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New way to pull lithium from water could increase supply, efficiency

Just a single week’s worth of water from hydraulic fracturing in Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale has the potential to produce enough lithium for 300 electric vehicle batteries or 1.7 million smartphones

14-Sep-2021

Anyone using a cellphone, laptop or electric vehicle depends on lithium. The element is in tremendous demand. And although the supply of lithium around the world is plentiful, getting access to it and extracting it remains a challenging and inefficient process. An interdisciplinary team of ...

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Scientists can predict and design single atom catalysts for important chemical reactions

Using fundamental calculations of molecular interactions, they created a catalyst with 100% selectivity in producing propylene

28-Jun-2021

Researchers at Tufts University, University College London (UCL), Cambridge University and University of California at Santa Barbara have demonstrated that a catalyst can indeed be an agent of change. In a study published in Science, they used quantum chemical simulations run on supercomputers to ...

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Less innocent than it looks

Hydrogen in hybrid perovskites: Researchers identify the defect that limits solar-cell performance

03-May-2021

Researchers in the materials department in UC Santa Barbara's College of Engineering have uncovered a major cause of limitations to efficiency in a new generation of solar cells. Various possible defects in the lattice of what are known as hybrid perovskites had previously been considered as the ...

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Toward a better battery

Materials scientists uncover source of degradation in sodium batteries

19-Jul-2019

Batteries power our lives: we rely on them to keep our cell phones and laptops buzzing and our hybrid and electric cars on the road. But ever-increasing adoption of the most commonly used lithium-ion batteries may actually lead to increased cost and potential shortages of lithium -- which is why ...

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Soft machines

A fast, low-voltage actuator for soft and wearable robotics

23-May-2018

In the world of robotics, soft robots are the new kids on the block. The unique capabilities of these automata are to bend, deform, stretch, twist or squeeze in all the ways that conventional rigid robots cannot. Today, it is easy to envision a world in which humans and robots collaborate -- in ...

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A crystal method

Unlocking another piece of the puzzle that is crystal growth

02-Feb-2018

From Mother Nature to our must-have devices, we're surrounded by crystals. Those courtesy of the former, such as ice and snow, can form spontaneously and symmetrically. But the silicon-based or gallium nitride crystals found in LEDs and other electronics require a bit of coaxing to attain their ...

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Hidden properties of solids

24-Nov-2017

Berry curvature may not be the most well-known scientific concept, but to many physicists, its direct measurement is something akin to a holy grail. A powerful unifying principle in several branches of classical and quantum physics, Berry curvature is a strange and elusive quantum mechanical ...

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Band Gaps, Made to Order

29-Sep-2017

Control is a constant challenge for materials scientists, who are always seeking the perfect material — and the perfect way of treating it — to induce exactly the right electronic or optical activity required for a given application. One key challenge to modulating activity in a semiconductor is ...

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Corrosion in real time

18-Sep-2017

What affects almost everything made of metal, from cars to boats to underground pipes and even the fillings in your teeth? Corrosion -- a slow process of decay. At a global cost of trillions of dollars annually, it carries a steep price tag, not to mention, the potential safety, environmental and ...

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Polymer pioneer

08-Jun-2017

Taking a transformative approach to functional materials, a UC Santa Barbara polymer chemist has created innovative results that feature new properties and new applications. Now, his methods have earned him the Charles G. Overberger International Prize for Excellence in Polymer Research from the ...

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