Nanowire cooling

Flexible electrocaloric fabric of nanowire array can cool.
Image: Qing Wang/Penn State

The utilization of nanowires has opened a new branch of science for many researchers. While some have focused on applying this technology to energy systems, researchers from Penn State are using the nanowires to develop solid state personal cooling systems.

A new study from the university shows that nanowires could help develop a material for lightweight cooling systems, which could be incorporated into firefighting gear, athletic uniforms, and other wearables.

“Most electrocaloric ceramic materials contain lead,” says Qing Wang, professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State. “We try not to use lead. Conventional cooling systems use coolants that can be environmentally problematic as well. Our nanowire array can cool without these problems.”

This from Penn State:

Electrocaloric materials are nanostructured materials that show a reversible temperature change under an applied electric field. Previously available electrocaloric materials were single crystals, bulk ceramics, or ceramic thin films that could cool, but are limited because they are rigid, fragile, and have poor processability. Ferroelectric polymers also can cool, but the electric field needed to induce cooling is above the safety limit for humans.

(more…)

Improving Energy Storage

Nanoparticles have been central to many recent developments, including computing, communications, energy, and biology. However, because nanoparticles are hard to observe, it’s often difficult to pick the best shapes and sizes to perform specific tasks at optimal capacity.

That may be a problem no longer thanks to research out of Stanford University, where researchers gazed inside phase-changing nanoparticles for the first time – allowing them to understand how shape and crystallinity can have dramatic effects on performance.

Practically, this means that the design of energy storage materials could begin to change.

Take the lithium-ion battery, which stores and releases energy due to the electrode’s ability to sustain large deformations over several charge and discharge cycles without degrading. By nanosizing the electrode, researchers recently improved upon the efficiency process.

(more…)

Nanostructures

Nanostructures on the surface of the fabric.
Image: Queensland University of Technology

Oil spills have had an extensive history of disrupting the environment, killing ecosystems, and displacing families. Impacts of massive oil spills are still felt in many parts of the world, including the undersea spill at the BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that dumped an approximate 39 million gallons of oil into the gulf.

But what if these devastating oil spills could be easily cleaned up with a piece of fabric rooted in electrochemistry?

That may be a reality soon thanks to researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). According to a release, the QUT researchers have developed a multipurpose fabric covered with semi-conducting nanostructures that can both mop up oil and degrade organic matter when exposed to light.

(READ: “Superhydrophobic Fabrics for Oil/Water Separation Based on the Metal-Organic Charge-Transfer Complex CuTCNAQ“)

The fabric, which repels water and attracts oil, has already has promising preliminary results. In the early stages of research, the scientists have already been able to mop up crude oil from the surface of both fresh and salt water.

(more…)

Bruce Weisman, chemistry and materials science professor at Rice University, is internationally recognized for his contributions to the spectroscopy and photophysics of carbon nanostructures. He is a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy, leading the discovery and interpretation of near-infrared fluorescence for semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Aside from his work at Rice University, Weisman is also the founder and president of Applied NanoFluorescence.

Weisman is currently the Division Chair of the ECS Nanocarbons Division, which will be celebrating 25 years of nanocarbons symposia at the upcoming 229th ECS Meeting in San Diego, CA, May 2016. Since starting in 1991, the symposia has totaled 5,853 abstracts at ECS biannual meetings, with Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley delivering the inaugural talk.

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free through the iTunes Store, SoundCloud, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher.

Glucose monitoring has had a long history with electrochemical science and technology. While ECS Honorary Member Adam Heller’s continuous glucose monitoring system for diabetes management may be the first innovation that comes to mind, there is a new electrochemical bio-sensing tool on the horizon.

(WATCH: ECS Masters – Adam Heller)

Researchers have combined graphene with a tiny amount of gold to enhance the wonder material’s properties and develop a flexible skin patch to monitor blood glucose and automatically administer drugs as needed.

This from Extreme Tech:

[As] cool as a non-invasive blood-glucose monitor is, it’s nearly as revolutionary as what comes next: treatment. The patch is studded with “microneedles” that automatically cap themselves with a plug of tridecanoic acid. When high blood-glucose levels are detected, the patch heats a small heater on the needles which deforms the plug and allows the release of metformin, a common drug for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Cooling naturally restores the plug and stops drug release.

Read the full article.

This development is a huge stepping stone in the transformation of graphene as a laboratory curiosity to a real product. While it has taken a while due to the questions of the new material’s intrinsic properties, researchers believe that graphene-based products could soon be hitting the market.

Measuring the pH level of a solution is usually a relatively simple process. However, that process begins to get more complicated as things get smaller.

Examining changes in acidity or alkalinity at the nanoscale, for example, has been a nearly impossible feat for researchers. Now, a team from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, including 11 year ECS member Gunter Wittstock, has developed a novel method of pH measurement at the nanoscale.

The group has developed a nanosensor with the ability to continuously monitor changes in pH levels.

This from the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw:

Used as a scanning electrochemical microscope probe, it allows for the precise measurement of changes in acidity/alkalinity occurring over very small fragments of the surface of a sample immersed in a solution. The spatial resolution here is just 50 nm, and in the future, it can be reduced even further.

Read the full article.

“The ability to monitor changes in the acidity or alkalinity of solutions at the nanoscale, and thus over areas whose dimensions can be counted in billionths of a meter, is an important step toward better understanding of many chemical processes. The most obvious examples here are various kinds of catalytic reactions or pitting corrosion, which begins on very small fragments of a surface,” said Marcin Opallo, lead author in the study.

The team hopes that this new method could lead to monitoring of pH changes taking place in the vicinity of individual chemical molecules.

Do you want to be forever externalized? Then look no further than this new quartz coin that can store the history of humankind for 14 billion years.

As if the previous breakthrough of quartz glass storage that yielded a self-life of 300 million years wasn’t enough, the new research take nanotechnology to a whole new level.

To understand exactly how long 14 million years is, check out these stats via Futurism:

  • Age of Earth: 4.534 billion years
  • Age of the Universe: 13.82 billion years

The research comes out of Southampton University, where the group has essentially developed a way to fit on just one sliver of nanostructured quartz 350TB of information.

This form Futurism:

The technique uses femtosecond laser pulses to write data in the 3D structure of quartz at the nanoscale. The pulses create three layers of nanostructred dots, each just microns above the other. The changes in the structure can be read by interrogating the sample with another pulse of light and recording the orientation of the waves after they’ve passed through.

Read the full article.

At the very least, this development in 5D storage will change the way we archive historical information.

Rusnanoprize Awarded to ECS Members

id41860Two ECS members were recently awarded the 2015 RUSNANOPRIZE Nanotechnology International Prize for their work in developing nanostructured carbon materials, which have facilitated the commercialization and wide-use of supercapacitors in energy storage, automotive, and many other industries. The organization honored Yury Gogotsi and Patrice Simon for their exemplary research in this field.

The RUSNANOPRIZE Nanotechnology International Prize, established in 2009, is presented annually to those working on nanotechnology projects that have substantial economic or social potential. The prize is aimed to promote successful commercialization of novel technology and strengthening collaboration in the field of nanotechnology.

Yury Gogotsi is a professor at Drexel University and director of the Anthony J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute. Among his most notable accomplishments, Gogotsi was a member of a team that discovered a novel family of two-dimensional carbides and nitrides, which have helped open the door for exceptional energy storage devices. Additionally, Gogotsi’s hand in discovering and describing new forms of carbon and the development of a “green” supercapacitor built of environmentally friendly materials has advanced the field of energy technology.

Gogotsi is a Fellow of ECS and is currently the advisor of the Drexel ECS Student Chapter.

Patrice Simon is a professor at Paul Sabatier University. As a materials scientist and electrochemist, Simon has special interest in designing the next generation of batteries and supercapacitors. As the leader of the French Network on Electrochemical Energy Storage, Simon is making strides in developing next-gen technology through combining 17 labs and 15 companies in an effort to apply novel principals to issues in energy storage and technology. As an internationally recognized leader in the field of nanotechnology for energy storage, Simon’s work focuses on benefiting the entire energy storage industry.

Simon has been a member of ECS for 15 years.

ICYMI: Find other ECS researchers are doing in the world of nanocarbons.

Solar Cells Take Inspiration from Art

One of the more common issues with solar cell efficiency is their inability to move with the sun as it crosses the sky. While large scale solar panels can be fitted with bulky motorized trackers, those with rooftop solar panels do not have that luxury. In an effort to solve this issues, researchers are drawing some inspiration from art in their mission toward higher solar efficiency.

Scientists are applying some of the shapes and designs from the ancient art of kirigami—the Japanese art of paper cutting—to develop a solar cell that can capture up to 36 percent more energy due to the design’s ability to grab more sun.

“The design takes what a large tracking solar panel does and condenses it into something that is essentially flat,” said Aaron Lamoureux, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering and first author on the paper.

In the United States alone, there are currently over 20,000 MW of operational solar capacity. Nearly 640,000 U.S. homes have opted to rely on solar power. However, if the home panels were able to follow the sun’s movement on a daily basis, we could see a dramatic increase in efficiency and usage.

(more…)

Member Spotlight – Chennupati Jagadish

jagadishECS Fellow Chennupati Jagadish has been awarded the IEEE Nanotechnology Pioneer Award for his outstanding contributions to compound semiconductor nanowire and quantum dot optoelectronics.

Dr. Jagadish is a Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor at the Australian National University, where he has made major advances in compound semiconductor quantum dot and nanowire growth techniques and optoelectronic devices.

Previously, Dr. Jagadish was awarded the ECS Electronics and Photonics Division Award for his excellence in electronics research outstanding technical contribution to the field of electronics science.

Throughout his scientific career, Dr. Jagadish has published more than 620 research papers—some of which can be found in the Digital Library—and has 5 U.S. patents.

Some of Dr. Jagadish’s current research focuses on nanostructured photovoltaics, which provides novel concepts to produce a more efficient solar cell.

  • Page 2 of 4