Crystalline silicon has continued to lead the market in the worldwide adoption of solar energy with over 85% market share. Much of this growth has happened in the past few years. Photovoltaic modules have dropped in price to below $1/W due to massive vertical integration largely driven by Chinese manufacturers. However, the cost to manufacture panels has not scaled down, resulting in losses for manufacturers. Crystal Solar Inc.’s Direct Gas to Wafer Epitaxial System, developed with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is designed to help reduce these costs by increasing throughput.
The semiconductor industry is starting to adopt rapid processes that require pressure values processed in as little as 0.5 msec, yet produce low noise. This performance is needed to build chips that generate less heat, run cooler and need less cooling resources. Speed and noise improvements, available in INFICON’s new Stripe CDG capacitive diaphragm gauge, fulfill the requirements of this next level of structure reduction in the process industry.
For tiny fractions of a second, when illuminated by a laser pulse, quartz glass can take on metallic properties. The phenomenon, recently revealed by large-scale computer simulations, frees electrons, allowing quartz to become opaque and conduct electricity. The effect could be used to build logical switches which are much faster than today’s microelectronics.
The key step in the LED manufacturing process is the epitaxial growth of quantum well active layers on a wafer substrate using technology such as metal-organic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). The characterization of the resulting “epi” wafer is typically done by the “indium dot” method, a slow and largely manual method that involves injecting current into dot electrodes that test the wafer, but also damages it. Bruker Nano Surfaces has an alternative.
This month's issue of R&D Magazine features a cover story on Raman spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy has long been a powerful tool for biological research. The addition of atomic force microscopy is adding an important new dimension. Our editors also provide features on life science research, ultra-low-temperature freezers, sample prep, 3-D scanning technology, oscilloscopes and more.
Supercritical Fluid Technologies’ SFT Phase Monitor II is a tool for determining the solubility of various compounds and mixtures in supercritical and high-pressure fluids. It provides direct, visual observation of materials under conditions precisely controlled by the researcher.
Porvair Sciences has introduced a complete storage solution for HPLC fractions comprising its 2-mL round deep well microplate and high-integrity cap mat seals. The design of the 2-mL deep well plate, which provides scientists with a 2-mL working volume in a 45-mm height plate, is now coupled with a choice of specially designed cap mats.
Polymers come with a range of properties dictated by their chemical composition and geometrical arrangement. Yasuyuki Tezuka and his team at Tokyo Institute of Technology have now applied an approach to synthesize a new type of multicyclic polymer geometry. While mathematicians are interested because these structures have not been realized before, the geometry studies also provide insights for chemists.
Bridges become an infrastructure problem as they get older, as de-icing salt and carbon dioxide gradually destroy the reinforced concrete. A new robot called C2D2 (Climbing Corrosion Detecting Device) is now in use in Switzerland and can check the condition of these structures, even in places that people cannot reach.
Eight U.S. Dept. of Energy national laboratories are combining forces to use high performance computing to build the most complete climate and Earth system model yet devised. The project, called Accelerated Climate Modeling for Energy, or ACME, is designed to accelerate the development and application of fully coupled, state-of-the-science Earth system models for scientific and energy applications.
Precise, gentle and efficient cell separation from a device the size of a cell phone may be possible thanks to tilt-angle standing surface acoustic waves, according to engineers at Penn State Univ. These waves can separate cells using very small amounts of energy. Unlike conventional separation methods that centrifuge for 10 minutes at 3,000 revolutions per minute, the surface acoustic waves can separate cells in a much gentler way.
By striking up the right rhythm in the right brain region at the right time, Brown Univ. neuroscientists report in Nature Neuroscience that they managed to endow mice with greater touch sensitivity than other mice, making hard-to-perceive vibrations suddenly more vivid to them. The findings offer the first direct evidence that “gamma” brainwaves in the cortex affect perception and attention.
Researchers in Switzerland have created an Android app which lets users get together to crack a modern cryptographic code. Building on earlier work that used a network of 300 PlayStation consoles, the scientists decided to leverage the power of smartphones. By running the algorithm a very large number of times the code may be broken eventually.
For the 2.2 million Americans battling glaucoma, the main course of action for staving off blindness involves weekly visits to eye specialists who monitor increasing pressure within the eye. Now researchers have developed an eye implant that could help stave off blindness caused by glaucoma. The tiny eye implant developed at Stanford Univ. could enable patients to take more frequent readings from the comfort of home.
Using a calculation originally proposed seven years ago to be performed on a petaflop computer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers computed conditions that simulate the birth of the universe. When the universe was less than one microsecond old and more than one trillion degrees, it transformed from a plasma of quarks and gluons into bound states of quarks.