The Elements of Innovation Discovered

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  • Pile of sparkling gold dust.

    Researchers unlock secret of gold's light

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 15, 2024

    Uses quantum mechanics to discover how light makes thin gold films glow. In a groundbreaking study, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have revealed the quantum secrets behind how light makes thin gold films glow. This discovery, solving a decades-old puzzle, could transform how we make solar fuels and batteries. Luminescence, the process where substances emit photons when exposed to light, has long been observed in semiconductor...

  • Rendering of Urban Vibro truck.

    Pounding pavement: trucks sense geophysics

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated May 8, 2024

    Trucks send seismic waves beneath cities to explore the terrain for oil, gas, faults and geothermal. In 2017, two fleets of massive trucks crossed from Long Beach into Orange County in southern California, sending literal shock waves through the streets. And now, in Germany, they're going to be at it again. The vehicle used to create these vibrations is a seismic vibrator truck or thumper. These trucks use a large weight to thump the ground's surface while sophisticated...

  • A 3D graphic showing different chemical reactions on platinum.

    Platinum's clean energy breakthrough

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated May 8, 2024

    Japanese researchers unveil platinum electrode enhancement for producing clean hydrogen. Imagine a world where clean energy is not just a dream but a reality. Researchers at Chiba University have taken one step closer by cracking the code on platinum electrodes that are vital to hydrogen fuel cells and electrolysis. With subtle changes to the way these electrodes interact with water, they've discovered a game-changing method to boost both efficiency and durability – a small t...

  • View of the colorful Perth cityscape from a walkway looking over a river.

    Seeding a global mining tech hub in Perth

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 30, 2024

    Rio Tinto invests in tech startups, partners with Founders Factory to help establish Western Australia as Silicon Valley of mining tech. Global mining company Rio Tinto has teamed up with world-leading venture studio and start-up investor Founders Factory to help establish the city of Perth on Australia's west coast as the Silicon Valley of mining technologies. As the capital of Western Australia, one of the most productive and diversified mining regions in the world, Perth...

  • Rendering of a geophysical scanning micro-satellite over Earth.

    Graphite composite stabilizes maglev tech

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 25, 2024

    New material bridges anti-gravity tech and super-sensitive instruments. Flying cars and personal jetpacks notwithstanding, a new carbon-based material is bringing us closer to stable levitation technologies with no need for mechanical or electrical assists. Today's levitation uses electrically manipulated magnetic fields, superconductors or diamagnetic (magnetically repelled) materials to float above magnets. The primary use for this is in developing super-sensitive...

  • A high resolution photograph of Mars taken by NASA.

    NASA seeks solutions for Mars samples

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 16, 2024

    Space Agency finds costs and timeframe of previous plan too high, seeks public and private sector innovation to get samples to Earth. In response to Perseverance's successful sample collection efforts, a discussion on returning these samples of Martian geology and potential signs of life back to Earth has been revisited. During a teleconference held early this morning, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration outlined its recommendations regarding a path forward for t...

  • A globe-shaped balloon centered over North America.

    American helium shortage at turning point

    K. Warner, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 8, 2024

    Pulsar's timely discovery of a massive helium deposit in Minnesota may keep our medical scanners, rockets, and nuclear reactors going. Despite being the second most abundant gas in the universe, there is a definite helium shortage in America, risking the operation of everything from medical diagnostics to cooling nuclear reactors. But the U.S. might finally be in luck – a recently discovered reservoir in Minnesota boasts concentrations pushing 13.8%, the highest the i...

  • A microchip with a hollow of semiconductive tellurite glass.

    Window into tellurite glass solar panels

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Apr 3, 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...

  • A heavy-duty train operating on the Moon with Earth in the background.

    DARPA enlists Northrop for Moon railroad

    A.J. Roan, Metal Tech News|Updated Mar 29, 2024

    Begins study to develop first railroad network on the Moon for future extraterrestrial habitation. Invoking a time when Americans began voyaging across the continent in steam-powered engines, Northrop Grumman Corp. has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to further develop the concept of building a Moon-based railroad network. As part of a broader 10-year Lunar Architecture (LunA-10) Capability Study, this envisioned lunar railroad network would be...

  • A frost-covered magnet cube floats above a black superconductor disc.

    Super-rare superconductor mineral found

    Shane Lasley, Metal Tech News|Updated Mar 27, 2024

    Ames Lab scientists confirm the first ever unconventional superconductor found in nature. Scientists at the Ames National Laboratory in Iowa have made a world's first discovery – a naturally occurring mineral with superconducting properties similar to the high-temperature superconductors that could revolutionize energy, transportation, and electronics. Superconductive materials can conduct electricity without energy loss. Scientists have already created superconductors in the...

  • 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...

  • 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 e...

  • 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 w...

  • 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 ext...

  • 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

    2-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 p...

  • 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...

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