To create their thin-film transistors, [Tobin J. ] Marks’ group [at Northwestern] combined films of the inorganic semiconductor indium oxide with a multilayer of self-assembling organic molecules that provides superior insulating properties.
Synthetic Gecko materials that mimics “microscopic hairs on a gecko foot”. It is “made of layers covered with thousands of stalks with splayed tips made of a polyimide, a synthetic like Nylon.”
Metamaterials with negative refractive index:
[Gunnar] Dolling’s metamaterial is made by depositing a layer of silver on a glass sheet, covering this with a thin layer of nonconducting magnesium fluoride, followed by another silver layer, forming a sandwich 100 nm thick. Dolling then etched an array of square holes through the sandwich to create a grid, similar to a wire mesh.
A key advance in Flexible electronics:
The trick to being able to manufacture—rather than handcraft—large arrays of single-crystal transistors was to devise a method for printing patterns of transistors on surfaces such as silicon wafers and flexible plastic. The first step is to put electrodes on these surfaces wherever a transistor is desired. Then the researchers make a stamp with the desired pattern out of a polymer called polydimethylsiloxane. After coating the stamp with a crystal growth agent called octadecyltriethoxysilane (OTS) and pressing it onto the surface, the researchers can then introduce a vapor of the organic crystal material onto the OTS-patterned surfaces. The vapor will condense and grow semiconducting organic single crystals only where the agent lies. With the crystals bridging the electrodes, transistors are formed.
Finally, is open peer review experiment at Nature a failure?