We are on the cover of Surface Science (Farahnaz Maleki made this very nice picture) and check out the tweet of @ElsevierPhysics:

Glass can be formed naturally; for example in volcanoes or when lightning strikes a sandy beach and it has been produced by humans for thousands of years. Glasses can take on many different appearances, colors, and properties. Thus, it may be surprising that our understanding of the exact structure of glass is not complete, even after such a long time. Very often, you will hear glasses described as amorphous. This word is derived from Greek and means without shape. So we have a rough idea that glass is somehow shapeless. In the following we will see, how we can investigate the atomic arrangement in glass using modern techniques.

...continue reading "How we can see the structure of glass"

The presence of nanoparticles in industrial processes dates back well before the advent of nanotechnology [1] : carbon nanoparticles as rubber additives for tires [2] or titania nanoparticles for pigmentary applications [3] represent a paradigm of mass production of nanoscale objects. The success of manufacturing approaches based on the assembling of nanoparticles is largely determined by the established infrastructure and customer base with cost reduction as a general benchmark. Several techniques for the synthesis of metal oxides have been developed: sol-gel processing, [4] chemical vapor deposition, [5] hydrolysis process. [6] Among different processes for the production of nanoparticles, gas-phase routes are very popular both for large scale production and for fundamental studies. [7] Producing the nanoclusters in the gasphase makes it for instance possible to obtain clean particles without contaminants. With the so called low-energy cluster beam deposition, it is possible to produce gas-phase clusters in vast amounts! For a deposition area of 10×10 cm for a thin film of 30 nm thickness, the deposition time is around 10 minutes.

...continue reading "Large-scale production of gas-phase nanoparticles"

The design of novel materials plays a key role in the advancement of technologies in any application field. It is therefore crucial that the materials research is pursued with optimal effectiveness and efficiency. Modern computational materials design in synergy with concepts from big data processing and -storage can largely contribute to meet this requirement. For example, the systematic investigation of a large set of bulk materials can be realized fast and cost effective with high-throughput (HT) electronic structure methods.

The general procedure for a HT-approach is to compute the properties of interest of a large set of possible materials. The information is then ideally stored in a searchable database. The last step is the materials search and selection. With statistical and graphical means, the properties of a large set of materials can be visualized. In fig. 1, the formation energy of a binary alloy (FePt) is shown as an example.

Convex Hull of FePt alloys

Fig. 1: The alloy formation energy of Fe-Pt alloys as function of the composition. Many different structures have been screened (red crosses) and the most stable structures lay on the blue line (convex hull). Data taken from the AFLOWLIB repository.

...continue reading "High-Throughput Computations for Materials Design"