TNN @ RealScientists Nano Profile picture
New materials/nano scientist every fortnight. This week - @TNNlab Powered by @the_sciencetalk
Aug 15, 2023 13 tweets 4 min read
Today we’ll refresh our knowledge of some of the battery terms. Let’s start from the beginning: we call a battery a device that converts chemical into electric energy using redox reactions. To narrow it down, let’s focus on batteries which use Li (Li-ion batteries).
image:iStock Image It is a secondary (rechargeable) battery which uses reversible reactions with Li-ion to store energy.
Nov 6, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
I still don't know what kind of job I want to do after I finish my PhD.

But at least I found the answer to what kind of job I do not want:

I don't want a bullshit job!

(and they are way more common than we want to admit, even among "blue-collar" jobs.… BS job="a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case."
Nov 6, 2022 14 tweets 6 min read
Imagine that you design the perfect cake. Due to the combination of different layers of ingredients, it will have awesome unrealistic properties. A #meta cake!

But: will the structure withstand the temperatures needed during baking?

Thread on my paper 👇… Instead of a cake, we designed a near-perfect absorber.

Less than 0.1% of the light hitting it can escape it!

How is that possible? By disorder!

Turns out that having the layers of ingredients intermix a bit makes an even better cake!

Nov 6, 2022 6 tweets 4 min read
If you have been folowing the account his week, you might have guessed that I have a thing for definitions and debates over definitions.

What is a metal?

What is a metamaterial?

And now: what is a cake?

That is the discussion that delayed our lab's (@LNM_eth) baking competitions.

Do cakes need to be sweet?

Are all cakes flour based?

Are all cakes layered?

Are all cakes round?

(and much more)
Nov 4, 2022 16 tweets 8 min read
On Wednesday I tried to define a #metamaterial.

Now it's time to define #metals, which should be way easier, right?

Spoiler: even in a #metallurgy group @LNM_eth, not everyone agrees!

First a list of "high-school science" definitions that don't really help us. The

"Metals are reflective": Yes but not all reflective things are metals. Not definition friendly. Image
Oct 6, 2022 6 tweets 6 min read
Finally, the thread (you didn't know) you have been waiting for 🥳 "How can we use X-ray scattering to learn about the way the atoms sit in a #small #nanoparticle?" - lets use the Pair Distribution Function #PDF ! It's all about the neighbors 1/6 /@RPittkowski To get information from small #nanoparticles, where periodic lattice planes are rare, we measure the X-ray scattering to very large scattering angles. This is called #Xray #totalscattering. So we need to come veeeery close with the detector to our sample.😱😬 2/6
Oct 6, 2022 6 tweets 9 min read
After yesterday's Nobel celebration we are back on track . I believe I promised something on #data #analysis
A thread 🧵on how we extract the data from our #robot beamtime @desynews @p021_desy and how we figure out the #arrangement of #atoms in our samples /@RPittkowski 1/6 We get these beautiful 2D images from where the #scattered #X-ray beam hits the detector plate. What you see below is the scattering recorded for LaB6 - not surprising that we use it as a standard for calibration when you look at the beautiful #rings 2/6
Oct 4, 2022 6 tweets 5 min read
I will try to give you a little #glimpse of the experiments we were running the past days at the P02.1 beamline at DESY @p021_desy
The experiments did involve a #robot 🤓🤖 and many, many tiny glass capillaries....

A #thread 🧵 with a robot #video 1/6 @RPittkowski Image First, we place capillaries filled with #nanoparticles (small glass tubes) on a holder, which the robot can later grab. This involves a lot of wax and steady hands, to place the capillaries in a straight way. In the picture you can see a sample rack full of capillaries. 2/6 Image
Oct 28, 2021 9 tweets 4 min read
As a reviews editor I get often asked ⭐What makes a good Review?⭐ Here is a summary of my answer in 8 points:

1- Timely: cover an emerging topic or address a need for clarity in a specific area. Make sure you can answer the question ‘why now?’ before you start writing. 2- Original: ensure you have a new angle/message such that the new review is a useful contribution to the literature. Writing a good review is a lot of work, so make sure the final product will be valuable for readers. Make it count!
Oct 27, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
Let’s now look at some simple writing tips. The main thing to keep in mind when writing scientific articles is that the point is not to write beautiful prose, but to be understood clearly. We are not Shakespeare! In our case, clarity is better than beauty. You want your paper to tell a story. Start with your scientific question & how it fits in the context of previous results. Then state what you did & how (in logical, not chronological order) and what you found. Finish with *reasonable* implications and next steps.
Oct 27, 2021 5 tweets 4 min read
Have you ever wondered what the Nature office in London looks like? It’s a cool mix of old and modern in a former warehouse on the Regent’s canal. It was very recently refurbished and sometimes I still get lost while looking for colleagues on other floors! The office is open space, but there are little nooks & quiet corners where to go for a chat or for some focused work. My favourite desk is near a big window overlooking the canal & a mooring with several houseboats. Lots of cats living around the boats to observe during breaks!
Oct 26, 2021 9 tweets 4 min read
Let me tell you more about my job as an editor at @NatRevMater. We are a team of 3 (with @ChristineHorejs & @arianevartanian) and publish Reviews and Perspectives on all topics materials science, + Comments on topics such as mentoring & inclusivity in academia. Lots of variety! Image Editors also write content such as Research Highlights & Editorials -- the latter require a lot of reading and thinking and are a stimulating team effort, such as this recent one led by our brilliant team member Ariane: Image
Oct 26, 2021 6 tweets 4 min read
Today I will put the spotlight on editorial jobs, telling you about how my own path led me to this fun career and what an editor actually does. I'm a physicist by training: I did my master and bachelor degrees at @LaStatale in Milan, then moved to @EPFL_en in Lausanne for my PhD. I worked with scanning tunnelling microscopy, something you have learned about last week from
@cienciaparaelf2! Here's me with my STM in 2014 Image
Aug 13, 2021 24 tweets 6 min read
Hello friends! Before leaving this account, I'd like to share valuable insights & experiences I gained as PhD #student, #postdoc, and #newPI. These are on various aspects of science.

My insights are obviously not universal. Please take them with a 'big grain of salt'.
Open 🧵 #1. NEVER EVER write an email when overwhelmed by emotion. This is especially relevant when the emotion is anger, regardless of whether it is justified or not. When receiving bad / unpleasant news, it's best to let it rest AT LEAST 1-2 days before responding.
Jun 23, 2021 22 tweets 8 min read
The story of how @Altris_ab came to be and my involvement in PBA research is also a nice one. It was really a combination of the right people meeting at the right time and at the right place. It began with Ronnie Mogensen, who was working on polymer electrolytes at the time and just needed a reliable positive electrode that was easy to make. He tried NaFePO4 which didn't always function. Then he turned to NaxFe[Fe(CN)6]. This always worked to a reasonable degree
Jun 23, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
So how about Prussian blue analogues (PBAs) in batteries? In addition to @Altris_ab there are a number of other companies developing this class of compounds for energy storage applications. What makes them so attractive? PBAs are commonly used as the positive electrode in beyond Li-ion batteries (sodium, potassium). They have an open structure leading to fast cation insertion. Additionally, due to the strong bonding of the cyanide ligand transition metals like iron have a decent voltage output.
Jun 23, 2021 13 tweets 5 min read
Now to talk about Prussian blue analogues! To begin I have to tell the story behind them because it is one of my favourite pieces of chemical history. It is a tale of alchemists, theologians, famous paintings and about 200 years of wondering what Prussian blue was. It all began in Berlin in 1704 with an enterprising dye maker by the name of Heinrich Diesbach. He was most interested in producing a red dye by the name of Cochineal red lake. The ingredients were iron sulphate, potash and crushed up beetles #alchemy
Jun 23, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
After our initial work on Li2MnO3, we discovered that there was a debate in the literature for a related compound. The more promising Li1.2Mn0.54Ni0.13Co0.13O2. It is the Li and Mn rich analogue to the Li[NiMnCo]O2 oxides used in commercial batteries. What was this debate? It was whether the material existed as a solid solution or if it was an intergrowth or mix of Li2MnO3 and Li[NiMnCo]O2. Ie, if the composition crystallised as one or two phases. Here is an excerpt highlighting the debate…
Jun 22, 2021 8 tweets 3 min read
We just got back from a group lunch/farewell to @ashok_menon12. I will use this opportunity to talk a little bit about what Ashok has done during his PhD. Ashok has worked with what is known as Li and Mn-rich layered oxides. The Li and Mn rich oxide materials are interesting as they have the potential to store a lot more energy compared to regular battery cathodes. Image
Jun 22, 2021 12 tweets 7 min read
Ok lets take a look through the @StructuralChem1 lab! Development of new technologies begins with synthesis of new materials. This synthesis is carried out in many of the fumehoods that we have available ImageImageImage For synthesis of many ceramic materials we share a number of high temperature furnaces with other groups. Including tube furnaces for synthesis under various inert or reactive gases. ImageImageImage
Jun 22, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read
But first, I think it is good to generally introduce what a Li or Na-ion #battery is built up from. While I am not an electrochemist by any stretch, I do work a lot with batteries and will mention them often. A battery is comprised of four key components. Two electrodes connected to an external circuit: a positive (high potential) and a negative (lower potential) electrode. These are electrically isolated from each other by a separator soaked in electrolyte allowing ions to pass. Image