Self-assembling structures open door to new class of materials

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have demonstrated bio-inspired structures that self-assemble from simple building blocks: spheres.
The helical “supermolecules” are made of tiny colloid…

Researchers find ‘Goldilocks’ of DNA self-assembly

Researchers from North Carolina State University have found a way to optimize the development of DNA self-assembling materials, which hold promise for technologies ranging from drug delivery to molecular sensors. The key to the advance is the disc…

Researchers find a stable way to store the sun’s heat

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Researchers at MIT have revealed exactly how a molecule called fulvalene diruthenium, which was discovered in 1996, works to store and release heat on demand. This understanding, reported in a paper published on Oct. 20 in the j…

Quantum dots to form basis of next-generation computer displays?

Researchers at MIT have created what could be the flat panel display of the future, combining organic materials with high-performing inorganic nanocrystals to create a hybrid optoelectronic structure. In other words, a quantum dot-organic LED, or light-emitting device. Also called artificial atoms, quantum dots are nanometer-scale “boxes” that selectively hold or release electrons. Unlike traditional LCDs, which must be lit from behind, quantum dots generate their own light. Depending on their size, the dots can be “tuned” to emit any color in the rainbow. And the colors of light they produce are much more saturated than that of other sources.

New material could impact rechargeable batteries

Researchers have transformed a relatively common material, lithium iron phosphate, into one with potential for the next generation of rechargeable batteries in electric cars and other devices. Among other advantages, the material could make such batteries cheaper and safer.

Aluminum shows strange behavior; research solves old mystery

Aluminum — one of nature’s best conductors of electricity conductors of electricity — may behave like a ceramic or a semiconductor in certain situations, according to an Ohio State University scientist and his colleagues. Among the findings that appear in the current issue of the journal Science: When it comes to forming tiny structures in computer chip circuits and nanotechnology, aluminum may endure mechanical stress more than 30 percent better than copper, which is normally considered to be the stiffer metal

Strange attraction: Shaping metal with magnets

Researchers in Ohio say they’ve come up with a way to shape metal using powerful magnetic fields, a process that could help cut down on the use of toxic lubricants otherwise needed to stamp products as diverse as auto parts and kitchenware. Said one of the researchers: “The process has to be reliable, and require as little human intervention as possible…. In automobile production especially, manufactures need to make parts in as few steps as they possibly can. I think we can do a lot of good things for industry with this technique.”

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