Nanotechnology Spotlight – Latest Articles

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Plate-like ferroelectric crystals synthesized with the help of MXenes

2D_ferroelectric_crystalPotassium niobate (KNbO3) is a a perovskite ferroelectric crystal that, due to its optical properties, has been found useful in many different areas of materials science research, including electro-optics, piezoelectric, and electronic applications. Researchers have now, for the first time, succeeded in producing large KNbO3 crystals with uniform flat shape, and c-axis texture, which makes the crystals useful for practical electro-optic applications. By using MXenes as precursor materials to grow ferroelectric crystals, their 2D nature is inherited by the ferroelectric crystals.

Feb 25th, 2019

Defect-free graphene might solve lithium-metal batteries' dendrite problem

electrode_dendriteThe formation of dendrites on the metal electrodes of lithium metal batteries causes safety and performance concerns. To avoid dendrites, researchers are experimenting with new battery electrolyte chemistries, new separator technologies, and new physical hosts for the lithium metal. Researchers now have discovered a key design rule for Li metal batteries: If you want to suppress dendrites, you have to use a defect-free host. More generally, carbon defects catalyze dendrite growth in metal anodes.

Feb 13th, 2019

Large-scale synthesis of metal nanoclusters with thermal shocks

nanoclusterResearchers report significant advances in developing a high-temperature, fast nanomanufacturing technique for the large-scale production of ultra small metal nanoclusters decorated in a graphene host matrix. The size and morphology of the metal nanoclusters can be controlled by varying the reaction temperature and the mass loading of metal salt in the graphene aerosol nanoreactors. This one-step continuous aerosol-based thermal shock technique offers considerable potential for the manufacturing of well-dispersed and uniform nanoclusters stabilized within a host matrix.

Feb 4th, 2019

Graphene researchers are inspired by spider webs

graphene_meshMotivated by the high level of flexibility exhibited by spider webs, scientists have developed a novel design for highly flexible and sensitive piezoresistive sensors based on an elastomer-filled graphene-woven fabric (E-GWF) structure. This technique mimics the distinct core-shell structure of spider webs. This fabrication method could also be extended to other 1D and 2D materials for many emerging practical applications. In addition to excellent sensing capability, the E-GWF also shows unusual switching behavior at large strains owing to the reversible cracking and reconnection of interconnected graphene tubes.

Jan 17th, 2019

Research highlights sustained electron transport kinetics of graphites for at least 9 weeks

electron_transportSluggish electron transport kinetics - also known as aging - has hindered the application of graphene, for example, as transparent photodiode sensors in optoelectronics, graphites for effective use as oxygen reducing agents in fuel cells and so many other applications that involve fast heterogeneous electron transport and even increased capacitance. Scientists now report a breakthrough solution to the oxidation-induced sluggish electron transport in graphite (and even graphene).

Jan 8th, 2019

Graphene and other 2D materials for advanced solar cells

graphene_photovoltaicsDue to their excellent electron-transport properties and extremely high carrier mobility, graphene and other other direct bandgap monolayer materials such as transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) and black phosphorus show great potential to be used for low-cost, flexible, and highly efficient photovoltaic devices. A recent review provides a comprehensive overview on the current state-of-the-art of 2D-materials-based solar photovoltaics. It describes the recent progress made with graphene, graphene-based materials, and other 2D materials for solar photovoltaics, including silicon-based solar cells, and organic and perovskite solar cells.

Jan 7th, 2019

Broadband nonlinear photoresponse of 2D titanium disulfide for ultrashort pulse generation and all-optical thresholding devices

photoresponseMotivated by the outstanding performance of graphene, graphene-like 2D materials have been intensively investigated, such as topological insulators, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) and black phosphorous. Recently, 2D titanium disulfide, a typical TMD, is found to have strong light absorption properties from visible to infrared region, which is highly attractive for applications in nonlinear photonics. Researchers have fabricated a novel saturable absorber device is successfully fabricated based on 2D TiS2 nanosheets for ultrashort pulse generation and all-optical thresholding at the communication band.

Dec 27th, 2018

Scalable engineering of 2D porous carbons from solid-state mechanical grinding/ball milling

2D_carbonDue to the unique physical and chemical characteristics, such as good electrical conductivity, low weight, large surface areas, high electrochemical activity, and facile doping of heteroatoms or inorganic species, there are increasing demands of fabricating two-dimensional (2D) porous carbon for lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors, electrochemical catalysts and many other emerged applications in energy storage and conversion. Researchers now have developed a fast, scalable, and eco-friendly active-salt-templating strategy to engineer different types of 2D porous carbons.

Dec 21st, 2018