Nylon finally takes its place as a piezoelectric textile

Nylon might seem the obvious go-to material for electronic textiles—not only is there an established textiles industry based on nylon, but it conveniently has a crystalline phase that is piezoelectric—tap it and you get ...

Stacking and twisting graphene unlocks a rare form of magnetism

Since the discovery of graphene more than 15 years ago, researchers have been in a global race to unlock its unique properties. Not only is graphene—a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon arranged in a hexagonal lattice—the ...

Why pulsars shine bright: A half-century-old mystery solved

When Jocelyn Bell first observed the emissions of a pulsar in 1967, the rhythmic pulses of radio waves so confounded astronomers that they considered whether the light could be signals sent by an alien civilization.

Strange things happen when a crystal is split in two

The remarkable strength of ionic crystals is easily explained at the atomic scale: Positively and negatively charged atoms sit side by side in a repeating periodic arrangement. The strong electrostatic force in between keeps ...

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