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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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Heavy Metal

13-Mar-2017

Roughly 13,000 years ago, large ice-age mammals known as megafauna —horses, camels, mammoths, mastodons and many others — suddenly disappeared in North America. At the same time, a widespread human culture vanished. Mounting scientific evidence suggests this happened in dramatic fashion by a ...

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In Flow State

03-Mar-2017

Ever wonder why you have to shake your bottle of ketchup or mustard before pouring? Or why, to get out of quicksand, you must move slowly? Or why you can run on the surface of a suspension of cornstarch in water, but you’d sink if you tried to walk on it? The common feature of all these ...

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In Great Shape

22-Feb-2017

In 2015 UC Santa Barbara mechanical engineer and materials scientist Jonathan Berger developed an idea that could change the way people think about high-performance structural materials. Two years later, his concept is paying research dividends. In a letter published in the journal Nature, ...

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