I invite you to explore Edition 7 of In Abstract where we showcase some of our most exciting research carried out within the Faculty of Science and Engineering and published in journals with very high reputation. The highlighted papers were selected by an expert panel and represent the wide range and diversity in our Faculty. In a collaborative research effort between scientists from the Department of Computing Science and Liverpool, significant progress has been achieved on tackling scalability issues related to serration, a data analysis technique for mining large data sets.
In the field of functional material, research carried out within the National Graphene Institute has demonstrated that the so-called Umklapp electron-electron scattering mechanism in superlattices can dramatically degrade the electrical conductivity of graphene. Staying with the theme of 2D materials, detailed work on twin boundaries within the Department of Materials has highlighted exciting new applications for 2D materials, including easy folding of graphene for flexible electronics and wearable technology.
Looking into space and searching for rapidly rotating neutron stars, a collaboration between Manchester and the Netherlands, has found the slowest spinning radio pulsar to date, which provides new information about the formation, evolution and emission properties of these dense objects.
Returning closer to home, an international team including researchers from Manchester have developed new smartphone tools to accurately monitor wheat growth and particularly help farmers exposed to extreme weather events. Within the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, biologically inspired soft actuators have been developed for designing biologically inspired robots. In the same Department, researchers have developed a systems modelling approach which determines how much water managers should store, which might reduce water scarcity costs.
We all need stronger materials and researchers in the Department of Chemistry are contributing to this search by developing ways to make stronger polymers through mechanical bonding. Regarding functional materials, single-molecule magnets (SMMs) have the potential to store information but the magnetic memory is quickly lost above absolute zero. New research in collaboration between Manchester and Jiaotong University suggests that molecular design could increase operating temperatures of these SMMs.
In the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences researchers have investigated the effect of droughts on bacteria and fungal networks in soil potentially affecting the response to future droughts. Other researchers from the same Department have discovered that the volatiles released during volcanic eruptions depleted the global ozone layer contributing to the end-Permian extinction. Staying in ancient times, an UK-US collaboration has demonstrated that our early ancestors diversified in shallow, near-shore environments. Even going further back in time, investigations of organic matters from asteroids have revealed that organic materials can form through simple chemical processes operating in our Solar System, which suggests that these organic materials maybe widespread in other planetary systems.
Last but not least, researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, in collaboration with colleagues from Belfast and Thailand, have found ways of tackling the poor thermal and hydrolytic stability of metal-organic frameworks through the utilisation of low-temperature plasma.
We hope you will enjoy this celebration our best research in science and engineering at the University of Manchester. We add new editions every few months – so watch this space for more!