The Lead

Hybrid solar cell converts light and heat from sun’s rays into electricity

September 10, 2015 | by American Chemical Society | Videos | Comments

Scientists have developed a new hybrid, solar-energy system that harnesses the full spectrum of the sun’s radiation by pairing a photovoltaic cell with polymer films. The films convert the light that goes unused by the solar cell into heat and then converts the heat into electricity. They report on their device, which produces a voltage more than five times higher than other hybrid systems, in ACS Nano.

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R&D Daily

Study Advances Possibility of Mind-Controlled Devices

October 12, 2015 8:46 am | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor Videos Comments

A study published in Nature Medicine has shown a possible path to creating effective neural prosthetics. The study’s subjects, only listed as T6 and T7, have Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). 


New “design rule” brings nature-inspired nanostructures one step closer

October 8, 2015 11:00 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Videos Comments

Scientists aspire to build nanostructures that mimic the complexity and function of nature’s proteins, but are made of durable and synthetic materials. These microscopic widgets could be customized into incredibly sensitive chemical detectors or long-lasting catalysts, to name a few possible applications.


Water from the sun

October 8, 2015 9:30 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office Videos Comments

Deep in the jungles of the Yucatan peninsula, residents of the remote Mexican village of La Mancalona are producing clean drinking water using the power of the sun. For nearly two years now, members of the community, most of whom are subsistence farmers, have operated and maintained a solar-powered water purification system engineered by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Crucial hurdle overcome in quantum computing

October 6, 2015 11:00 am | by Wilson da Silva, Univ. of New South Wales Videos Comments

The significant advance, by a team at the Univ. of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney appears in Nature. "What we have is a game-changer," said team leader Andrew Dzurak, Scientia Professor and Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW.


Flame retardant breakthrough is naturally derived and nontoxic

October 5, 2015 3:00 pm | by Sandra Zaragoza, Univ. of Texas at Austin Videos Comments

Inspired by a naturally occurring material found in marine mussels, researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have created a new flame retardant to replace commercial additives that are often toxic and can accumulate over time in the environment and living animals, including humans.


Simulating path of “magma mush” inside an active volcano

October 2, 2015 11:00 am | by Hannah Hickey, Univ. of Washington Videos Comments

Months of warning signs from Mauna Loa, on Hawaii’s Big Island, prompted the U.S. Geological Survey to recently start releasing weekly updates on activity at the world’s largest active volcano. For now, such warning signs can only rely on external clues, like earthquakes and gas emissions. But a Univ. of Washington simulation has managed to demonstrate what’s happening deep inside the volcano.


Holography helps to better understand clouds

October 2, 2015 7:55 am | by Allison Mills, Michigan Technological Univ. Videos Comments

Watching the clouds go by, swirls of white puff up and melt away. The changes mirror mixing within the clouds as drier air mingles with water-saturated air. New research led by Michigan Technological Univ. with support from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz Univ., analyzes this mixing with holographic imaging and an airborne laboratory.


Reaction snapshots of a notch-modifying enzyme provide basis for drug design

September 29, 2015 1:00 pm | by Chelsea Whyte, Brookhaven National Laboratory Videos Comments

Notch receptors are core components of the signaling pathways that regulate the development of cells within the human body. Notch signaling pathways can determine how cells proliferate or change during development, and defects in Notch signaling can lead to many diseases, including several types of cancer and developmental disorders.


First optical rectenna converts light to DC current

September 29, 2015 10:00 am | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology Videos Comments

Using nanometer-scale components, researchers have demonstrated the first optical rectenna, a device that combines the functions of an antenna and a rectifier diode to convert light directly into DC current. Based on multiwall carbon nanotubes and tiny rectifiers fabricated onto them, the optical rectennas could provide a new technology for photodetectors that would operate without the need for cooling.


Deep-diving whales could hold answer for synthetic blood

September 25, 2015 12:00 pm | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. Videos Comments

The ultra-stable properties of the proteins that allow deep-diving whales to remain active while holding their breath for up to two hours could help Rice Univ. biochemist John Olson and his colleagues finish a 20-year quest to create lifesaving synthetic blood for human trauma patients.


Soft Exoskeletons Tested by Army

September 25, 2015 8:39 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter Videos Comments

Trudging through the Maryland woods, the soldier carried a bulbous pack. He held a gun in his hands. But something was different. Cables hung around him, extending from his pack to his pants. At the Aberdeen Proving Ground, scientists are performance testing a battery-powered soft exoskeleton.


Google's Robotic Dog is in Basic Training for Marine Corps.

September 23, 2015 8:40 am | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor Videos Comments

The Marines are currently testing a series of robotic creations to gauge how well they will perform in the field.


How Drones Could Become the Future of Construction

September 22, 2015 11:50 am | by Ryan Bushey, Associate Editor Videos Comments

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich released a video showing drones building a bridge as part of the Aerial Construction Project.


3-D Printing Promotes Nerve Regrowth

September 21, 2015 10:06 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter Videos Comments

Visually, it seems like a simple process. An extruder drizzles clear liquid in a Y formation. Red and green dots are added before the apparatus is complete with more layers of clear liquid. Unlike its deceptive simplicity, the object is meant to guide a complex process.


Siberian Traps likely culprit for end-Permian extinction

September 16, 2015 3:30 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office Videos Comments

Around 252 million years ago, life on Earth collapsed in spectacular and unprecedented fashion, as more than 96% of marine species and 70% of land species disappeared in a geological instant. The so-called end-Permian mass extinction—or more commonly, the “Great Dying”—remains the most severe extinction event in Earth’s history.



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