Amazing Aerogel: Eight Looks at the Ghostly Supermaterial in Action

Aerogel must be one of the strangest supermaterials to ever exist. Ghostly and shimmering in appearance, it's insanely light, incredibly strong, and an amazing thermal insulator. And its tricks look absolutely impossible when you see them up close. » 3/21/14 3:14pm 3/21/14 3:14pm

5 Crazy New Man-Made Materials That Will Shape the Future

Forget Mother Nature: when it comes to all matters matter, the sheer ingenuity of the human mind can give rise to some of the most insane—and useful—new materials you've ever encountered. Here are five crazy new man-made materials whose uses could be practically limitless. » 9/09/13 10:02am 9/09/13 10:02am

Scientists call their discovery a 'perfect' invisibility cloak

Functional "cloaking" devices have been around since 2006, but they're far from perfect. All attempts so far have failed to avoid at least some partial light and reflectivity — what has resulted in an unconvincing effect. Part of the problem is finding a way to hide objects in wavelengths longer than the human eye can… » 11/12/12 8:00am 11/12/12 8:00am

Scientists discover weird material that expands when poked


Using a new method of observing microscopic changes in a material's behavior, scientists have spotted very cool properties in a water-methanol compound called methanol monohydrate. These crystals get smaller when warmed, but when you apply pressure to them (i.e., poke them), they expand outwards. This material is… » 2/11/11 11:05am 2/11/11 11:05am

New Adhesive Microfiber Gloves Let You Scale Glass Walls

Soon we'll have special gloves and shoes that allow us to climb smooth, vertical surfaces — and even walk across ceilings. A team of researchers at UC Berkeley has created a plastic microfiber that imitates the "stickiness" of gecko feet, which are covered in tiny hairs that attach to smooth surfaces. Already, the… » 1/31/08 7:30am 1/31/08 7:30am

Atomic Structures Captured by New, Ultra-Powerful Microscope

This image shows the precise arrangement of atoms that form a bridge between two gold crystals. Until yesterday, you would not have been able to see that image — at least, not with such clarity and color. It's the product one of the world's most powerful transmission electron microscopes, installed yesterday at UC… » 1/23/08 7:20am 1/23/08 7:20am