UW Today

Jiangyu Li

May 31, 2016

Tiny probe could produce big improvements in batteries and fuel cells

image of nanoscale details seen by probe

A team led by University of Washington engineers has developed a new tool that could aid in the quest for better batteries and fuel cells. Although battery technology has come a long way since Alessandro Volta first stacked metal discs in a “voltaic pile” to generate electricity, major improvements are still needed to meet the…

June 23, 2014

Ferroelectric switching seen in biological tissues

An illustration of the molecular structure of tropoelastin, the smallest unit of the protein elastin.

University of Washington researchers have shown that a favorable electrical property is present in a type of protein found in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract, such as the lungs, heart and arteries. These findings are the first that clearly track this phenomenon, called ferroelectricity, occurring at the molecular level in biological tissues.

April 15, 2013

High glucose levels could impair ferroelectricity in body’s connective tissues

Figure shows how glucose can suppress ferroelectric switching

Researchers found that a protein in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract can lose their functionality when exposed to sugar.

January 24, 2013

Organic ferroelectric molecule shows promise for memory chips, sensors

Image of electric response

A paper in Science describes an organic crystal that shows promise as a cheap, flexible, nontoxic material for the working parts of memory chips, sensors and energy-harvesting devices.