New ‘self-healing’ gel makes electronics more flexible

Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind self-healing gel that repairs and connects electronic circuits, creating opportunities to advance the development of flexible electronics, biosensors and batteries as energy storage devices.

Quantum physics meets genetic engineering

A team of researchers has used engineered viruses to provide quantum-based enhancement of energy transport. The work points the way toward inexpensive and efficient solar cells or light-driven catalysis.

Neutrons offer guide to getting more out of solid-state lithium-ion batteries

A new study has revealed promising results that could drastically boost the performance of solid-state electrolytes, and could potentially lead to a safer, even more efficient battery. Researchers used neutron diffraction (the VULCAN instrument, SNS beam line 7) to conduct an in-depth study probing the entire structure evolution of doped garnet-type electrolytes during the synthesis process to unravel the mechanism that boosts the lithium-ionic conductivity.

‘Yolks’ and ‘shells’ improve rechargeable batteries

One big problem faced by electrodes in rechargeable batteries, as they go through repeated cycles of charging and discharging, is that they must expand and shrink during each cycle — sometimes doubling in volume, and then shrinking back. This can lead to repeated shedding and reformation of its “skin” layer that consumes lithium irreversibly, degrading the battery’s performance over time. Now researchers have found a novel way around that problem: creating an electrode made of nanoparticles with a solid shell, and a “yolk” inside that can change size again and again without affecting the shell.

Pushing the limits of solar cells

Scientists have introduced a new strategy for generating more efficient solar cells.

New approaches for hybrid solar cells

Using a new procedure researchers can now produce extremely thin and robust, yet highly porous semiconductor layers. A very promising material — for small, lightweight, flexible solar cells, for example, or electrodes improving the performance of rechargeable batteries.

Exceptionally strong and lightweight new metal

A team led by researchers has created a super-strong yet light structural metal with extremely high specific strength and modulus, or stiffness-to-weight ratio. To create the super-strong but lightweight metal, the team found a new way to disperse and stabilize nanoparticles in molten metals.