Researchers have taken one more step toward understanding the unique and often unexpected properties of graphene, a two-dimensional carbon material that has attracted interest because of its potential applications in future generations of electronic devices.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Graphene is a two-dimensional crystalline sheet of carbon atoms - meaning it is only one atom thick - through which electrons can race at nearly the speed of light - 100 times faster than they can move through silicon. This plus graphene's incredible flexibility and mechanical strength make the material a potential superstar for the electronics industry. However, whereas the best electronic materials feature a strong signal and weak background noise, attaining this high signal-to-noise ratio has been a challenge for both single and bi-layers of graphene, especially when placed on a substrate of silica or some other dielectric. One of the problems facing device developers has been the lack of a good graphene noise model.
Backed by a $1.2 million federal grant, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) has launched a Center for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (CAMM) that will support the transfer of UWM research in bulk nanostructured materials to manufacturing industry in both Wisconsin and the nation.
(PhysOrg.com) -- Circuits that can perform logic operations at the push of a button are a dime-a-dozen these days, but a breakthrough by researchers in the USA has meant they can be smaller and simpler than ever before. Using a single material as both the button and the circuit for the first time, scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created tiny logic circuits that can be used as the basis of nanometer-scale robotics and processors.
Thin layers of oxide materials and their interfaces have been observed in atomic resolution during growth for the first time by researchers at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, providing new insight into the complicated link between their structure and properties.
Call it the anti-sunscreen. That's more or less the description of what many solar energy researchers would like to find -- light-catching substances that could be added to photovoltaic materials in order to convert more of the sun's energy into carbon-free electricity.
One of the most promising technologies for making inexpensive but reasonably efficient solar photovoltaic cells just got much cheaper. Scientists at the University of Toronto in Canada have shown that inexpensive nickel can work just as well as gold for one of the critical electrical contacts that gather the electrical current produced by their colloidal quantum dot solar cells.
In the quest for efficient, cost-effective and commercially viable fuel cells, scientists at Cornell University's Energy Materials Center have discovered a catalyst and catalyst-support combination that could make fuel cells more stable, conk-out free, inexpensive and more resistant to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Like an ice cube on a warm day, most materials melt -- that is, change from a solid to a liquid state -- as they get warmer. But a few oddball materials do the reverse: They melt as they get cooler. Now a team of researchers at MIT has found that silicon, the most widely used material for computer chips and solar cells, can exhibit this strange property of "retrograde melting" when it contains high concentrations of certain metals dissolved in it.