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Materials Research (DMR) Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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Photo of JILA's strontium atomic clock. Coping With Unusual Atomic Collisions Makes an Atomic Clock More Accurate
Researchers have figured out how to nullify collision effects and make the clock still more precise
Released  May 20, 2009
Photo showing bright red-orange photoluminescence from porous silicon nanoparticles. Safer Nano Cancer Detector
Nanoparticle test in mice could pave the way for human uses
Released  April 30, 2009
Photo of the MIT battery material. Improved Lithium Ion Battery Technology Could Fast-charge Electric Vehicles, Boost Acceleration
"Beltway" coating on cathode eases ions' way into crystalline tunnels
Released  April 22, 2009
Eight thumbnail images and 2008 in Review 2008: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities that made news last year
Released  March 13, 2009
Image showing the red and blue letters retrieved from a data cube. New Record for World's Smallest Letters
Stanford University breaks record set in 1991, promises denser information storage
Released  March 10, 2009
Photomicrograph of biocompatible, bioactive glass. Reflecting on the Many Uses of Glass
The director of NSF's International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass at Lehigh University focuses on glass research and exciting students from underrepresented groups about glass science and engineering
Released  February 20, 2009
Image showing ball and stick model of two crossing carbon nanotubes on a graphite surface. Measuring Excitement for Carbon Nanotubes
Studying light pulses in nanoscale molecules brings scientists closer to understanding properties that may lead to a multitude of applications
Released  February 10, 2009
Photo of Cornell University researchers who are developing flexible electronics. Did You Say Flexible Electronics?
Organic electronic devices possible with supercritical carbon dioxide process
Released  February 2, 2009
Image of transparent ceramic. Pore-free Ceramics Shine New Light on Lasers, Electronics and Biomedical Implants
Novel process for developing transparent ceramics from powder eliminates pores
Released  January 29, 2009
Photo of a gecko, which has a unique ability to scamper across shear surfaces and vertical walls. How to Make Adhesive as Good as a Gecko
Materials scientist Ali Dhinojwala and his team use nanotechnology to develop adhesive tapes that stick better than a gecko’s foot
Released  October 16, 2008
Photo of professors and graduate students. Students Give High Marks to First U.S.-Japan Glass Science School
Meeting brings U.S. university students and researchers together with their Japanese counterparts to talk about new developments and potential collaborations in glass research
Released  August 21, 2008
Illustration of photocathode gun. Brightest X-ray Vision at the Nano-scale
Superconducting 'universal toolkit' for scientists, engineers will conserve energy, too
Released  June 6, 2008
2007 In Review 2007: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported advances and activities reported last year
Released  January 30, 2008
Nattharika Aumsuwan and Marek Urban, part of team who developed antibiotic coating process. New Coating Could Prevent Infection From Surgical Tools and Implants
Development of penicillin-coated surfaces could save thousands of lives from infection
Released  September 7, 2007
Eric Weeks and shaving cream with squishy physics spelled in black letters The Science of All Things Squishy
NSF-funded Emory researcher shares the excitement of cutting-edge physics phenomena with kids of all ages
Released  August 16, 2007
Photo of a man in front of one of the pyramids The Surprising Truth Behind the Construction of the Great Pyramids
Were the stone blocks carved from natural limestone or cast with an early version of concrete? A materials science research team provides evidence to answer this age-old mystery.
Released  May 18, 2007
Georgia Tech researcher Zhong Lin Wang holds a prototype nanogenerator. Minuscule Generators Convert Motion Into Nanoscale Electricity Source
Energy from tiny movements, ultrasound waves and even bloodflow can charge the devices
Released  April 5, 2007
"NanoBucky" is a 3-D nanoscale model made from tiny, carbon nanofiber "hairs." Getting a Feel for the Nano World
New models help introduce the blind to careers in nanoscale science and engineering
Released  March 27, 2007
Princeton REU student Claire Woo at work in the laboratory of Jay Benziger. Hydrogen-Powered Lawnmowers?
New design could open door to small-scale fuel cells
Released  January 22, 2007
2006 in Review 2006: Year in Review
A look back at some of the NSF-supported activities highlighted last year
Released  January 9, 2007
Researchers are using vitamin C (background) to craft certain plastics more efficiently. Vitamin C and Water Not Just Healthy for People -- Healthy for Plastics, too
New manufacturing techniques may lead to cheaper, "greener" plastics
Released  October 23, 2006
Jackeline Quinones Fueling Ideas in Global Environmental Collaboration
Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute melds student teams and experts for a fresh look at fuel cell design and emissions control
Released  October 18, 2006
Electrons hitting an iron-carbide filled carbon nanotube cause it to contract and extrude material. Nanotubes Not for Toothpaste . . . Yet
Researchers Squeeze Even Rock-Hard Materials Through Minuscule Carbon Tubes
Released  July 25, 2006
With strong magnetic fields and cold temperatures, magnetic order in barium-copper silicate emerges. Purple Haze
Ancient pigment reveals secrets about unusual state of matter
Released  July 11, 2006
The nanogels could be used for tissue engineering, artificial membranes, and drug delivery. Researchers Create New Organic Gel Nanomaterials
Materials are chemically reversible and environmentally benign
Released  July 7, 2006
Silicon-oxygen nanoparticles aggregate to form zeolites. Crystal Sieves, Born Anew
Hard data resolves decades-old mystery of how certain zeolites form
Released  April 17, 2006
Georgia Tech Professor Zhong Lin Wang holds a sample nanowire array. Nanogenerators May Spark Miniature Machines
Devices convert simple motion into electricity
Released  April 13, 2006
Aquatic bacteria attach to a surface, and each other, by their glue-secreting holdfasts. Waterproof Superglue May Be Strongest in Nature
Bacterial adhesive is 2-3 times stronger than common commercial glues
Released  April 11, 2006
Single-molecule diodes are gatekeepers for electrons in a circuit. Device Only Atoms Across May Allow Infinitesimal But Powerful Computers
Single-molecule diode may change Moore's "law" of microchip memory
Released  April 3, 2006
A wire-packed glass fiber passes through the eye of a needle. New Process Builds Electronics Into Optical Fiber
Advance could lead to building a range of devices inside tiny light transmitters
Released  March 16, 2006

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