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What screens are made of

New twists (and bends) in LCD research

20-Apr-2016

Liquid crystals, discovered more than 125 years ago, are at work behind the screens of TV and computer monitors, clocks, watches and most other electronics displays, and scientists are still discovering new twists--and bends--in their molecular makeup. Liquid crystals are an exotic state of ...

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New fuel cell design powered by graphene-wrapped nanocrystals

15-Mar-2016

Hydrogen is the lightest and most plentiful element on Earth and in our universe. So it shouldn't be a big surprise that scientists are pursuing hydrogen as a clean, carbon-free, virtually limitless energy source for cars and for a range of other uses, from portable generators to ...

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A new spin on quantum computing

Scientists train electrons with microwaves

17-Feb-2016

In what may provide a potential path to processing information in a quantum computer, researchers have switched an intrinsic property of electrons from an excited state to a relaxed state on demand using a device that served as a microwave "tuning fork." The team's findings could also lead to ...

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'Lasers rewired': Scientists find a new way to make nanowire lasers

15-Feb-2016

The nanowires, with diameters as small as 200 nanometers and a blend of materials that has also proven effective in next-generation solar cell designs, were shown to produce very bright, stable laser light. Researchers say the excellent performance of these tiny lasers is promising for the field ...

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Key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories

08-Feb-2016

Scientists have for the first time reengineered a building block of a geometric nanocompartment that occurs naturally in bacteria. They introduced a metal binding site to its shell that will allow electrons to be transferred to and from the compartment. This provides an entirely new ...

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Graphene is strong, but is it tough?

08-Feb-2016

Graphene, a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, has been touted as the strongest material known to exist, 200 times stronger than steel, lighter than paper, and with extraordinary mechanical and electrical properties. But can it live up to its promise? Scientists at the U.S. ...

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Host-guest nanowires for efficient water splitting and solar energy storage

05-Feb-2016

California is committed to 33 percent energy from renewable resources by 2020. With that deadline fast approaching, researchers across the state are busy exploring options. Solar energy is attractive but for widespread adoption, it requires transformation into a storable form. Researchers report ...

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Polar vortices observed in ferroelectric

02-Feb-2016

The observation in a ferroelectric material of "polar vortices" that appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions holds intriguing possibilities for advanced electronic devices. These polar vortices, which were theoretically predicted more than a decade ago, could also "rewrite our ...

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Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials

29-Jan-2016

An international research team has simplified the steps to create highly efficient silicon solar cells by applying a new mix of materials to a standard design. Arrays of solar cells are used in solar panels to convert sunlight to electricity. The special blend of materials--which could also prove ...

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A nanoscale look at why a new alloy is amazingly tough

11-Jan-2016

Just in time for the icy grip of winter: A team of researchers led by scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has identified several mechanisms that make a new, cold-loving material one of the toughest metallic alloys ever. The alloy is made of chromium, ...

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