Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich succeeded in developing a material that works like a luminescent solar concentrator and can even be applied to textiles. This opens up numerous possibilities for producing energy directly where it is needed, i.e. in the use of everyday electronics.
Researchers develop a one-pot, low temperature catalytic method to turn polyethylene polymers into alkylaromatic molecules.
The use of biomass-derived plastics is one of the prime concerns to establish a sustainable society, which is incorporated as one of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the use of most of the biomass-derived plastics is limited due to their low heat resistance. Collaborative research between JAIST and U-Tokyo has successfully developed the white-biotechnological conversion from cellulosic biomass into the aromatic polymers having the highest thermodegradation of all the plastics reported ever.
Materials science researchers at the University of California, Irvine conducted a nanoscopic examination of the diabolical ironclad beetle, a species native to the Southwestern US, to learn what makes it so tough and crush resistant. Their results are the subject of a new study in Nature.
Membranes with microscopic pores are useful for water filtration. The effect of pore size on water filtration is well-understood, as is the role of ions, charged atoms, that interact with the membrane. For the first time, researchers have successfully described the impact water molecules have on other water molecules and on ions as part of the filtration mechanism. The researchers detail a feedback system between water molecules which opens up new design possibilities for highly selective membranes. Applications could include virus filters.
Life as we know uses energy to reproduce itself. Organisms build and break down larger molecules using a common set of reactive intermediate energy carrier molecules. These carrier molecules help chaperone the reactions which build life's biochemical complexity and help push metabolic reactions to drive cellular reproduction. New research suggests that such compounds can be made easily in the environment in the absence of biology, providing a hint as to how life may have started.
CO¬2 capture from the air can mitigate further CO2 emissions, related increase in global temperature and climate change. Direct air capture of CO2 (DAC) is one of the promising ways for atmospheric CO2 extraction. In a new research paper, researchers propose CO2 capture from the air by membranes, which has been considered almost impossible for this challenging task.
Magnesium silicide (Mg2Si) is a thermoelectric material that can convert heat into electricity. Though it is known that adding antimony impurities enhances the performance of Mg2Si, the mechanisms underlying this effect are unclear. Now, scientists from Japan shed light on the effects of these impurities at the atomic level, taking us closer to arriving at a practical way of efficiently harvesting waste heat from cars and thermal power plants to produce clean energy.
Researchers at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Linköping University, have for the first time demonstrated an organic battery. It is of a type known as a 'redox flow battery', with a large capacity that can be used to store energy from wind turbines and solar cells, and as a power bank for cars. An article now published in Advanced Functional Materials.
DNA and proteins are two fundamental biochemical polymers found in all living cells. They are very different in terms of their molecular properties: DNA is a remarkably homogenous polymer in terms of its molecular properties, while proteins can be extremely heterogeneous with regard to these properties. New research suggests the intrinsic ways that DNA and proteins interact at molecular level can lead to extremely diverse behaviours that may helped shape important aspects of modern biology.