Electrically controlled glasses with continuously adjustable transparency, new polarisation filters, and even chemosensors capable of detecting single molecules of specific chemicals could be fabricated thanks to a new polymer unprecedentedly combining optical and electrical properties.
Researchers have shown the ability to grow high quality, single-layer materials one on top of the other using chemical vapor deposition. This highly scalable technique, often used in the semiconductor industry, can produce new materials with unique properties that could be applied to solar cells, ultracapacitors for energy storage, or advanced transistors for energy efficient electronics, among many other applications.
The University of Chicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering will build a major new facility for nanoscale fabrication within the William Eckhardt Research Center, supported by a $15 million gift from the Pritzker Foundation.
A good connection between carbon-based materials and external metallic leads is of major importance in nanodevice performance, an aspect where an important step has been surmounted by researchers by studying contacts of carbon nanostructures with atoms of different chemical nature.
A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like graphene and carbon nanotubes, has unique physical properties leading to applications in areas as diverse as energy and medicine.
A quasiparticle called an exciton - responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits - has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within materials has never been directly observed.
The Nanophotonics Group of the Laser Zentrum Hannover has developed a method to print nanoparticles made of different materials with controlled, reproducible sizes and to precisely deposit these particles on a receiver substrate. As a result, for the first time, the scientists succeeded in generating and positioning perfectly round silicon nanoparticles with a diameter of 165 nm.
Research into using metamaterials in optics has already produced the possibility of an invisibility cloak. To take these ideas further into allied areas of advanced materials GBP 2.5 million is being invested by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.