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Nanotechnology Spotlights

Smart droplets clean and repair surfaces

nanoparticles_on_surfaceResearchers report a fluid-driven nanoparticle transportation clean-and-repair approach that reveals a novel self-healing system that conserves matter, behaves autonomously, and is implemented easily. Debris resting on a substrate is relocated, in one step, from undamaged to damaged regions of the substrate, using functional droplets that recognize and transport the nanoparticles. This simultaneous clean-and-repair approach...

Feb 19, 2019

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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....

Feb 13, 2019

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Printing solar cells and batteries on paper

Over the past ten years, paper has emerged as a focus area for researchers developing innovative techniques for printed basic electronics components. The goal of this research is to replace plastic substrates with low-cost, versatile and sustainable materials. The main advantages of investing in paper for electronics and energy storage devices are the low cost of the technology; the potentiality to recover device components...

Feb 07, 2019

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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...

Feb 04, 2019

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Material systems used in 4D printing

4D printing allows a 3D printed structure to change its configuration or function with time in response to external stimuli such as temperature, light, water, pH, etc. The basic idea is to manipulate materials at nano and micro levels in order to produce, via 3D printing, materials that can modify their structures over time at the macro level. Based on 4D printing, 3D printed objects from nano- to macroscale can be fabricated...

Jan 31, 2019

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From atoms to nanoparticles to living matter

nanoparticleWhereas the evolutionary path of the atomic world has occurred over billions of years, the evolutionary path of the synthetic nanoparticle world has just begun. Man-made nanoparticle assemblies are beginning to revolutionize different fields including thermoelectronics, photoelectronics, catalysts, energy generation and storage, as well as medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Using the unconventional approach of comparing...

Jan 22, 2019

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Super-stable antinomy carbon composite anodes to boost potassium storage performance

electrode_materialPotassium-ion batteries (PIBs) have been considered as promising alternatives to lithium-ion batteries due to the rich natural abundance of potassium and similar redox potential with Li+/Li. Recently, researchers have designed and fabricated a novel antimony carbon composite PIB anode via a facile and scalable electrospray-assisted strategy and found that this anode delivered super high specific capacities as well as cycling...

Jan 21, 2019

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Nanowire meshes to improve electrochemical devices

nanomeshBy re-designing interconnected nanowire networks, researchers fabricated novel nanostructured current collectors, which are the first to combine very high surface area, high porosity, substantially large pores and mechanical flexibility. Thanks to its ordered microstructure, the material can uniquely combine high porosity of cellular metal foams with high surface area of state-of-the-art nanoporous dealloyed metals, which...

Jan 18, 2019

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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....

Jan 17, 2019

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