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Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point

Using advanced computers and a computational technique to simulate physical processes at the atomic level, researchers at Brown University have predicted that a material made from hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon would have the highest known melting point, about two-thirds the temperature at the surface of the sun. (more…)

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How Ion Bombardment Reshapes Metal Surfaces

Ion bombardment of metal surfaces is an important, but poorly understood, nanomanufacturing technique. New research using sophisticated supercomputer simulations has shown what goes on in trillionths of a second. The advance could lead to better ways to predict the phenomenon and more uses of the technique to make new nanoscale products.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To modify a metal surface at the scale of atoms and molecules — for instance to refine the wiring in computer chips or the reflective silver in optical components — manufacturers shower it with ions. While the process may seem high-tech and precise, the technique has been limited by the lack of understanding of the underlying physics. In a new study, Brown University engineers modeled noble gas ion bombardments with unprecedented richness, providing long-sought insights into how it works.

“Surface patterns and stresses caused by ion beam bombardments have been extensively studied experimentally but could not be predicted accurately so far,” said Kyung-Suk Kim, professor of engineering at Brown and co-author of the study published May 23 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A. “The new discovery is expected to provide predictive design capability for controlling the surface patterns and stresses in nanotechnology products.” (more…)

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