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MATERIALS, CHEMICALS, COATINGS NEWS
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Terahertz, IR Beams Detect Trace Gases at a Distance
DURHAM, N.C., Dec. 17, 2014 — A combination of IR and terahertz radiation (T-rays) is giving scientists a nose-up on toxic gases. This technology is able to sniff out even trace amounts of harmful gases — from chemical spill effects to nerve gas attacks — in the air from up to 1 km away. Researchers at Duke University and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), had a hand in developing the technology, which can differentiate between various types of...

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QD Solution Provides Spray-On Solar Power
TORONTO, Dec. 9, 2014 — A technique akin to spray painting could be used to create a new wave of solar cells. A team from the University of Toronto’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the IBM Canada Research and Development Center...
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Transparent Spheres Simplify 3-D Nanolithography
RALEIGH, N.C., Dec. 9, 2014 — A photolithography technique using nanospheres could make fabrication of 3-D structures easier, and at lower costs. The new technique, developed by a team from North Carolina State University and based on oblique illumination of colloidal...

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Ultratech Sues Ensure NanoTech, Alleging Patent Infringement
SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 9, 2014 — Ultratech Inc. has sued a former distributor, claiming it stole and is now marketing proprietary optical thin-film deposition technology. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Northern District of California, levels charges against...
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‘Digital’ Metamaterials Constructed from the Bit Up
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 2, 2014 — There could be a simpler way to create metamaterials, ultimately leading to light-bending invisibility cloaks and other seemingly impossible devices. A team from the University of Pennsylvania has discovered that a metamaterial with a given...

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Coating Reflects Sunlight, Radiates Heat to Cool Buildings
STANDFORD, Calif., Nov. 26, 2014 — A thin-film coating has the potential to cool buildings by simultaneously radiating heat from inside and reflecting sunlight. The photonic radiative cooling material reflects incoming sunlight (the sun’s reflection seen on the...
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Graphene Phenomenon Could Enable New Lasers
DRESDEN, Germany, Nov. 25, 2014 — Understanding the dynamics of electrons in graphene under strong magnetic fields could lead to development of new types of broadband lasers. An international team led by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) exposed graphene to a...

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Optex Systems Acquires L-3’s Applied Optics Center for $1M
RICHARDSON, Texas, Nov. 17, 2014 — Seeking to branch out beyond military contracts, Optex Systems has acquired Applied Optics Center, formerly a division of L-3 Communications, for $1,013,053. Applied Optics Center designs and manufactures complex thin-film coatings and...
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New Class of Material Simulated in Laser Trap
ZURICH, Nov. 14, 2014 — Laser “honeycombs” have enabled the simulation of theoretical materials with curious properties. By aligning multiple laser beams in such a way that they create standing waves with a hexagonal pattern, a team from ETH...

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Laser Detects Methane Leaks
FREIBURG, Germany, Nov. 13, 2014 — A new laser system can detect biogas and natural gas that escape through leaks in gas lines or fermenters at biogas plants. A team led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM developed the system, which can...
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Laser Trap Studies Asthma Drug’s Journey from Inhaler to Lung
CAMBRIDGE, England, Nov. 13, 2014 — More efficient asthma treatments could be possible thanks to a laser “trap” that examines how drug particles expelled from inhalers behave as they enter the respiratory tract. Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the...

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Light Damps 2-D Semiconductor Conductivity
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 7, 2014 — While light enhances the conductivity of most semiconductors, it has the opposite effect on 2-D molybdenum disulfide. A team from MIT and Harvard University discovered the phenomenon, in which intense laser pulses reduced by about...
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Microscopy Aids Single-Cell, Whole-Body Imaging
TOKYO and SAITAMA, Japan, Nov. 6, 2014 — A microscopy and imaging technique could make tissue and potentially whole organisms transparent. A team at the Riken Quantitative Biology Center and the University of Tokyo developed the method — CUBIC (Clear, Unobstructed Brain...

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Sunlight, Nanoparticles Break Down Pollutants
WEST BENGAL, India, Nov. 6, 2014 — A class of pollutants that negatively affect hormones can be broken down using nanoparticles and sunlight. Researchers from the Center for Advanced Materials at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science developed the method,...
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MAC Thin Films Open for Business
SANTA ROSA, Calif., Nov. 4, 2014 — JDSU spinoff MAC Thin Films Inc. has begun operations, offering coatings for displays and other applications. Mark Madigan, former marketing and product management executive at JDSU, is the new company’s CEO. At the new...

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Solar Cell Fabrication Technique Uses Impure Silicon
TRONDHEIM, Norway, Oct. 30, 2014 — Less-expensive raw materials in lower quantities could mean fewer production steps in manufacturing solar panels — and potentially lower energy consumption. A team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has...
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Magnetic Mirror Reflects Light in New Ways
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 16, 2014 — A new magnetic mirror uses non-metallic metamaterial properties to reflect IR light. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories developed the magnetic mirror by placing nanoscale antennas at or very near the mirror’s surface, thereby...

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Plasmon Laser Demonstrates Fastest Switching Speed
LONDON and JENA, Germany, Oct. 9, 2014 — A new plasmon semiconductor laser has demonstrated ultrafast switching speeds and is being touted as the world’s fastest. The laser was created at Imperial College London and Friedrich Schiller University Jena using semiconductor...
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Solar Cell Stores Energy, Too
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 7, 2014 — Solar cells could soon double as rechargeable batteries, greatly enhancing their power and efficiency. Developed by a team at The Ohio State University, a new hybrid device combines a battery with a solar cell. The researchers said the new...

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Thermophotovoltaic System Exhibits Better Absorption
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 1, 2014 — A 2-D photonic crystal could prove key in advancing the absorption and use of solar energy. The new material, developed by researchers at MIT, is a metallic-dielectric crystal that absorbs sunlight from a wide range of angles and can...
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Ultrathin Films Color Rough, Flexible Surfaces
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 2, 2014 — Researchers can now “paint” rough, flexible surfaces through the phenomenon of thin-film interference. A team at Harvard University demonstrated that ultrathin optical coatings can display strong optical interference effects on...

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Gold Nanoclusters Enhance Solar Power
LONDON, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 30, 2014 — Gold nanoclusters could improve solar cell performance by more than 10 percent. A nanocluster made of just 144 gold atoms was used as a building block in the creation of a flexible network of plasmonic antennas that attracted extra light to...
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Deposition Technique Enables Large-Scale MoS2 Fabrication
SOUTHAMPTON, England, Sept. 24, 2014 — A new technique for fabricating larger amounts of molybdenum disulfide than previously possible could lead to an expanded array of optoelectronic devices. The technique involves depositing nanoscale MoS2 thin films on a variety of...

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Inorganic Semiconductors Guide New Optoelectronic Devices
SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 22, 2014 — Inorganic compound semiconductors could potentially replace those developed with organic materials. A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) has grown gallium nitride (GaN) microrods on graphene substrates, which may ultimately...
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New Polymer Mix Crafts More Efficient Solar Cells
CHICAGO and LEMONT, Ill., Sept. 22, 2014 — An enhanced polymer-based device could boost solar power generation and improve the efficiency of solar cells. The new device, developed by a team from the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering in collaboration...






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