Materials scientists have shown for the first time that the mother-of-pearl in clam shells does not form in a crystallisation process but is a result of the aggregation of nanoparticles within an organic matrix.
New research has led to the use of the nanoprobe to study how individual proteins interact with DNA. Invisible to the human eye, this tiny triangular probe can be captured using laser tweezers and then moved around inside a microscope chamber.
Damage developing in a material can be difficult to see until something breaks or fails. A new polymer damage indication system automatically highlights areas that are cracked, scratched or stressed, allowing engineers to address problem areas before they become more problematic.
Researchers have solved a problem in micro- and nanofabrication - how to quickly, gently and precisely handle tiny particles - that will allow researchers to more easily build tiny machines, biomedical sensors, optical computers, solar panels and other devices.
Perovskites, substances that perfectly absorb light, are the future of solar energy. The opportunity for their rapid dissemination has just increased thanks to a cheap and environmentally safe method of production of these materials. Rather than in solutions at a high temperature, perovskites can now be synthesized by solid-state mechanochemical processes: by grinding powders.
A new sponge-like material could have diverse and valuable real-life applications. The new elastomer could be used to create soft, tactile robots to help care for elderly people, perform remote surgical procedures or build highly sensitive prosthetic hands.
While lithium-ion batteries have transformed our everyday lives, researchers are currently trying to find new chemistries that could offer even better energy possibilities. One of these chemistries, lithium-air, could promise greater energy density but has certain drawbacks as well.