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Brushing thin films onto electrodes preserves batteries

A bit of brushing may be the secret to making better rechargeable lithium batteries


The Rice University lab of chemistJames Tourintroduced a technique to tune the surface of anodes for batteries by simply brushing powders into them. The powder adheres to the anode and becomes a thin, lithiated coating that effectively prevents the formation ofdamaging dendrites. A powder of ...


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2D boundaries could create electricity

Rice lab leads effort to generate thickness-independent piezoelectricity in atom-thick materials


There’s stillplenty of room at the bottomto generatepiezoelectricity. Engineers at Rice University and their colleagues are showing the way. A new study describes the discovery of piezoelectricity — the phenomenon by which mechanical energy turns into electrical energy — acrossphase ...


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Rice process aims to strip ammonia from wastewater

Ruthenium and copper catalyze a more environmentally friendly way to produce essential chemical


A dash ofrutheniumatoms on a mesh of copper nanowires could be one step toward a revolution in the global ammonia industry that also helps the environment. Collaborators at Rice University’sGeorge R. Brown School of Engineering,Arizona State Universityand Pacific Northwest National ...


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Treated plastic waste good at grabbing carbon dioxide

Rice University lab turns hard-to-process trash into carbon-capture master


Here’s another thing to do with that mountain of used plastic: make it soak up excess carbon dioxide. What seems like a win-win for a pair of pressing environmental problems describes a Rice University lab’s newly discovered chemical technique to turn waste plastic into an effective carbon ...


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Models for molecules show unexpected physics

Rice engineers show spinning magnetic particles surprisingly follow thermodynamic laws


Small spheres suspended in a liquid move enough like molecules that the physics for one can be used to mimic the physics of the other. That’s why the discovery of some unusual physics incolloids-- particles dispersed in a solution such asmilk, for example-- could be of interest to ...


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Rusting iron can be its own worst enemy

Simulations show iron catalyzes corrosion in 'inert' carbon dioxide


Iron that rusts in water theoretically shouldn’t corrode in contact with an “inert”supercritical fluidof carbon dioxide. But it does. The reason has eluded materials scientists to now, but a team at Rice University has a theory that could contribute to new strategies to protect iron from the ...


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Reversal speeds creation of important molecule

Rice's K.C. Nicolaou lab makes synthesis of halichondrin B more efficient


The story of halichondrin B, an inspirational molecule obtained from a marine creature, goes back to the molecule's discovery in an ocean sponge in 1986. Though it has been replicated in the laboratory several times before, new work by Rice University chemists could make halichondrin B and its ...


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New quantum material discovered

A research team came across a surprising form of "quantum criticality". This could lead to a design concept for new materials


In everyday life, phase transitions usually have to do with temperature changes – for example, when an ice cube gets warmer and melts. But there are also different kinds of phase transitions, depending on other parameters such as magnetic field. In order to understand the quantum properties of ...


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Cerium sidelines silver to make drug precursor

Rice University lab's process simplifies fluoroketone synthesis


Save your silver! It's better used for jewelry than as a catalyst for drugs. Rice University scientists have developed a greatly simplified method to make fluoroketones, precursors for drug design and manufacture that typically require a silver catalyst. Rice chemist Julian West and graduate ...


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A little soap simplifies making 2D nanoflakes

Rice lab's experiments refine processing of hexagonal boron nitride


Just a little soap helps clean up the challenging process of preparing two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). Rice University chemists have found a way to get the maximum amount of quality 2D hBN nanosheets from its natural bulk form by processing it with surfactant (aka soap) and water. ...


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