Power/Performance Bits: July 16


Bacterial solar Researchers at the University of British Columbia developed a solar cell that uses bacteria to convert light to energy. The cell worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light, making solar a potential option in areas of the world that frequently have overcast skies. Called biogenic cells, they work by utilizing the natural dye that bacteria use for photosynthesis. Pr... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 10


Heating up EV batteries Researchers from Pennsylvania State University developed a self-heating battery that can charge rapidly in cold conditions, a step they hope could spread adoption of electric vehicles. "Electric vehicles are popular on the west coast because the weather is conducive," said Xiao-Guang Yang, assistant research professor in mechanical engineering, Penn State. "Once you ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 3


Graphene foam devices Scientists at Rice University developed a method for building conductive, three-dimensional objects out of graphene foam, which they say could offer new possibilities for energy storage and flexible electronic sensor applications. The same lab initially created laser-induced graphene, or LIG, in 2014. The process involves heating inexpensive polyimide plastic sheets wi... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 26


Organic pigment for optoelectronics Researchers at Oregon State University are investigating xylindein, an organic pigment produced by fungi, to find low-cost, sustainable alternatives to silicon in electronic or optoelectronic applications where the high-performance capabilities of silicon aren't required. Xylindien is secreted by two wood-eating fungi in the Chlorociboria genus. Any wood ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 19


Tandem solar reaches 25.2% efficiency In the push for ever-more efficient solar panels, researchers are turning to tandem, or double-junction, photovoltaics. Tandem solar panels use two different types of solar cell capable of absorbing different wavelengths of light stacked on top of each other to maximize the conversion of light rays into electrical power. Recently, two groups have reache... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 12


AI for solar materials In the search for better organic photovoltaic materials, researchers at Osaka University turned to machine learning to help identify candidates. While organic photovoltaics (OPVs) are promising on a cost basis, they do not yet have the required power conversion efficiency (PCE) necessary for commercialization. A key element in this is the semiconducting polymer layer. ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 5


Self-assembled battery Researchers at Cornell University developed a self-assembling battery capable of near-instant charging. Instead of having the batteries' anode and cathode on either side of a nonconducting separator, the team's new approach intertwines the components in a self-assembling, 3D gyroidal structure, with thousands of nanoscale pores filled with the elements necessary for e... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 29


Using bandwidth like a fish Researchers from the University of Georgia developed a method to make fuller use of wireless bandwidth, inspired by a cave-dwelling fish's jamming avoidance response. Eigenmannia fish live in complete darkness, sensing their environment and communicating through emitting an electric field. When two fish emit signals at similar frequencies they can interfere with ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 22


Sensing without battery power Engineers at the National University of Singapore developed an IoT-focused sensor chip that can continue operating when its battery runs out of energy. The chip, BATLESS, uses a power management technique that allows it to self-start and continue to function under dim light without any battery assistance. The chip can operate in two different modes: minimum-ene... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 15


Aluminum battery materials Scientists from ETH Zurich and Empa identified two new materials that could boost the development of aluminum batteries, a potential low cost, materially abundant option for temporary storage of renewable energy. The first is a corrosion-resistant material for the conductive parts of the battery; the second is a novel material for the battery's positive pole that ... » read more

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