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Inspired by cephalopods like octopuses and cuttlefish, which change their skin textures for camouflage, researchers fabricated a stretchy material that inflates into various 3-D shapes and flattens back out. These shape-shifting “skins,” described in the Oct. 13 Science, could someday help robots don quick disguises.
Jennifer Dionne, 35Materials scientistStanford University10/04/2017 - 13:52 Physics, Materials
To choose her research goals, Jennifer Dionne envisions conversations with hypothetical grandchildren, 50 years down the line. What would she want to tell them she had accomplished? Then, to chart a path to that future, “I work backward to figure out what are the milestones en route,” she says.
That long-term vision has led the 35-...
Chong Liu, 30Inorganic chemistUCLA10/04/2017 - 13:48 Chemistry, Sustainability, Materials
For Chong Liu, asking a scientific question is something like placing a bet: You throw all your energy into tackling a big and challenging problem with no guarantee of a reward. As a student, he bet that he could create a contraption that photosynthesizes like a leaf on a tree — but better. For the now 30-year-old chemist, the gamble is paying off.
Tiny balls of melanin could someday paint the rainbow. They’re one of the key ingredients in a new way to craft a spectrum of structural colors — hues created when light interacts with special nanostructures.
Structural colors are a longer-lasting alternative to chemical pigments, which lose all pizazz when they break down. Examples of durable hues abound in nature. For instance, many...
Finding a great glue is a sticky task — especially if you want it to attach to something as slick as the inside of the human body. Even the strongest human-made adhesives don’t work well on wet surfaces like tissues and organs. For surgeons closing internal incisions, that’s more than an annoyance. The right glue could hold wounds together as effectively as stitches and staples with less...
Antennas just got a whole lot smaller.
Tiny chips that communicate via radio waves are a tenth to a hundredth the length of current state-of-the-art compact antennas. At only a couple hundred micrometers across — comparable to the thickness of a piece of paper — these next-gen antennas can relay the same types of signals as those used by TVs, cell phones and radios, researchers report...
News in Brief
A new type of soft robot can go under the knife and make a full recovery in about a day.
Researchers fashioned a robotic hand, gripper and muscle from self-healing rubbery material. To test their robots’ resilience, the engineers sliced each with a scalpel, then put them in an oven. After cranking up the heat to 80° Celsius, baking the bots for 40 minutes, then cooling them to room...
Ductile, strong steel
Fundamental scientific knowledge of the behavior of metallic crystals has led to the design of a new series of alloy steels, stronger and tougher than those now available. The new alloys can be stretched from two to five times more than previous ones, yet also have high strength…. The alloys, called TRIP steels, are produced by [the process] Transformation Induced...
News in Brief
Diamonds are going 2-D. The superhard form of carbon can be forged in thin films known as diamondene, new evidence suggests. While graphite, the form of carbon found in pencils, can be made into atom-thick sheets known as graphene, scientists have struggled to create two-dimensional films of its relative, diamond.
When a pair of graphene sheets are squeezed to pressures around tens of...
For a glue that holds up inside the body, turn to the humble slug, Arion subfuscus. A new super-sticky material mimics slug slime’s ability to stick on slick wet surfaces and could lead to more effective medical adhesives.
The material has two parts: a sticky layer that attaches to a surface, and a shock-absorbing layer that reduces strain. That makes the adhesive less...