Figuring out the necessary composition and internal structure to create the unusual properties of metamaterials is a challenge but new research, borrowing concepts from binary computing, presents a way of simplifying things.
Nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamonds could be used to construct vital components for quantum computers. But hitherto it has been impossible to read optically written information from such systems electronically. Using a graphene layer, researchers have now implemented just such a read unit.
Scientists have produced a three-dimensional structure with long-range magnetic order by combining a two-dimensional layer magnet and a one-dimensional columnar magnetic system. In the resulting pillared layer framework, the pillars determine the interactions between individual layers, enabling spontaneous magnetization.
The resolution of scanning tunnelling microscopes can be improved dramatically by attaching small molecules or atoms to their tip. The resulting images were the first to show the geometric structure of molecules and have generated a lot of interest among scientists over the last few years.
Solar cells can only use photons with energies above a specific threshold to generate electricity. A German-Australian research collaboration has now combined solar cells with an organic material which can 'add up' low-energy photons to yield higher-energy light, which can then be harvested by the solar cell.
New catalysts have potential to greatly reduce processing costs in future fuels like hydrogen. The catalysts are composed of a unique structure of single gold atoms bound by oxygen to sodium or potassium atoms, supported on non-reactive silica materials. They demonstrate comparable activity and stability with catalysts comprising precious metal nanoparticles on rare earth and other reducible oxide supports when used in producing highly purified hydrogen.