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Researchers have developed a microfluidic technique for fabricating a new class of metal-organic framework (MOF) membranes inside hollow polymer fibers that are just a few hundred microns in diameter. The new fabrication process, believed to be the first to grow MOF membranes inside hollow fibers, could potentially change the way large-scale energy-intensive chemical separations are done.
Nonlinear optical materials are widely used in laser systems. However, high light intensity and long propagation are required to produce strong nonlinear optical effects. Researchers created metamaterials with a million times stronger nonlinear optical response, compared to the traditional nonlinear materials, and demonstrated frequency conversion in films 100 times thinner than human hair using light intensity comparable to that of a laser pointer.
Optical imaging could become even more valuable if researchers could find a way for light to penetrate all the way through the body's tissues. Currently, passing through a fraction of an inch of skin is enough to scatter the light and scramble the image. Now researchers have developed a single-pixel optical system based on compressive sensing that can overcome the fundamental limitations imposed by this scattering.
Drawing inspiration from the structure of bones and bamboo, researchers have found that by gradually changing the internal structure of metals they can make stronger, tougher materials that can be customized for a wide variety of applications - from body armor to automobile parts.