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Wake up to a delicious laser-induced graphene on toast

Wake up to a delicious laser-induced graphene on toast
Rice University scientists who introduced laser-induced graphene (LIG) have enhanced their technique to produce what may become a new class of edible electronics. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour, which once turned Girl Scout cookies into graphene, is investigating ways to write graphene patterns onto food and other materials to quickly embed conductive identification tags and sensors into the products themselves.
14th February 2018

Chemists develop 3D printed graphene foam

Chemists develop 3D printed graphene foam
Nanotechnologists from Rice University and China's Tianjin University have used 3D laser printing to fabricate centimeter-sized objects of atomically thin graphene. The research could yield industrially useful quantities of bulk graphene and is described online in a new study in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano. "This study is a first of its kind," said Rice chemist James Tour, co-corresponding author of the paper.
21st June 2017

Nanophotonics team creates multicolour glass

Nanophotonics team creates multicolour glass
Rice University's latest nanophotonics research could expand the colour palette for companies in the fast-growing market for glass windows that change colour at the flick of an electric switch. In a paper in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Nano, researchers from the laboratory of Rice plasmonics pioneer Naomi Halas report using a readily available, inexpensive hydrocarbon molecule called perylene to create glass that can turn two different colours at low voltages.
8th March 2017


Graphene foam gets big and tough

Graphene foam gets big and tough
A chunk of conductive graphene foam reinforced by carbon nanotubes can support more than 3,000 times its own weight and easily bounce back to its original height, according to Rice University scientists. Better yet, it can be made in just about any shape and size, they reported, demonstrating a screw-shaped piece of the highly conductive foam.
14th February 2017

Turning cement's weakness into strength

Turning cement's weakness into strength
The Rice lab of materials scientist Rouzbeh Shahsavari performed an atom-level computer analysis of tobermorite, a naturally occurring crystalline analog to the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) that makes up cement, which in turn holds concrete together. By understanding the internal structure of tobermorite, they hope to make concrete stronger, tougher and better able to deform without cracking under stress.
4th January 2017

Bumpy surfaces dissipate heat in microelectronics

Bumpy surfaces dissipate heat in microelectronics
Bumpy surfaces with graphene between would help dissipate heat in next-gen microelectronic devices, according to Rice University scientists. Their theoretical studies show that enhancing the interface between gallium nitride semiconductors and diamond heat sinks would allow phonons – quasiparticles of sound that also carry heat – to disperse more efficiently. Heat sinks are used to carry heat away from electronic devices.
29th November 2016

2D boron may be best for flexible electronics

2D boron may be best for flexible electronics
The Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson and experimental collaborators observed examples of naturally undulating, metallic borophene, an atom-thick layer of boron, and suggested that transferring it onto an elastic surface would preserve the material's stretchability along with its useful electronic properties. Highly conductive graphene has promise for flexible electronics, Yakobson said, but it is too stiff for devices that also need to stretch, compress or even twist.
5th October 2016

Graphene nanoribbons promise to heal spinal injuries

Graphene nanoribbons promise to heal spinal injuries
The combination of graphene nanoribbons made with a process developed at Rice University and a common polymer could someday be of critical importance to healing damaged spinal cords in people, according to Rice chemist James Tour. The Tour lab has spent a decade working with graphene nanoribbons, starting with the discovery of a chemical process to "unzip" them from multiwalled carbon nanotubes, as revealed in a Nature paper in 2009.
20th September 2016

Making nanodiamonds by smashing nanotubes

Making nanodiamonds by smashing nanotubes
Superman can famously make a diamond by crushing a chunk of coal in his hand, but Rice University scientists are employing a different tactic. Rice materials scientists are making nanodiamonds and other forms of carbon by smashing nanotubes against a target at high speeds. Nanodiamonds won't make anyone rich, but the process of making them will enrich the knowledge of engineers who design structures that resist damage from high-speed impacts.
8th September 2016

3D graphene has promise for bio applications

3D graphene has promise for bio applications
Flakes of graphene welded together into solid materials may be suitable for bone implants, according to a study led by Rice University scientists. The Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan and colleagues in Texas, Brazil and India used spark plasma sintering to weld flakes of graphene oxide into porous solids that compare favorably with the mechanical properties and biocompatibility of titanium, a standard bone-replacement material.
2nd September 2016

Nanoribbons in solutions mimic nature

Nanoribbons in solutions mimic nature
Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) bend and twist easily in solution, making them adaptable for biological uses like DNA analysis, drug delivery and biomimetic applications, according to scientists at Rice University. Knowing the details of how GNRs behave in a solution will help make them suitable for wide use in biomimetics, according to Rice physicist Ching-Hwa Kiang, whose lab employed its unique capabilities to probe nanoscale materials like cells and proteins in wet environments.
16th August 2016

Spider silk inspires materials to manipulate sound and heat

Spider silk inspires materials to manipulate sound and heat
The latest discoveries about spider silk could inspire novel materials to manipulate sound and heat in the same way semiconducting circuits manipulate electrons, according to scientists at Rice University, in Europe and in Singapore. A paper in Nature Materials looks at the microscopic structure of spider silk and reveals unique characteristics in the way it transmits phonons, quasiparticles of sound.
26th July 2016

Ultra-flat circuits could have unique properties

Ultra-flat circuits could have unique properties
The old rules don't necessarily apply when building electronic components out of two-dimensional materials, according to scientists at Rice University. The Rice lab of theoretical physicist Boris Yakobson analysed hybrids that put 2D materials like graphene and boron nitride side by side to see what happens at the border. They found that the electronic characteristics of such "co-planar" hybrids differ from bulkier components.
26th July 2016

Improving gold standard for artificial joints

Improving gold standard for artificial joints
Titanium is the leading material for artificial knee and hip joints because it's strong, wear-resistant and nontoxic, but an unexpected discovery by Rice University physicists shows that the gold standard for artificial joints can be improved with the addition of some actual gold. "It is about 3-4 times harder than most steels," said Emilia Morosan, the lead scientist on a study in Science Advances that describes the properties of a 3-to-1 mixture of titanium and gold with a specific atomic structure that imparts hardness.
21st July 2016

'Rivet graphene' is tough and useful for electronics

'Rivet graphene' is tough and useful for electronics
Nanoscale "rivets" give graphene qualities that may speed the wonder material's adoption in products like flexible, transparent electronics, according to researchers at Rice University. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour reported the creation of "rivet graphene," 2D carbon that incorporates carbon nanotubes for strength and carbon spheres that encase iron nanoparticles, which enhance both the material's portability and its electronic properties.
15th July 2016

De-icer receives anti-icing properties

Rice University scientists have advanced their graphene-based de-icer to serve a dual purpose. The new material still melts ice from wings and wires when conditions get too cold. But if the air is above 7ºF, ice won't form at all. The Rice lab of chemist James Tour gave its de-icer superhydrophobic (water-repelling) capabilities that passively prevent water from freezing above 7 degrees.
25th May 2016

Force-testing device examines 3D-printed prosthetics

Force-testing device examines 3D-printed prosthetics
Rice University students developed force-testing device for 3D printed prosthetic hands to help ensure that children get the most out of the devices. The Rice team calling itself 'Carpal Diem' has developed a testing suite to validate how well 3D printed hands transfer force from the wearer, typically a child born without a fully formed hand, to the prosthetic intended to help pick up and manipulate small objects.
13th April 2016

Electrolyte and separator to be used for Li-ion batteries

Electrolyte and separator to be used for Li-ion batteries
  Rice University materials scientists have introduced a combined electrolyte and separator for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that supplies energy at usable voltages and in high temperatures. An essential part of the nonflammable, toothpaste-like composite is hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), the atom-thin compound often called "white graphene." 
11th April 2016

Open-source printer can be used for biomaterials fabrication

Open-source printer can be used for biomaterials fabrication
Rice University bioengineering researchers have modified a commercial-grade CO2 laser cutter to create OpenSLS, an open-source, selective laser sintering platform that can print intricate 3-D objects from powdered plastics and biomaterials. The system costs at least 40 times less than its commercial counterparts and allows researchers to work with their own specialised powdered materials.
22nd February 2016

Self-adaptive material heals itself

Self-adaptive material heals itself
An adaptive material invented at Rice University combines self-healing and reversible self-stiffening properties. The Rice material called SAC (for self-adaptive composite) consists of what amounts to sticky, micron-scale rubber balls that form a solid matrix. The researchers made SAC by mixing two polymers and a solvent that evaporates when heated, leaving a porous mass of gooey spheres. 
14th January 2016


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