The Elements of Innovation Discovered

Tech Bytes / Innovation

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  • Morpheus Space FEEP thrusters on display.

    Morpheus' liquid metal ion thruster

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Feb 21, 2024

    Startup sets new standard for orbital industry with scalable, modular thrusters that come with a suite of support tech for seamless operation. Supporting the dreams of countless space-venturing hopefuls, like its namesake, Morpheus Space Inc. has unveiled a potentially game-changing liquid metal ion propulsion system that they believe will chart a path to the stars for smaller companies and organizations to explore the infinite possibilities of endless space. As orbital capabi...

  • A microchip with a hollow of semiconductive tellurite glass.

    Window into tellurite glass solar panels

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 30, 2024

    In a discovery that is approaching an "alchemist's dream", a team of scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne and Tokyo Tech has transformed glass into a light-powered semiconductor that could be the window into future clean energy generation. Interested in the behavior of atoms in tellurite glass when exposed to ultrafast bursts of high-energy laser light, the researchers were surprised that a short burst of energy over one femtosecond, or one quadri...

  • Computer-generated image resembling a diamond used for technology.

    Diamond-studded quantum computer chips

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Nov 6, 2023

    Trapping qubits inside diamonds, MIT researchers create memory nodes that may unlock quantum computing realm. Quantum computers have the potential to carry out calculations millions of times faster than today's most advanced supercomputers, but this game-changing computing power has yet to be realized due to the fragile nature of qubits, the quantum realm equivalent of the bits that store and transfer data in today's computers. Diamonds, however, could provide the armor that p...

  • Professor Lim Chwee Teck and Dr Chen Shuwen holding BiLiSC.

    Scientists develop stretchy metal circuit

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Oct 11, 2023

    Gallium is a key ingredient of this self-healing and pliable circuit for next-generation wearables, other smart devices. Flexibility, durability, and efficiency are some of the key functions scientists are trying to narrow down for wearable tech, soft robotics, or smart devices. In comparison, there have been numerous advances in this field, but the recipe for something as pervasive as the cellphone has yet to meet the mark. That may change with a novel liquid metal circuit de...

  • The tan-colored MOXIE cube being placed into Perseverance.

    Mars MOXIE makes oxygen out of thin air

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Sep 19, 2023

    First-ever space habitat tech, experiment gives more than researchers expected. Not too dissimilar from Man's first Moon landing with a computer that by today's standards TI-83 calculators could overpower, when the first astronauts land on Mars, they will most likely equivocate today's microwave oven-sized device for the air they breathe and the rocket propellant that gets them home as some clunky technology future generations will be amazed could accomplish what it did. But...

  • A massive row of hundreds of CdTe thin-film solar panels by First Solar.

    Upgrading First Solar with quantum dots

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 31, 2023

    Joint development agreement for research into quantum dots for solar modules. Looking to evolve its already impressive proprietary cadmium-telluride thin-film solar technology, First Solar Inc. has partnered with UbiQD Inc., a New Mexico-based nanotechnology company, to explore the possibilities of incorporating quantum dot technology into a next-gen solar system. In its simplest form, a quantum dot is a man-made nanoscale crystal that can conduct electricity, consisting of a...

  • A rendering of electricity being transmitted through stone.

    Ancient tech helps MIT make supercapacitor

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 8, 2023

    Common cement and carbon black pave the way for a foundational tech for efficient future energy storage. Channeling the power of the ancients, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced they have developed a supercapacitor from two of humanity's most ubiquitous historical materials – cement and carbon black. Possibly the foundation of a novel, low-cost energy storage system, according to a new study, this technology could facilitate the use of renewable...

  • A magnet levitates above a liquid nitrogen-cooled superconductor.

    A superconductive LK-99 controversy erupts

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 1, 2023

    Possible Nobel Prize-winning invention has the wider science community in a frenzy; initial claims shrouded with skepticism. If you follow any kind of cutting-edge, pioneering, and borderline science fiction-level technology news, you may have come across LK-99. What had started as a likely dubious claim by more doubtful researchers has become a veritable online race for a room-temperature superconductor that, by the apparent furious attempts to replicate the claims, lends...

  • Photos of folded liquid metal-coated paper in various states of expansion.

    Liquid metal for flexible smart materials

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 26, 2023

    Flexible technologies are emerging, from foldable smartphones to freeform public information displays, and Chinese researchers have made a discovery that could elevate this technology to the next level. The high electrical conductivity and flexibility of liquid metals are the keys to this technology, with potential applications in wearable sensors, actuators, smart switches, printable circuitry for robotics, and technologies that not only move but stretch, such as...

  • Xuilin Ruan (left) and Joseph Peoples (right) measure their whitest paint.

    Cool upgrade to Purdue's whitest paint

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 25, 2023

    In an effort to curb global warming, Purdue University researchers developed a cool solution – paint. But not just any paint, with what they believe to be the closest opposite of the blackest black, this ultra-white paint can not only repel heat but cool down the interior of the surface it is painted on. In September 2021, the Purdue team created an ultra-white paint that earned the Guinness World Record for an unintended side effect to reducing global warming, creating the...

  • A Pacific Bobtail squid off the coast of New Zealand.

    Nanotechnology unlocks squid skin secrets

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 18, 2023

    Taking inspiration from one of nature's most adaptive creatures, researchers from ACS Nano have explored the transformative qualities of squid skin to create a soft film that can regulate its transparency across a large range of wavelengths – visible, infrared, and microwave – all at the same time. The skin of squid and other cephalopods have unique cells that can reversibly change their shape and appearance to mimic their surroundings, giving them an almost imperceptible...

  • A floating metallic cube above a supercooled superconductor, quantum locking.

    Strontium titanate, some secrets revealed

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jun 8, 2023

    A team led by University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers has discovered how subtle structural changes in strontium titanate, a metal oxide semiconductor, can alter the material's electrical resistance and affect its superconducting properties. An oxide of strontium and titanium, strontium titanate or fabulite, has been on the radar of scientists for the past 60 years, mostly because it displays unusual properties. For one, it can become a superconductor at low...

  • Microscopic picture of gallium nitride nanopillars on a silicon sheet.

    Researchers solve heat-to-electricity loss

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 30, 2023

    200-year-old discovery offers breakthrough in thermoelectric sustainability. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and collaboration with the University of Colorado, have created a novel method using gallium nitride that could drastically increase the conversion of heat into electricity. If perfected, this technology could help recoup some of the roughly $100 billion of heat energy lost in the U.S. each year, according to NIST. The new...

  • Closeup of a Clipper Butterfly with blue, purple, and yellow coloring.

    Butterflies inspire world's lightest paint

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated May 16, 2023

    Inspired by the wide variety of brilliant colors adorning the wings of butterflies, University of Central Florida researcher Debashis Chanda has created the world's lightest paint using two materials that do not have any color of their own – aluminum and aluminum oxide. The plasmonic paint developed by Chanda is so lightweight it would only take about three pounds to coat an entire Boeing 747 aircraft, which is orders of magnitude less than the 1,000 lb of traditional...

  • Robotic snail integrating a self-healing, electrically conductive material.

    New self-healing soft robot material

    K. Warner, For Metal Tech News|Updated May 3, 2023

    Engineers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a soft polymer impregnated with gallium-indium liquid metal and silver micro-flakes to create a conductive material with self-healing properties. This marks a big step in the advancement of new materials for robotics, electronics, medicine, and the lesser-known field of "softbotics." This study, published in Nature Electronics, showcases the first material of its kind to maintain enough electrical adhesion to support...

  • A projection of a dolphin reflected off zinc oxide nanoparticles.

    Tighter hologram lights with nano zinc

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 25, 2023

    Researchers out of China and Singapore have discovered that zinc oxide nanoparticles may be the secret to finally achieving high-resolution 3D holograms that are often promised in science fiction but yet to be delivered in reality. Although rudimentary 3D light shows that play off particles in the air, reflections to trick the eye, spinning lights, or projectors to present an illusion of depth have become more prevalent in recent years, a true-blue 3D hologram has seemingly...

  • Artistic rendering of electrons bending in new quantum material.

    Scientists curve atoms in fabric of space

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 21, 2023

    Throwing a curveball at the scientific community, an international team of researchers headed by the University of Geneva, Switzerland, has designed a quantum material that allows the control of electrons within its structure by essentially curving the fabric of space in which they occupy. Expanding into the fields of information and communication technologies presents scientists and industry with new hurdles to overcome, especially if they want to breach into the cutting...

  • A rendering of copper nanoparticles transforming into nanograins.

    Berkeley films first nano motion picture

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    Exploring the mysteries of copper, researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have discovered yet another use for this "new oil" of the clean energy future – converting carbon dioxide and water into fuels and chemicals. But to witness this discovery, the scientists had to design an entirely new nanoimaging technology. The idea of water-powered engines has been waiting for its moment to jump from the pages of science fiction into the world of science reality....

  • An artistic rendering of a fusion target being bombarded with lasers.

    A historic day for clean fusion energy

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2023

    National Ignition Facility achieves landmark fusion energy breakeven. For the first time in history, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility have achieved one of the most significant milestones in energy research by attaining scientific energy breakeven through nuclear fusion. What this means is that for the first time ever, the output energy from the fusion reaction was more than the energy used to ignite the reaction. "This is a...

  • Lasers shooting into space at the Very Large Telescope in Antofagasta, Chile.

    Researchers make first macro tractor beam

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Jan 25, 2023

    Chinese scientists' success crosses threshold that has opened way for grabbing tech. Despite their influence on science fiction and even the occasional conspiracy theory, tractor beams, in reality, have not yet lived up to fantastical expectations. While it seems we are still far from capturing a spaceship that can do the Kessel Run in twelve parsecs, Earthlings have managed to use this light vacuum device to move about nano- and atomic-sized things – until now. Perhaps disr...

  • Zinc-gallium snowflake structures created by University of Auckland scientists.

    Let it snow zinc-gallium nanostructures!

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 20, 2022

    Intricate, unique, and beautiful, snowflakes are a crystalline symbol of the wintery season that inspire wonder in children and inspiration for scientists in New Zealand that have managed to replicate these wonderous constructs of nature with gallium and zinc. A closer look at snowflakes reveals that each piece of pristine powder is a one-of-a-kind ice crystal that is awe inspiring in its beauty and symmetry. More scientifically, these natural forming ice crystals are a...

  • Closeup of person with mask and eyeglasses with one fogged and one clear lens.

    A new gold standard for antifog eyewear

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Dec 13, 2022

    Swiss researchers have developed a transparent gold nanocoating that vanquishes the perennial nemesis of glasses wearers – fogging. Unlike traditional antifogging methods, which uses hydrophilic coatings that evenly spread condensation across the surface of the glass, the micro-thin gold layer developed by scientists at ETH Zurich harnesses sunlight to passively heat the lenses to prevent fog from forming in the first place. This works on the same principle as the heating...

  • A high-resolution photo of the Sun.

    Nuclear fusion breakthrough confirmed

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 26, 2022

    A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed by the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, little over a year since the lab successfully achieved 1.3 megajoules of energy for a fraction of a second. After a year of painstaking work, the NIF has published its work in three peer-review papers. Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the Sun and other stars. Heavy hydrogen atoms collide with enough force that they fuse...

  • A pile of bituminous coal, which powered the old world before oil.

    DOE offers $6M for alt coal use research

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Aug 2, 2022

    The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced $6 million in funding toward research and development projects that will repurpose domestic coal resources for products that can be employed in clean energy technologies such as batteries and advanced manufacturing. Projects selected for this funding will support FECM's Carbon Ore Processing Program, which focuses on converting coal and coal wastes into products such as graphite, carbon...

  • Beer made from a yeast with the potential to remove heavy metals from water.

    Drink beer to prevent lead poisoning

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Jul 13, 2022

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