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  • Science Visualized

    Frozen oil droplets morph and shine

    View the video

    In carefully chilled conditions, microscopic beads of oil freeze to form a panoply of shapes. 

    The triangles, hexagons and other structures above are oil droplets tens of micrometers across that are mixed with water and a detergent-like substance, and then slowly frozen to form hydrogen-carbon crystals. Polarized light passing through the...

    01/26/2016 - 12:00 Chemistry, Materials, Physics
  • News

    ‘Q-carbon’ may offer quick route to diamonds

    A glow-in-the dark, magnetic, stronger-than-diamond material might be a bizarre new form of carbon.

    Scientists call it Q-carbon. After diamond and graphite, it’s the third known solid phase, or form, of the element, materials scientists Jagdish Narayan and Anagh Bhaumik report December 2 in the ...

    12/04/2015 - 14:21 Chemistry, Materials
  • News

    Electronic skin feels the heat, hears the sound

    A new electronic skin can feel the grain of sand paper, the heat and beat of a person’s pulse — and listen to Richard Feynman’s voice, too.

    Rubbery plastic-and-graphene film mimicking the structure of human skin can detect texture, temperature, pressure and sound, Hyunhyub Ko and colleagues report October 30 in Science Advances...

    10/30/2015 - 14:00 Technology, Materials
  • News in Brief

    Invisibility cloaks slim down

    A new invisibility cloak offers more stealth in a thinner package.

    The 80-nanometer-thick “skin cloak,” reported in the Sept. 18 Science, drapes over a micrometer-sized object and renders it undetectable for a specific wavelength of red light. Light waves bounce off the shielded entity as if rebounding...

    09/17/2015 - 14:00 Materials, Physics
  • News

    Electron waves refract negatively

    Nearly a decade after getting waves of light to bend backward, physicists have done the same with electrons.

    Electrons coursing through a sheet of carbon atoms exhibited negative refraction, bending at angles not seen in nature, physicists report September 14 in Nature Physics. By exploiting this unusual bending, the...

    09/14/2015 - 11:00 Materials, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Graphene shows signs of superconductivity

    Chalk up another superpower for the thinnest material on the planet.

    When sprinkled with certain atoms, graphene — a flat sheet of honeycombed carbon atoms — conducts electrical current with no resistance at low temperatures, four research teams report. While graphene has awed scientists with its conducting prowess for over a decade, this is the first evidence that the wonder material...

    09/04/2015 - 16:29 Materials, Condensed Matter
  • News

    Nanogenerators harvest body’s energy to power devices

    Ask not what your gadgets can do for you; ask what you can do for your gadgets.

    In the race to create bionic humans, researchers are nanometers away from turning people into device chargers. Instruments called nanogenerators can harvest energy from swinging limbs, jiggling skin and ballooning lungs. And that energy can power wearable and implantable gizmos, such as pacemakers, muscle...

    09/01/2015 - 16:29 Materials, Biomedicine, Physics
  • News in Brief

    Buckyballs turn on copper’s magnetism

    A new recipe for magnetism calls for an infusion of nano-sized soccer balls.

    When exposed to sheets of carbon-atom cages called buckyballs, copper and manganese become permanent magnets, researchers report in the Aug. 6 Nature. The technique could enable engineers to expand the roster of metals for magnet-based technology,...

    08/05/2015 - 13:00 Materials, Condensed Matter
  • News in Brief

    Stretchy fiber lets electrons flow

    A carbon-wrapped rubber rope keeps electrical current flowing even when stretched, twisted and bent. The flexible fiber, reported in the July 24 Science, could inspire flexible electronic displays, better pacemaker leads and stretchable power cords.

    Elasticity and current-carrying...

    07/23/2015 - 17:18 Materials
  • Science Ticker

    Stretchy fiber keeps electrons flowing

    A carbon-wrapped rubber rope keeps electrical current flowing even when stretched, twisted and bent. The flexible fiber, reported in the July 24 Science, could inspire flexible electronic displays, improved pacemaker leads and stretchable power cords.

    Elasticity and current-carrying prowess don’t usually go together:...

    07/23/2015 - 17:04 Materials