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Nanomaterials

Science

Fractal nanostructures used to build new supermaterials

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology are developing a disruptive manufacturing process that combines nanoscale effects and ad-hoc architectural design to build new supermaterials from the ground up. The materials can be designed to meet predetermined criteria such as weighing only a tiny fraction of their macroscopic counterpart, displaying extreme plasticity, or featuring outstanding mechanical strength.Read More

Environment

Nano technique boosts plant energy production and creates plant biosensors

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.Read More

Science

Nanomaterial thermophotovoltaic system increases efficiency and portability of solar power

It’s not a new idea to improve upon traditional solar cells by first converting light into heat, then reemitting the energy at specific wavelengths optimally tuned to the requirements of the solar cell, but this method has suffered from low efficiencies. However, new research at MIT using nanoscale materials finally shows how thermophotovoltaics could become competitive with their traditional cousins, and grant benefits such as storing solar energy in the form of heat to postpone conversion into electricity.Read More

Science

Replicating hardest known biomaterial could lead to better solar cells and batteries

Inspired by the tough teeth of a marine snail and the remarkable process by which they form, assistant professor David Kisailus at the University of California, Riverside is working toward building cheaper, more efficient nanomaterials. By achieving greater control over the low-temperature growth of nanocrystals, his research could improve the performance of solar cells and lithium-ion batteries, lead to higher-performance materials for car and airplane frames, and help develop abrasion-resistant materials that could be used for anything from specialized clothing to dental drills.Read More

Science

Hybrid nanomaterial converts light and heat into electricity

We’ve seen nanomaterials that can be used to convert light into electricity and others that can convert heat into electricity. Now researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington and Louisana Tech University have created a hybrid nanomaterial that can do both. By pairing the material with microchips, the researchers say it could be used in self-powered sensors, low-power electronic devices, and biomedical implants.Read More

Science

MIT breakthrough could lead to paper-thin bullet-proof armor

Scientists have theorized that paper-thin composite nanomaterials could stop bullets just as effectively as heavy weight body armor, but progress has been hampered by their inability to reliably test such materials against projectile impacts. Researchers at MIT and Rice University have developed a breakthrough stress-test that fires microscopic glass beads at impact-absorbing material. Although the projectiles are much smaller than a bullet, the experimental results could be scaled up to predict how the material would stand up to larger impacts.Read More

Science

GeS “nanoflowers” could blossom in next-gen solar cells

Researchers have already turned to the humble sunflower for inspiration to design more efficient Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant layouts, and now a team from North Carolina State University has developed a “nanoflower” structure out of germanium sulfide (GeS) that shows great promise for use in energy-storage devices and more efficient solar cells. The secret is the material's ultrathin petals that provide a large surface area in only a small amount of space. Read More

Military

Nanotech versus the pirates: Zyvex Marine unveils the LRV-17

The purveyors of fine nanotech-enabled lightweight boats at Zyvex Technologies have been in touch to tell Gizmag about their latest creation, the LRV-17, developed to combat piracy off the coast of Africa. At 17.35 m (57 ft), the LRV-17 is a slightly bigger boat than Zyvex's unmanned Piranha USV, but unlike its piscine predecessor the LRV-17 can support of a crew of six for up to five days. Thanks to its weight, Zyvex claims its 1500 nautical mile (2778 km) range can outdistance other boats of its size by a factor of three - hence LRV, which stands for long-range vessel.Read More

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