Archive for the ‘materials’ category: Page 8

Apr 7, 2024

2D magnets could pave the way for green computing

Posted by in categories: computing, materials

A team of MIT researchers has addressed significant barriers to the practical application of 2D magnetic materials. This innovation will enable the development of the next generation of energy-efficient computers.

The team achieved a notable breakthrough by developing a “van der Waals atomically layered heterostructure” device. The device connects two 2D materials: tungsten ditelluride and iron gallium telluride, a 2D van der Waals magnet.

Apr 6, 2024

UE5-Made 3D Spruce Forest Scene With Next-Level Realism

Posted by in category: materials

MAWI United, a studio specializing in creating lifelike 3D environments, has once again pushed photorealism to the next level by presenting Dead Spruce Forest Tree Biome, a new procedural environment asset pack that lets you create AAA-quality forests in Unreal Engine 5.

Featuring over 200 photogrammetry-made plant, debris, and tree assets, as well as full Nanite support, the pack has everything you need to build next-level environments for your games and projects. As usual, MAWI’s latest creation comes with tools for procedural forest generation and interactive foliage and an advanced ground material with five different surface types (forest, meadow, wetland, stones, dirt) that automatically generates all the small ground cover and foliage.

Apr 6, 2024

Polar plastic: 97% of sampled Antarctic seabirds found to have ingested microplastics

Posted by in category: materials

Anthropogenic plastic pollution is often experienced through evocative images of marine animals caught in floating debris, yet its reach is far more expansive. The polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctica are increasingly experiencing the impacts of plastic reaching floating ice and land, not solely as larger macroplastics (>5 cm), but as microplastics (0.1 µm—5 mm) and nanoplastics (<0.1 µm) that may be carried vast distances from their source or be ingested in more populated areas during seasonal migration.

Apr 6, 2024

Grimshaw and UEL develop sugarcane-waste construction blocks

Posted by in categories: materials, sustainability

Using sugarcane waste as bricks for construction.

Architecture studio Grimshaw and the University of East London have collaborated to create Sugarcrete, a biomaterial construction block with an interlocking shape made from the sugarcane by-product bagasse.

Sugarcrete was developed to be a low-cost and low-carbon reusable construction-material alternative to brick and concrete.

Continue reading “Grimshaw and UEL develop sugarcane-waste construction blocks” »

Apr 5, 2024

Intelligent Liquid” Created by Harvard Scientists Represents Strange “New Class of Fluid

Posted by in categories: materials, robotics/AI

Harvard researchers say they have developed a programmable metafluid they are calling an ‘intelligent liquid’ that contains tunable springiness, adjustable optical properties, variable viscosity, and even the seemingly magical ability to shift between a Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluid.

The team’s exact formula is still a secret as they explore potential commercial applications. However, the researchers believe their intelligent liquid could be used in anything from programmable robots to intelligent shock absorbers or even optical devices that can shift between transparent and opaque states.

“We are just scratching the surface of what is possible with this new class of fluid,” said Adel Djellouli, a Research Associate in Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering at Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the first author of the paper. “With this one platform, you could do so many different things in so many different fields.”

Apr 4, 2024

Shape Matters in Self-Assembly

Posted by in categories: biological, materials

Many biological structures form through the self-assembly of molecular building blocks. A new theoretical study explores how the shape of these building blocks can affect the formation rate [1]. The simplified model shows that hexagonal blocks can form large structures much faster than triangular or square blocks. The results could help biologists explain cellular behavior, while also giving engineers inspiration for more efficient self-assembly designs.

Certain viruses and cellular structures are made from self-assembling pieces that can be characterized by geometrical shapes. For example, some types of bacteria host carboxysomes, which are icosahedral (20-face) compartments built up from self-assembling hexagonal and pentagonal subunits.

To investigate the role of shape, Florian Gartner and Erwin Frey from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich simulated self-assembly of two-dimensional structures with three types of building blocks: triangles, squares, and hexagons. The model assumed that the blocks bind along their edges, but these interactions are reversible, meaning that the resulting structures can fall apart before growing very large. Gartner and Frey found that certain shapes were better than others at assembling into larger structures, as they tended to form intermediate structures with more bonds around each block. In particular, hexagonal blocks were the most efficient building material, forming 1000-piece structures at a rate that was 10,000 times faster than triangular blocks.

Apr 4, 2024

A Counterintuitive Set of Tunneling Effects Observed at Last

Posted by in categories: energy, materials

Graphene is the setting for the first demonstration of relativistic electrons’ paradoxical ability to whiz through a barrier, provided the barrier is high enough.

If an electron in a material has a speed that is independent of its energy and if it encounters a barrier head on, it can tunnel straight through. Derived by theorist Oskar Klein in 1929, this counterintuitive finding remained little tested in the lab because it is hard to make electrons approach a barrier head on and to stop them scattering off the edges of the sample. Now Mirza Elahi of the University of Virginia and his collaborators have observed evidence of Klein tunneling in monolayer graphene. What’s more, they also observed the opposite effect, anti-Klein tunneling, in bilayer graphene. In anti-Klein tunneling, head-on electrons do not tunnel at all, while others approaching the barrier at an intermediate angle do [1].

Graphene’s hexagonal lattice can be thought of as two identical interpenetrating triangular sublattices. One consequence of that view is that graphene’s charge carriers—electrons that hop between the two sublattices—behave as if massless and relativistic at low energies. Another consequence is that the two sublattices bestow on the electrons a chiral property, pseudospin, that resembles spin, which controls the nature of the transmission across the barrier.

Apr 4, 2024

Unlocking exotic physics: Exploring graphene’s topological bands in super-moiré structures

Posted by in categories: materials, physics

In a new study, scientists from Singapore and Spain have presented a new avenue for exploring exotic physics in graphene. They focus on electronic interactions in graphene when it is sandwiched in a three-layer structure which provides a platform to exploit unique electronic band configurations.

Apr 4, 2024

Unlocking the Secrets of Strength Through 3D Crack Analysis

Posted by in categories: engineering, materials

The last time you dropped a favorite mug or sat on your glasses, you may have been too preoccupied to take much notice of the intricate pattern of cracks that appeared in the broken object. But capturing the formation of such patterns is the specialty of John Kolinski and his team at the Laboratory of Engineering Mechanics of Soft Interfaces (EMSI) in EPFL’s School of Engineering. They aim to understand how cracks propagate in brittle solids, which is essential for developing and testing safe and cost-effective composite materials for use in construction, sports, and aerospace engineering.

Apr 4, 2024

Electrically Tunable Metasurfaces: Liquid Crystal Alignment by Dielectric Meta-Atoms

Posted by in categories: materials, particle physics

Dielectric metasurfaces, known for their low loss and subwavelength scale, are revolutionizing optical systems by allowing multidimensional light modulation. Researchers have now innovated in this field by developing a liquid crystal-based dielectric metasurface that streamlines manufacturing and enhances device performance.

Dielectric metasurfaces represent one of the cutting-edge research and application directions in the current optical field. They not only possess the advantage of low loss but also enable the realization of device thicknesses at subwavelength scales. Moreover, they can freely modulate light in multiple dimensions such as amplitude, phase, and polarization. This capability, which traditional optics lacks, holds significant importance for the integration, miniaturization, and scaling of future optical systems. Consequently, dielectric metasurfaces have attracted increasing industrial attention.

In this study, Professor Daping Chu’s team at the University of Cambridge developed a novel liquid crystal-based tunable dielectric metasurface. By leveraging the dielectric metasurface’s inherent alignment effect on liquid crystals on top of its electrically controllable properties, the need for liquid crystal alignment layer materials and related processes is eliminated, thus saving device manufacturing time and costs. This has practical implications for devices such as liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS).

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