Swiss researchers say they have established a new efficiency value of 18.7% for cadmium indium selenide gallium (CIGS) solar cells. The latest improvements in cell efficiency were made possible in part by improving the structural properties of the CIGS layer, improving the proprietary low-temperature deposition process, and doping with sodium.
Scientists from the National Physical Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers in Sweden, have shown that regions of graphene of different thickness can be easily identified in ambient conditions using a relatively simple and accessible form of scanning probe microscopy.
This week at the Society for Information Display show, Arizona State and Universal Display Corp. are showing off their latest milestone: a full-color, full-motion video display prototype built on a flexible substrate. The device, which is intended for military use, was built using a bond-debond approach pioneered at ASU’s Flexible Display Center along with Universal Display’s proprietary encapsulation technology.
Tiny energy converters being developed Oak Ridge National Lab are designed for deployment in high-performance computer chips as way to use thermal energy to generate power for much-needed cooling. The research team reports that efficiency levels of their cantilevered invention are far higher than existing harvesters.
In stormy conditions, grid capacities are often insufficient to handle the electricity generated by wind turbines. To address this problem in Germany, engineers are experimenting with cylindrical sensor nodes that are clamped around transmission lines. These networked sensors can measure the current flow, temperature, wind, and other factors and relay them quickly through grid to help manage the power.
According to its inventors at Brookhaven National Lab, the nanoscale pairings of particles they have self-assembled out of quantum dots and fullerene nanoparticles are the first demonstration of a hybrid inorganic/organic material that can convert light to electric current. Called dimers, the paired particles could serve as power-generating units for molecular electronics.
Operating temperatures for semiconductor devices range up to 125 degrees Celsius. By validating that the full spintronics process can be completed at temperature up to 225 degrees Celsius, Naval Research Lab scientists have confirmed for the first time that spin information can be transported in silicon over distances compatible with existing fabrication techniques. The breakthrough is essential to validate spin as an alternative to charge for a device technology.
A team of scientists in Italy and South Korea have built a new type of lithium-ion based spinel cathode material that, when used in a battery with a tin-carbon anode, have been shown to supply high rate charge and discharge cycles and energy density on the order of 170 Wh/kg -1 . This performance indicates a suitable use in electric vehicles
Novel properties of ferroelectric materials discovered at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are moving scientists one step closer to realizing a new paradigm of electronic memory storage. A new study revealed that contrary to previous assumptions, domain walls in ferroelectric materials act as dynamic conductors instead of static ones.
Scientists anticipate a move away from centuries of caustic, hazardous aqueous-based battery cells, and the future could include the latest invention from scientists at NRL. Their new battery operates on hydrogen sulphate, an ionic liquid that acts as an electrolyte and can mimic alkaline batteries with discharge voltages up to 1.8 V.
A Univ. of Pittsburgh-led team has created a single-electron transistor that provides a building block for new, more powerful computer memories, advanced electronic materials, and the basic components of quantum computers.
In magnetic memory, data is encoded by reversing the magnetization of tiny points. The speed of this helps us quickly store and retrieve data. For the first time, researchers in Germany explored the limits of reversal, and to their surprise found that some atoms reversed faster than others, causing strong magnetism. If harnessed, this phenomenon could speed read/write times in magnetic data storage devices by a factor of 1,000.
Nanocrystal and nano-catalyst design have become increasingly important as conventional metal catalysts have shown themselves to have too many limitations for next generation energy storage and conversion devices. Berkeley Lab’s latest crystal design multiply catalytic reaction sites significantly.
Indium tin oxide (ITO) is an important material used in displays and solar cells, but indium supplies are expected to be virtually exhausted within as little as ten years. A replacement film developed by researchers in The Netherlands is based on electrically conducting carbon nanotubes and plastic nanoparticles, and is made of readily available materials.
Aldrich Materials Science, a technology offshoot of Sigma-Aldrich, this week announced the start of a collaboration with Agfa Materials to expand their offering of Orgacon conductive polymers for use in high technology applications. The material is geared toward use in applications requiring high conductivity, such as tandem junction solar cells.
The previous record, established in 2005 by the research team of Rainer Blatt, is controlled entanglement of eight particles. Now, the same Austrian team have confined 14 calcium atoms in an ion trap and manipulated them with laser light to form a quantum register of 14 qubits. The major finding is that the atomic decay rate is not linear, but proportional to the square of the number of qubits.
As part of the SunShot Initiative, the Dept. of Energy has provided financial assistance to solar film manufacturer 3M, which will use the money over a three-year span to develop its Ultra Barrier Solar Film. The flexible film is a promising substitute for glass in the production of thin-film solar cells.
Because they don’t dent like metals, damaged composites often appear to be in perfect condition even when internal structures have been compromised. Engineers at MIT have devised a new way to inspect these materials using carbon nanotubes and an applied electric current.
Engineering researchers at the Univ. of Michigan have found a way to improve the performance of ferroelectric materials, which have the potential to make memory devices with more storage capacity than magnetic hard drives and faster write speed and longer lifetimes than flash memory.
The ability to deliver electricity at prices competitive with natural gas was a big reason why the Amonix 7700 Concentrated Photovoltaic Solar Power Generator earned an R&D 100 Award in 2010. The DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab reports on the technology it developed with Amonix, and how it has been designed to eventually compete with coal as a cost-effective energy source.
How important are rare earth elements? A research team based at Ames Lab recently achieved a 25% improvement in the ability of a certain type of thermoelectric, TAGS (tellurium, antimony, germanium and silver), to convert heat into electrical energy by adding a small amount of rare earth cerium or ytterbium.
Illinois researchers have documented the first observations of some unusual physics when two prominent electric materials are connected: superconductors and graphene.
Brian Korgel, a nanomaterials chemist at the University of Texas at Austin, and his team are designing solar cells that are light, flexible, efficient, and affordable. Their solution is a nanocrystal paint that can be dispersed in a solvent, allowing users to coat surfaces like windows in a photovoltaic film. The crystals themselves are based on CIGS technology.
Scientists at INM-Leibniz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken, Germany, has developed a barrier layer that separates the metal carrier from the absorber film and increases the efficiency of metal-based CIGS solar cells. The glass-like material prevents corrosion and oxidation of the carrier, increasing efficiency by up to 13%.
Researchers in France recently published a study showing that molybdenum has distinct advantages over traditional silicon or graphene for use in electronics applications. In addition to being an effective semiconductor, this abundant mineral is easy to use in nanotechnology and could used to fashion very small transistors, LEDs, and solar cells.