Carbon nanotubes — tiny tubular structures composed of a single layer of carbon atoms—could lengthen the life of batteries, according to new research. Findings published in the current issue of Physical Review Letters suggest that the diminutive tubes can hold twice as much energy as graphite, the form of carbon currently used as an electrode in many rechargeable lithium batteries.
The reduction and oxidation reactions that occur at the electrodes of batteries produce a flow of electrons that generate and store energy. Conventional graphite electrodes can reversibly store one lithium ion for every six carbon atoms. To investigate the storage capacity of carbon nanotubes, Otto Zhou and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, first created bundles of the single-walled straws. They then shortened the tubes and opened their ends by immersing them in strong acids. Subsequent tests of their energy-holding potential, conducted using electrochemistry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, revealed an electrical storage capacity approximately double that of graphite. In explanation, the scientists note that the tubes’ open ends facilitated the diffusion of lithium atoms into their interiors. Indeed, the tiny straws managed to reversibly store one charged ion for every three carbon atoms.
As with many findings in the nascent field of nanotechnology, commercial devices based on the work remain a ways off. "We’ll have to work on and overcome other practical issues before we can make real devices," Zhou says, "but we are very optimistic."
Sarah Graham | Scientific American
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
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An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
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