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From the College of Natural Sciences
Scientists Capture First-ever View of a Hidden Quantum Phase in a 2D Crystal

Scientists Capture First-ever View of a Hidden Quantum Phase in a 2D Crystal

This illustration represents the light-induced collapse of the nanoscale charge order in a 2D crystal of tantalum disulfide (star-shapes) and the generation of a hidden metastable metallic state (spheres). Image credit: Frank Yi Gao

The development of high-speed strobe-flash photography in the 1960s by the late MIT professor Harold "Doc" Edgerton allowed us to visualize events too fast for the eye — a bullet piercing an apple, or a droplet hitting a pool of milk.

New Phononic Crystal Might Enable Better Mobile Communications

New Phononic Crystal Might Enable Better Mobile Communications

Using a microwave microscope, UT Austin researchers visualized elastic waves as they travel right to left, following a Z-shaped boundary in a phononic crystal, without losing energy. The image is approximately 0.1 millimeters high. Credit: Keji Lai/University of Texas at Austin.

Experts have taken a step towards the use of special materials called phononic crystals in cell phones and other mobile devices, an advance that is important to make more devices compatible with emerging 5G communications and other new technologies.

Sodium-based Material Yields Stable Alternative to Lithium-ion Batteries

Sodium-based Material Yields Stable Alternative to Lithium-ion Batteries

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have developed a new sodium metal anode for rechargeable batteries (left) that resists the formation of dendrites, a common problem with standard sodium metal anodes (right) that can lead to shorting and fires. Images were taken with a scanning electron microscope. Image credit: Yixian Wang/University of Texas at Austin.

University of Texas at Austin researchers have created a new sodium-based battery material that is highly stable, capable of recharging as quickly as a traditional lithium-ion battery and able to pave the way toward delivering more energy than current battery technologies.

Chemists’ New Effort Aims to Optimize Materials by Exploiting their Defects

Chemists’ New Effort Aims to Optimize Materials by Exploiting their Defects

A multi-university team involving Sean Roberts of The University of Texas at Austin will receive National Science Foundation support to establish the NSF Phase 1 Center for Adapting Flaws into Features (CAFF) at Rice University. The Center's goal is to exploit chemical defects that show the potential for unique reactivity to optimize the structural and electronic properties of materials.

3D Printing with Visible Light Gets a Speed Boost

3D Printing with Visible Light Gets a Speed Boost

3D printed objects made (from left) with blue, green and red light. Photo courtesy Lynn Stevens.

A team of University of Texas at Austin researchers led by chemistry assistant professor Zachariah Page demonstrated a fast and precise way to 3D print using visible light.

Tiny Insects Provide Inspiration for New Biomaterials

Tiny Insects Provide Inspiration for New Biomaterials

Oncometopia hamiltoni leafhopper insect. Photo by Alex Wild, used with permission.

They may be tiny, but leafhoppers have a super power: they secrete a substance that makes their bodies water-repellant and anti-reflective, which may help them blend in with their surroundings and escape surface tension. Symbiotic bacteria living in the leafhoppers appear to assist in producing the substance and its soccer-ball-shaped nanostructures called brochosomes, but the process is something of a mystery.

There's a Sky Above the Sky: Astronaut Scholar Teddy Hsieh Takes Aim

There's a Sky Above the Sky: Astronaut Scholar Teddy Hsieh Takes Aim

Photo credit Cathy Le.

CNS Career Services advises students to keep resumés to one page, but Teddy Hsieh deserves two.

Allan MacDonald Wins Wolf Prize in Physics

Allan MacDonald Wins Wolf Prize in Physics

Allan MacDonald, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the 2020 Wolf Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking work in a field known as twistronics, which holds extraordinary promise to "lead to an energy revolution," according to the Wolf Foundation announcement today.

Researchers Discover New Way to Split and Sum Photons with Silicon

Researchers Discover New Way to Split and Sum Photons with Silicon

A team of researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of California, Riverside have found a way to produce a long-hypothesized phenomenon—the transfer of energy between silicon and organic, carbon-based molecules—in a breakthrough that has implications for information storage in quantum computing, solar energy conversion and medical imaging. The research is described in a paper out today in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Rethinking Brain-Inspired Computing from the Atom Up

Rethinking Brain-Inspired Computing from the Atom Up

If you wanted to deliver a package across the street and avoid being hit by a car, you could program a powerful computer to do it, equipped with sensors and hardware capable of running multiple differential equations to track the movement and speed of each car. But a young child would be capable of doing the same task with little effort, says Alex Demkov, professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin.