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Materials news, February 2016

Graphene could form basis for frictionless coatings

The discovery that graphene produces almost no friction when dragged across a gold surface suggests that it could be used as a frictionless coating.

Placing graphene on top of common soda-lime glass influences its electronic properties, reducing the need for chemical doping.

Scientists have shown that carbon films can allow microchips to house their own power sources.

By studying metallic glasses under extreme pressures, scientists have uncovered rules that could help in the development of new varieties.

A material made of buckyballs and potassium ions becomes superconducting at -170°C when irradiated with pulses of infrared light.

Micromanipulator based on graphene and polymers mimics the extraordinary ability of gecko's feet to grip any surface and self-clean.

Eight-armed nanoparticles of Au and Pd, which combine the catalytic and plasmonic capabilities of each element, could speed up chemical reactions.

Scientists have developed a shape-change polymer that can be triggered by body heat alone.

Scientists have created carbon anodes for lithium-ion batteries from pollen.

The first known statistical theory for determining the toughness of polycrystalline graphene has revealed that it's strong but not very tough.

Scientists have produced clean interfaces between materials with different crystal structures by making a bridge between them.

Boeing report that the first flight of the 737 MAX 8 has been successfully completed.

Scientists have uncovered evidence of electronic nematicity as a universal feature in cuprate high-temperature superconductors.

Tetrahedral cages made from DNA can be used to arrange nanoparticles in a way that mimics the crystalline structure of diamond.

Engineers have developed a way to convert paper waste into cellulose aerogels that are non-toxic, ultralight, absorbent and extremely strong.

By combining 3D laser lithography and pyrolysis, scientists have fabricated the smallest ever lattice structure made from glassy carbon.

A new technique can create nearly two-dimensional nanosheets from compounds that do not naturally form such thin materials.

For the first time, scientists have observed 'polar vortices', which could be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions, in a ferroelectric material.

Origami-inspired graphene-based paper can self-fold into boxes, hand-like grippers, and walking devices.

New CVD growth process can produce high quality wafers of single crystal graphene fast.

Graphite foams may be the key to capturing and storing thermal energy from solar farms, say researchers from the University of Pretoria.

Bending the rules on pressure sensors

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Efficient vertical charge transport in semiconducting polymers can be achieved by controlling the orientation of the polymer chains.

Adding a plasticizer into electrostrictive polymers offers an efficient way to improve their energy harvesting performance.

Patterning chemical arrays that attract water on a surface that repels water offers a novel way to control the spread of frost.

Common coaxial data cables could be made 50% lighter with a new carbon nanotube-based outer conductor.

A novel hybrid polymer combines a covalent compartment that provides the skeleton with a supramolecular compartment that can wear away.

For the first time, scientists have produced three-dimensional covalent organic frameworks by weaving them from helical organic threads.

Scientists have worked out the precise arrangement of nitrogen and carbon atoms that allow nitrogen-doped carbon to act as a fuel cell catalyst.

A new polyester-based, biodegradable material with built-in vitamin A can reduce scarring in blood vessels.

A new theory can predict exactly how much light is transmitted through a material, given its thickness and degree of stretch.

The electrical properties of a new thin-film material can be switched between metallic and semiconducting simply by applying a small voltage.

Oxygen molecules scattered within layers of otherwise pristine graphene affect how the layers interact with each other under strain.

A new composite glass-based material can block UV light and withstand long radiation exposure times without falling apart.

A thin coating of a composite material comprising graphene nanoribbons in epoxy is highly effective at melting ice on a helicopter blade.

Scientists have engineered the transition point of vanadium dioxide, allowing them to control the temperature at which the transition occurs.

Researchers have used magnetic fields to control the semiconductor properties of topological insulator nanoribbons.

A new hole-transporting material costs only a fifth of existing versions while still producing solar cells with efficiencies above 20%.

A metamaterial comprising an array of metallic wires can significantly boost the sensitivity of MRI machines.

Scientists have developed a novel method, termed bubble-pen lithography, that uses microbubbles to inscribe nanoparticles onto a surface.

A novel material made of sticky, micron-scale rubber balls combines self-healing and reversible self-stiffening properties.

Lithium-ion battery cathodes made from novel metal particles don't develop a crusty coating that can degrade the battery's performance.

Call for Papers: New Journal.

A thin, stretchable film offers a simpler, more cost-effective way to produce circularly polarized light for applications such as detecting cancer.

Scientists have developed computer models of hybrid materials that combine graphene with nanotubes made from either carbon or boron nitride.

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