Archive for the ‘materials’ category: Page 6

Mar 24, 2023

Scientists discover easy way to make atomically-thin metal layers for new technology

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

The secret to a perfect croissant is the layers—as many as possible, each one interspersed with butter. Similarly, a new material with promise for new applications is made of many extremely thin layers of metal, between which scientists can slip different ions for various purposes. This makes them potentially very useful for future high-tech electronics or energy storage.

Until recently, these materials—known as MXenes, pronounced “max-eens”—were as labor-intensive as good croissants made in a French bakery.

But a new breakthrough by scientists with the University of Chicago shows how to make these MXenes far more quickly and easily, with fewer toxic byproducts.

Mar 23, 2023

A New Kind of Battery—Oxygen-Ion—Could Change Energy

Posted by in categories: energy, materials


It’s incredibly rechargeable, made from safe materials, and—get this—not going to catch on fire.

Mar 23, 2023

Breakthrough discovery in materials science challenges current understanding of photoemission

Posted by in categories: materials, science

What exactly is light—and what is it made of? It’s an age-old question that dates back to antiquity, and one of the most important investigations undertaken by scientists looking to understand the nature of reality.

Mar 22, 2023

Can Plastic Waste Go Away?

Posted by in category: materials

How do catalysts work? When exposed to a target material, the interaction alters the molecular structure of the target without changing the catalyst.

Instead of waste plastic ending up in our oceans and landfills, we can turn it into feedstock for new hydrocarbon-based materials.

Mar 18, 2023

“Off Switch” Makes Explosives Safer

Posted by in categories: materials, military

An explosive material fabricated with a highly porous structure is inactive but is easily “switched on” when filled with water.

Despite great effort, researchers have failed to find ways to make explosives entirely safe during storage yet still easily usable when needed. Now a research team has demonstrated an explosive with these properties by creating a highly porous structure for their explosive material [1]. The voids prevent the structure from supporting a sustained propagating wave of detonation, but filling the voids with water can quickly restore the explosive capacity. The researchers hope this technique can provide safer explosives for use in areas such as mining and oil exploration.

Storing highly explosive materials is inherently risky—in the military world, for example, over 500 accidental explosions occurred at munitions sites between 1979 and 2013, according to a survey [2]. These materials could be safer if they could be easily switched between an explosive-ready state and a “safe” state. “A switchable explosive is the holy grail of explosives research,” says chemist Alexander Mueller of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He and his colleagues believe that they are the first to achieve it.

Mar 17, 2023

The key to consciousness

Posted by in categories: materials, neuroscience

The relationship between the individual human subject and the world was once the central focus of Western philosophy. Modern neuroscience has instead tended to assume that the world is purely material and physical, and the problem of consciousness a question of how to generate thought from matter. Yet, we are no closer to solving the deep puzzle of consciousness and many argue that the American philosopher Thomas Nagel is right when he maintains that the question of consciousness ‘cannot be detached from subject and object’.

Is the notion that the world is purely material a fundamental mistake? Would we be more likely to unlock the mysteries of consciousness by once again adopting the framework of the subject and object? Or will slow, piecemeal advances in neuroscience and analytic philosophy eventually yield the answers that we have been searching for?

Revolutionary cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman (joining us live from across the pond), neuroscientist Hannah Critchlow and philosopher Sam Coleman battle to unlock consciousness. Hosted by award-winning novelist Joanna Kavenna.

Mar 17, 2023

2 Pairs of Gigantic Runaway Black Holes Spotted on Collision Course, And They’re Bringing Four Entire Galaxies With Them

Posted by in categories: cosmology, materials

Two pairs of gigantic black holes, each in a different dwarf galaxy, are speeding towards each other, and they’re set for two separate, never-before-seen collisions.

Astronomers used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to spot the four dwarf galaxy black holes racing towards each other, dragging an enormous train of gas and stars in their wake. Some of this material is already being sucked into the black holes, causing them to grow ever larger before their eventual crashes.

Mar 16, 2023

Scientists develop new lithium niobate laser technology

Posted by in category: materials

Scientists at EPFL and IBM have developed a new type of laser that could have a significant impact on optical ranging technology. The laser is based on a material called lithium niobate, often used in the field of optical modulators, which controls the frequency or intensity of light that is transmitted through a device.

Mar 16, 2023

Uploading your consciousness will never work, a neuroscientist explains

Posted by in categories: materials, neuroscience

1. The mind, brain, and body are inextricably linked

The idea that the mind and brain are separate is usually attributed to the 17th-century French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, who was what philosophers now call a substance dualist. Descartes believed that the mind and body are made of different substances: the body of a physical substance, and the mind of some mysterious, nonphysical material.

Today, most neuroscientists reject this idea. Modern brain research suggests that the mind is made of matter and emerges from brain activity. Even so, most still study the brain in isolation, without taking the body into consideration.

Mar 16, 2023

Stunning room-temperature-superconductor claim is retracted

Posted by in categories: materials, physics

Retraction undermines the bold claim by physicists who said their material conducted electricity without resistance at 15 ˚C.

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