Nanofiber Membranes Transformed Into 3D Scaffolds

Researchers combined gas foaming and 3D molding technologies to quickly transform electrospun membranes into complex 3D shapes for biomedical applications. The new approach demonstrates significant improvements in speed and quality compared with other methods, and is the first successful demonstration of formation of 3D neural tissue constructs with an ordered structure through differentiation of human neural progenitor/stem cells on these transformed 3D nanofiber scaffolds. They discuss their work in this week’s Applied Physics Reviews.

Read more

Broadband Enhancement Relies on Precise Tilt

If a photon source could be placed on a single chip and made to produce photons at a high rate, this could enable high-speed quantum communication or information processing. In Applied Physics Reviews, a simple on-chip photon source using a hyperbolic metamaterial is proposed, and investigators carried out calculations to show that a prototype arranged in a precise way can overcome problems of low efficiency and allow for high repetition rates for on-chip photon sources.

Read more

Emerging Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Devices Based on Silicon Carbide May Revolutionize Power Electronics

Silicon plays a central role within the semiconductor industry for microelectronic and nanoelectronic devices, and silicon wafers of high purity single-crystalline material can be obtained via a combination of liquid growth methods. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers describe the atomic mechanisms governing extended defect kinetics in cubic silicon carbide, which has a diamondlike zincblende crystal structure that manifests stacking and anti-phase instabilities. The study pinpoints the atomistic mechanisms responsible for extended defect generation and evolution.

Read more

Organic Memory Devices Show Promise for Flexible, Wearable, Personalized Computing

The advent of artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things is expected to change modern electronics. The pressing question for many researchers is how to handle this technological revolution. Brain-inspired electronics with organic memristors could offer a functionally promising and cost- effective platform. Since memristors are functionally analogous to the operation of neurons, the computing units in the brain, they are optimal candidates for brain-inspired computing platforms.

Read more

Inverse Design Software Automates Design Process for Optical, Nanophotonic Structures

Stanford University researchers created an inverse design codebase called SPINS that can help researchers explore different design methodologies to find fabricable optical and nanophotonic structures. In the journal Applied Physics Reviews, Logan Su and colleagues review inverse design’s potential for optical and nanophotonic structures, as well as present and explain how to use their own inverse design codebase.

Read more

Simple Self-Charging Battery Offers Power Solutions for Devices

A new type of battery combines negative capacitance and negative resistance within the same cell, allowing the cell to self-charge without losing energy, which has important implications for long-term storage and improved output power for batteries. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers at the University of Porto and the University of Texas at Austin report making their very simple battery with two different metals, as electrodes and a lithium or sodium glass electrolyte between them.

Read more

Highly Sensitive Sensors Show Promise in Enhancing Human Touch

People rely on a highly tuned sense of touch to manipulate objects, but injuries to the skin and the simple act of wearing gloves can impair this ability. In this week’s Applied Physics Reviews, scientists report the development of a new tactile-enhancement system based on a highly sensitive sensor. The sensor has remarkable sensitivity, allowing the wearer to detect the light brush of a feather. This crack-based sensor was inspired by a spider’s slit organ.

Read more

Reinventing the Computer: Brain-Inspired Computing for a Post-Moore’s Law Era

Since 1947, computing development has seen a consistent doubling of the number of transistors that can fit on a chip. But that trend, Moore’s Law, may reach its limit as components of submolecular size encounter problems with thermal noise, making further scaling impossible. In this week’s Applied Physics Reviews, researchers present an examination of the computing landscape, focusing on functions needed to advance brain-inspired neuromorphic computing.

Read more

Communications Device Offers Huge Bandwidth Potential

Several countries are building futuristic communication systems using higher frequency electromagnetic waves to transfer more data at faster rates, but they have lacked network components to handle these higher bandwidths. Researcher J. Gary Eden proved his new device can rapidly switch functionality to perform the varied tasks needed to support a network with carrier frequencies of over 100 gigahertz. The miniscule-scale architecture concealed within the sugar cube blocks is described in Applied Physics Reviews.

Read more

Ternary Acceptor and Donor Materials Increase Photon Harvesting in Organic Solar Cells

Organic solar cells are steadily improving as new materials are developed for the active layer, and a paper published this week in Applied Physics Reviews presents a practical guide for selecting materials for ternary organic solar cells. The authors set out to employ component engineering to extend the light absorption and efficiency of solar cells in a simple, physical way instead of the complicated process of synthesizing new semiconductors.

Read more