So far, most of the applications of plasmonic nanostructures rely on solid two-dimensional substrates such as silicon, glass, plastic, or paper. Such substrates offer rather limited accessible surface area, thus severely limiting the volumetric density of the nanostructures. Researchers now have developed a 3D material with a high density of plasmonic nanostructures that are completely accessible. The SERS and photothermal performance of this novel 3D material is superior compared to that of conventional 2D plasmonic surfaces.
One of the challenges of fabricating flexible electronics has been the trade-off between a material's high flexibility and adaptability, and its conductivity. Exploring feasible methods for guiding conducting or semiconducting nanomaterials into elastomeric matrices will be key to further progress in this area. A promising approach has just been reported by scientists, who have developed a facile printing strategy to assemble silver nanoparticles into micro- and nano-curve structures via a pillar-patterned silicon template. The curves with various tortuosity morphologies have differential resistive strain sensitivity, which can be integrated into a multi-analysis flexible sensor to perform complex-recognition of human facial expressions.
Researchers have approached the preparation of artificial analogs of nacre by using various methods and the resulting materials have captured some of the characteristics of the natural composite - but so far never have fully replicated it. Now, researchers have reported the first successful attempt to mimic the structure of nacre while maintaining the same characteristic geometry, aspect ratio and phase proportions. They used 10-20 nm thick layered double hydroxide (LDH) platelets with an aspect ratio similar to the aragonite platelets in nacre and 'glued' them together with a simple organic 'mortar' (PSS).
Researchers have successfully used amorphous metal tungsten nitride to demonstrate nanoelectromechanical switches that are capable of sub-1 volt operation. In the past, attaining sub-1 volt operation at dynamic state and faster switching was extremely difficult. These efforts required the use of very expensive lithography systems to pattern nanoscale free-hanging switches. This is the first ever demonstration of a 3-terminal NEM switch.
Applying multivariate statistical techniques to the study of nanocarbons, researchers have presented a methodology to identify nanoparticles with unique combinations of features and, in general, a feasible way of in silico characterization of intractable nanomaterial spaces. These analyses are based on structural features characterizing geometry, interatomic distances, bond angle, surface-to-volume ratio, carbon-to-hydrogen ratio, and hybridization fraction; many of which can be preselected without undertaking expensive electronic structure simulations.
While 'conventional' water contaminants can be cleaned up by state-of-the-art technologies with filtration and condensation processes, this is not the case for nanoscale pollutants. Researchers have demonstrated that water contaminated with nanomaterials can be cleaned up by a 'hand shaking' approach that can be performed even in a kitchen. This simple technique can be used for many one-dimensional and two-dimensional nanomaterials including nanotubes, nanowires, graphene, and nanosheets.
Catalytic nanoparticles play a crucial role in accelerating chemical reactions by offering their active sites and surfaces. Fine-tuning their surface structure during synthesis and phase transformations can enhance their catalytic activity and durability by manifolds. However, control and feedback on the synthesis/transformation studies demand characterization techniques that can provide structural and compositional information on the atomic level.
The two major problems with lithium-sulfur batteries stem from the intrinsic inert reaction kinetics of sulfur redox and the unique 'shuttle' mechanism described as that soluble intermediates - polysulfides consisting of lithium-terminated sulfur-chains - diffuse between the cathode and anode, thus being consumed within the battery instead of being utilized. To solve these issues and to improve battery performance relies on not only the electrode materials but also other cell components such as the separator.