Staring at distant, faint objects to study the origins of the universe requires several layers of engineering skill and design trickery. The people at NASA are no strangers to this, having invented all sorts of new materials to improve telescopes and other observational tools.
Cables made out of nanowires could be just as efficient as the copper cables we’ve been using for more than a century, but at a fraction of the weight, according to a new paper. Braiding billions of carbon nanotubes into a nanowire cable can efficiently replace copper in a light bulb circuit.
Engineers at UCLA have created a proof-of-concept stretchable OLED display, the first of its kind. We keep a close eye on stretchable displays, since they're a major part of our vision of the future (fueled as it is by three separate viewings of Blade Runner during Hurricane Weekend), and this is a major step towards OLEDs that can bend, swell, shrink, and fold.
Building a synthetic brain is no easy undertaking, but researchers working on the problem have to start somewhere. In doing so, engineers at the University of Southern California have taken a huge step by building a synthetic synapse from carbon nanotubes.
Hydrophobic materials have all kinds of practical applications, from creating surfaces that never have to be cleaned to making supertankers and container ships glide more efficiently through the water. But practical applications aside, this amazing video from Caltech -- showing the crazy, beautiful ways water droplets interact with a carbon nanotube array --might be mistaken for art rather than science.
Batteries are the bane of all portable electronics. Bigger, heavier batteries make devices less portable, while smaller batteries lead to low performance or short battery life – or both. But while Stanford’s new lithium-ion batteries don’t necessarily cut down on footprint, they certainly cut down on mass; the new ultra-thin, rechargeable battery has been fabricated on a single sheet of paper, making it super-light, flexible, and as portable as a piece of A4.
Putting the right kind of strain on a patch of graphene can make super-strong pseudo-magnetic fields, a new study says. The finding sheds new light on the properties of electromagnetism, not to mention the odd properties of graphene, according to researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. When graphene is stretched to form "nanobubbles," the stress causes electrons to behave as if they were subject to huge magnetic fields, the size of which have never been seen in a lab before. The study is published today in the journal Science.
Michael Crommie, a senior scientist in the Materials Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab and a physics professor at the University of California-Berkeley, says this is a completely new effect that has no counterpart in any other condensed matter system.
Carbon nanotubes could provide better stealth technology for submarines, helping them to "see" other undersea objects while remaining invisible to enemy subs. A report in ACS Nano Letters details a new application of a previously-known property of sheets of carbon nanotubes just a fraction of the width of a human hair that nonetheless can generate sound and cancel out noise far better than current sound-generating tech.