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  • News

    Turning water to steam, no boiling required

    A new, extremely black material can turn water into steam using only sunlight, without the need to bring the water to a boil. Made of gold nanoparticles tens of billionths of a meter wide affixed to a scaffold pocked with tiny channels, or “nanopores,” the material is a deep black color because it reflects very little visible light. It is...

    04/08/2016 - 14:10 Physics, Materials
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question ocean health

    Ocean outlook

    Earth’s oceans are a hot mess. They absorb heat at twice the rate that they did nearly 20 years ago, Thomas Sumner reported in “Ocean heating doubles” (...

    04/08/2016 - 10:45 Oceans, Animals, Materials
  • News in Brief

    New type of catalyst could aid hydrogen fuel

    BALTIMORE — For a long time now, hydrogen has been the fuel of the future. A new idea for extracting hydrogen from water might help that future arrive a little sooner.

    Today, producing hydrogen requires burning fossil fuels or using water-splitting catalysts that work relatively inefficiently, says physicist Arvin Kakekhani of Yale University. But Kakekhani and Sohrab...

    03/21/2016 - 13:46 Physics, Technology, Materials
  • News

    Playing with building blocks for metamaterial design

    BALTIMORE — Metamaterials, among the most intricate and skillfully designed configurations of matter ever devised by science, could be improved with the help of Legos.

    Famous for their use in cloaking devices, metamaterials are artificial structures that play unnatural tricks with light and sound and other vibrations. Scientists have investigated the use of such...

    03/15/2016 - 16:54 Materials
  • News in Brief

    New process encourages ice to slip, slide away

    Ice removal may soon become a lot easier. Researchers have developed a new method for making ice-phobic surfaces by altering the density and slipperiness of spray-on polymer coatings.

    The process, reported online March 11 in Science Advances, could lead to a wide range of long-lasting ice-repellent products including windshields, airplane wings, power cables and frozen food...

    03/11/2016 - 14:00 Materials, Physics, Technology
  • News in Brief

    New carbon cluster has high storage capacity

    Researchers have identified a mysterious lab-made material as a new form of carbon.  

    Carbon honeycomb, a three-dimensional cluster of carbon sheets, can trap large amounts of gas within six-sided cells. The newly described structure could be used to store gases or liquids, or as a building material for...

    02/18/2016 - 14:59 Materials, Physics, Technology
  • 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