Hybrid Nanoscopy of Hybrid Nanomaterials

Dr. Cristina Flors research group (IMDEA Nanoscience) is exploring the combination of complementary techniques to characterize materials at the nanoscale. This is a key step to the design and fabrication of new materials with improved properties and diverse functions. The combination of atomic force microscopy and super-resolution fluorescence imaging is investigated as a useful tool to characterize hybrid luminescent materials, specifically amyloid-like fibers functionalized with quantum dots.

China RRAM

The China RRAM International Workshop launches its first edition on June 12th-14th of 2017 at Soochow University. Resistive Random Access Memories and related applications will be discussed in this workshop.

They asked us to make a picture for the workshop website and this is what we came up with, with the help of Prof. Mario Lanza and Marco A. Villena.

A Graphene Odissey

I know I say this a lot, but one of the main benefits of this job is that you get to know about cool projects like that of GrapheneX. Simply put, the GrapheneX team from TUDelft, is studying the potential use of graphene-based materials as solar sails. Light from the Sun or a laser beam is used to transfer momentum to a sail making possible to move low mass objects.

This transport technology has already been successfully tested for low-Earth orbit applications, navigation control, and Solar System exploration. The main handicap is the low thrust generated by radiation pressure. The solution?, designing sails with very low density but still with high Young’s modulus, high tensile strength and highly stretchable. Does this ring a bell? yes, it is graphene again.

The multinational GrapheneX team (Santiago J. Cartamil, Rocco Gaudenzi, Vera A. E. C. Janssen and Davide Stefani) won the ‘Drop your Thesis 2017’ competition. This means, this November, they will start to make experiments on microgravity at the Bremen Drop Tower.

On a minor note, they asked Scixel to design the logo and here it is. And if everything goes as expected, there is more funny stuff to come. So stay tuned.

Hydrophobicity on rare earth oxides: the bare truth

For some time, rare earth oxides have been thought to be water-repellent. This march, scientists from the University of Basel, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the Paul Scherrer Institute, have found the real origin of this behaviour. They’ve shown that rare earth oxides do not present any significant hydrophobicity. Only when exposed to environmental conditions, they repel water. The explanation, it was only chemical reactions with gaseous hydrocarbons found in the ambient air that increased the surfaces’ roughness and reduced wetting by water.

Personally interested in the subject, we did this picture for them, advised by Dr. Laurent Marot.

2016 Scixel’s Overview

Finally we’ve found some time to produce our 2016 demoreel. It’s been a great year. We’ve worked with a lot of new people in Spain and abroad. Lots of amazing projects both artistically and scientifically. These are some of them:

This is a way of both showing off about the people we’ve worked with and expressing some gratitude. It is difficult not to feel lucky.

On charging your phone with your jumper

Imagine having your your battery charger printed on your clothes or on the screen of your cellphone… this is what Organic Nanostructured Photovoltaics group, at ICFO is proposing. The use of organic electronics allows the production of  flexible cells which happen to be highly inefficient. By layering nanoparticles in a clever way, they’ve been able to increase the performance of these devices, thus solving the problem.

With the help of Dr. Silvia Colodrero, we created this picture which made it to the cover of Advanced Functional Materials.

Widefield Lensless Endoscopy via Speckle Correlations

If you want to know about cool stuff going on in the optics field, check out the Advanced Imaging Lab, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Now they’ve come up with a way to make Widefield Lensless Endoscopy via Speckle Correlations. In short, this means smaller devices and better quality images by using speckle correlations in multicore fibers.

To illustrate it, and requested by Dr. Ori Katz  we did this image for them. It made it to the inside cover of OPN.

Working with them gets you in a state of something in between astonishment and “… you sure this is really possible???”. Like that time in 2014, when they claimed they were able to recover images through scattering layers and around corners. Well, it happened to be so true, it was published in Nature Photonics.