Advanced Materials & Processes

FEB 2015

Covers developments in engineering materials selection, processing, fabrication, testing/characterization, materials engineering trends, and emerging technologies, industrial and consumer applications, as well as business and management trends

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nEw EvIdEnCE ConFIRmS pRInCIplES oF topologICal InSulatoRS Researchers at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., report they have un- covered "smoking gun" evidence to con- firm the workings of an emerging class of materials called topological insulators that could enable spintronic devices and quantum computers far more powerful than those now available. The materials are insulators inside, but conduct elec- tricity via the surface. More specifically, the team reports the clearest demonstra- tion of such seemingly paradoxical con- ducting properties to date and observed the "half integer quantum Hall effect" on the insulator's surface. Yong P. Chen, associate professor of physics and astronomy and electrical and computer engineering, led a team of researchers from Purdue, Princeton University, and the University of Texas at Austin in studying the bismuth-based material. By further combining topolog- ical insulators with a superconductor, re- searchers may be able to build a practical quantum computer. Researchers demonstrated a 3D material with an electrical resistance not dependent on material thickness for the first time. Whereas electrons usually have a mass, in the case of topological insulators the conducting surface elec- trons have no mass and are automat- ically "spin polarized," leading to the unique half-integer quantum Hall effect observed. For more information: Yong P. Chen, 765.494.0947, yongchen@purdue. edu, naSa awaRdS gRantS to 11 EmERgIng tECHnology pRopoSalS NASA chose 11 university-led pro- posals for studying early stage technol- ogies that address high priority needs within America's space program. The proposals address unique, disruptive, or transformational technologies, in - cluding: advanced thermal protection materials modeling, computational materials, in situ utilization of asteroid materials, mobile robotic surface probe concepts for planetary exploration, and kinetic penetrators for icy planetary moons. Among the selected projects are: Iowa State University, Ames: Com- putational Modeling of Nondestructive Evaluation, Defect Detection, and De- fect Identification for CFRP Composite Materials; Stanford University: Aster- oid Surface Resource Characterization Through Distributed Plasma Analysis of Meteoroid Impact Ejecta; and Texas A&M University, College Station: Con- trol of Variability in the Performance of Selective Laser Melting (SLM) Parts through Microstructure Control and Design. The awards from NASA's Space Technology Research Grants Program are worth as much as $500,000 each, with technology research and develop- ment efforts taking place over two to three years. BRIEFS A car powered by its own body panels may soon become a reality, based on a nanotechnology breakthrough at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. Researchers developed lightweight supercapacitors that can be combined with regular batteries to dramatically boost power. The supercapacitors were made into a thin film with high power density that could be embedded in a car's body parts, storing enough energy to turbocharge an electric vehicle battery in minutes. Professor Nunzio Motta with one of QUT's powerful nanotechnology microscopes. Doctoral student Yang Xu inspects devices made from topological insulators. Courtesy of Purdue University/Ting-fung Chung. EmERgIng tECHnology ReseARcheRs At the Universi Ty of ArkA ns A s, fAye TT eville And Pine BlUff, Received A $725,000 gRAnt fR om the U.s. Air force office of s cienT ific r ese A rch to fu Rthe R develop A new mAte R iA l foR AdvA nced elect R onics devices. A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 5 1 5

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