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Tag: c2013

Silicon Sponge – the light at the end of the tunnel against deadly diseases Silicon and its wider family of materials make up 90% of the planets crust. That’s quite a large amount of material and it’s possible to take these and refine them into pure grade silicon. This is then sliced into thin silicon […]

Everything in Nature is made from just 20 different amino acid building blocks; imagine what you could do with 200. Proteins define Biology and set the limit of what Biology can and can’t do. Since all living things contain DNA and DNA encodes how to make proteins, then all life on Earth is made from […]

Nature builds extremely durable structures from the weakest compounds. The key element is a responsive material with a complex nanoscale structure – a potential design template of the materials of the 21st century. Plants and paper draw their strength from the very same material: cellulose. But paper is so weak that a child can rip […]

By following energy flowing through new materials, the next generation of solar cells is being revealed. It’s hard getting energy out of a solar cell. As excitement builds over the expansion of renewable energy resources, further improvement of the base technologies is being achieved using ultrafast laser techniques to take snapshots of the state of […]

On the micro and nano scale, rocks familiar to us are not so cold and hard as we know them – they are continually twisting and bending from the heat around us, just like a lizard in the sun. In my research, I study the twisting and bending in a particular type of rock, known […]

Quantum computers will be so powerful that they will revolutionise our society as much as computing itself has already done. Think how much of a shift that has been. But what will this technology look like? The next generation of computers are called quantum computers. They are able to model every system imaginable. They can […]

Controlling the shape of nanomaterials, for example by forming nano swiss roll like structures allows batteries with enhanced performance to be developed. Li-ion batteries power many of our portable electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops. From personal experience we know that our devices are quick to run out of juice and slow to […]

A rainforest berry that remains shiny and looking fresh for over 100 years has broken the rules on light and colour. The cells on the fruit are made of cellulose, like paper, but are naturally patterned so that they reflect light in all the colours of the rainbow. What’s more, they are now inspiring a […]

Advanced Polymers that Build Themselves – In Water! Can we build the next generation of advanced materials from simple building blocks?  Could we even get the materials to build themselves, and do it in water? Using small molecular building blocks, we can use spontaneous self-assembling processes to build our advanced materials for us.  Using a […]

Biology is the most prolific inventor and producer of complex functional materials – how can we do the same? I am interested in understanding how nature controls patterns in the structures it makes. The ridges of the waterlily leaf are naturally evenly-spaced, creating a leaf that is strong, light and efficient. This pattern is generated […]