Renewable and high-capacity energy systems like fuel cells and metal-air batteries are key components in any scenario on future energy systems free of fossil fuels. The performance of fuel cells largely depends on the oxygen reduction reaction - the process that breaks the bonds of the oxygen molecules - which is substantially affected by the activity of the cathode catalyst. Researchers have now demonstrated the synthesis of a novel N-doped graphene/single-walled carbon nanotube hybrid material by a facile and cost-favorable one-step CVD method.
Almost all strategies for solar energy harvest and solar energy storage that exist today are developed as independent technologies. For instance, a solar cell generates electricity from the absorption and conversion of sunlight, while the storage of the produced electricity has to be implemented with another set of energy utilization solutions such as batteries/supercapacitors and fuel cells. With quite an ingenious solution, researchers have now demonstrated a hybrid, multifunctional material system that allows for simultaneous solar power generation (respectively hydrogen production), electrical energy storage, and chemical sensing.
Numerous nanotoxicological studies reporting effects of nanomaterials typically address a single exposure at high dosages that are irrelevant to realistic human exposure. Recognizing that acute in vitro work had extremely low correlation to in vivo nanomaterial studies, coupled with the recognition that the unique characteristics that distinguish nanomaterials vary as a function of time, researchers sought to identify a model that would allow for the evaluation of nanomaterial behavior over a 3-month period, but be carried out in an in vitro model.
The formation of protein corona is a continuous state of flux in which many proteins compete to bind to the nanoparticle surface, each with their own characteristics such as concentration, structure and solubility determining their final affinity to the nanoparticle surface. This is the reason why biological responses to nanoparticles are strongly dependent to the type and amount of associated proteins in the composition of the protein corona. The protein corona determines the biological fate of nanoparticles and physiological responses. New research findings now show that the plasma protein alterations associated with different diseases, medical conditions, or even lifestyle, can affect the protein composition and content of the hard corona composition.
The light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) shares several external attributes with the OLED, notably the opportunity for soft areal emission from thin-film devices, but its unique electrochemical operation eliminates the principal requirement on inert-atmosphere/vacuum processing as it can comprise solely air-stabile materials. This important intrinsic advantage has inspired recent work on an ambient-air fabrication of LEC devices using scalable means. Introducing a new, purpose-designed spray-sintering deposition technique, researchers have now shown that it is possible to spray out liquid inks onto essentially any surface for the achievement of light emission.
As we are approaching the post-CMOS area, device architectures that are drastically different from today's semiconductor chips are being proposed by researchers. New design concepts are now focused on devices that have not to work despite the presence of quantum effects, but because of them. Solotronics is a relatively new field of optoelectronics that aims to exploit quantum effects at the ultimate limits of miniaturization. This technology seeks to provide a possibility to create in a controllable manner - and to manipulate - single dopants in solids in order to develop optoelectronic devices with only one dopant. To do that, it addresses single dopants placed in a semiconductor material with atomic precision.
Over the past few years, researchers have developed numerous methods for synthesizing graphene. The synthesis of high-quality graphene is usually prepared by a complex and costly process - epitaxial growth on transition metal surfaces via chemical vapor deposition using high-purity hydrocarbons as precursors. In new work, researchers demonstrate graphene synthesis by liquid precursor deposition, a process that may give access to a wider range of substrate materials for graphene growth.
One of the problems with activated carbon is the disposal of adsorbed contaminants along with the adsorbent. Another concern is that its pores are often blocked during adsorption. By contrast, carbon nanotubes' (CNTs) open structure offers easy, undisrupted access to reactive sites located on nanotubes' outer surface. That's why researchers see CNTs as an attractive potential substitute for activated carbon. Researchers now have demonstrated that individual CNTs can be integrated into micrometer-sized colloidal particles without using a heavy or bulky particulate support.