Material sciences

  • Evonik Research Prize for lithium-ion battery test cell with separated electrodes

    A glass ceramic membrane, coated with aluminum and plastic, allows only lithium ions to pass through. It is impermeable to all other components of the electrolyte fluid. Photo: Monika Weiner / TUM

    For years, small rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have reliably supplied billions of portable devices with energy. But manufacturers of high-energy applications such as electric cars and power storage systems seek for new electrode materials and electrolytes. Michael Metzger, researcher at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), has now developed a new battery test cell allowing to investigate anionic and cationic reactions separately. Recently the researcher was honored with the Evonik Research Prize for his work.

  • Exotic Quantum States Made from Light: Physicists Create Optical “Wells” for a Super-Photon

    Potential wells The artist's rendering shows how potential wells are created for the light in the microresonator through heating with an external laser beam (green). © Photo: David Dung/Uni Bonn

    Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

  • Explanation for Puzzling Quantum Oscillations has been Found

    Ball bouncing chaotically in a stadium (top). If it starts near an unstable trajectory, it remains close to this trajectory for some time but eventually escapes (bottom). IST Austria/Maksym Serbyn

    So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics. Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a quantum simulator.

  • Exploring the Phenomenon of Superconductivity

    Types of pairing of two fermions. Figure: Puneet Murthy

    Fermions in flatland pair up at very high temperatures: Using ultracold atoms, researchers at Heidelberg University have found an exotic state of matter where the constituent particles pair up when limited to two dimensions. The findings from the field of quantum physics may hold important clues to intriguing phenomena of superconductivity. The results were published in Science magazine.

  • Extremely Hard yet Metallically Conductive: Bayreuth Researchers Develop Novel Material with High-tech Prospects

    The structure of rhenium nitride pernitride containing single nitrogen atoms (red) and N-N nitrogen dumbbells (blue). Larger balls show rhenium atoms. Illustration: Maxim Bykov. Illustration: Maxim Bykov.

    An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

  • Faster, More Precise, More Stable: Study Optimizes Graphene Growth

    Visible to the naked eye: A wafer-thin graphene flake obtained via chemical vapor deposition. The red coloration of the copper substrate appears when the sample is heated in air. (Photo: J. Kraus/ TUM)

    Each atomic layer thin, tear-resistant, and stable. Graphene is seen as the material of the future. It is ideal for e.g. producing ultra-light electronics or highly stable mechanical components. But the wafer-thin carbon layers are difficult to produce. At the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Jürgen Kraus has manufactured self-supporting graphene membranes, and at the same time systematically investigated and optimized the growth of the graphene crystals. He was awarded the Evonik Research Prize for his work.

  • Fewer Laboratory Animals Thanks to Secondary Nanobodies

    Three-dimensional structure of a nanobody. Tino Pleiner and Sergei Trakhanov / MPI for Biophysical Chemistry

    Antibodies are indispensable in biological research and medical diagnostics. However, their production is time-consuming, expensive, and requires the use of many animals. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, have now developed so-called secondary nanobodies that can replace the most-used antibodies and may drastically reduce the number of animals in antibody production. This is possible because the secondary nanobodies can be produced in large scale by bacteria. Moreover, the secondary nanobodies outperform their traditional antibody counterparts in key cell-biological applications.

  • Fiber-based Quantum Communication - Interference of Photons Using Remote Sources

    Emission of single photons stemming from remote quantum dots. The wavelength of the single photons is manipulated by mixing them with strong laser fields within small crystals. University of Stuttgart/Kolatschek

    Scientists are working on the totally bug-proof communication – the so-called quantum communication. Current approaches for long-distance signal transmission rely on repeaters which are based on a crucial effect, the interference of two photons, that is, two individual light quanta coming from distant sources. Physicists from University of Stuttgart and Saarland University, in Germany, were now able to manipulate the single photons by means of small crystals without compromising their quantum mechanical nature. This manipulation is necessary to transmit the signal via optical fibers which may enable a large-area quantum network. The results were now published in Nature Nanotechnology.

  • Fighting Forgetfulness with Nanotechnology

    The international research team is working on a treatment on dementia like Alzheimer, which leads to a death of neuronal cells. © shutterstock.com/Naeblys

    About 29 million people around the world are affected by the disease "Alzheimer". In an international collaboration, scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz together with teams from Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and the USA are now working together on an approach for a therapy. On the one hand, the goal is to understand the processes occurring in the brain that lead to the disease; on the other hand the development of a method for targeted drug delivery.

  • Fine Felted Nanotubes: CAU Research Team Develops New Composite Material Made of Carbon Nanotubes

    In this new process, the tiny, thread-like carbon nanotubes (CNTs) arrange themselves - almost like felting - to form a stable, tear-resistant layer. Fabian Schütt

    Due to their unique properties, carbon nanotubes would be ideal for numerous applications, from ultra-lightweight batteries to high-performance plastics, right through to medical implants. But they either cannot be combined adequately with other materials, or they then lose their beneficial properties. Scientists from Kiel University and the University of Trento have now developed an alternative combining method, so that they retain their characteristic properties. As such, they "felt" the thread-like tubes into a stable 3D network that is able to withstand extreme forces. The research results have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

  • Fire and Flame for New Surfaces

    A flame treatment facility in operation. esse CI

    The printing, coating and bonding of plastics requires the surface to be pre-treated. Flame treatment is one way to achieve this so-called activation. It is currently being used in many industrial sectors and has considerable potential for development. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Italian company esse CI are uniting their expertise in surface chemistry and machine engineering in order to clearly expand the opportunities provided by flame treatment and to extend the range of surface properties. Interested companies can take part in the development of this technology and help advance its industrialization.

  • Fireproofing Made of recycled paper

    A blow-in insulation becomes solid. Empa

    Scientists at Empa teamed up with isofloc AG to develop an insulating material made of recycled paper. It is ideal for prefabricated wooden elements and even multistory timber houses, and protects the construction against fire. What's more: The additive it contains is harmless to humans, animals and the environment. Franziska Grüneberger looks contented; clutching a nondescript cube made of grey flakes in her hand the researcher in the laborato-ry for applied wood materials has achieved her goal: Very little chemistry went into the cube, but no shortage of technical expertise. The tiny object is “living” proof that giant mountains of waste paper can be transformed into a valuable, fireproof insulating material – a big step to save fossil fuels. Not that anyone could tell just by looking at it.

  • First Diode for Magnetic Fields

    When the left coil is energized, the magnetic field reaches the right coil (top). When the right coil is energized, the magnetic field does not reach the left one (bottom). Luis Veloso

    Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications. Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the core of any electronic component, being one of the most essential building blocks.

  • First Random Laser Made of Paper-Based Ceramics

    The team used conventional laboratory filter paper as a structural template due to its long fibers and the stable structure. Photo: Institute for Complex Systems /Rome

    Working with physicists from the University of Rome, a team led by Professor Cordt Zollfrank from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) built the first controllable random laser based on cellulose paper in Straubing. The team thereby showed how naturally occurring structures can be adapted for technical applications. Hence, materials no longer need to be artificially outfitted with disordered structures, utilizing naturally occurring ones instead.

  • First Single-photon Source that Works with Atomic Gases at Room Temperature

    Rubidium atoms are excited to their Rydberg states in a glass cell at room temperature. The volume between the glass plates is so thin that colored interference rings are visible to the naked eye. Universität Stuttgart/Max Kovalenko

    Researchers of the Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology IQST at the 5th Institute of Physics at the University of Stuttgart (Head: Prof. Tilman Pfau) have developed a novel, promising variant of a light source for the smallest possible energy packages - a so-called single-photon source. Their work has been published in the latest issue of the journal Science.*

  • Flexible OLEDs glowing from first European open access pilot line

    Flexible OLED on plastic web. Fraunhofer FEP

    Fraunhofer FEP has extensive and long lasting expertise and know-how in operation of its R&D lines for manufacturing of OLED lighting devices. As one of the core team partners within the European pilot line project PI-SCALE Fraunhofer FEP presents first demonstrators of flexible OLED out from this project. The demonstrators represent results from first pilot line production within the PI-SCALE project at the IDW 23rd International Display Workshops in Fukuoka, Japan, from December 7 – 9, 2016 on 4th floor, booth no. 13.

  • Flexible Organic Electronics for Wearables

    Bracelet with flexible OLED © LYTEUS

    Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, presents first wearable OLED bracelet at Wearable Europe 2018, from April 11th to 12th in Berlin, Germany at booth no. P12 together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Holst Centre from Netherlands.

  • FlexPLAS®Release Film – Release Agent Free Manufacture of FRP Components in Complex Hot Press Molds

    Removal of FlexPLAS® release film from a contaminant-free CFRP component after curing in the hot press. © Fraunhofer IFAM

    At the JEC 2018 fair in Paris (6-8 March) the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM will present for the first time the use of flexible FlexPLAS® release film in complex hot press molds. You are invited to visit us on the communal stand of CFK Valley in Hall 5 A, Stand E 58. The plasma-coated FlexPLAS® release film developed by Fraunhofer IFAM (Bremen and Stade) has already been successfully used for a number of years for the manufacture of contaminant-free fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) components.

  • Foldable Like an Accordion: International Research Team Bends Individual Nanostructures

    Materials scientists Yogendra Kumar Mishra and doctoral researcher Daria Smazna. Photo/credit: Siekmann/CAU

    Since a research group at Kiel University (CAU) and the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in Hamburg-Harburg has developed aerographite – one of the most light weight materials in the world – in the year 2012 -, they have continued researching about it. Its complex tetrapodal architecture gives the carbon-based 3D material very unique properties, such as extremely high elasticity and electrical conductivity. Now, for the first time, as part of an international research team, materials scientists from the CAU were able to fold the individual hollow tetrapods, each measuring only a few micrometers in size.

  • FOSA LabX 330 Glass – Coating Flexible Glass in a Roll-to-Roll Process

    VON ARDENNE FOSA LabX 330 Glass - coating system for flexible glass. © VON ARDENNE Corporate Archive

    The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP and VON ARDENNE will intensify their cooperation in the field of the coating of flexible glass. Due to its properties, this new material is ideally suited as a substrate for various applications in flexible electronics. Since October 2016, the two partners have been operating the roll-to-roll coating system FOSA LabX 330 Glass together. This new, innovative machine was especially developed for processing flexible glass by the equipment manufacturer VON ARDENNE, which is based in Dresden, Germany. It is the first of its kind worldwide.