Snapshots are brief summaries of significant materials-related breakthroughsby MRI researchers. More infomration is available by visiting the links at the end of each summary.

A device for precisely positioning small objects using acoustic waves has now been used to position fragile protein crystals a few micrometers or less in size in the path of a crystallography X-ray beam. This technique will make it possible to collect data on previously intractable samples and will expand the scope of what is now possible with X-ray crystallography.

A new type of 3D printing will make it possible for the first time to rapidly prototype and test polymer membranes that are patterned for improved performance, according to Penn State researchers.

A device made of bilayer graphene, an atomically thin hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms, provides experimental proof of the ability to control the momentum of electrons and offers a path to electronics that could require less energy and give off less heat than standard CMOS transistors. It is one step forward in a new field of physics called valleytronics.

A highly sensitive chemical sensor based on Raman spectroscopy and using nitrogen-doped graphene as a substrate was developed by an international team of researchers working at Penn State. In this case, doping refers to introducing nitrogen atoms into the carbon structure of graphene. This technique can detect trace amounts of molecules in a solution at very low concentrations, some 10,000 times more diluted than can be seen by the naked eye.

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