Farewell to the Graphene Flagship

On 8 December 2015, I shall cease working for the University of Cambridge and Graphene Flagship. I will then return full-time to freelance journalism, science writing and related communications consultancy. It has been a pleasure working with materials scientists and others from across Europe, sharing with the public, policymakers, industrialists and other stakeholders the many […]

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Graphene Week 2015 – back to where it all started

Article first published by the Graphene Flagship Graphene Week is the centrepiece of the Graphene Flagship calendar, and this year the conference takes place at the University of Manchester in northern England. The city of Manchester, renowned the world over as a centre of trade, technology and innovation, is home to the UK’s National Graphene […]

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Graphene shows promise for high-capacity energy storage

Most of us are familiar with rechargeable batteries. So much so, in fact, that many non-experts can convincingly argue the merits of particular battery technologies at a fairly technical level. Today’s mobile electronic equipment is powered by low-cost rechargeable cells, and their energy capacity and performance is increasing rapidly with our understanding of the materials […]

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Don’t squash the nanotubes

Researchers at the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, have found that the electronic behaviour of double-walled carbon nanotubes can change drastically when they are squashed or twisted. Among other things, his will have serious implications for the use of nanotubes as interconnects in microchips. Under normal circumstances double-walled nanotubes are metallic, and engineers are […]

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Nanotech points to energy savings in cooling systems

“Conserve energy and save money!” is the ubiquitous message in an age of climate change, rising energy costs and possible future resource scarcity. Carry out an energy audit of your home, say environmentalists and consumer advisers, and see where savings can be made that could significantly reduce household bills. But what these mass-media messages fail […]

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New study puts negative spin on organic LED efficiency

Physicists at the University of Utah say that the efficiency of organic light-emitting diodes is unlikely to exceed 25%. Or at least in the case of one particular organic polymer used to fabricate devices that are finding their way into computer displays, and which in future could provide low-cost, flat-panel lighting solutions. Organic LEDs (OLEDs) […]

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Infrared antennas for solar energy generation

This is a revised version of an article first published in the journal Nanomaterials. Think of solar energy and you will most likely picture in your mind panels fixed to the roofs of buildings that lap up the sun’s rays on fair weather days, and do nothing much at all when the skies are overcast. […]

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A new plastic membrane for methanol fuel cells

How alternative plastic electrolytic membranes can help bring down the cost of fuel cells Fuel cells may be an environmentally-friendly means of generating electrical energy, but they are also very expensive. Much of the cost of fuel cells is in the electrolytic membrane that separates the anode and cathode sites. To lower the cost, engineers […]

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Integrating nanowire devices directly onto silicon

Producing semiconductor nanowires is nowadays a relatively simple and inexpensive exercise. But assembling them in a controlled manner into functional electronic circuits remains a major challenge. Many research groups around the world are tackling the problem, and various solutions have been put forward that might find practical application. Using spin-on glass technology and photolithography, Harvard […]

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Melting away defects in microchip components

Material defects are are the bane of microchip manufacturers, but a process devised by engineers at Princeton University in New Jersey could literally melt them away. With their densely packed electronic components, microchips work best when the structures are straight, thin and tall. Edge roughness and other defects can result in degraded performance through current […]

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