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In This Issue
Advance Brings 'Hyperbolic Metamaterials' Closer to Reality 
From Purdue University, May 12, 2014, by Emil Venere 

"Researchers have taken a step toward practical applications for "hyperbolic metamaterials," ultra-thin crystalline films that could bring optical advances including powerful microscopes, quantum computers and high-performance solar cells.


Optical metamaterials harness clouds of electrons called surface plasmons to manipulate and control light. However, some of the plasmonic components under development rely on the use of metals such as gold and silver, which are incompatible with the CMOS manufacturing process used to construct integrated circuits and do not transmit light efficiently.


Now researchers at Purdue University have shown how to create "superlattice" crystals from layers of the metal titanium nitride and aluminum scandium nitride, a dielectric, or insulator. Superlattices are crystals that can be grown continuously by adding new layers, a requirement for practical application. Researchers created the superlattices using a method called epitaxy."

Source: Purdue University,
Image: Purdue University
Art2Surprising Nanotubes:
Some Slippery, Some Sticky

From MIT, June 1, 2014, by David L. Chandler

"Nanotubes have been the subject of intensive research, with potential uses ranging from solar cells to chemical sensors to reinforced composite materials. Most of the research has centered on carbon nanotubes, but other nanotubes' properties appear to be similar."

Image: MIT 
Art3Thermally Activated Crack Healing Mechanism for Metallic Materials
From NASA Tech Briefs, Langley Research Center, June 1, 2014

"A thermally activated healing mechanism is proposed and experimentally validated to mitigate crack propagation damage in metallic materials. The protected structure is coated with a thin metallic film of a low-melting-temperature healing agent. To heal or mitigate crack damage, the structure is heated to the melting temperature of the healing agent, allowing it to flow into the crack opening."

Source: NASA Tech Briefs,
Image: NASA Tech Briefs 
Art4Graphene's Multi-Coloured Butterflies
From The University of Manchester (U.K.), June 2, 2014

"A large international team from The University of Manchester has shown that the electronic properties of graphene change dramatically if graphene is placed on top of boron nitride, also known as 'white graphite'.


One of the major challenges for using graphene in electronics applications is the absence of a band gap, which basically means that graphene's electrical conductivity cannot be switched off completely. A new direction that has recently emerged in graphene research is to try to modify graphene's electronic properties by combining it with other similar materials in multilayered stacks. This creates an additional landscape for electrons moving through graphene and, therefore, its electronic properties can change strongly."

Source: The University of Manchester,
Image: The University of Manchester 
Art5Scientists Demonstrate Rare Chemical Phenomenon to Harvest Solar Energy
From EurekAlert!, June 2, 2014

"A team of international scientists led by Professor Jagadese J. Vittal of the Department of Chemistry at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science has successfully unraveled the chemical reaction responsible for propelling microscopic crystals to leap distances up to hundreds of times their own size when they are exposed to UV light.


This popping effect, akin to the bursting of popcorn kernels at high temperatures, demonstrates the conversion of light into mechanical motion. It is the first instance of a "photosalient effect" driven by a photochemical reaction in solids to be reported. The rare phenomenon provides a new way to transfer light energy into mechanical motion, and potentially offers a fresh approach to harness solar energy to power light-driven actuators and mechanical devices."

Source: EurekAlert!,
Image: National University of Singapore 
Art6Recovery: Fab Equipment Spending - 24% Increase in 2014, Possible Record in 2015
From SEMI, June 3, 2014, by
Christian Gregor Dieseldorff

"In the May 2014 World Fab Forecast publication, SEMI tracks more than 200 major projects involving equipment spending for new equipment or upgrades, as well as projects to build new facilities or refurbish existing facilities.


Between last quarter's report in February and now, 265 updates have been made to the proprietary SEMI database. SEMI now predicts 24 percent growth (to about US$35.7 billion) for fab equipment spending (new, used, in-house) for Front End facilities in 2014 and 11 percent growth (to about US$39.5 billion) in 2015. In terms of equipment spending, 2015 is on track to surpass all-time record year 2011."

Source: SEMI,
Image: SEMI 
Art8Moth Eyeballs Inspire Low-Glare Coating
From ASM International, May 20, 2014

"Work by University of California Irvine scientists could reduce glare from solar panels and electronic displays, as well as dangerous glints on military weapons. "We found a very simple process and a tiny bit of gold can turn a transparent film black," says chemistry professor Robert Corn. The team was initially worried when they noticed what appeared to be soot on a flexible film designed to coat various products. Via painstaking tests, however, they realized they accidentally discovered a way to fabricate a surface capable of eliminating glare. The material can also keep grime in raindrops and other moisture from sticking."

Source: ASM International,
Image: ASM International 

Art9Exploring the Effect of Low Earth Orbit on Thin Film Solid Lubricants
From Advanced Materials & Processes, May 2014, by M.T. Dugger, T.W. Scharf, S.V. Prasad, FASM (Sandia National Laboratories)

"Objects in orbit experience thermal cycles associated with cyclic sun exposure and radiative heat transfer to space as well as solar UV exposure, which can degrade polymeric materials. However, the primary element in low earth orbit (LEO) is atomic oxygen (AO). AO can break bonds and induce chemical reactions with many materials posing a concern for long-term degradation of materials in LEO."

Source: Advanced Materials & Processes,
Image: NASA 
Art10With Light Echoes, the Invisible Becomes Visible
From University of Bonn (Germany), June 17, 2014 by Johannes Seiler

"Scientists at the University of Bonn and the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) have developed a novel camera system which can see around the corner without using a mirror. Using diffusely reflected light, it reconstructs the shape of objects outside of the field of view."

Source: University of Bonn,
Image: University of Bonn 
Art11Scientists Demonstrate Rare Chemical Phenomenon to Harvest Solar Energy
From EurekAlert!, June 2, 2014

"A team of international scientists led by Professor Jagadese J. Vittal of the Department of Chemistry at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science has successfully unraveled the chemical reaction responsible for propelling microscopic crystals to leap distances up to hundreds of times their own size when they are exposed to UV light."

Source:  EurekAlert!,
Image: National University of Singapore 
Art12Charging Portable Electronics in Ten Minutes
From University of California, Riverside, June 10, 2014, by Sean Nealon

"Researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have developed a three-dimensional, silicon-decorated, cone-shaped carbon-nanotube cluster architecture for lithium ion battery anodes that could enable charging of portable electronics in 10 minutes, instead of hours.


Silicon is a type of anode material that is receiving a lot of attention because its total charge capacity is 10 times higher than commercial graphite based lithium ion battery anodes. Consider a packaged battery full-cell. Replacing the commonly used graphite anode with silicon anodes will potentially result in a 63 percent increase of total cell capacity and a battery that is 40 percent lighter and smaller. Researchers developed the novel structure by CVD and inductively coupled plasma treatment."

Source:  University of California, Riverside,
Image: University of California, Riverside 
Art13Novel Nanocarbon Architecture Makes a Superior Bifunctional Electrocatalyst
From Nanowerk Spotlight, June 9, 2014, by Michael Berger:

"The key electrode reactions for renewable and high-capacity energy systems like fuel cells and metal-air batteries are multi-electron processes called oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and oxygen evolution reaction (OER). Since the sluggish kinetics of ORR is the major factor impeding large-scale application of fuel cells, most research focuses on developing efficient catalysts for ORR and, to a lesser degree, on OER.


The performance of fuel cells largely depends on the ORR - the process that breaks the bonds of the oxygen molecules - which is substantially affected by the activity of the cathode catalyst. Platinum is a very efficient catalyst for boosting the ORR rate. However, it has only moderate activity for the OER, which is the anode reaction and plays an important role in energy conversion and storage."

Source:  Nanowerk,
Image: Tsinghua University 
Art14New Graphene-Type
Material Created

From University of Liverpool, May 22, 2014

"Scientists at the University of Liverpool have created a new material, related to graphene, which has the potential to improve transistors used in electronic devices. The new material, 'triazine-based graphitic carbon nitride', or TGCN, was predicted theoretically in 1996, but this is the first time that it has been made.


Graphene is one atom thick, strong and conducts heat and electricity highly efficiently. The new TGCN material is also two-dimensional, but it has an electronic band gap, making it potentially suitable for use in transistors."

Source:  University of Liverpool,
Image: University of Liverpool 
Art17Cooling Off, Ohio State University, South Chiller Plant
From US Glass, Metal & Glazing Magazine, June 2014

"Who knew a chiller plant could look so good? Industrial or mechanical buildings are typically very functional, with little attention paid to aesthetics, but the South Chiller Plant at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, puts architectural decorative glass to good use. It incorporates tempered, laminated glass fins with a dichroic film laminated between the lites of glass. The dichroic laminated glass was also used to make glass boxes that sit on the outside of the building which are lit at night to show an array of colors."

Source:  US Glass, Metal & Glazing Magazine, p. 66,
Image: US Glass, Metal & Glazing Magazine, p. 66 
Art18A New Way to Make Sheets of Graphene
From MIT, May 23, 2014, by David L. Chandler

"Graphene's promise as a material for new kinds of electronic devices, among other uses, has led researchers around the world to study the material in search of new applications. But one of the biggest limitations to wider use of the strong, lightweight, highly conductive material has been the hurdle of fabrication on an industrial scale."

Image: MIT 
Art19Manufacturers Invest in Production Capacity and New Technologies
From Solar Industry Magazine, May 2014 by Jon-Frederick L. Campos

"After two years of effectively being on hold, PV capital expenditures will increase 34% to $3.6 billion this year and continue climbing to reach $5.8 billion in 2016. This wave of investment will touch all sectors of the PV supply chain, from ingots to finished modules."

Source:  Solar Industry Magazine,
Image: NREL 
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14th International Conference on Plasma Surface Engineering 

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September 15-19, 2014
Kongresshaus, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

Early Bird Registration up to: July 1, 2014 (on-line only)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014
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The biennial PSE conference series is organized by the European Joint Committee on Plasma and Ion Surface Engineering. PSE provides an opportunity to present recent progress in research and development and industrial applications. Its topics span a wide range from fundamentals such as process modeling and simulation of plasmas or thin film physics, through empirical studies, which establish the relationships between process parameters and the structural and functional properties of modified surfaces and/or thin films, towards the application in industrial production.


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