A British passport with the biometric symbol on the front

Stopping identity fraud with quantum tunnelling composites

Materials World magazine
The risk of fraudsters or terrorists hacking into our personal data will reduce if novel ultrathin switches are incorporated into biometric passports and contactless credit cards, says the team at Peratech in Richmond, UK. The technology is made from quantum tunnelling composites (QTCs) and allows the owner to restrict when sensitive information, contained in radio frequency identification (RFID) microchips, is read by pressing the control.

Aluminium adds value to fibre lasers

Materials World magazine
Applying aluminium instead of phosphorous dopant ions to optical fibre glass lasers may help manufacturers better tackle photodarkening, which reduces the lifetime of the device. This could aid materials processing where lasers are used for cutting, drilling and welding.

Probing conducting polymers

Materials World magazine
Polymers that exhibit metallic and semiconductor-like properties are the focus of research at the University of Leicester, UK. The team wants to enhance the fundamental understanding and properties of these materials for potential use in microactuators, bio-electrochemical sensors and batteries for energy storage. One significant finding is that incorporating single-walled carbon nanotubes improves the rheological properties of thin polyaniline films.
A 3D view of the zirconia/strontium titanate interface

Improving ionic conductivity in fuel cells

Materials World magazine
Spanish researchers hope to enhance the efficiency of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) by producing a super lattice that improves ionic conductivity near room temperature by a factor of almost 100 million.

Rubber Foundation Lecture

The Polymer Society
The Rubber Foundation Lecture on 30 October in London will explore elastomer service life predictions.