aerogel, they combined it with adhesives and another carbon-rich material to create an industrial “dough,” which Lim could simply roll out to sheets just a few thousandths of an inch thick. They cut half-inch discs from the dough and assembled them into simple coin cell battery casings to test the material’s effectiveness as a supercapacitor electrode.

Not only were their electrodes fast, simple and easy to synthesize, but they also sported a capacitance at least 127 percent greater than the carbon-rich aerogel alone.

Lim and Crane expect that aerogels loaded with even thinner sheets of molybdenum disulfide or tungsten disulfidetheirs were about 10 to 100 atoms thickwould show an even better performance. But first, they wanted to show that loaded aerogels would be faster and cheaper to synthesize, a necessary step for industrial production. The fine-tuning comes next.

The team believes that these efforts can help advance science even outside the realm of supercapacitor electrodes. Their aerogel-suspended molybdenum disulfide might remain sufficiently stable to catalyze hydrogen production. And their method to trap materials quickly in aerogels could be applied to high capacitance batteries or catalysis.

Explore further: Novel electrode materials have designed pathways for electrons and ions during the charge/discharge cycle

More information: Matthew J. Crane et al, Rapid synthesis of transition metal dichalcogenidecarbon aerogel composites for supercapacitor electrodes, Microsystems & Nanoengineering (2017). DOI: 10.1038/micronano.2017.32

Electrodes are critical parts of every battery architecture charge too fast, and you can decrease the charge-discharge cycle life or damage the battery so it won’t charge anymore. Scientists built a new design and chemistry …

Personal electronics such as cell phones and laptops could get a boost from some of the lightest materials in the world.

Scientists at UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have reported the first example of ultrafast 3D-printed graphene supercapacitor electrodes that outperform comparable electrodes made via traditional …

Supercapacitors can be charged and discharged tens of thousands of times, but their relatively low energy density compared to conventional batteries limits their application for energy storage. Now, A*STAR researchers have …

Running out of battery has become an all-too regular occurrence for most people with a smartphone. So imagine if you could recharge it in seconds. Or if you could recharge an electric car in the same time it takes to fill …

(Phys.org)A team of researchers working in China has found a way to dramatically improve the energy storage capacity of supercapacitorsby doping carbon tubes with nitrogen. In their paper published in the journal Science, …

Google and the EU are gearing up for a battle that could last years, with the Silicon Valley behemoth facing a relentless challenge to its ambition to expand beyond search results.

Cheap, plastic toysno manufacturer necessary. The 2020 toy and game market is projected to be $135 billion, and 3-D printing brings those profits home.

From aerospace and defense to digital dentistry and medical devices, 3-D printed parts are used in a variety of industries. Currently, 3-D printed parts are very fragile and only used in the prototyping phase of materials …

An underwater robot entered a badly damaged reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant Wednesday, capturing images of the harsh impact of its meltdown, including key structures that were torn and knocked out of place.

Microsoft’s cloud computing platform will be used outside China for collaboration by members of a self-driving car alliance formed by Chinese internet search giant Baidu, the companies announced on Tuesday.

Laboratory equipment is one of the largest cost factors in neuroscience. However, many experiments can be performed with good results using self-assembled setups involving 3-D printed components and self-programmed electronics. …

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Team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes for electric cars, high-powered lasers – Phys.Org

Here’s a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties – Phys.org – Phys.Org

July 19, 2017 Indented tobermorite, a natural analog to the calcium-silicate-hydrate mix in cement, responds differently than bulk tobermorite, depending on the size of the indentation and the force. Layers that bond through indentation remain that way after the force is removed, according to Rice University engineers. Credit: Lei Ren/Rice University

Rice University scientists have determined that no matter how large or small a piece of tobermorite is, it will respond to loading forces in precisely the same way. But poking it with a sharp point will change its strength.

Tobermorite is a naturally occurring crystalline analog to the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) that makes up cement, which in turn binds concrete, the world’s most-used material. A form of tobermorite used by ancient Romans is believed to be a key to the legendary strength of their undersea concrete structures.

The finely layered material will deform in different ways depending on how standard forcesshear, compression and tensionare applied, but the deformation will be consistent among sample sizes, according to Rice materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari. He conducted the research, which appears in Nature’s open-access Scientific Reports, with lead author and graduate student Lei Tao.

For their latest survey, Shahsavari and Tao built molecular dynamics models of the material. Their simulations revealed three key molecular mechanisms at work in tobermorite that are also likely responsible for the strength of C-S-H and other layered materials. One is a mechanism of displacement in which atoms under stress move collectively as they try to stay in equilibrium. Another is a diffusive mechanism in which atoms move more chaotically. They found that the material maintains its structural integrity best under shear, and less so under compressive and then tensile loading.

More interesting to the researchers was the third mechanism, by which bonds between the layers were formed when pressing a nanoindenter into the material. A nanoindenter is a device (simulated in this case) used to test the hardness of very small volumes of materials. The high stress at the point of indentation prompted local phase transformations in which the crystalline structure of the material deformed and created strong bonds between the layers, a phenomenon not observed under standard forces. The strength of the bond depended on both the amount of force and, unlike the macroscale stressors, the size of the tip.

“There is significant stress right below the small tip of the nanoindenter,” Shahsavari said. “That connects the neighboring layers. Once you remove the tip, the structure does not go back to the original configuration. That’s important: These transformations are irreversible.

“Besides providing fundamental understanding on key deformation mechanisms, this work uncovers the true mechanical response of the system under small localized (versus conventional) loads, such as nanoindentation,” he said. “If changing the tip size (and thus the internal topology) is going to alter the mechanicsfor example, make the material strongerthen one might use this feature to better design the system for particular localized loads.”

Shahsavari is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering.

Explore further: Scientist probes ways to turn cement’s weakness to strength

More information: Lei Tao et al, Diffusive, Displacive Deformations and Local Phase Transformation Govern the Mechanics of Layered Crystals: The Case Study of Tobermorite, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-05115-4

Concrete isn’t thought of as a plastic, but plasticity at small scales boosts concrete’s utility as the world’s most-used material by letting it constantly adjust to stress, decades and sometimes even centuries after hardening. …

What does one need to strengthen or toughen concrete? A lot of nothing. Or something.

Even when building big, every atom matters, according to new research on particle-based materials at Rice University.

Rice University researchers have modeled a nanoscale sandwich, the first in what they hope will become a molecular deli for materials scientists.

The international team of scientists has created computational models to help concrete manufacturers fine-tune mixes for general applications.

Rice University researchers discovered that putting nanotube pillars between sheets of graphene could create hybrid structures with a unique balance of strength, toughness and ductility throughout all three dimensions.

Rice University scientists have determined that no matter how large or small a piece of tobermorite is, it will respond to loading forces in precisely the same way. But poking it with a sharp point will change its strength.

(Phys.org)A team of researchers from China and the U.S. has devised a relatively simple means for measuring the shear forces that exist between sheets of graphene and other materials. In their paper published in the journal …

In an advance that could boost the efficiency of LED lighting by 50 percent and even pave the way for invisibility cloaking devices, a team of University of Michigan researchers has developed a new technique that peppers …

Many pregnant women undergo some form of prenatal testing before their children are born. The information that expectant mothers gain from these tests vary, from the baby’s gender to genetic defects. But the tests are often …

Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University (Germany) and the University of St Andrews (Scotland) have demonstrated electrical generation of hybrid light-matter particles, so-called exciton-polaritons, by …

Traces of biomolecules such as DNA can be detected with a new “dynamic” technique based on the observation of association and dissociation events of gold nanoparticles. If the desired DNA sequence is present, it can reversibly …

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Here’s a tip: Indented cement shows unique properties – Phys.org – Phys.Org

Using Milk Protein to 3D-Imprint Muscle and Bone Cells – Technology Networks

Electrical and Computer Engineering doctoral candidate Azadeh Taleb Hashemi, originally from Tehran, Iran, came to start her PhD at the University of Canterbury (UC) four years ago.

Azadehs successful work in UCs Biomolecular Interaction Centre is turning what is basically milk powder into biomedical devices, such as implants to help regrow missing body parts. Her work is focused on fabrication of casein-based films with surface patterns, and growing cells on them.

The aim of my work is to replicate a 3D imprint of cells onto films made of milk protein, to use them as a substrate for growing cells. Development of the replication process and controlling the biodegradability of these films are the main parts of this work, she says.

The patterns on these biodegradable cell culture substrates mimic the cells natural physical environment and they can influence cell shape and growth. Once they have done their job, the films gradually degrade and leave the grown tissue behind.

The possibilities of these micro- and nanostructures are tantalising, with applications in stem cell engineering, regenerative medicine, and implantable devices.

If they can help the cells grow into muscles, bones or other tissues they would be able to replace any missing body part and help them regrow, Azadeh says.

Another great application for these substrates is to grow stem cells on an imprint with patterns of different cell types and see what type of cell the stem cells would change into. We might even be able to stop cancer cells from being cancerous by growing them on these patterns, in which case the biodegradability of the substrates would also be an advantage for eliminating the need for secondary surgery.

These materials have not been used in the human body yet, but in theory their application could help recovery from injury or disease with muscle or bone replacement.

These films could especially be used as implants to help missing tissue or muscle regrow using the surface patterns as a guide. The biodegradable implant would then just dissolve and there wont be any need for secondary surgery to take the implant out.

The project is based on a collaboration between Dr Volker Nock of UCs Biomolecular Interaction Centre and Dr Azam Ali, formerly AgResearch, now at the University of Otago. It was initiated through the Biomolecular Interaction Centre via a summer scholarship.

The early results were promising and Azadeh’s work took it to the next level, Dr Nock, her PhD supervisor, says.

Azadeh’s work has demonstrated that we can replicate the shapes of biological cells into casein biopolymers with extremely high-resolution, that we can control how long these materials take to degrade and that we can culture other cells on top of them. She is just now getting her first results as to what influence the shapes have on the cells and how the shapes change over time. One premise is that plastic (bio or not) with the shape of similar cells imprinted on the surface may positively influence the response of other real cells encountering such a surface, he says.

Azadehs research also builds on the work of her PhD co-supervisor UC Professor Maan Alkaisi and his students in developing a method of imprinting the shapes of cells into plastic.

We now have a biodegradable, pattern-able surface on which we can culture cells. The patterns can for example be used to help guide cells during muscle fibre formation in a Petri dish, while slowly being dissolved by the cells in the process so that only the finished tissue remains, Dr Nock says.

Azadeh recently returned to Christchurch from the United States where she was invited to give a presentation at one of the largest micro- and nanofabrication conferences in the world, the International Conference on Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication, based on a prize she won last year at a European conference in Vienna, Austria (International Conference on Micro & Nano Engineering). She co-wrote the academic paper – Fabrication of free-standing casein devices with micro- and nanostructured regular and bioimprinted surface features.

This article has been republished frommaterialsprovided by the University of Canterbury. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

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Using Milk Protein to 3D-Imprint Muscle and Bone Cells – Technology Networks

Fluorine grants white graphene new powers – Space Daily

A little fluorine turns an insulating ceramic known as white graphene into a wide-bandgap semiconductor with magnetic properties. Rice University scientists said that could make the unique material suitable for electronics in extreme environments. A proof-of-concept paper from Rice researchers demonstrates a way to turn two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) – aka white graphene – from an insulator to a semiconductor. The magnetism, they said, is an unexpected bonus.

Because the atomically thin material is an exceptional conductor of heat, the researchers suggested it may be useful for electronics in high-temperature applications, perhaps even as magnetic memory devices.

“Boron nitride is a stable insulator and commercially very useful as a protective coating, even in cosmetics, because it absorbs ultraviolet light,” said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, whose lab led the study. “There has been a lot of effort to try to modify its electronic structure, but we didn’t think it could become both a semiconductor and a magnetic material. “So this is something quite different; nobody has seen this kind of behavior in boron nitride before,” he said.

The researchers found that adding fluorine to h-BN introduced defects into its atomic matrix that reduced the bandgap enough to make it a semiconductor. The bandgap determines the electrical conductivity of a material.

“We saw that the gap decreases at about 5 percent fluorination,” said Rice postdoctoral researcher and co-author Chandra Sekhar Tiwary. The gap gets smaller with additional fluorination, but only to a point. “Controlling the precise fluorination is something we need to work on. We can get ranges but we don’t have perfect control yet. Because the material is atomically thin, one atom less or more changes quite a bit.

“In the next set of experiments, we want to learn to tune it precisely, atom by atom,” he said.

They determined that tension applied by invading fluorine atoms altered the “spin” of electrons in the nitrogen atoms and affected their magnetic moments, the ghostly quality that determines how an atom will respond to a magnetic field like an invisible, nanoscale compass.

“We see angle-oriented spins, which are very unconventional for 2-D materials,” said Rice graduate student and lead author Sruthi Radhakrishnan. Rather than aligning to form ferromagnets or canceling each other out, the spins are randomly angled, giving the flat material random pockets of net magnetism. These ferromagnet or anti-ferromagnet pockets can exist in the same swatch of h-BN, which makes them “frustrated magnets” with competing domains.

The researchers said their simple, scalable method can potentially be applied to other 2-D materials. “Making new materials through nanoengineering is exactly what our group is about,” Ajayan said.

Co-authors of the paper are graduate students Carlos de los Reyes and Zehua Jin, chemistry lecturer Lawrence Alemany, postdoctoral researcher Vidya Kochat and Angel Marti, an associate professor of chemistry, of bioengineering and of materials science and nanoengineering, all of Rice; Valery Khabashesku of Rice and the Baker Hughes Center for Technology Innovation, Houston; Parambath Sudeep of Rice and the University of Toronto; Deya Das, Atanu Samanta and Rice alumnus Abhishek Singh of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Liangzi Deng and Ching-Wu Chu of the University of Houston; Thomas Weldeghiorghis of Louisiana State University and Ajit Roy of the Air Force Research Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Ajayan is chair of Rice’s Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering and a professor of chemistry.

Research paper

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Fluorine grants white graphene new powers – Space Daily

RIT wins $1M award from Department of Energy – Rochester Business Journal

Rochester Institute of Technology has won a $1 million award from the Department of Energys advanced manufacturing office, officials said.

The award was given to RIT for improvement in wiring for advanced electric equipment. Carbon-based wiresan alternative to coppermay improve electronic machine performance and connectivity, RIT said.

Depending on how bold a perspective you want to give, what we are embracing is a wire revolution, said Brian Landi, associate professor of chemical engineering in the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, in a statement. Thats the big picture viewif we could create affordable carbon wiring that has the electrical properties competitive with metal wiring, we would have a completely disruptive technology that would supplant metal wiring in select portable applications.

Landi is the principal investigator on the project, working with government partners at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and industry leaders Nanocomp Technologies and Minnesota Wire, officials said. He also is working with RIT assistant professors Ivan Puchades, of electrical engineering, and Reginald Rogers, of chemical engineering, on the project.

RIT is involved in seven of 14 advanced manufacturing initiatives in the country.

We are well-positioned to do this with more than a decade of research in carbon nanotube technology, specifically for wires and cables, and weve had success over the years as the first to publish carbon nanotube coaxial cables within military specifications, Landi said. The differentiator in the present work is, we are looking for the right combination of using carbon nanotubes with nano-metals to create a better transport at the nano-scale.

Follow Kerry Feltner on Twitter: @KerryFeltner

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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RIT wins $1M award from Department of Energy – Rochester Business Journal

Engineers Created A Glove That Can Translate Sign Language – GineersNow (press release) (registration) (blog)

University of California San Diego Engineers developed a smart glove that is capable of wirelessly translating the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet into text, and controls a virtual hand that mimics sign language gestures. They call it The Language of Glove. With less than $100, the engineers were able to develop the device using inexpensive stretchable and printable electronics that are commercially available and easy to assemble as well.

Source: Trendhunterstatic

The team is also working on developing the glove to be used in different applications, like for virtual and augmented reality for telesurgery and technical training. Gesture recognition is just one demonstration of this gloves capabilities, Timothy OConnor, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego said. Our ultimate goal is to make this a smart glove that in the future will allow people to use their hands in virtual reality, which is much more intuitive than using a joystick and other existing controllers. This could be better for games and entertainment, but more importantly for virtual training procedures in medicine, for example, where it would be advantageous to actually simulate the use of ones hands.

Construction and How it works

The team made use of a leather athletic glove and attached nine stretchable sensors to the back jointstwo on each finger, and one on the thumb. The sensors are composed of thin strips of silicon-based polymer coated with conductive carbon paint. The sensors are then secured onto the glove using copper tape. Then, stainless steel thread connects the sensors to a low-power, custom-made circuit board that is attached to the back of the wrist.

Source: YouTube, JacobsSchoolNews

When the glove is stretched or bent, the sensors will detect the motion and change its electrical resistance. By doing so, it allows them to code the movements into different letters of the ASL alphabet based on the positions of all nine sensors attached to the glove. For example, a straight relaxed knuckle is read as 0, and a bent knuckle is encoded as 1. The code for the letter a is 011111111, with the thumb straight and all the other fingers are curled. Whereas, The code for the letter b is 100000000, with the thumb curled and all the other fingers are straight.

Source: YouTube

The low-power printed circuit board on the glove is responsible for converting the nine-digit key into a letter and then transmits the signals via Bluetooth to a smartphone or computer. The glove is capable of translating all 26 letters of the ASL Language alphabet into text. The researchers also used the glove to control a virtual hand to sign letters in the ASL alphabet.

Currently, the team is developing the next version of this glove to add the sense of touch. Their goal is to make a glove that can control a virtual or robotic hand and then send tactile sensations back to the users hand.

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UC San Diego-Jacobs School of Engineering

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Engineers Created A Glove That Can Translate Sign Language – GineersNow (press release) (registration) (blog)

Low-cost smart glove translates American Sign Language alphabet … – University of California

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a smart glove that wirelessly translates the American Sign Language alphabet into text and controls a virtual hand to mimic sign language gestures. The device, which engineers call The Language of Glove, was built for less than $100 using stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble. The work was published on July 12 in the journalPLOS ONE.

In addition to decoding American Sign Language gestures, researchers are developing the glove to be used in a variety of other applications ranging from virtual and augmented reality to telesurgery, technical training and defense.

Gesture recognition is just one demonstration of this gloves capabilities, said Timothy OConnor, a nanoengineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego and the first author of the study. Our ultimate goal is to make this a smart glove that in the future will allow people to use their hands in virtual reality, which is much more intuitive than using a joystick and other existing controllers. This could be better for games and entertainment, but more importantly for virtual training procedures in medicine, for example, where it would be advantageous to actually simulate the use of ones hands.

The glove is unique in that it has sensors made from stretchable materials, is inexpensive and simple to manufacture. Weve innovated a low-cost and straightforward design for smart wearable devices using off-the-shelf components. Our work could enable other researchers to develop similar technologies without requiring costly materials or complex fabrication methods, said Darren Lipomi, a nanoengineering professor who is a member of the Center for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego and the studys senior author.

The team built the device using a leather athletic glove and adhered nine stretchable sensors to the back at the knuckles two on each finger and one on the thumb. The sensors are made of thin strips of a silicon-based polymer coated with a conductive carbon paint. The sensors are secured onto the glove with copper tape. Stainless steel thread connects each of the sensors to a low power, custom-made printed circuit board thats attached to the back of the wrist.

The sensors change their electrical resistance when stretched or bent. This allows them to code for different letters of the American Sign Language alphabet based on the positions of all nine knuckles. A straight or relaxed knuckle is encoded as 0 and a bent knuckle is encoded as 1. When signing a particular letter, the glove creates a nine-digit binary key that translates into that letter. For example, the code for the letter A (thumb straight, all other fingers curled) is 011111111, while the code for B (thumb bent, all other fingers straight) is 100000000. Engineers equipped the glove with an accelerometer and pressure sensor to distinguish between letters like I and J, whose gestures are different but generate the same nine-digit code.

The low power printed circuit board on the glove converts the nine-digit key into a letter and then transmits the signals via Bluetooth to a smartphone or computer screen. The glove can wirelessly translate all 26 letters of the American Sign Language alphabet into text. Researchers also used the glove to control a virtual hand to sign letters in the American Sign Language alphabet.

Moving forward, the team is developing the next version of this glove one thats endowed with the sense of touch. The goal is to make a glove that could control either a virtual or robotic hand and then send tactile sensations back to the users hand, Lipomi said. This work is a step toward that direction.

Paper title: The Language of Glove: Wireless gesture decoder with low-power and stretchable hybrid electronics by Timothy F. OConnor, Mathew Fach, Rachel Miller, Samuel E. Root, Patrick P. Mercier and Darren J. Lipomi, all at UC San Diego.

This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health Directors New Innovator Award (1DP2EB022358-01). An earlier prototype of the device was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Program (grant no. FA9550-13-1-0156). Additional support was provided by the Center for Wearable Sensors at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and member companies Qualcomm, Sabic, Cubic, Dexcom, Honda, Samsung and Sony.

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Low-cost smart glove translates American Sign Language alphabet … – University of California

Scoop Business Using milk protein to 3D-imprint muscle and bone … – Scoop.co.nz

Press Release University of Canterbury

A University of Canterbury PhD student is using milk protein to 3D-imprint muscle and bone cells and one day she hopes her research may be used to regrow missing body parts.Using milk protein to 3D-imprint muscle and bone cells A University of Canterbury PhD student is using milk protein to 3D-imprint muscle and bone cells and one day she hopes her research may be used to regrow missing body parts.

Electrical and Computer Engineering doctoral candidate Azadeh Hashemi, originally from Tehran, Iran, came to start her PhD at the University of Canterbury (UC) four years ago.

Azadehs successful work in UCs Biomolecular Interaction Centre is turning what is basically milk powder into biomedical devices, such as implants to help regrow missing body parts. Her work is focused on fabrication of casein-based films with surface patterns, and growing cells on them.

The aim of my work is to replicate a 3D imprint of cells onto films made of milk protein, to use them as a substrate for growing cells. Development of the replication process and controlling the biodegradability of these films are the main parts of this work, she says.

The patterns on these biodegradable cell culture substrates mimic the cells natural physical environment and they can influence cell shape and growth. Once they have done their job, the films gradually degrade and leave the grown tissue behind.

The possibilities of these micro- and nanostructures are tantalising, with applications in stem cell engineering, regenerative medicine, and implantable devices.

If they can help the cells grow into muscles, bones or other tissues they would be able to replace any missing body part and help them regrow, Azadeh says.

Another great application for these substrates is to grow stem cells on an imprint with patterns of different cell types and see what type of cell the stem cells would change into. We might even be able to stop cancer cells from being cancerous by growing them on these patterns, in which case the biodegradability of the substrates would also be an advantage for eliminating the need for secondary surgery.

These materials have not been used in the human body yet, but in theory their application could help recovery from injury or disease with muscle or bone replacement.

These films could especially be used as implants to help missing tissue or muscle regrow using the surface patterns as a guide. The biodegradable implant would then just dissolve and there wont be any need for secondary surgery to take the implant out.

The project is based on a collaboration between Dr Volker Nock of UCs Biomolecular Interaction Centre and Dr Azam Ali, formerly AgResearch, now at the University of Otago. It was initiated through the Biomolecular Interaction Centre via a summer scholarship.

The early results were promising and Azadehs work took it to the next level, Dr Nock, her PhD supervisor, says.

Azadehs work has demonstrated that we can replicate the shapes of biological cells into casein biopolymers with extremely high-resolution, that we can control how long these materials take to degrade and that we can culture other cells on top of them. She is just now getting her first results as to what influence the shapes have on the cells and how the shapes change over time. One premise is that plastic (bio or not) with the shape of similar cells imprinted on the surface may positively influence the response of other real cells encountering such a surface, he says.

Azadehs research also builds on the work of her PhD co-supervisor UC Professor Maan Alkaisi and his students in developing a method of imprinting the shapes of cells into plastic.

We now have a biodegradable, pattern-able surface on which we can culture cells. The patterns can for example be used to help guide cells during muscle fibre formation in a Petri dish, while slowly being dissolved by the cells in the process so that only the finished tissue remains, Dr Nock says.

Azadeh recently returned to Christchurch from the United States where she was invited to give a presentation at one of the largest micro- and nanofabrication conferences in the world, the International Conference on Electron, Ion, and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication, based on a prize she won last year at a European conference in Vienna, Austria (International Conference on Micro & Nano Engineering). She co-wrote the academic paper Fabrication of free-standing casein devices with micro- and nanostructured regular and bioimprinted surface features. ends

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Scoop Business Using milk protein to 3D-imprint muscle and bone … – Scoop.co.nz

Low-cost smart glove translates American Sign Language into text – Printed Electronics World

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a smart glove that wirelessly translates the American Sign Language alphabet into text and controls a virtual hand to mimic sign language gestures. The device, which engineers call “The Language of Glove,” was built for less than $100 using stretchable and printable electronics that are inexpensive, commercially available and easy to assemble.

In addition to decoding American Sign Language gestures, researchers are developing the glove to be used in a variety of other applications ranging from virtual and augmented reality to telesurgery, technical training and defense.

The ‘language of glove’

The team built the device using a leather athletic glove and adhered nine stretchable sensors to the back at the knuckles two on each finger and one on the thumb. The sensors are made of thin strips of a silicon-based polymer coated with a conductive carbon paint. The sensors are secured onto the glove with copper tape. Stainless steel thread connects each of the sensors to a low power, custom-made printed circuit board that’s attached to the back of the wrist.

The sensors change their electrical resistance when stretched or bent. This allows them to code for different letters of the American Sign Language alphabet based on the positions of all nine knuckles. A straight or relaxed knuckle is encoded as “0” and a bent knuckle is encoded as “1”. When signing a particular letter, the glove creates a nine-digit binary key that translates into that letter. For example, the code for the letter “A” (thumb straight, all other fingers curled) is “011111111,” while the code for “B” (thumb bent, all other fingers straight) is “100000000.” Engineers equipped the glove with an accelerometer and pressure sensor to distinguish between letters like “I” and “J”, whose gestures are different but generate the same nine-digit code.

The low power printed circuit board on the glove converts the nine-digit key into a letter and then transmits the signals via Bluetooth to a smartphone or computer screen. The glove can wirelessly translate all 26 letters of the American Sign Language alphabet into text. Researchers also used the glove to control a virtual hand to sign letters in the American Sign Language alphabet.

Moving forward, the team is developing the next version of this glove one that’s endowed with the sense of touch. The goal is to make a glove that could control either a virtual or robotic hand and then send tactile sensations back to the user’s hand, Lipomi said. “This work is a step toward that direction.”

Originally posted here:

Low-cost smart glove translates American Sign Language into text – Printed Electronics World

UW team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes for electric cars, high-powered lasers – UW Today

Engineering | News releases | Research | Science

July 17, 2017

Supercapacitors are an aptly named type of device that can store and deliver energy faster than conventional batteries. They are in high demand for applications including electric cars, wireless telecommunications and high-powered lasers.

But to realize these applications, supercapacitors need better electrodes, which connect the supercapacitor to the devices that depend on their energy. These electrodes need to be both quicker and cheaper to make on a large scale and also able to charge and discharge their electrical load faster. A team of engineers at the University of Washington thinks theyve come up with a process for manufacturing supercapacitor electrode materials that will meet these stringent industrial and usage demands.

The researchers, led by UW assistant professor of materials science and engineering Peter Pauzauskie, published a paper on July 17 in the journal Nature Microsystems and Nanoengineering describing their supercapacitor electrode and the fast, inexpensive way they made it. Their novel method starts with carbon-rich materials that have been dried into a low-density matrix called an aerogel. This aerogel on its own can act as a crude electrode, but Pauzauskies team more than doubled its capacitance, which is its ability to store electric charge.

These inexpensive starting materials, coupled with a streamlined synthesis process, minimize two common barriers to industrial application: cost and speed.

In industrial applications, time is money, said Pauzauskie. We can make the starting materials for these electrodes in hours, rather than weeks. And that can significantly drive down the synthesis cost for making high-performance supercapacitor electrodes.

Full x-ray reconstruction of a coin cell supercapacitor.

Effective supercapacitor electrodes are synthesized from carbon-rich materials that also have a high surface area. The latter requirement is critical because of the unique way supercapacitors store electric charge. While a conventional battery stores electric charges via the chemical reactions occurring within it, a supercapacitor instead stores and separates positive and negative charges directly on its surface.

Supercapacitors can act much faster than batteries because they are not limited by the speed of the reaction or byproducts that can form, said co-lead author Matthew Lim, a UW doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. Supercapacitors can charge and discharge very quickly, which is why theyre great at delivering these pulses of power.

They have great applications in settings where a battery on its own is too slow, said fellow lead author Matthew Crane, a doctoral student in the UW Department of Chemical Engineering. In moments where a battery is too slow to meet energy demands, a supercapacitor with a high surface area electrode could kick in quickly and make up for the energy deficit.

To get the high surface area for an efficient electrode, the team used aerogels. These are wet, gel-like substances that have gone through a special treatment of drying and heating to replace their liquid components with air or another gas. These methods preserve the gels 3-D structure, giving it a high surface area and extremely low density. Its like removing all the water out of Jell-O with no shrinking.

One gram of aerogel contains about as much surface area as one football field, said Pauzauskie.

Crane made aerogels from a gel-like polymer, a material with repeating structural units, created from formaldehyde and other carbon-based molecules. This ensured that their device, like todays supercapacitor electrodes, would consist of carbon-rich materials.

Previously, Lim demonstrated that adding graphene which is a sheet of carbon just one atom thick to the gel imbued the resulting aerogel with supercapacitor properties. But, Lim and Crane needed to improve the aerogels performance, and make the synthesis process cheaper and easier.

In Lims previous experiments, adding graphene hadnt improved the aerogels capacitance. So they instead loaded aerogels with thin sheets of either molybdenum disulfide or tungsten disulfide. Both chemicals are used widely today in industrial lubricants.

The researchers treated both materials with high-frequency sound waves to break them up into thin sheets and incorporated them into the carbon-rich gel matrix. They could synthesize a fully-loaded wet gel in less than two hours, while other methods would take many days. After obtaining the dried, low-density aerogel, they combined it with adhesives and another carbon-rich material to create an industrial dough, which Lim could simply roll out to sheets just a few thousandths of an inch thick. They cut half-inch discs from the dough and assembled them into simple coin cell battery casings to test the materials effectiveness as a supercapacitor electrode.

Slice from x-ray computed tomography image of a supercapacitor coin cell assembled with the electrode materials. The thin layers just below the coin cell lid are layers of electrode materials and a separator.William Kuykendall

Not only were their electrodes fast, simple and easy to synthesize, but they also sported a capacitance at least 127 percent greater than the carbon-rich aerogel alone.

Lim and Crane expect that aerogels loaded with even thinner sheets of molybdenum disulfide or tungsten disulfide theirs were about 10 to 100 atoms thick would show an even better performance. But first, they wanted to show that loaded aerogels would be faster and cheaper to synthesize, a necessary step for industrial production. The fine-tuning comes next.

The team believes that these efforts can help advance science even outside the realm of supercapacitor electrodes. Their aerogel-suspended molybdenum disulfide might remain sufficiently stable to catalyze hydrogen production. And their method to trap materials quickly in aerogels could be applied to high capacitance batteries or catalysis.

Co-author was doctoral student Xuezhe Zhou in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. The research was conducted with the help of Energ2 Technologies, a UW start-up company based in Seattle that was recently acquired by BASF. The research was funded by the UW and the Clean Energy Institute. Pauzauskie is also affiliated with the Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

###

For more information, contact Pauzauskie at peterpz@uw.edu or 206-543-2303.

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UW team develops fast, cheap method to make supercapacitor electrodes for electric cars, high-powered lasers – UW Today

‘Smart glove’ can translate sign language – WND.com – WND.com

(KPBS) UC San Diego researchers have designed a smart glove that can turn sign language into text that can be wirelessly transmitted to mobile devices, all for less than $100.

The glove is outfitted with sensors that stretch over the users knuckles, detecting the different gestures that represent letters of the American Sign Language alphabet. A small computer on the back of the glove is then able to take that information and transmit it via Bluetooth to a smartphone or laptop, where it is displayed as text.

We actually used just a sporting glove, like a golf glove, said UC San Diego nano-engineering PhD student Timothy OConnor, the first author on a new paper published Wednesday describing the glove.

OConnor said using cheap materials was important for demonstrating the real-world usefulness of this technology. For the stretch sensors, OConnor said, The material were using is printable, which makes it even more low-cost.

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‘Smart glove’ can translate sign language – WND.com – WND.com

Fluorine grants white graphene new powers: Researchers turn … – Phys.Org

July 14, 2017 A density functional theory calculation showed the magnetic properties of a fluorinated sample of hexagonal boron nitride. This version is ferromagnetic, determined by how the fluorine atoms (red) attach to the boron and nitrogen matrix. Credit: Ajayan Group/Rice University

A little fluorine turns an insulating ceramic known as white graphene into a wide-bandgap semiconductor with magnetic properties. Rice University scientists said that could make the unique material suitable for electronics in extreme environments.

A proof-of-concept paper from Rice researchers demonstrates a way to turn two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) – aka white graphene – from an insulator to a semiconductor. The magnetism, they said, is an unexpected bonus.

Because the atomically thin material is an exceptional conductor of heat, the researchers suggested it may be useful for electronics in high-temperature applications, perhaps even as magnetic memory devices.

The discovery appears this week in Science Advances.

“Boron nitride is a stable insulator and commercially very useful as a protective coating, even in cosmetics, because it absorbs ultraviolet light,” said Rice materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, whose lab led the study. “There has been a lot of effort to try to modify its electronic structure, but we didn’t think it could become both a semiconductor and a magnetic material.

“So this is something quite different; nobody has seen this kind of behavior in boron nitride before,” he said.

The researchers found that adding fluorine to h-BN introduced defects into its atomic matrix that reduced the bandgap enough to make it a semiconductor. The bandgap determines the electrical conductivity of a material.

“We saw that the gap decreases at about 5 percent fluorination,” said Rice postdoctoral researcher and co-author Chandra Sekhar Tiwary. The gap gets smaller with additional fluorination, but only to a point. “Controlling the precise fluorination is something we need to work on. We can get ranges but we don’t have perfect control yet. Because the material is atomically thin, one atom less or more changes quite a bit.

“In the next set of experiments, we want to learn to tune it precisely, atom by atom,” he said.

They determined that tension applied by invading fluorine atoms altered the “spin” of electrons in the nitrogen atoms and affected their magnetic moments, the ghostly quality that determines how an atom will respond to a magnetic field like an invisible, nanoscale compass.

“We see angle-oriented spins, which are very unconventional for 2-D materials,” said Rice graduate student and lead author Sruthi Radhakrishnan. Rather than aligning to form ferromagnets or canceling each other out, the spins are randomly angled, giving the flat material random pockets of net magnetism. These ferromagnet or anti-ferromagnet pockets can exist in the same swatch of h-BN, which makes them “frustrated magnets” with competing domains.

The researchers said their simple, scalable method can potentially be applied to other 2-D materials. “Making new materials through nanoengineering is exactly what our group is about,” Ajayan said.

Co-authors of the paper are graduate students Carlos de los Reyes and Zehua Jin, chemistry lecturer Lawrence Alemany, postdoctoral researcher Vidya Kochat and Angel Mart, an associate professor of chemistry, of bioengineering and of materials science and nanoengineering, all of Rice; Valery Khabashesku of Rice and the Baker Hughes Center for Technology Innovation, Houston; Parambath Sudeep of Rice and the University of Toronto; Deya Das, Atanu Samanta and Rice alumnus Abhishek Singh of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Liangzi Deng and Ching-Wu Chu of the University of Houston; Thomas Weldeghiorghis of Louisiana State University and Ajit Roy of the Air Force Research Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Ajayan is chair of Rice’s Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering and a professor of chemistry.

Explore further: Graphene foam gets big and tough: Nanotube-reinforced material can be shaped, is highly conductive

More information: “Fluorinated h-BN as a magnetic semiconductor” Science Advances (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700842 , http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700842

Journal reference: Science Advances

Provided by: Rice University

A chunk of conductive graphene foam reinforced by carbon nanotubes can support more than 3,000 times its own weight and easily bounce back to its original height, according to Rice University scientists.

(Phys.org) Nanoengineering researchers at Rice University and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have unveiled a potentially scalable method for making one-atom-thick layers of molybdenum diselenidea highly …

Developing novel materials from the atoms up goes faster when some of the trial and error is eliminated. A new Rice University and Montreal Polytechnic study aims to do that for graphene and boron nitride hybrids.

A new center at Rice University and Pennsylvania State University will study, in collaboration with industry, the development of atom-thin two-dimensional coatings for a variety of uses.

Rice University researchers have modeled a nanoscale sandwich, the first in what they hope will become a molecular deli for materials scientists.

The same slip-and-stick mechanism that leads toearthquakesis at work on the molecular level in nanoscale materials, where it determines the shear plasticity of the materials, according to scientists at Rice University …

A little fluorine turns an insulating ceramic known as white graphene into a wide-bandgap semiconductor with magnetic properties. Rice University scientists said that could make the unique material suitable for electronics …

Scientists from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel have succeeded in coupling an extremely small quantum dot with 1,000 times larger trumpet-shaped nanowire. The movement of the nanowire can be detected …

For more than 60 years, researchers have tried to successfully cryopreserve (or freeze) the embryo of zebrafish, a species that is an important medical model for human health. In a new study, researchers at the University …

Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem, especially among a type of bacteria that are classified as “Gram-negative.” These bacteria have two cell membranes, making it more difficult for drugs to penetrate and kill the …

Visualizing biological cells under a microscope was just made clearer, thanks to research conducted by graduate student Yifei Jiang and principal investigator Jason McNeill of Clemson University’s department of chemistry.

Early phase Northwestern Medicine research has demonstrated a potential new therapeutic strategy for treating deadly glioblastoma brain tumors.

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Fluorine grants white graphene new powers: Researchers turn … – Phys.Org

Low-cost CO sensor developed using nanoscale honeycomb structures – Phys.Org

July 14, 2017 Honeycomb type ZnO nanostructure. Credit: Indian Institute of Science

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a highly sensitive, low-cost nanosensor that can quickly detect minute changes in carbon monoxide (CO) levels, with potential applications in environmental pollution monitoring.

The team used a novel fabrication technique that leaves out lithography, a time-consuming and expensive process, to construct a honeycomb-like nanostructure made up of zinc oxide. The sensor was able to detect a difference in CO level as low as 500 parts per billion and selectively respond to CO even in the presence of other gases. The non-lithography technique also significantly cuts down the time and cost involved in making nanostructured gas sensors.

The study was carried out by Chandra Shekhar Prajapati, postdoctoral fellow, and Navakanta Bhat, Chair & Professor, Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE), IISc, along with researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

“The size of the sensor itself is less than 1 mm,” says Bhat. “If you combine it with the rest of the signal processing electronics and a small display, it may not be more than a couple of cm. This can be integrated with a cell phone or a small device at every traffic signal which can transmit the data to your cell phone through Bluetooth.”

Conventional micro-machined CO sensors have a flat layer of zinc oxide, a metal oxide semiconductor, through which current flows. When exposed to CO, the resistance of the layer changes, affecting the amount of current flowing through. How much the resistance changes can be mapped to how much CO there is.

Creating nanostructures on flat zinc oxide improves the sensitivity, as the area available for gas interaction increases. However, making these nanosensors using traditional lithographya time-consuming, multi-step process in which metal oxide templates are etched on a light-sensitive materialrequires sophisticated equipment.

Instead, the researchers used tiny beads of polystyrene that arrange themselves into a closely packed layer when spread on an oxidized silicon surface. When zinc oxide is added, it settles into the hexagonal gaps between the beads. When the beads are then “lifted off,” what remains is a 3-D honeycomb of zinc oxide, with a much larger surface area available for gas interaction than a flat plate.

The technique could cost significantly less than lithography-based methods, the researchers say. “You can buy a packet of these micron-sized polystyrene beads on the market for Rs. 4000-5000, which can be used to create nanostructures on thousands of sensors. This results in significant cost reduction compared to traditional lithography-based techniques to form such honeycombs,” says Prajapati. In addition, the process only takes a few minutes, while lithography-based multi-step methods can take a few hours, he adds.

For environmental applications, gas sensors need to be both highly sensitive (detect very low levels) and selective (detect a specific gas in the presence of other gases). The researchers developed sensors with varying honeycomb wall width, and found that the one with the smallest width (~100 nm) was able to detect a change of even 500 parts per billion in CO concentration. When tested with a mixture of gases, the sensor also showed a distinctly greater response for CO.

The polystyrene-based method can be used to develop similar honeycomb nanostructures for other metal oxides to detect other gases, the researchers say. “What we have is a generic platform. You can do the same nano-structuring for different metal oxide semiconductor sensors,” says Bhat.

Bhat and his team have been working on developing miniature sensors for air quality monitoring for several years. They previously developed a hybrid sensor array to detect four different gases simultaneously.

Explore further: Improved fire detection with new ultra-sensitive, ultraviolet light sensor

More information: C.S. Prajapati et al, Honeycomb type ZnO nanostructures for sensitive and selective CO detection, Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.snb.2017.06.070

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Low-cost CO sensor developed using nanoscale honeycomb structures – Phys.Org

Nano’s journey – Hindu Business Line

This refers to the editorial Ta-ta Nano (July 13). Nano was hailed by the automobile industry as a small wonder when it hit Indian roads a decade ago. Through the adoption of reverse costing and deploying the best design talents, Tata Motors delivered the promise disproving the doomsayers and enthralling the motorists. There was a mad rush for the new avatar. But the initial euphoria for the vehicle lasted not long. The charm for the new champion slowly waned. Though Nano is a statement of Indias prowess in frugal engineering it is as well a story of wrong market reading and market positioning of a new product.

Philip Sabu

Mannuthy, Kerala

R Gopalakrishnan, the executive director of Tata Sons, once said although the Tatas were the first in the country to come out with the market offering of packaged coconut oil, it was Marico through Parachute that became synonymous with the product; all because of lack of innovation on the formers part. Innovation culture is what thats needed, he observed, rather than meeting targets.

Seen in this light, the phasing out of Nano is not surprising. Earlier it was the case of Ambassador. It is said that both Ambassador and Nissan started by borrowing the technology of the the same 1958 Morris Oxford model of UK. While Nissan through its unique strategy of kaizen (making small but continuous improvements) went ahead to become one of the worlds leading automobiles, our ambassador remained in a time warp.

How I wish India had innovated and produced a company like Tesla whose models offer a mileage of 300 miles! In spite of being blessed with abundant solar energy throughout the year, we couldnt harness and capitalise on this great resource and usher in a revolution in sustainable mobility with requisite infrastructure. We keep hearing of reports like ISROs indigenously developed high-power lithium-ion batteries for e-vehicles and the plan to share the same with automobile companies. Hope such innovations will not go the Ambassador or Nano way and translate into a reality and offer the world a great but competitive Made in India product that beats the likes of Tesla, Nissan, Baidu etc.

CV Krishna Manoj

Hyderabad

There cannot be any question around the intent of Ratan Tata behind launching the Nano, as he wanted to fulfil the aspirations of a two-wheeler owner who always dreamt of having a car. But other competitors also took note of this development and though they did not launch their cars in this price bracket, provided so many other features and even far more space in slightly higher price which car buyers did not mind paying it.

Bal Govind

Noida

GST over, work on MSP

GST has been implemented after extensive deliberations and the glitches are expected to be ironed out sooner than later. With the commitment of the Centre and PM Modi, the responsibility of doubling farmers income by 2022 needs attention now.

Concerted efforts must be made in the direction by bringing in Minimum Support Price for every crop grown, based on scientific and pragmatic methods in addition to the scope for reviewing the MSP periodically.

Rajiv N Magal

Jammanahalli, Karnataka

Wake up, government!

It is surprising to note that the retail inflation has touched a record low of 1.54 per cent and the factory output coming down to 1.7 per cent. Galloping inflation or, for that matter, deflation is not good for the economy. India is witnessing a glut in food crops and there is no mechanism or rather political will to safeguard the crops and create time utility for them. The products are sold at throwaway prices and farmers are in distress.

That factory growth has also slowed down indicates things are not at all good in the Indian economy. An economy should be in an equilibrium position wherein both producers and consumer optimise their profits / satisfaction. The pitiable part is that the government and the RBI are not doing anything about it. This is indeed a cause for serious concern.

S Ramakrishnasayee

Ranipet

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Send your letters by email to bleditor@thehindu.co.in or by post to Letters to the Editor, The Hindu Business Line, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002.

(This article was published on July 13, 2017)

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