This month, Horizon explores the weird and wonderful world of 2D materials. We talk to researchers revving up for a nano car race on a track the size of a flu virus, and others who are splicing atom-thick layers to create materials with on-demand properties. We find out how one scientist is bending and stretching 2D materials to create ultra-small sensors, and discover some of the other potential applications creating a buzz, including energy storage and high-power computing.
Bending and stretching 2D materials to change their properties could lead to ultra-small sensors that can help us understand how gravity works at the microscopic scale, according to Professor Kirill Bolotin from Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, who leads the EU-funded Strained2DMaterials project to uncover what happens to 2D materials under strain.
The world’s oceans are overfished, polluted and – for something that makes up 70% of the Earth’s surface – still little understood. This month, Horizon looks at some of the science that could help us take better care of our oceans, from robots trash collectors out at sea to finding ways to track the plastic that enters our waters. Plus, we look at how climate change is affecting plans for sustainable aquaculture, tech that can help divers reduce the cost of their dives by more than 50%, and the challenges facing research in the Black Sea.
To mark the European year of cultural heritage, Horizon explores how science is helping to uncover more about our past and to preserve our art, landscapes, buildings and ways of life for the future. We discover why prehistoric humans chose to paint rock art where they did, and how farming techniques from hundreds of years ago could help fight climate change today. Plus, we learn how cultural heritage feeds into European identities and what can be done to prevent the destruction of historical sites during wartime.
The rise of alternative health practices and a quest for purity can partly explain the falling confidence in vaccines which is driving outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, according to Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision medicine at the UK’s London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is working to understand the causes of vaccine hesitancy in order to devise ways of rebuilding trust.
Some materials are special not for what they contain, but for what they don’t contain. Such is the case with metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) – ultra-porous structures that are being developed for a variety of future applications from fire-proofing to drug-delivery.
Understanding people’s fears is the key to increasing confidence.
Are metal organic frameworks the hole-y grail of nanomaterials?
A new report on how to reinvigorate Europe's industrial sector recommends prioritising AI and cyber security research.