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Progressing material sciences

Samsung cancels production of the Note 7

Samsung has officially ended the production and sale of the Note 7 over concerns that the phones overheat and catch fire after the replacement phones it sent out encountered the same kind of problem. The company has already asked customers to stop using their Note 7 devices. This decision will cost Samsung billions of dollars in lost sales. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission, Federal Aviation Administration and major airlines in the world have also asked users to stop using their Note 7s. Aside from the negative publicity and loss of brand trust, longer term issues arise like whether there should be more product testing and safety procedures in place before a product is announced or released, and whether other products will encounter the same problem as the Note 7 phones.

Key Takeaway: 

After its replacement phones encountered similar issues of overheating and catching fire, Samsung has decided to stop producing and selling Note 7 devices, which can cost the company billions of dollars.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
October 11, 2016

Laser process makes graphene a thousand times conductive

Researchers at Iowa State University developed a laser technology that treats inkjet-printed graphene circuits, making them more electrically conductive by at least a thousand times. Treated graphene can be used in low cost electronic applications such as chemical and biological sensors, energy storage systems, electrical conducting components and paper-based electronics. The laser treatment can also pave the way for commercialization and mass production of graphene. The team's work is published in the journal Nanoscale.

Key Takeaway: 

A new laser treatment developed by a team at Iowa State produces graphene that is a thousand times more conductive, enabling their use in sensors, energy storage, electric components and paper-based electronics.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 19, 2016

Government announces recall of 1 million Galaxy Note 7s

The US government announced an official recall of Galaxy Note 7 phones bought prior to September 15 over reports of the batteries catching fire. The recall will affect a million Note 7 phones sold in the US. The company had issued its own recall of the smartphone model early in September. Owners can receive a new device with a replacement battery, a refund or another smartphone for free starting September 21. Since the company's recall up to September 14, just a 13% drop in the smartphone's use was reported with 130,000 devices officially returned by consumers. A US consumer safety group had advised affected owners to power down and stop using their devices. 

Key Takeaway: 

The US government and a consumer safety group issued a recall of a million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones acquired before September 15 in the US due to overheating batteries with Samsung saying it will have replacements ready by September 21.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 16, 2016

Chemists make low-cost defect-free graphene

Researchers from Germany and Austria have for the first time produced high quality graphene with no defects. The group added a solvent benzonitrile to the process and discovered this allowed layers of graphene to be separated while preventing the hydration and oxidation of carbon atoms which normally occur in chemical exfoliation. As the solvent turns red when layers of graphene are peeled off, the number of charge carriers, a measure of the material's electronic properties, can also be determined and measured easily. The method provides a low cost and improved way to make graphene, which can pave the way for its use in emerging technologies such as flexible displays. Their discovery is reported in the journal Nature Communications.

Key Takeaway: 

Chemists discovered adding a solvent benzonitrile to the graphene making process produces defect-free graphene while maintaining its low cost property; this can enable better graphene materials for technologies like flexible displays in the future.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 15, 2016

Apple announces iPhone 7, wireless earpods and Apple Watch 2

At Apple's recent event, the company unveiled a faster iPhone 7, wireless earphones called AirPods, the Apple Watch Series 2, iOS 10 and WatchOS3. The iPhone 7 is now 40% speedier than the previous iPhone with the new A10 Fusion chip. It also has longer battery life, and is waterproof and dust resistant. The new iPhone will retail at $649 for the 32 GB model while the iPhone 7 Plus which has two 12-megapixel cameras is priced at $769. The wirelesss AirPods connect to the iPhone and Apple Watch seamlessly via Bluetooth and comes with its own charger. Each piece has a mic, chip, sensors and batteries which can run for five hours on a single charge. The wireless earphones will be available in late October. The Apple Watch Series 2 is now 50% faster than the first Apple Watch with a brighter display, built-in GPS and is water resistant. There is also pricier ceramic edition, a branded Hermès version and the Apple Watch Nike+.

Key Takeaway: 

At the Apple launch event, the company announced a faster iPhone, and the first with no headphone jack, wireless earphones and a GPS-enabled, water resistant Apple Watch.

Publication: 
Publication Date: 
September 7, 2016

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