Non-transparent film with copper as an electrode. Image courtesy of University of Bolton, UK

Flexible approach to energy harvesting

Materials World magazine
Flexible fibres and films with piezoelectric and photovoltaic properties can now harvest natural energy for use in various electrical components, say UK-based researchers. This is said to be the first time that a hybrid photovoltaic-piezoelectric polymer fibre capable of being woven into a fabric has been developed.
Female wood wasp. The ‘drill’ is the thicker and blacker of the three threads sticking out to the left of the insect. The ovipositor is about 10mm long. © Stanislaw Kinelski, Licensed under CC-BY-3.0 page on Creative Commons (

Wasps play part in surgical probe

Materials World magazine
Wasps are the inspiration behind a new type of flexible medical probe. The ultimate aim is to steer the device in 3D through soft tissue and monitor its progress.

Conductive film deposition on wood veneer

Materials World magazine
A simple electroless process for preparing nickel-phosphorus film on wood veneers for electrical conductivity is being explored by Chinese researchers. The traditional process is said to be expensive.