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Brookhaven National Laboratory

Materials

Chance discovery puts graphene electronics closer to mass production

We've heard plenty on the wonderful properties of graphene, but the supermaterial par excellence still hasn't found its way to commercial products because it is too delicate for real-world conditions. Now, in a lucky and perhaps game-changing discovery, scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have found that placing graphene on top of common industrial-grade glass is a cheap and effective way of making it resilient and tunable, paving the way for the production of graphene-based electronics on a large scale.Read More

Biology

Secrets of Bombardier beetle's superheated defensive spray revealed

The bombardier beetle has a unique defensive mechanism. It induces a chemical explosion inside its shell to create a boiling, toxic liquid which it sprays at its aggressor. Now researchers in the US have discovered how it does this, and they hope that further study of the conditions inside the beetle that allow it to produce the jet without harming itself may inform real world technologies.Read More

Science

Nanosheet catalyst brings a hydrogen economy one step closer to reality

Harnessing the power of hydrogen gas presents one of the most promising options available for obtaining a large-scale sustainable energy solution. However, there are numerous and significant challenges present in the production of pure hydrogen, one of the most prominent of which is the high costs associated with the use of rare and expensive chemical elements such as platinum. Accordingly, the team at the Brookhaven National Laboratory set out to create a catalyst with high activity and low costs, that could facilitate the production of hydrogen as a high-density, clean energy source.Read More

Science

X-ray microscope delivers unparalleled nanoscale images in 3D

A new X-ray microscope at Brookhaven National Laboratory is being used to create unparalleled high-resolution 3D images of the inner structure of materials. Using techniques similar to taking a very small-scale medical CAT (computer-assisted tomography) scan, the full field transmission x-ray microscope (TXM) enables scientists to directly observe structures spanning 25 nanometers - three thousand times smaller than a red blood cell - by splicing together thousands of images into a single 3D X-ray image with "greater speed and precision than ever before." This capability is expected to power rapid advances in many fields, including energy research, environmental sciences, biology, and national defense.Read More

Science

Liquid-like compound could lead to better thermoelectric devices

Thermoelectric materials work by converting differences in temperature into electric voltage. If two parts of such a material experience significantly different temperatures, electrons within it will flow from the warmer part to the cooler, creating an electrical current in the process. Using these materials, electricity could be generated by the temperature differences on the inside and outside of jackets, within car engines, or even between the human body and the air around it ... just to list a few examples. An international team of scientists have now discovered that an existing material, which behaves like a liquid but isn't one, displays particularly impressive thermoelectric properties.Read More

Medical

Wearable scanner opens new pathways in the study of brain function

U.S. scientists have developed a new miniature, wearable Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner which enables the simultaneous study of brain function and behavior in animals. PET scans are much like Computed Tomography (CT) scans and have helped uncover the molecular underpinnings of conditions like drug addiction, brain diseases such as dementia and they have been used in the medical imaging of cancers.Read More

Science

Engineering plants to make plastics

Modern society's reliance on fossil fuel extends past its use as an energy source with by-products used in everything from plastics to lubricants and fertilizers. Seeking alternatives that are cleaner to produce and renewable is important for the continuation of life as we know it. This is why researchers the the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) are are engineering plants to produce chemicals needed for plastics that have traditionally come from fossil fuels.Read More

Science

New transparent, light-harvesting material could lead to power generating windows

While rooftops are the obvious place to put solar cells to generate clean electricity for the home, we’ve seen a number of technologies aimed at expanding the potential solar collecting area to include windows using transparent solar cells. These include Octillion Corp’s NanoPower Window technology, RSi’s semi-transparent photovoltaic glass windows, and EnSol’s transparent thin film. In this latest development, U.S. scientists have fabricated a new type of self-assembling transparent thin film material that could boost the cost effectiveness and scalability of solar window production.Read More

Science

Nano-patterned superconducting thin films could lead to new electronic devices

It has been a long-standing dream to fabricate superconducting nano-scale wires for faster, more powerful electronics. However, this has turned out to be very difficult if not impossible with conventional superconductors because the minimal size for the sample to be superconducting - known as the coherence length - is large. A group of scientists has now fabricated thin films patterned with large arrays of nanowires and loops that are superconducting when cooled below about 30 kelvin (-243 degrees Celsius). Even more interesting, they found they could change their resistance by applying a magnetic field. Read More

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