UCI scientists observe effects of heat in materials with atomic resolution

As electronic, thermoelectric and computer technologies have been miniaturized to nanometer scale, engineers have faced a challenge studying fundamental properties of the materials involved; in many cases, targets are too small to be observed with optical instruments. Using cutting-edge electron microscopes and novel techniques, a team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions has found a way to map phonons – vibrations in crystal lattices – in atomic resolution, enabling deeper understanding of the way heat travels through quantum dots, engineered nanostructures in electronic components.

Bio-inspired hydrogel protects the heart from post-op adhesions

A hydrogel that forms a barrier to keep heart tissue from adhering to surrounding tissue after surgery was developed and successfully tested in rodents by a team of University of California San Diego researchers. The team of engineers, scientists and physicians also conducted a pilot study on porcine hearts, with promising results.

They describe their work in the June 18, 2021 issue of Nature Communications.

A silver lining for extreme electronics

Tomorrow’s cutting-edge technology will need electronics that can tolerate extreme conditions. That’s why a group of researchers led by Michigan State University’s Jason Nicholas is building stronger circuits today. Nicholas and his team have developed more heat resilient silver circuitry with an assist from nickel. The team described the work, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Program, on April 15 in the journal Scripta Materialia. The types of devices that the MSU team is working to benefit — next-generation fuel cells, high-temperature semiconductors and solid oxide electrolysis cells — could have applications in the auto, energy and aerospace industries.

UCI materials scientists discover design secrets of nearly indestructible insect

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020 – With one of the more awe-inspiring names in the animal kingdom, the diabolical ironclad beetle is one formidable insect. Birds, lizards and rodents frequently try to make a meal of it but seldom succeed. Run over it with a car, and the critter lives on. The beetle’s survival depends on two key factors: its ability to convincingly play dead and an exoskeleton that’s one of the toughest, most crush-resistant structures known to exist in the biological world.

UCI materials scientists study a sea creature that packs a powerful punch

Irvine, Calif., Aug. 17, 2020 – University of California, Irvine materials scientists are learning about resilience from the mantis shrimp. The ancient crustaceans are armed with two hammerlike raptorial appendages called dactyl clubs that they use to bludgeon and smash their prey. These fists, able to accelerate from the body at over 50 mph, deliver powerful blows yet appear undamaged afterward.

Foundation donates $1 million to UCI’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Irvine, Calif., June 24, 2020 – The Lincoln Dynamic Foundation, created by University of California, Irvine alumnus John D. Lincoln, has made a $1 million gift to the university’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering to establish the World Institute for Sustainable Development of Materials. The new institute will advance interdisciplinary research, education and knowledge translation in an effort to innovate, evaluate and adopt technologies that utilize safer, nontoxic chemicals and materials, with the goal of mitigating environmental impacts.

Six Argonne researchers receive DOE Early Career Research Program awards

Argonne scientists Michael Bishof, Maria Chan, Marco Govini, Alessandro Lovato, Bogdan Nicolae and Stefan Wild have received funding for their research as part of DOE’s Early Career Research Program.

Making a Material World Better, Faster Now: Q&A With Materials Project Director Kristin Persson

Berkeley Lab’s Kristin Persson shares her thoughts on what inspired her to launch the Materials Project online database, the future of materials research and machine learning, and how she found her own way into a STEM career.

Microorganisms in parched regions extract needed water from colonized rocks

Irvine, Calif., May 4, 2020 – In Northern Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, microorganisms are able to eke out an existence by extracting water from the very rocks they colonize. Through work in the field and laboratory experiments, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, as well as Johns Hopkins University and UC Riverside, gained an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms by which some cyanobacteria survive in harsh surroundings.

Nanodevices for the brain could thwart formation of Alzheimer’s plaques

Researchers designed a nanodevice with the potential to prevent peptides from forming dangerous plaques in the brain in order to halt development of Alzheimer’s disease.

UCI-led team designs carbon nanostructure stronger than diamonds

Irvine, Calif., April 13, 2020 – Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions have architecturally designed plate-nanolattices – nanometer-sized carbon structures – that are stronger than diamonds as a ratio of strength to density. In a recent study in Nature Communications, the scientists report success in conceptualizing and fabricating the material, which consists of closely connected, closed-cell plates instead of the cylindrical trusses common in such structures over the past few decades.

Materials Research Society Partners with Springer Nature

The Materials Research Society (MRS) and Springer Nature have signed a strategic new publishing agreement that will come into effect starting on January 1, 2021. At that time, the two organizations will partner to publish all five journals in the MRS portfolio—MRS Bulletin, Journal of Materials Research (JMR), MRS Communications, MRS Energy & Sustainability, and MRS Advances—as well as books. In addition, Springer Nature will host the archived content of the long-standing MRS Online Proceedings Library (OPL) and the MRS Internet Journal of Nitride Semiconductor Research (MIJ-NSR).

UCI scientists reveal mechanism of electron charge exchange in molecules

Irvine, Calif., Oct. 14, 2019 – Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new scanning transmission electron microscopy method that enables visualization of the electric charge density of materials at sub-angstrom resolution. With this technique, the UCI scientists were able to observe electron distribution between atoms and molecules and uncover clues to the origins of ferroelectricity, the capacity of certain crystals to possess spontaneous electric polarization that can be switched by the application of an electric field.

The Materials Research Society Congratulates John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino on Receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019

According to the official Nobel announcement, “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 rewards the development of the lithium-ion battery. This lightweight, rechargeable and powerful battery is now used in everything from mobile phones to laptops and electric vehicles. It can also store significant amounts of energy from solar and wind power, making possible a fossil fuel-free society.”

Seeing sound: Scientists observe how acoustic interactions change materials at the atomic level

By using sound waves, scientists have begun to explore fundamental stress behaviors in a crystalline material that could form the basis for quantum information technologies.

Paramagnetic Spins Take Electrons for a Ride, Produce Electricity from Heat

Local thermal perturbations of spins in a solid can convert heat to energy even in a paramagnetic material – where spins weren’t thought to correlate long enough to do so. This effect, “paramagnon drag thermopower,” converts a temperature difference into an electrical voltage.