Materials & Coatings

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on materials and coatings, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

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Briefs: Energy
Engineers have made progress toward lithium-metal batteries that charge as fast as an hour. This fast charging is thanks to lithium metal crystals that can be seeded and grown — quickly and uniformly — on a surprising surface.
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Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Researchers have developed a viable dust, water, and ice mitigation optical coating for space flight, aeronautical, and ground applications. The innovation of the LOTUS coating prevents contamination on sensitive surfaces.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
A team of researchers demonstrated the first light-emitting array with 49 different colors on a single chip. This novel optoelectronic device is built on metal-oxide semiconductor capacitors.
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Briefs: Energy
With a new microscopy technique that uses blue light to measure electrons in semiconductors and other nanoscale materials, a team of researchers is opening a new realm of possibilities in the study of these critical components, which can help power devices like mobile phones and laptops.
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Briefs: Power
Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) sleeve, that, when fitted over a cylindrical Li-ion battery cell, can prevent cell-to-cell propagation by containing a thermal runaway (TR) event to the originating cell.
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Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Researchers continue to refine the process to improve electrochemical performance. The goal is to balance the benefits and drawbacks of the thicker electrode: It has the potential for higher energy loading and is easy to roll, but it may provide less power, since the ions have further to travel.
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Briefs: Energy
Most space satellites are powered by photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to electricity. Exposure to certain orbit radiation can damage the devices. Scientists have proposed a radiation-tolerant photovoltaic cell design that features an ultrathin layer of light-absorbing material.
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Briefs: Nanotechnology
Cage structures made with nanoparticles could be a step toward making organized nanostructures with mixed materials, and researchers at the University of Michigan have shown how to achieve this through computer simulations.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed soft devices containing algae that glow in the dark when experiencing mechanical stress, such as being squished, stretched, twisted, or bent.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Researchers from Imperial College London and University College London have demonstrated the first spontaneously self-organizing laser device, which can reconfigure when conditions change.
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Briefs: Materials
Enhancing At-Home COVID Tests with Glow-in-The-Dark Materials
Researchers at the University of Houston are using glow-in-the-dark materials to enhance and improve rapid COVID-19 home tests.
Briefs: Materials
Prompted by conversations regarding soft robotics, a research group has developed a design for a new sensor using 3D electrodes inspired by the folding patterns used in origami, able to measure a strain range of up to three times higher than a typical sensor.
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Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
In people with epilepsy, seizure-alert dogs can smell small changes in body chemistry and warn of an impending seizure an hour or more before it occurs. Inspired by this feat of nature, a team of researchers has developed a way to replicate that ability with technology.
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Briefs: Electronics & Computers
A Northwestern University research team has developed a revolutionary transistor that is expected be ideal for lightweight, flexible, high-performance bioelectronics. The electrochemical transistor is compatible with blood and water and can amplify important signals.
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Briefs: Materials
Thermoelectric Cooler Improves Cooling Power and Efficiency
A new thermoelectric cooler developed by Penn State scientists greatly improves the cooling power and efficiency compared to current commercial thermoelectric units and may help control heat in future high-power electronics, the researchers said.
Briefs: Materials
In Penn’s Clean Energy Conversions Lab, researchers are repurposing waste from industrial mines, storing carbon pulled from the atmosphere into newly formed rock. The team sees great environmental potential in mine tailings.
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Briefs: Materials
Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center in collaboration with IRPI, LLC, have developed a compact inline filter that uses a multi-phase flow method to separate liquid from an incoming air charge. The filter also traps particulate matter and does so without significantly impinging upon flow velocity.
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Briefs: Imaging
Innovators at NASA Langley Research Center have developed a multi-spectral imaging pyrometer utilizing tunable optics. The system uses a conventional infrared imaging camera as the basis.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two of humanity’s most ubiquitous historical materials, cement, and carbon black may form the basis for a novel, low-cost energy storage system, according to a new study by MIT researchers.
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Briefs: Materials
A Calcium Rechargeable Battery with Long Cycle Life
A research group has developed a prototype calcium (Ca) metal rechargeable battery capable of 500 cycles of repeated charge-discharge – the benchmark for practical use.
Briefs: Materials
A research team has made new discoveries that can expand additive manufacturing in industries that rely on strong metal parts, including aerospace.
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Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
A team of researchers is using aluminum foil to create batteries with higher energy density and greater stability. The team’s new battery system could enable EVs to run longer on a single charge and would be cheaper to manufacture – all while having a positive impact on the environment.
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Briefs: Energy
Scientists at Rice University’s George R. Brown School of Engineering have developed a readily scalable method to optimize prelithiation, a process that helps mitigate lithium loss and improves battery life cycles by coating silicon anodes with stabilized lithium metal particles.
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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The future of wearable technology just got a big boost thanks to a team of University of Houston researchers who designed, developed, and delivered a successful prototype of a fully stretchable fabric-based lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery.
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Briefs: Materials
A team Led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) researcher Yan Wang has developed a solvent-free process to manufacture Li-ion battery electrodes that are greener, cheaper, and charge faster than electrodes currently on the market.
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Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
A team of researchers led by electrical engineer Marko Lončar at SEAS has developed a method for building a highly efficient integrated isolator that’s seamlessly incorporated into an optical chip made of lithium niobate.
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Briefs: Energy
A team has designed a new blueprint for solid-state batteries that are less dependent on specific chemical elements, particularly critical metals that are challenging to source due to supply chain issues. Their work could advance solid-state batteries that are efficient and affordable.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Taking inspiration from nature, a team of researchers at Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science has successfully created an artificial muscle that seamlessly transitions between soft and hard states while also possessing the remarkable ability to sense forces and deformations.
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Briefs: Energy
Drawing inspiration from how spiders spin silk to make webs, a team of researchers has developed an innovative method of producing soft fibers that possess three key properties (strong, stretchable, and electrically conductive), and at the same time can be easily reused to produce new fibers.
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